The wedding industry has once again been slammed. A writer for the New York Times Magazine wrote a piece entitled The Wedding Fix Is In, claiming non-transparency & uneducated consumers as the industries downfall. I beg to differ. As a past wedding and event professional for 15 years, I saw nothing but transparency with respected vendors who knew their product and how to sell it. The article questions pricing, price gouging probably defines it better. This is how it is. If you hire a professional, someone who is willing to take the time to sit with you, go over what your visions are, and then bring these things to fruition, you’re going to pay. If you’re looking to have a wedding for $30 a head, all inclusive, you might as well go to McDonald’s.
A lot of the problems today stem from reality television, shows such as David Tutera‘s My Fair Wedding. They aren’t realistic visions for today’s average bride & groom. We’d all love to have that fantasy wedding, but the real reality is most can’t afford it. So you’re back to where you started. Shopping around for that best price. But always be aware that there are scam artists out there. Use references & referrals from friends and family members who have actually worked with the person before.
Hire a wedding planner. Yes, do this. She or he will guide you in the direction you need to go, within your budget. More than likely, the planner works with a group of “preferred” vendors, and the savings can be passed on to you. This is not to say that you must go with the planners vendors. You may already have some of your own. Again, she or he is there to guide you, to keep you within your budget. They also see to it that everything falls into place for you, taking on the stress of the event so that you can enjoy your day.
Getting back to transparency. Most wedding vendor sites have their pricing online. The plus side to this is you can view and decide if this vendor fits into your budget without wasting your time or theirs, if the fit isn’t right. All aspects of a wedding do not fall into this category of online pricing. We’ll take photographers, as an example, because they seem to be targeted more frequently than most other event vendors. Keep in mind that every brides expectation of her big day is not the same as the next bride who asks about photography packages. The photographer can begin at your home, follow you to the church, etc, and then complete the day during the reception. A timeline may look something like this:
Brides Home – 10:00AM includes family photos, getting ready
Church – 12:00 – 1:30PM includes ceremony and after pictures in the garden
Reception – 2:00PM – 6:00PM
Total time – 8 hours, without travel time, editing and printing/sending you your photos. If you’re thinking you’re going to spend $500 on photography for an eight hour span, think again. This is where the memories are captured. You want a professional. Not Uncle Harry with his camera phone. Of course you may decide to only have the church & reception photographed, so the amount of time required, changes. And so will the price. Because of the differences in what each bride wants, one set price cannot be displayed. You’ll find most wedding vendor websites, such as photography, will have a caption stating “Packages begin at”. You have a starting point and you can decide whether or not this fits your budget.
It all comes down to this…a wedding isn’t just a party. It’s a once in a lifetime (you hope) event. If the pricing stabs you the wrong way, you might want to consider eloping, or having a small dinner party for your closest relatives & friends. No one says you have to have 200 plus people attend.
It’s all about the love between two people. Even if it means standing in front of the justice of the peace or your town mayor, with your two best friends beside you, then go for it. You’ll be celebrating your lives, together.
original photo via arabiangazette.com
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