Anna and James by Zoom Photography

In 2009 the Australian magazine, Choice, ‘sought quotes from 60 reception venues, cakes makers, hire car businesses, entertainments, florists and photographers in Sydney and Melbourne.’ Two ‘shadow shoppers’ were assigned to the task. ‘One shopper asked for prices for her wedding and another for her 40th birthday. Both events had the same number of guests and identical requirements in terms of cars, cakes, flowers, photographers, entertainment and venue.’ (Quotes from the Choice website article ‘Here Comes The Bride: And Up Goes The Price’) The television program that aired this ‘research’ even suggested that brides not tell the vendors that they wanted their services for a wedding!

So to get the other side of the story and add some balance from those in the wedding industry, we decided to interview a selection of vendors to give you the REAL story!

We asked some questions:

1) Do you charge more for a wedding, and if so, why?

Two hire car companies responded by saying they work on a set hourly fee, which one said he discounted as weddings are usually for a number of hours. They offer specialised services at no extra cost such as decorations and refreshments.

Paper goods vendors (invitations etc) stressed that there is a world of difference between a party invitation and a wedding invitation. A lot of brides now want a wedding invitation ‘package’ to send to guests, often with costly embellishments. This consists of a minimum of 4 pieces but can be up to 10 pieces to design and print. Most work on an hourly rate which includes consultation, design, research and presentation of the portfolio of the suite. Given the emotional component of a wedding this can take many hours. A birthday invitation on the other hand is often one page or a simple card so takes a lot less time in consultation and design.

One vendor said that her prices were the same for other events and weddings and her prices were on her site ‘and clear to all’.

A floral designer commented that ‘brides have a specific vision’ and often want non standard items which are not ‘commercially available’. She went on to say that generally ‘corporate clients are satisfied with my inventory of containers and props and do not require additional time and labour spent to acquire the quantities needed to match the bride’s vision’.

Another floral designer says that she does charge more for wedding flowers because for a wedding she sources and uses only blooms that are sold by growers as ‘premium’ quality stock, whereas a shop bouquet is made from ‘standard’ stock. Also wedding flowers can take hours to prepare and create, so there is a labour charge involved.

One event designer custom quotes for each event and cost ‘is based on the amount of hours invested’. Another vendor pointed out that ‘expectations of weddings are always very high and the details that go into them are numerous and they typically require more extensive planning than another event’.

Interestingly one vendor made the point that she ‘strictly limits the number of events we do each weekend, so once I commit to a wedding or party, I am also losing the potential income of other clients that may be getting married on that weekend’. Don’t forget that their time includes sourcing, planning and set up time in the vendor’s studio and on site, as well as clean up time when the event ends, in some instances.

Check back this afternoon to see what else vendors had to say about the issue! Click here for part two.and click here for the Choice wedding roundtable.