Does The Word “Wedding” = Higher Prices?

A funny video illustrates the wedding pricing conspiracy theory

The Internets are brimming with anecdotal tales of caterers, florists, and limo services that gave higher quotes when asked about a “wedding” rather than a regular “party”. The conspiracy theory goes something like this: Everyone knows that brides and grooms expect their weddings to be expensive, once-in-a-lifetime events, and therefore vendors can charge a boatload of cash for the same exact services they’d normally price way lower. The gentleman in the video below was particularly defensive about this potential rip-off.  <!–more–> (Warning: Some NSFW profanity here — though it’s hardly offensive with a British accent.)

I know a lot of good folks in the wedding business, and they work really hard for what often amounts to pretty narrow margins (like this talented florist). And this concept about pricing conjures visions of greedy wedding vendors conspiring to rip off their innocent clients while sitting on piles of cash and laughing, all mwaah-ha-ha-ha-like. It’s a tempting theory to buy into, but it seems to me that most products and services provided for weddings actually are more labor-intensive or complex than a similar, non-wedding job. Your Uncle Marty might take amazing vacation pics, but would he be able to handle the grueling 12-hour days and intricate photo editing that real wedding photography pros do? I’d guess not. And wedding invitations and favors are usually more customized and of higher quality than their birthday party counterparts. Then again, there are certain things that just cost what they cost. Catering is about food and service, no matter what the occasion. And a limo is a limo is a limo, whether you’re going to a wedding, a nightclub, or a funeral.

What do you think? Does the word “wedding” auto-inflate prices? Brides: Have you had any personal experiences with this? Vendors: Do you charge the same for weddings and non-wedding events? Sound off in the comments below.

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  1. Wedding photography does cost more than a regular portrait session because a typical wedding is like an 8-hour to 10-hour day (sometimes even more), and then the post-processing work can take weeks to finish. A portrait session is usually just one hour, so the amount of work we put into each wedding is a lot more, and therefore the price is higher!

  2. Yes, I was trying to look at both sides of this, but to be honest — well, weddings are a TON of work for vendors. And I know lots of vendors and none of them are raking in millions while duping innocent brides and grooms. But I found a surprising number of people willing to say that that’s exactly what’s happening — like this woman: She’s kind of the Salman Rushdie of weddings :)

    Thanks for the comments!

  3. Great article… a wedding day involves a lot more work on the part of vendors- often customized packages, dressing up, traveling to out of the way locations, hauling around extra equipment, different expectations than other jobs, etc. Not to even mention the pressure that vendors feel- there is nothing like a wedding:: the level of importance for the clients is so high and vendors would never want to disappoint a bride/groom. For all of those reasons, it makes sense that a wedding will require a higher price.

  4. I charge more hourly for wedding than corporate because there is a lot more work involved with wedding editing, blogging, etc.

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