Friday, 2 March 2012

Why everything gets more expensive when you mention the "W" word

If you are making plans for your wedding, then you've probably felt a little "taken advantage of".  Many brides will tell me "as soon as I mention that it's for a wedding then prices seem to go through the roof".   As a wedding supplier, I'm going to give my perspective on this.

Now, I'm bound to try and deny the existence of this phenomenon aren't I? We can't possibly all be money grabbing people taking advantage of brides desperation and inexperience when it comes to planning a wedding, can we?

Well here's the first surprise.  From my perspective, things do get more expensive at the first mention of the dreaded "W" word, and the second surprise is that I think this is (usually) perfectly justified.

Brides get married (hopefully) once in their life, which rightly means that they want their wedding to be a once in a lifetime experience.  Everything needs to be perfect, "good" is simply no longer good enough.

This means as wedding suppliers we are under even more pressure to make sure that we deliver the perfection that wedding couples rightly desire.

Let's consider the florist.   If you pop into a florist and buy a £30 bouquet and 6 hours later the heads have dropped off a couple of the blooms, then you'll be annoyed, but you'll probably just get on with it, remove the stems and "make the most of" the remaining flowers in the bouquet.   A week later you'll probably have forgotten it ever happened.   On your wedding day, "make the most of" is not an emotion that any bride should be prepared to accept.  This means that  your wedding florist will select only the best flowers and spend considerably more time carefully putting the bouquet together, making sure everything is secured in place and that no blooms have been in any way damaged in putting it all together.  With that additional pressure for higher quality, it's natural (indeed a business essential) that your florist will charge more than for their day-to-day flowers.

Similarly, if a seam on a dress you've just bought un-picks a week after you've bought it, you'll probably patch it up "and make the best of it".  If the same thing happens to your bridal gown then you'll likely (and rightly) be distraught.

The same applies to my role as a wedding photographer.  If I shoot a portrait session and the images are "off", I can invite you back at my cost, re-shoot you, offer you an extra framed print and you'll walk away happy.  However, if I miss the first kiss at a wedding, or my group shots are underexposed then you'll never have a quality record of those moments and you'll hate the fact you booked me for the rest of your life.   So my quality threshold has to be higher, much higher.  I need to spend more time and money training, to make sure I have the best equipment, have selected the best suppliers, and even at the end of what is often a 14 hour working day, I need to immediately get onto the computer, even if it's midnight and get the images backed up and safe from any possible damage or loss.  

Your wedding day deserves to have a "premium" feel and you won't get that by paying rock bottom prices.   Do the maths, if a supplier is offering you a price that means that they can't possibly be doing this as their only full time job, then how good a service are they going to give you?




  1. That's rubbish. You're basically saying "if you don't want us to do the half-hearted job we normally do then pay us more to do it properly." You should be delivering this type of flawless standard to ALL of your paying customers - not just ones who are getting married!

  2. How business works = if people can get away with charging more, then they will. If people can exploit the fact that the bride/groom or their family are happy to make their day special at whatever cost, then they will charge whatever they like! I'm not accusing you personally of this, but you certainly can't speak on behalf of the rest of the sharks out there willing and eager to exploit people wanting to shell out for their special day. There should be more articles warning couples of how to avoid such sharks, not ones like yours telling them to pay up without questioning any of it.

  3. And furthermore, paying more DOES NOT guarantee value for money / a good job done. Just because you're paying more doesn't mean people still won't try to cut corners. I can't tell you how many friends of mine have shelled out on photographers, caterers, venue etc.. and been unhappy with the little value they got for their money.

  4. Thanks for the anonymous comments. Needless to say, I don't agree and my article reflects my experience. In "Real life" we take a balance between flawless quality and value all the time, that's why people eat at a Harvester instead of the Ritz when they want a night out. For weddings, that balance necessarily shifts towards quality & the price has to reflect that.