Every year, a news outlet will bring out a story about unsuspecting brides being charged more for weddings than they would if it were another kind of celebration. Invariably, it involves ‘mystery shoppers’ lying to vendors to gain pricing based on false information. I came across one such article today, based on a Choice study.
First up, a note that this doesn’t actually apply to my business (but, as you’ll find out, it still really gets me fired up!). My prices are my prices, no matter if it’s your wedding or your dog’s birthday party. It takes same amount of time to design and my printer and envelope company don’t charge me less because it’s just Fido’s birthday. In fact, this is part of the reason why I only do weddings now, some people would see the price and react with, ‘Geez, it’s not like it’s a wedding‘. (Apparently the double-standard pricing was a-okay if it suited them?). So now I spend my time focusing on providing the best product and service for my amazing couples.
The Choice article glossed over – and the follow-up completely omitted – any mention of the good proportion of suppliers who provided identical quotes. I can’t say I’m surprised by this alarmist reporting but it’s still disappointing for the vast majority of ethical businesses.
While I’ve never charged more on mention of the ‘W’ word, there are some that do (gasp – it’s true!). There are two reasons why this may be the case:
One – They don’t charge more for the same product/service, they are simply recommending what they think will be most suitable for the event.
When I was doing all-occasion stationery, if a prospective client came to me for party invitations, I’m not going to suggest the custom designed, three-colour letterpress package with a hand illustrated map. I’ll recommend an off-the-shelf flat printed design because in my professional experience that is what they’ll be happy to pay for. If that client was looking for wedding invitations but told me she was planning a 30th, she’d be doing herself a disservice because she’ll wind up disappointed that the product was not up to her expectations for a wedding.
Two – Yes, they may actually charge more for a wedding.
Before you go calling Today Tonight, there are legitimate reasons why this would be the case. For example, your chauffeur missed his kid’s soccer game to clean every nook and cranny of the cars, decorate them, make sure there were umbrellas and bottles of water in the boot and arrived half an hour early because he knows how important this day is. You wouldn’t get all these hidden extras that cost him a lot of time (read: money) if you simply asked him to drive you to the airport.
Perhaps your baker includes the price of tastings, delivery and an extra ‘anniversary’ tier in her wedding quotes but not for parties. Maybe for a wedding your photographer brings a second shooter, expensive hired lenses and spends twice as long processing your precious memories to make sure they are perfect.
And that really is the moral of the story: If you have a question about their pricing, simply ask them. Anyone worth working with will be happy to explain all the inclusions and differences between their services.
I know hundreds of wedding vendors and I can tell you that not one of us is in this for the money. We are passionate about what we do and pour everything into creating beautiful weddings for our clients. But of course like any business we need to do this in a way that is financially viable in order to keep servicing our clients for many years to come.
Your wedding suppliers are there to help you. Not only does being dishonest prevent them from best serving you, it also prevents a trusting relationship, without which it is hard to enjoy your wedding planning and pull off the kind of spectacular event you’re dreaming of.
Photo credit: Jennifer Sando Photography