Lyndall and Alex – Photography by En Vogue

There’s one complaint we get a lot. “Once I put the word wedding in front of my order, it doubled in price”. It’s a frustration that upsets many of our couples and perhaps it’s the industry to blame in part. Not because we do charge differently for weddings (and I’ll explain why we do in a moment), but because perhaps we need to better educate our clients on why this is the case. So, I am about to debunk the myth that wedding professionals are opportunists. I’ll explain why professionals in this industry must charge differently, and why you should never choose your vendor based on price. As planners and coordinators we get to talk to a lot of couples and an exponential number of vendors for every couple that we book. That’s our job. Many of the questions our couples ask relate to price. “Do you think that this price sounds right to you?” or “This feels like it’s a little too much, what do you think?” We don’t have the space here, to delve into the ins and outs of every profession, but I would like to give you some food for thought, so the next time you go to book a vendor there is a better appreciation of how much effort and work goes into pricing structures in the wedding business. Here are some more common queries.

“All I want is just a simple transfer to the church from my hotel. I don’t need a fancy car, I just need a plain old hire car, but I told them it’s for a wedding and the price went up.”

So why did the price go up? It’s because they spend extra time cleaning the car and tyres, and maintaining the tyre protectors so that if your dress happens to brush up against the car, it won’t get stained. The silver service cab, or the corporate hire company won’t care about the stains on your dress. You haven’t paid them to care or be meticulously clean. In addition to this, the drivers actually know where they’re going, and will arrive not just on-time, but EARLY. They’ll also make sure there are plenty of umbrellas in the boot so that if it does rain, you don’t need to worry about it. And finally a decent car service will be available for overtime, so that if your photographer decides they need more photos, your driver will stick around and be flexible to get you where you need to go.

Kristina and Chris – Photography by MM Photos

Photography by Soho Images

“I just need some wedding shots, I don’t get why photographer X is so much more expensive than this much cheaper photographer Y when they do the same thing”.

Let me start off by saying, there is no do over on your wedding day. Photographer X costs more because of the knowledge and skill they have to ensure all your shots are captured. The dad’s first look, the back shot, the handover, the kiss, subsequent crowd reaction and all the details that build to tell your story. A professional wedding photographer can anticipate the shot but someone with little experience will miss it. Spending thousands of dollars on your wedding day, and then hiring a photographer based on price alone doesn’t add up.

You need to ask … How much experience does cheaper photographer Y actually have? A more experienced photographer will factor insurances, professional network and memberships, training, post-production editing skills and their creativity (just like any artist), into the final package price. They will bring a professional state of the art camera, a variety of lenses and some back up equipment, and not some hobbyist contraption picked up from the local k-mart sale … yes it happens, I’ve seen it!

Victoria and James – Photography by Essence Wedding Photography

“I can’t afford a planner … and even if I could you are WAY too expensive”.

Investing so much financially into the biggest party ever, and not even thinking about consulting with a professional who can answer all your questions, help you with vendor referrals, advise you on how it should all run on the day and represent your best interests just seems illogical. So naturally, my mind boggles when so many couples actually do invest a considerable amount of money into their wedding and leave the actual running of the day to chance. The reality is you can’t and shouldn’t do it all by yourself. When deciding on a wedding planner my advice is, as with everything, do not select one on price alone. Different wedding planners don’t all offer the same service or have the same experience, and as I’ve mentioned along with the other examples … You. Get. What. You. Pay. For. If your planner is more expensive, chances are they have more experience, know more people (especially important if something needs fixing in a hurry), is more knowledgeable and is able to do the job that you’re paying them to do the way you want it done.

Photography by Essence Wedding Photography

When shopping around for the best deal, it pays to remember what the vendors should be including in their quote. Here is a list of things to consider when getting quotes, so that you can indeed compare apples with apples.

  • How much professional expertise and time in the business have they had?
  • How much face to face time will they dedicate to you? This includes meeting time, pre-briefing sessions, as well as time on the phone and emails responding to any questions.
  • Can they research any bespoke requests that you may have?

Also remember that they will need to factor in …

  • The amount of time spent waiting around for you if you are late to an appointment, a meeting or on the actual wedding day.
  • The meticulous attention to detail they’ll need to have on the day. A true professional is very aware that there are no second chances.
  • The unsocial demands of the job. The early starts, late nights, weekends and being available to you outside standard business hours.

If, after all this you decide to chance it on a vendor with less or even no experience in the wedding industry, then just make sure you reduce the risk in some way. Adjust your expectations of what you will receive on the day and afterwards. Planning a wedding usually means spending a substantial sum of money, and, in the end, the only two people who need to be truly comfortable with the arrangements on the day are the ones saying “I do”.

Ms Gingham says: Indeed a lot to consider. Sometimes though it’s true that spending your money on the right vendors can actually save you time and effort … which in return will save you money too. Thanks to Sarah from Girl Friday Weddings for this valuable advice.

Sarah of Girl Friday Weddings likes to think of herself as your Personal Assistant, ready to take on any job that will assist you, or take on any job that you don’t want to do. With a range of services on offer from your wedding day co-ordinating to personal shopping, she is the go-to girl to save your sanity!

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