The Wedding Markup

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Weddings can get extremely expensive.  Easily five figures expensive.  Is this because your vendors are marking up their prices just because your party has the label “wedding” affixed to it?

Some people think that service providers charge more for weddings than other parties like birthdays, anniversaries, and retirements.  The Today Show put this to the test with their investigative reporter.  They visited wedding vendors and got quotes for a birthday party and then a different person visited the same vendors and got quotes for a wedding.  They asked for the exact same packages.


The results?  The venue gave exactly the same price, the photographer gave virtually the same price, and the DJ gave a very different price.

(Side note: The New York prices shown in the Today piece don’t translate well to Eastern North Carolina.  Most venues and DJs will cost less than this.  Meanwhile, they must’ve found a super cheap photographer because you’ll pay more than that for a good one.)

Visiting three wedding vendors is hardly a comprehensive look at the wedding industry but it does get the point across.  Some service providers will charge the same amount for weddings and non-weddings while some will charge more for the wedding.

Is this proof of a bride-gouging conspiracy?  Not exactly.

(Another side note: It is a little weird that the DJ had the same package names and charged different amounts.)

Weddings aren’t just a stressful pile of work for you, they’re also a stressful pile of work for the people who are assisting you.  That includes the paid help.

From the vendor’s perspective, working at a wedding is a ton of work and it starts well before wedding day.  There are planning meetings and planning phone calls and planning emails and planning text messages.  On a 1-10 scale, the stress level can be an 11.  This is one of the most important days of the couple’s lives and it cannot get screwed up.

On the other hand, a birthday party is relatively easy and straightforward for the people who make it happen.  The stress level is a 3.  Minimal planning goes into it for everybody except the event planner.  There aren’t 50 phone calls that need to be made.  You’ll (hopefully) have other birthdays.

Is it fair that some people will charge brides more?  That’s for you to decide.  Just know that there is a good reason for it and they’re not charging more for the heck of it.


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