Post # 1
Let me start off by saying that I’m a bride on a very set budget. I am. It’s a reasonable budget, but a budget nonetheless. However, the venue we chose cost a significant portion of our budget (including catering). We decided that was a worthy splurge, since we get to be married at our dream venue.
However, now that we’re looking at other vendors, I’ve noticed that the minute I mention our venue, the vendors quote seems to jump higher and higher! It’s like they hear where we are getting married and they all see dollar signs. One vendor (a videographer) actually quoted me $4,000 for 8 hours of coverage…then, when I told her that we only needed 6 hours, not 8, she said that she “spoke too soon” and the quote should have been $4,600 for 8 hours. After taking off 2 hours coverage, it would now be $4,000. Riiiiiiight. Needless to say, we didn’t book with that videographer. We also told our venue about their recommended videographer’s shady pricing practice. They weren’t pleased.
At this point, I’ve had to completely stray from the venue’s referral list because so many of those vendors have tried to extort us. The worst have been the florists. One tried to charge me $15/stem for 4-5 dahlias in mason jars! Dahlias cost $3/stem directly from a grower! Mason jars are $1.50! And mason jar centerpieces don’t require much labor to arrange. I could do it myself FAR less expensive than that (and that’s probably what I’ll end up doing). Another florist refused to even discuss our wedding unless we agreed to his minimum of $72/centerpiece. A third quoted us $600 for gazebo decor (and we only wanted draping with SMALL clusters of dahlias where the fabric attached to the gazebo). Several other florists in the area quoted us $250-275 for the same arrangement! I’m sorry–but I can’t justify spending $15/stem for dahlias, $72/mason jar centerpiece or $600 for gazebo flowers that will likely wilt before the day is out…especially given they’re charging well above market for those items.
It’s like vendors think that all common sense and rationality goes out the window when a woman gets engaged. Sorry…not this bee.
Anyone else feeling extorted by vendors? For me, the shakedown is making the whole wedding planning process more stressful and upsetting than fun…it’s pretty disappointing actually. I was so looking forward to the planning part.
Post # 3
This is why I’m DIYing so many aspects. I’m sure that there are brides out there who don’t want to lift a finger or want for anything and occasionally those prices are justifiable but for the general public.. hell no. Especially when vendors just can’t be asked like so many these days.
Post # 4
Luckily I haven’t felt like this because that would stress me out but I’ve heard stories about as soon as people mention “wedding” prices go up and that is so true!!! I’m glad I haven’t had to deal with this. I have a set budget and for each section I have a certain amount so I try to either match it or go lower and with our DJ who was recommended to us by our venue just because they were close friends with the wedding coordinator they were willing to work with me – asked me what my budget was and said OK. Our photographer is my FH friend of a friend so we are good there and I’m probably going to get my silk flowers online because there is no way I am paying over $1000 for flowers.
Post # 5
@CelticBeachBride: You’ve just neatly summarised all the reasons I am planning on DIY-ing a lot of my wedding – I just don’t want to deal with the stress of trying to figure out whether vendors are attempting to rip me off!
“It’s like vendors think that all common sense and rationality goes out the window when a woman gets engaged” – in my experience, this is the main factor in wedding pricing. There are enough people out there (not just brides, but grooms and parents as well) who demand perfection and are willing to pay big (HUGE) bucks to make their day special – so all wedding vendors set their prices accordingly. This then makes planning a pain for someone like me – yes, I want nice flowers, but I don’t need absolute perfection or perfectly matched colours – yet the prices don’t go down when I mention this.
I decided when I started planning that I wouldn’t even bother with vendors who don’t clearly list their prices on their website (obviously this is hard for florists, but photogs/videogs/caterers etc. should be fine) – that way I know they aren’t tweaking their prices to squeeze out as much as they can from me.
A girl I know who is training to be a florist told me that they are taught to charge approx twice as much for flower arrangements that are going to a wedding, to account for the expected standard being higher and the arrangements having to go through more ‘trauma’ (I think she meant moving centrepieces, carrying/throwing bouquets, etc.). This made logical sense, until I heard another friend’s tale of how she was picking up 2 large ceremony arrangements from the florist, and casually mentioned that they were for a wedding. Even thought the florist had already handed over the flowers, she tried to grab the bill back and add a ‘wedding surcharge’ to it – the most compelling argument I have ever heard for doing my own bouquets!
Post # 6
Sorry to hear about your frustration! I think all of us go through a similar experience of seeing the “wedding tax” added onto everything we’re trying to organize! I’m DIY’ing some things, but obviously some aspects are best left to the professionals. I had a pretty good experience searching out vendors on weddingchannel.com because their list allows you to search by budget range.
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to NEGOTIATE EVERYTHING. Be open to quotes, but if something comes back out of your budget, let your vendor know. If they want your business they will work with you. Remember that the folks you’re dealing with do this for a living, and I think you’ll be surprised at how much wiggle room you can get by simply asking nicely.
Post # 7
Yes, almost all of my vendors have sprung hidden charges on me. The most upsetting is the photobooth that my guests used. They were all told they would be getting the shots free, and I was told the same thing. Now they’re being directed to a site, $18 a shot plus shipping. I am mortified to say the least. IOh also I’m not actually getting any of my photos until I pay for them induvidually. So I guess that 5 grand was just for the honor of having the photographer show up. it goes on and on, all I can say is weddings are big buisness and there seems to be not many people who are above taking advantage of the situation.
Post # 8
@CelticBeachBride: i told vendors my budget if they couldn’t work with it i moved onto someone who could. I was on a budget. I didn’t want to diy everything either. I got referrals from friends and did tons of research to get best with my budget.
Post # 9
@CelticBeachBride: yes! the first caterer I met with I was VERY specific what my budget was and what it had to include, he set up the meeting and tried to get me to DOUBLE my budget. I told him just send me a quote with the best you can do, never heard back from him…another caterer I was also very specific with this is my budget, this is what I need, except I didn’t use the W word. I told her a reception dinner for 30 people. She emailed me asking what the event was (response to the email stating reception dinner), to which I replied, I’m sorry I thought I mentioned, it’s a reception dinner. She responded, asked AGAIN, and told me it helps her to know what the “tone” of the event is. At this point we nailed out a menu, family style, all the details she would need. Wouldn’t quote me until I said wedding, then BAM quote comes in double what I told her my budget was. Nothing in the quote had anything to do with the “tone” except higher $$!!