Share the ways you discovered the wedding industry was a racket (vendor stories)

posted 7 months ago in Reception
Post # 46
1296 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I’ve seen this from both sides (vendor and as a bride). 

A close (older) friend of mine has owned her own catering company for the last ~30 years or so. Weddings used to be her bread and butter but she’s found over the last 10 years that weddings are just not worth the stress. SHe said, in her experience, brides have become more demanding and often will cut corners in other places to try to save money but then she’s left fire-fighting (e.g. bride was supposed to arrange champagne flutes as felt friend’s rental place charged too much, day of champagne flutes were no where to be found and turns out forgotten in bride’s garage – was then friend’s job to have to reclean white wine glasses to double-use for toast and later dinner) so she’s largely stopped doing them. She does mostly anniversary parties, funerals, and birthdays now. She will still provide quotes for weddings but drives the price up as she doesn’t really want to do them unless their worth her time. So I kind of get that. Granted, she is a freelance caterer who works out of hired venues – so not quite the same as an all-inclusive wedding venue.

At the same time, when I was looking for services as a bride the mark up was INSANE. I remember asking a lavender farm for harvested bunches that we would then split out for mason jar decorations — they charged me $7 a bunch. I didn’t say why I wanted them, just said “Can I pre-order 5 bunches for pick up Friday PM or Sat AM”. Girl came in behind me and said she wanted lavender for her wedding in 2 weeks and to do a pre-order, she was charged $12.

I had the same with hair. I called to make an appointment for hair at a salon – online price menu said updo’s were $70. All seemed to go find making my booking until I was talking timing outloud and said “Yes that should work, ceremony for 4, so photos at 2 30, start dressing at 1 30 – yeah being wrapped up hair by 1 works great.” She goes “Ooooh this is for a wedding? Are you the bride? Bridesmaids are $120 and bride is $175”. UMMM WHAT!?!?!?! I cancelled the booking and said we’d find somewhere else.

But I kind of get it – brides can be neurotic and make service vendors not want to deal with them but it ruins it for us relaxed brides!

Post # 47
3124 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

TravelingBride31 :  I don’t see how that is even legal. It’s definitely not ethical.  I know it goes on though!  Weddings are rackets for sure. 

Post # 48
1059 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

The ONLY way I can see some of this being okay is if the “wedding” standard is higher than the normal service.  For example, I couldn’t care less if the icing on a birthday cake is slightly uneven, or if the writing on the top looks like regular handwriting vs a stenciled font.  I WOULD care a great deal if anything was wrong with a wedding cake.   

I can picture similar issues with hairstylists (hair must be perfect for longer, for 360 degree photos), DJs, caterers, limos etc… 

Picture-perfect execution is expected from wedding vendors. If they normally operate at an 8, their wedding service might be a 10.  I think vendors who can’t explain what’s different about their wedding prices are a joke. 

Post # 49
4097 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I will say, as someone who has worked in events for a long time,  brides and weddings are definitely more work. Corporate clients don’t really GAF unless you really blow it. Brides have higher expectations because they’re paying out of their pocket, and have often spent a lot of time dreaming of, or planning this.

Brides typically want more appointments,  send more emails,  have more special requests…..overall, they take more time day-to-day. I don’t blame them, it just is what it is. 

But if you are really going to claim that the expectations a corporate client with millions throwing one of several events a year are similar to an individual who is paying themselves for one day they want to remember for a lifetime, you’re kidding yourself. They just aren’t. And that higher level of service has a pricetag.

Post # 50
1629 posts
Bumble bee

Yeah…I really don’t understand the freaking out over !OMG LYING! and the hate that this post was getting. If you don’t agree then fine, upcharging for weddings (whether necessary or unnecessary) is pretty well-known but if you have a different experience great for you. What I don’t understand is why certain bees decided to disagree in a pretty rude and argumentative way. 

