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Charge too much and you can price yourself right out of business.  Charge too little and you leave money on the table…and you can end up going under that way, too.

Pricing is very important, but your value is never all about price.  In general…

  • The more demand there is for your services, the more experience you have and the more known your reputation, the higher the price you can charge.
  • If your services are already outstanding, the easiest way to get a higher price is to improve your marketing.

You’re not forced to price yourself according to your local market or even according to your experience level.  You can command the price you want…if you learn how to become an outstanding marketer.  That’s what Book More Brides is all about!

Here are the three determinants of price that you must know to grow a successful wedding business:

3 Pricing Points

1)  Annual Gross Income Goal

This is how much money your wedding business needs to make before expenses so that you can have the lifestyle you want.

How much money do you want or need your business to make each year?

2)  Income from Your Average Wedding or Sale

How much money do you make (before expenses) from your average booking?

If you’re not sure, take your business’ gross sales income number from last year’s tax return and divide it by the total number of sales you made.  This is your average income.

3)  Annual Booking Goal

This is how many weddings you want to work (or sales you want to make) each year.

The 6 Figure Wedding Business Formula

We’re going to figure out what your price should be to reach your goal.  So that average wedding income from last year may or may not be working for you.

The formula is:

Price = Gross Income Goal / Annual Booking Goal

Let’s say you want to make $100,000 by working 50 weddings this year.

Price = $100,000 / 50

Price = $2,000

You can play around with this formula until it gives you the results you want.  By increasing your price, you can work fewer weddings and still make the same income.  Or you can decrease your price and work more weddings to make the same amount.

Reality Check

The formula above gives you a good idea of the price you should charge to reach your goal.  Then you need to give it a Reality Check.

You need to consider:

  • How much does the average bride spend on your services in your local market?
  • How many weddings are there per year in your local market?
  • How many competitors are in your local market?
  • How much experience and demand do you have?
  • How many weddings in your market are there in your price range?

Skip this reality check at your own risk!  This is where most wedding vendors fail when it comes to pricing; they simply set a price based on what everyone else is doing and hope for the best.

How much are your local brides spending?

You need to know how many weddings are happening in your local area and how much those couples are spending on your services.  If you’re located in the U.S., you’re in luck because The Wedding Report gives you detailed information down to your zip code.

UK wedding vendors can check  National wedding vendor associations often collect statistics, so contact them for average expenditures in your region.  You can find out how many weddings occur in your area by contacting your local government and asking for the “vital statistics.”

If your price is above average, your service, reputation, experience and marketing has to be that much better, especially if you have a lot of competition.  Brand new wedding businesses should usually start at a price at or just below average until these areas can be improved.

The General Rule:

  • If you book less than 50% of your meetings, lower your price to book more weddings.  (Better yet, keep your price where it is and improve your marketing!)
  • If you book more than 80% of your meetings, raise your price.

Remember: price is not just a matter of pride.  Price is a tool to give you the lifestyle you want and the income you need to support it.  You can experiment with it and test out pricing until you find what works for you.

Gather your facts, be smart and book more brides!

What do you think about pricing these days?

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Posted By

Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

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6 thoughts on “How Much Should I Charge?”

  1. Yeah, Yeah! I have been guilty of operating without a map. I know I need to analyze my market to determine my price but I didn’t know where to find the information. So I basically determine how much I need to live on and then determine how many weddings I need to shoot. Not bad for coming up with a price but Am I over price under price? I guess the 80/50 would alert me to that. However, I was not keeping track of all my meetings. This information is so valuable to me right now.

    Thank you, thank you for sharing.

  2. Great article. All points covered in depth. It is so true that so many photographers charge too little and indeed end up going under…

  3. Anonymous says:

    I must say, I find your articles to be very enlightening. I find that I book ALMOST everyone that I meet with, around the 80% you mention. The problem is that the meetings are hard to come by so raising my prices is something I am afraid would further decrease these meetings.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a great article! For a more in depth explanation of planner pricing, please feel free to check out our website: where we have a wonderful on demand video class on the topic. We also have a white paper on the topic for those who prefer to read. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me and I would be thrilled to help.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Excellent article Steph & Jeff. The Wedding Report is an essential tool — if you’re not reading it, your living in the dark! :-) The 50% / 80% numbers are important too. Your closing rate is talking to you — are you listening?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Brides have loved my services, but say my prices are to high. I need help fast.

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