“Why are weddings so expensive?” It’s a question that clients ask me often. Specifically, many Brides and Grooms want to know why it’s so much more expensive to host a wedding than another social event, like a birthday celebration or holiday party for example. I have even had clients ask me if wedding vendors charge more for an identical service just to take advantage of the typically larger wedding budget. If you’re currently planning a wedding, you may be wondering the same thing. For answers from a variety of wedding vendors, read on. Image by Milanes Photography
Vendors price their services based on the amount of time they dedicate to your event, and weddings require extra time from your vendor team.
There are several factors that contribute to the difference in price between hosting a wedding and hosting other types of social celebrations. For most event vendors, time is money. The price of event services is often determined by the amount of time and attention a vendor expects to dedicate to your event, both during the months of preparation and on event day. Flexibility also plays a role, as most wedding clients expect their vendors to be available “after hours” on evenings and weekends to field questions and respond to e-mails.
Raney O’Keefe, hair and makeup artist, explains by saying, “First off, my bridal pricing actually isn’t that much more than my regular hair and makeup pricing. And that goes for all party member’s services. I’m well aware that my bridal pricing is more, and I’m not above the idea that it’s an area where you can charge more simply because it’s a wedding. But that phenomenon didn’t happen accidentally! Your bridal client will take at least fifty percent more care, attention, availability, communication, emotional involvement and overall support than your average non-bridal client. I don’t think there’s one Bride or Groom out there that would say those things aren’t important to them!”
To summarize, Raney said, “It’s not that they [Brides] get a better quality service than my other other clients-they just get more of it.”
Vendors worth hiring are experienced wedding specialists with a specific skill set.
The extra time and flexible schedules required of your vendors are just one of several reasons that may contribute to a wedding costing more than other types of events. Experience and ability are important factors to many Brides and Grooms, and they aren’t earned overnight. In order to perform effectively at a wedding, vendors must invest the time to gain experience and sharpen their skills.
Photographer Laura Stone shared some insight into the specific skills of a successful wedding photographer, saying “Photographing a wedding is much more demanding physically, mentally, and technically than taking pictures at a social event like a party or dinner. To deliver consistently beautiful results, a wedding photographer needs to manage many different people politely and efficiently as well as thinking creatively and thinking ahead to be prepared for the next event.
“In my experience at most other types of events, I have been able to stand back quietly and simply record what is happening or take a few simple group shots when requested. Editing wedding images is also more time consuming because lighting conditions tend to vary greatly through the course of the day, with most coverage starting in a salon or hotel then moving to ceremony and reception areas, which may be a combination of indoor and outdoor color temperature. Wedding photography is simply in a different realm in terms of the effort, the expertise required, and the high stakes- you only have one chance to do a great job on one of the most important days of someone’s life!”
Expectations are important, and wedding clients often want more from vendors.
There is a third reason you may find that a vendor’s price for a wedding service will be higher than the price of a similar service for another social event. Simply stated, wedding clients often want more. Transportation is an excellent example of this. Compared to the typical social event, the amount of vehicles and time required are higher for the typical wedding.
Holly Adams, Wedding & Events Specialist at Atlantic Limousine and Transportation, explains “While there is no difference in pricing, weddings often require more transportation and have more moving parts. For instance, your wedding day transportation may include a vehicle for the wedding party, vehicle(s) for the guests and a vehicle for the Bride and Groom as opposed to a regular dinner charter that requires only one vehicle for a minimum amount of time. The transportation for your wedding day may require multiple transfers, locations and many hours to accommodate all aspects because these vehicles may be needed not only for ceremony but also the reception which may total about 7-8 hours of service. Vehicle pricing is the same for both types of events, however multiple vehicles and extended hours may cause one to think that it may not be.”
The bottom line: for your wedding, you want a team of dedicated, experienced pros who are happy to deliver all that you want and more.
As an event planner myself, I can confirm that all three of these factors contribute to the pricing of the planning and coordination services we offer at EEP Events. Compared to the typical social event, the typical wedding requires more than double the time in preparation and on-site. The precision of wedding timing, along with the number of vendors and wedding party members to coordinate, demands impeccable attention to detail and an unshakeable ability to stay calm and solve problems in the moment. The experience required takes years to develop, and for this reason I always advise my clients to hire vendors that are wedding specialists. It’s also true that wedding clients expect more from their wedding planners, and rightfully so! The number of vendor meetings, tastings, and walk-throughs I attend for a wedding is significantly higher than for other types of parties.
What I hope all Brides and Grooms gain from this post is the understanding that you truly do get what you pay for. Yes, you may pay more to host a wedding than you would to host a party, but that doesn’t indicate that wedding vendors aim to take advantage of you with inflated prices. It means that the right vendor team will understand the extra time, flexibility, and expertise needed to exceed your high expectations for the most important day of your life: and they’re worth the extra investment to make your day perfect.