by: Lauren

After writing last week’s Thursday Tips post about why weddings cost “so much“, it brought something to my attention- that there are a few myths that continue to be perpetuated about wedding costs. When I say “wedding costs”, in a nutshell I mean budget and/or pricing. And now I would like to attempt to dispel these myths. Why? It’s what I do. ;) And I want you all to know the truth- because I didn’t know when I was planning my wedding!

So what exactly ARE these myths that have to do with budget/pricing?

Wedding cost myth #1:  You should barter and/or ask wedding vendors for discounts.

I’ve SEEN this said on blogs and forums before. The only way that a barter miiiiight work is if you own a company that the vendor could SERIOUSLY benefit from. (Like if you’re a floral wholesaler and you barter with a florist, or if you own a camera company and you barter with your photographer.) My question for you is this: do you straight-up ask your server at a restaurant or your doctor for a discount? Or tell them you’ll give them (insert-your-product/job/hobby/whatever-here) in exchange for food or a blood test?

[Personal wedding experience side note: The funny thing about this is that in looking back on planning my own wedding, I seriously asked my dad (who is a dentist) if he would barter veneers with my event decor company. The event decor company of course said no, because nice teeth don't translate into anything beneficial for flowers or rentals. OMG, so embarrassed. I totally forgot about this!]

Wedding cost myth #2: Things are marked up just because they have the word “wedding” in them.

Ah, I was a believer in this one. Wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, wedding cake, etc etc etc. And I also have seen this one- plus a viral video or two- perpetuated among brides. The truth is, it is what it is- and it’s also what you’re asking for. A venue is perhaps cheaper to rent for a meeting because that meeting is occurring on a Wednesday, not on a Friday or Saturday. And that said meeting isn’t consuming as much food and beverages as a wedding does. Or a wedding cake- it might not be the same price as the cake on the shelf at a bakery, but that’s because that cake is literally just cake and icing and a single sheet. Chances are that wedding cake you’re wanting is probably a few tiers, has all sorts of designs, and requires hours of work. I could go on and on with this one… perhaps I need to just do a whole separate post just for this myth?

Wedding cost myth #3: It’s cheaper if you do it all yourself.

Okay, SOME things are cheaper- but keep in mind that you’re also paying someone to do it FOR you, thus paying them for your time. That’s why it’s cheaper to do it yourself. Just ask yourself how much of your own time you actually want to take up doing things yourself to save a few bucks. (Note: I’m not hating on DIY, just stating something.)

[Personal wedding experience side note: I wanted to make my own menus. Because I was clueless and ordered run-of-the-mill invitations from a big giant book and didn't have someone custom design paper products for me. And I did make my own menus- until about 3 am the night before my wedding. When I had to wake up at 7 am to start getting ready. Missing out on those hours of sleep during my 18 hour wedding day? Um totally would have PAID someone to do them.]

And here are a few more myths that fellow wedding professionals shared with me via my lovely friend Twitter… (names have been withheld juuuuust in case…)

“That you can save a ton of money by having Uncle Charlie photograph the wedding with his new Canon 7D!”

“Spectacular weddings for 150 or more being $5000. Total.”

“You need to spend tons of money on the venue! If you are creative & stick to your wedding style you can have a gorgeous wedding in a reasonably priced venue!”

“(MYTH) Catering over $50/person is a rip off – I can go to Outback for $50/person!”

You can get a good wedding videographer for $500″

“That invitations should be $1 (myth) yet you pay $4 for a crap card from Hallmark.”

“Rent a linen for $50? I can buy one for that!”

“That beautiful flowers for ceremony and reception are only $1500 ….”

 

These are all myths, being spread wrongly by inexperienced people. Don’t believe them! They could be true in some cases, but that chance is very slim. Slim meaning that if we’re talking percentage, it’s a single digit. And I will have you know that I myself thought of and/or said every SINGLE one of these things when I was planning my wedding. Now you know, and it’ll save you a lot of heartache, pain, blood, sweat, tears, hemming, hawing, etc etc! If you have any other things that you’ve heard that you might think are myths, put it in the comments! I’ll let you know! :)

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Thursday Tips: Myths About Wedding Costs

Lauren

Owner & Editor at Every Last Detail
Lauren Grove is the editor and owner of Every Last Detail. A clueless bride-turned-wedding planner, Lauren uses her experiences and knowledge to educate and inspire brides all over the world.

18 responses to Thursday Tips: Myths About Wedding Costs

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  1. Meg Roberts

    Hey! Staying up until 3am making your menus & programs was AWESOME…

  2. Megan Acosta

    I am loving this Lauren! Great post! I too as a bride believed in all of these. I actually bartered with the DJ for my sister’s wedding, but he was also a friend, and I gave him head shots for his business in exchange for DJing. The whole key is that he was an old friend, I wouldn’t have asked it if he wasn’t.

    And I’m glad the whole DIY thing is put in perspective. I DIYed a lot in my own wedding, but I had time and people to help so everything went smooth. I was a maid a a friend’s wedding who had a DIY wedding, but didn’t really like to DIY, so that meant it was a MDIH (Megan Do It Herself). The whole week I was there was so stressful to the last minute trying to help get everything done, it really turned me off to DIY weddings. So like you said, be prepared for the time (even time you don’t think will come into play like transporting and setting up!) and do as much ahead of time as possible!!

  3. Brit @ Landlocked Bride

    As always – thanks for sharing, Lauren. I think some brides are just in the dark about so much. A wedding is their first real big event they have had the chance to plan (more than likely), so there is a lot of unknowns for them.

  4. Karissa

    Great post! I have at least three brides I’d like to send this to. another myth, everything is negotiable. It really chaps my hide when I am asked to lower my rate ( I don’t anymore) or I am asked to try to get an even bigger discount from vendors and venues. Hello we are so not in 2009 anymore!

