Allow Me To Explain…
No one can argue this topic. Weddings are expensive. Tons of people wonder why this is the case but there are some clear reasons that make it so. Being in the wedding industry myself, as a venue owner, one thing I can say for certain is that even though most weddings are expensive, brides and grooms do not tend to regret spending the money to ensure a great day. Keep in mind that not all weddings are expensive… at least not super expensive. A great wedding can (and ultimately should!) be planned on a budget… but don’t skimp so much that it adds unneeded stress on family and friends or makes it uncomfortable for guests.
Weddings are expensive because it’s not just a party!
You can throw a really great party for a fair number of people without breaking the bank. Go to Costco and grab some party trays, chips, sodas and cheap booze. Party City and Oriental Trading are perfect for theme parties. But this is NOT what you do for a wedding. You are going to hire professionals to take care of every aspect of your day. Everyone knows that “labor” is what’s expensive. Just think about getting your car fixed. The part costs $80 but labor runs it up to $400! Weddings are really no different. Labor is expensive and believe me, there is A LOT of labor involved in a wedding.
Take flowers for instance. If you need a floral arrangement for a birthday party, you’re probably going to go into a floral shop and simply pick something out. Heck, you may even just run into a grocery store! If you are picking out floral arrangements for a wedding, you are going to do extensive research, work closely with a florist to determine your style, receive mock arrangements, have multiple consults and then day of,,, get exactly what you’d planned. THIS is way more time consuming and demanding than simply walking into a floral shop and saying, “I’ll take this.”
Weddings are expensive because they are so large scale.
Imagine if you took your closest friends and family out to dinner one night. I’m not talking about a dinner at McDonald’s either. Consider somewhere nice. With drinks, dinner and desserts you are easily going to be over $60 per person. THIS is basically what you are doing when you invite people to your wedding… just on a much larger scale. And consider this… that $60 a person isn’t even including decor and entertainment. It’s just a simple game of numbers… quantities really. People often think that large groups should get them discounts but that really only works for concert and theme park tickets. When lots of “service” is needed, the price goes up, not down.
Also, think about your invitations. I know that when you boil it all down, this is a tiny expenditure but it’s still in the mix. Just a plain and ordinary, off-the-shelf greeting card is going to cost about $3.50 plus the necessary postage. You can expect around that same amount for a pretty plan invitation… much more if it’s really custom. Now take that amount and multiply it by 150 guests. See how it adds up? It’s just numbers.
Weddings are expensive because they are very time consuming.
With many of the professionals working to make your wedding day great, the day-of work is not (and won’t be!) all that goes into it.
A photographer is a good example of this. They will meet with you for an initial consult, you’ll have already worked with them on engagement photos and bridal portraits, many will even meet ahead of the wedding to determine desired wedding shots, timelines, etc. So when you see a photographer show up at the wedding, this typically is not their first run in with the bride and groom. They’ve been cultivating a relationship and working with them for quite some time now. On the wedding day they are ever so diligently snapping pictures here, there and everywhere to ensure all of the special moments are captured. After that, they will spend days sorting, editing, touching up and packaging photos. Yes, a good wedding photographer is expensive, but they do a lot of work and I promise… it’s worth it.
Weddings are expensive because budgets tend to be unrealistic.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, weddings need to be planned based on a budget. This keeps you out of problems as the bills come in. And they will come in. If you choose to get married in the heart of Washington DC, I can promise you that will be much more expensive than getting married somewhere a bit more rural. Know your budget, do your research and choose your location and vendors accordingly. Don’t try and shove a DC wedding into a tiny budget, it just won’t work. Gorgeous weddings can and are able to be budget friendly, just know your market.
Weddings are expensive because you’re paying for the know-how.
Let’s sum this up a different way. You are paying for their experience and that’s not free. Just like in your job, if you start from the bottom and work your way up to management, you are going to make more money. A DJ that works his way from being a last minute gig to the best in the area, THAT comes with a price.
Can you hire your cousin Lucy to do your flowers. Yes. Will she do a great job? Possibly! Does she have a solid team of educated, professional workers behind her in case something goes wrong or Lucy gets sick? Probably not. So in a way, you’re not only paying for their know-how but for peace of mind too.
Let’s Sum It All Up.
Yes, weddings are expensive. I will in no way try to fight that. What I will do is try to educate people on WHY. Many people believe that wedding professionals just add a bunch of zeros behind their quotes because they can. That really isn’t the case though.
Do I ALWAYS think that a wedding pro is worth the price they’re asking… NO! And you shouldn’t either. Shop around! But in most cases… you do get what you pay for. A wedding photographer doesn’t have to cost $8,000 do be great, but if you find one that’s only charging $500… you might want to dig a little deeper.