I’m having a very small non-traditional wedding. There are certain things that I know I will pay more for and I’m fine with that, because I’m interested in the details and extra service that might come with letting the vendors know it’s a wedding. In other instances, when we are doing something simple and there is literally no difference, they don’t need to know. For example, I want my caterers to know it’s a wedding, because we have a non-traditional venue and I believe that their having that information makes a difference when it comes to service. My rental company doesn’t need to know what I need tables and chairs for. There is literally zero change in the tables or chairs for a wedding vs other event, and we are transporting and setting up ourselves. 

Post # 51
1629 posts
Bumble bee

saratiara2 :  I think transparency is the key. I definitely agree that some vendors working weddings will definitely end up doing more service for anxious couples and their families, and an upcharge for that is right and necessary…but I think it might be more to the point to spell that out in a contract, such as ‘there is an additional charge for x but with it you get additional meetings and a specific point-person you can contact at any time and they will make sure to get back to you within 1 business day’. I would absolutely pay more for peace of mind if I felt I needed it, and if someone decides that they don’t need it they can have the base price with the understanding that additional meetings and communication over a certain level results in further charges. 

Post # 52
4097 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

strawberrysakura : ….I’m not going to tell a bride “sorry, you pay more because most brides are a pain in the ass, and take up my time “. No one would announce that. Because either brides will get pissed and not hire you, or they’ll claim THEY aren’t that way, and shouldn’t have to pay extra. No bridezilla thinks she’s a bridezilla. 

Most venues etc offer you a point person regardless of the event, so it’s not really honest to tell someone that’s something special for weddings. That’s why the blanket “special wedding price” is used. It accounts for everything.

Post # 53
21 posts
  • Wedding: August 2010

We told most vendors we were having a “family party” until we’d gotten a quote and were ready to book.  Our DJ immediately said that a wedding was a higher price.  We asked what for, and he said it would pay for the introductions, and first dance, boquet and garter toss, etc.  We told him we didn’t want any of that, so he held to his original price.  I gave him a huge tip (though not as much as his wedding markup) to thank him.

Post # 56
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - Baton Rouge, LA

I haven’t run in to this personally, but I kinda get it.   It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting everything to be absolutely perfect, and vendors have to deal with the brunt of the resulting perfectionism.  It sucks, but I can see the logic in the idea that in a vendor’s experience, anything for a wedding tends to be much more work, so they charge a higher rate  

I tend to be a relaxed person in general.  OCD and organized to a fault, yes, but that’s on my side of things (keeping up with contract copies/paperwork/deadlines, etc).  My attitude is if I hire someone to handle something, I do what they need me to in order to do their job, then get out of their way.   If something comes up, we can figure it out. 

I’ve run in to vendors being alarmingly surprised when I didn’t freak out at them after something that I wouldn’t even consider a hiccup (ie: having a longer lead time on new orders because it’s summer and therefore the middle of wedding season).  I’ve been caught off guard by a few questions (ie: asking if I want my sola flowers dyed to match a specific swatch of fabric…nope; I ordered your sample flowers before placing my order; as long as it’s not wildly different, we’re good).

It makes me wonder what they’re used to dealing with that me explaining that my Pinterest board is just for general ideas (not something I want a carbon copy of) because I suck at communicating what’s in my head when it comes to aesthetics, etc so I’d rather show you is met with a huge sigh of relief.  Because let’ face it…’Southern/Woodlands-y’/Fall/Romantic’ isn’t exactly clear, and I’m not about to expect anyone to read my damn mind.

Example: we began planning (and therefore dress shopping) late in the game, since the first part of this year was spent purchasing our first home and getting settled.  As luck would have it, I found ‘the’ gown during the first appointment, third dress in.  We go to order it, and surprise surprise, the gown would be shipping the day before my wedding, and this designer didn’t do rush orders.  I knew I was starting late, and I kind of expected this.  BUT! My gown lady is amazing, and found one that had already been produced in my size, and would be here waaay ahead of time.  The only catch is that the innermost layer would need to be a slightly different color.  I felt bad for her when she seemed so relieved that I was totally cool with it, and extremely grateful that she was able to pull off getting ‘the’ gown in so quickly.

Post # 57
138 posts
Blushing bee

Have you thought about the fact they are charging more because they are giving wedding services more attention and time than other normal services? Something to think about….

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