This is a letter written to brides and grooms in response to repeated negatively biased news programs and “expose’s” about wedding industry scams and ripoffs.
1. We spend WAY more than 4 hours on your wedding.
Couples are often shocked at the price tag attached to their wedding services. “But I’m only hiring you for four hours!” is a common reaction.
What you don’t know is that we spend many hours outside your wedding day timeline on planning, communication, rehearsals, meetings, travel and all the logistics necessary to make that “four hours” look easy. This doesn’t even take into account the necessary time investment in training and education to keep our skills sharp.
Let’s take photographers as an example. According to this recent survey, the average photographer spends 65 hours invested in each wedding; when all the hours invested in a wedding are factored in, a typical wedding photographer makes an hourly wage only $37 per hour before expenses! DJs, florists, officiants, planners and other pros are in a similar situation.
Most wedding professionals are not living large on “wedding ripoffs,” a charge often lodged by the media. While the average wedding in the US costs around $25,000, a recent survey of our wedding professional audience revealed that 48% of wedding businesses make less than $25,000 in an entire YEAR.
2. If you hire an amateur for your wedding, expect an amateur result.
Wedding professionals are not a commodity item. You’re hiring a unique personality, talent and experience set. We charge more because we are worth it.
Those amateurs you can hire for a dime a dozen? They’re worth the price you pay, too.
Sure, you might luck out and find the next undiscovered Preston Bailey for your wedding, but you’re much more likely to get sub-par performance along with that bargain price.
3. You pay more for wedding services because you get more.
Much has been made of the so-called “wedding markup,” a phenomenon that occurs when secret shoppers get quoted a higher price for identical services when they are booked for a wedding as opposed to another type of event. While this certainly can occur, journalists neglect to address the very real reasons WHY this happens.
Providing any service for a wedding is far more involved than a similar, non-wedding event. Wedding pros make themselves available for planning meetings, calls and consultations, and may well send hundreds of emails back and forth with a single client in the year or more of planning up to the wedding.
This type of time and attention isn’t expected or required for most non-wedding events; the time investment alone is enough to justify a higher price. The quality of wedding services often requires a greater degree of skill and specialization, not to mention the stress and risk involved should something go wrong.
4. We stay up at night worrying about your wedding, too.
We may participate in dozens or even hundreds of weddings per year, but yours really IS important to us.
Each and every wedding can make or break our reputation. We worry about what can go wrong and we sweat the details because it’s our responsibility. If we mess something up, we know that in the age of viral sharing on the internet, it may very well destroy our business.
5. Listening to our advice will save you time, money and stress.
We love your ideas and your enthusiasm. Please know that when we suggest changes to your dream wedding scenario it’s not because we want to take over your wedding; it’s because we have your best interests at heart.
We probably made a lot of mistakes when planning our own wedding, and it’s inspired us to ensure that pain NEVER happens to you.
We’re wedding experts. If you take advantage of our knowledge and experience, we will save you time, help you avoid mistakes and make your wedding even better. But only if you let us.
6. If you only have $10,000 to spend on your wedding, we can’t make it look like you spent $100,000 no matter what we do.
Weddings can be expensive, and you certainly don’t have to spend a lot of money. But if you’re going to trim your budget, please don’t expect it to be a carbon copy of the Royal wedding.
It’s not because we don’t want to do it for you…it’s just impossible.
7. We love what we do, but that doesn’t mean we want to do it 24 hours a day.
Working in the wedding industry is HARD. It’s stressful. There are deadlines, timelines and lots of pressure to make sure everything goes perfectly.
You know that anxiety that’s giving you nightmares? We get them, too, and sometimes we need to take a break.
Yes, your wedding is important, but we can’t be available for you 24 hours a day 7 days a week without losing our sanity. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to call your planner at 2am or before freaking out when s/he doesn’t answer your text immediately.
8. It takes WAY more time and money to imitate those DIY projects and wedding inspiration shoots than you think.
We love that wedding porn as much as you do, but it sets up unrealistic expectations. Wedding blogs and wedding reality TV misrepresent the details of what’s actually possible for a typical wedding with an average budget…one that doesn’t have a team of expert designers and planners working magic behind the scenes.
The media accuses the wedding industry of encouraging these unrealistic expectations so that you spend more more money. The truth is that we hate it as much as you do!
It makes our job more difficult, and it puts us in the uncomfortable position of telling you, “No,” when it can’t be done on your budget.
9. DIY projects are NOT a bargain.
Think you’re going to save money by having the wedding in your backyard? When you add up the cost of the tent, rentals, food, booze and silverware, you end up spending MORE than you would hosting it in a traditional wedding hall.
The same thing goes for your favors, centerpieces and flowers. It’s going to take you 10x longer and cost twice as much in reworks and mistakes than you think—especially if you’re a perfectionist.
Please don’t choose to DIY your wedding for the savings; make sure you actually like being crafty, and that you can adjust your expectations to accommodate less than perfection.
10. Your wedding day will not be perfect, but we’ll be there to make sure it’s as close as possible.
I haven’t seen a single wedding where at least one thing didn’t go wrong. Your bridal party will be late, the weather won’t cooperate, or the guests will forget to take home those favors you agonized over. There are simply too many details and too tight of a timeline for everything to be completely perfect.
But when something goes wrong, we’ll be there to help you make it right.
By Stephanie Padovani