- 6 years ago
- Wedding: October 2011
We are planning our destination wedding in the Dominican Republic, where my fiancé is from and where I lived as well for several years. As we live in the US now, we decided to utilize a local wedding planner to help out with the design and planning of the wedding.
I love the work of the wedding planner – they do beautiful weddings. However, I am beginning to feel that we are being “ripped off”. The wedding planner does not charge a one-time fee; rather, they incorporate their charges into every part of the wedding, so you never really know what something is costing. The original proposal they sent us was quite expensive; both my fiancé and I agreed it was way more than what any regular DR wedding would cost. However, because I loved the planner’s work, I felt that it was worth paying the extra to have a beautiful wedding and the peace of mind about not worrying about a lot of details.
As the planning has come along, though, I am beginning to think that they take advantage of their clients in terms of what things cost. We are already paying thousands of dollars for their design services and coordinating services; I am ok with that. However, when we request to add on certain options – for example, a live band and a cigar cutting/rolling station, they are clearly marking up their prices significantly. I understand that most of their clients are Americans who probably do not have a clue what things really cost in the DR and pay the amount with no problem, but being that both of us know full well (and let them know at the beginning) we think it is unfair what they are doing.
For example, for a live band, they quoted us $4,000. My fiancé contacted the same band on his own and found out that what they really charge for the exact same service is $2,000! That is a huge mark up. Same thing with the cigar station – the planner quoted us $500 and we called the same provider separately and find out it should only cost $250 for the hour service we requested with everything included.
When we have asked the planner that, because my Fiance has connections there, if we could bring in our own band, etc, they discourage us with the excuse that “they cannot guarantee the quality or if they will show up” and basically tell us they only work with their preferred vendors. Well, they are getting a huge cut out of using the preferred vendor which is why.
The same thing happened with alcohol. We are buying from a local wholesale store. My fiancé knows how much a bottle of wine, rum, etc, costs in a store there, and the planner is clearly marking up the prices substantially when we asked her for costs. The worst part is, we are renting a private estate for the wedding, so it is not like the planner is going through a hotel where the hotel marks up everything. We are asking that they go to the liquor store and buy the alcohol, contract the band, etc. I can understand if they charged a 10% service fee or something, but to double the prices makes us feel ripped off and cheated.
We do not know how to address this issue without offending our planner and potentially having her sabotage our wedding. We want to handle this sensitively, but firmly, and let them know that we know what things cost and we feel we are being taken advantage of. I just feel like they have excuses of why. When we have casually mentioned before, nicely, that a price seems high, they seem to get mad. I mean, we don’t want to seem like difficult clients but I don’t think it is fair they treat us like two clueless people who don’t know what things really cost there. You would think they would want to satisfy us, but I don’t know how to handle this without seeming difficult.
Any advice is appreciated.