  5. Kelsey

    Money is such a touchy subject, but it’s your wedding day! I think it’s totally worth a few extra dollars to get exactly what you want with no extra headaches. I think you should only DIY if you’re going to have a good time doing it – that will just add to the overall fun of the wedding experience.

    I also think it’s a myth that you should hire your photographer/videographer as one of the last vendors. Granted I’m biased as a videographer, but most everything else will wilt, get thrown away, get eaten – you should make sure you have the pictures/video to remember everything that you spent so much time putting together! And be able to see how much your guests enjoyed it!

  6. Doris

    I’m weighing in as a bride (44 days to W-Day). I am DIY-ing many things, but I love to DIY in general, I sew and quilt and craft every chance I get, and I have a degree in art. I also have a big group of girlfriends who also like to do those things and all offered to help before I even got around to asking. Would I recommend most of my DIY projects to a beginner? Absolutely not. Pay someone for their time, it is totally worth not having the stress.

    We are having a wedding with approximately 80 guests on a budget of $4500. Is it my dream wedding? No–but my Dad has been gone 13 years, my Mom is on a fixed income, and my fiance has a kid in college. It is what it is. While it may not be my dream wedding, it will be beautiful, it will be meaningful, we will be married at the end of the day, have had a fabulous time surrounded by our favorite people on Earth, and I won’t have regrets. And I won’t be in debt for any of it.

    I am hiring a caterer (who came recommended from a friend), a photographer that is cheaper than many in our area because it is only her third wedding (but I’m okay with that, and we have discussed concerns and limitations clearly up front), we are paying for the use of our parish Church, the Priest stipend, the Organist, a venue that is not a grand hotel, but suits our needs perfectly. I am paying for hair/makeup at a local spa the morning of, because it’s a treat for me, my gals, and our mothers.

    I haven’t asked any of the vendors I’m working with for a discount, and I’m too intorverted to even suggest a barter with anyone. When I checked with vendors or venues I couldn’t afford, I just stated, “thank you for your time, your work/place is lovely, but outside of my budget. I’ll gladly pass your info along to others that I know are looking”. And I did just that. I don’t think I’ve bad-mouthed a single vendor for being over-priced, a businesswoman/businessman can charge whatever they want for their time and work. And for the record, I am a firm believer in “you get what you pay for”. I’m fully aware my photos won’t be a beautiful as all the pretty wedding blog pics I look at every day, and my cake may tilt a little becasue my best friend and I made it ourselves, but I’m okay with all of this going into it.

    My point is, I think every couple has their own budget, every couple has their own wedding “dreams”, and some of the myths listed above can be a truth/fact for one bride, but most definitely a myth for the next three brides based on their dreams and their budget.

  7. Ashley Daniell Photography

    Thanks for this Lauren! It really frosts my cookies when people try to haggle with me for photography services. Like you said – you wouldn’t go to the ER and try to haggle over the cost of the flu vaccine. I can only speak about photography, but I just don’t think people realize how much money it costs the vendor. For a photographer, the cost of equipment, software, insurance, business expenses, and time definitely adds up. The client may only see me 8 hours on her wedding day, but for those 8 hours, I’m spending probably 2-3 on the front end preparing, and then another 24 (at least!!) on the back end in post production. And for every piece of equipment the client sees me with, there’s probably another piece they don’t see that is my backup. I really appreciate all of the education you provide brides! :-)

  8. Daisy

    Wow… thank you for this post! I’ve been in this industry a LONG time and I’ll tell you… I’m the first to offer a barter to MY CLIENTS. I have a heart of giving but only try to bless the needy … not the greedy. Your myth about the venue was right on. I could work a meeting in my venue by myself while clearing a wedding of 125 involves at least 5 others – AND I don’t cater! This is just for the venue upkeep. It makes me crazy when brides come in and say “could you throw in the china?” … um, no. I can’t. I’m not a hotel that can absorb that fee through food costs. If you want Tiffany’s you pay for it. Want Wal-mart – well you’ll pay for that too but it is what it is… don’t try to change that unless the business owner offers!!

    • Daisy

      BTW… would you mind me linking this post to my blog?

  9. OHANA PHOTOGRAPHERS

    on the nose :)

  10. OHANA PHOTOGRAPHERS

    i’d love to link this to my blog too if it’s okay :) after the friday blog silence for japan of course :)

  11. Kevin Brown

    Excellent post Lauren, You hit the nail on the head. As a photographer I definitely hear many of the photography myths. It’s great that you have injected your own personal wedding experience in the post. Sometimes it is just not about the money but more on how much would you pay for piece of mind.

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  13. Christie O {hindsightbride}

    Ha! I can attest to the DIY is not always cheaper bit. I wanted to make my own wedding cake to save money and because my grandmother was a bad-ass cake decorator and I’m a pretty good baker myself. After buying all of the equipment and baking and decorating test cakes for four months (um, buying 2 pounds of butter each week is not cheap, nor are fresh raspberries in the midst of winter) I ended up spending almost $700 on my DIY cake. I could have easily purchased a lovely wedding cake for my 100 guests for this amount. While in the end I’m glad I made my own wedding cake, I didn’t save any money, that’s for sure!

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  15. Katie Long

    You have it right on! I think it is all about expectations. As a 2009 bride myself, I know that I spent more than I expected – but being in the industry – i knew what I was getting into. if a bride wants what they see in the bridal magazines- it comes with a cost. If you have realistic expectations – then it is easier to have a wedding on a budget.

  16. New Bern Wedding Photographer

    Great article! I always love the “will you give me $xxx off if i tell all my friends bout you?”

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