Hi friends! Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about things that you need to know when you’re newly engaged- like setting a budget, choosing your wedding date, and finding wedding vendors. (If you missed any of these, hop on over to our recent wedding planning posts to catch up.) Today we’re moving on to expectations and vendor pricing… more specifically, how to find out wedding vendor pricing.
When I was planning my wedding, I had no idea what to expect for wedding vendor pricing. I had never planned a wedding before, I was the first person out of all my friends to get married, and I couldn’t find anything that told me what things should actually cost for a wedding. I know some of you are either newly engaged or are starting to plan right about now, and you are BOUND to be in the same situation I was in. Because let’s face it- you’ve never planned a wedding before, right? But the catch is, that one of the very first things you want to know is what to expect things to cost, right?
Which leads me to today’s topic of how you can find out vendor pricing?
It’s so funny to me, because in 2008 (when I was planning), email wasn’t quite the sole means of communication for people like it is today. I mean, the iPhone wasn’t even in existence yet! <gasp> (Funny, yet kind of sad, right?!) What’s even funnier is that the other day, I had the realization that I was *afraid* to inquire with wedding vendors.
So there I was, completely clueless about weddings and what things were supposed to cost, and yet I wasn’t able to find out anything because I was afraid to inquire. I suppose part of my thinking was that if I couldn’t find pricing on their website, I wouldn’t be able to afford them. Which is totally NOT TRUE! I’m pretty sure that if I had just sucked it up and called or emailed people, I would’ve probably had a much better wedding. Clearly, information wasn’t quite as readily available then as it now.
I wasn’t able to find out anything because I was afraid to inquire.
Luckily, we now live in a world FULL of information and communication. Just about every vendor will have a contact form that’s easy to fill out and submit. Some vendors have their pricing on their websites. Some don’t. [And that really doesn’t mean anything either which way- trust me, it’s a big huge, ongoing debate in the wedding industry.]
But no matter what method you use to find out pricing, it’s SO EASY to do- all you have to do is ASK! I mean really- with all of the methods of communication that we have at our fingertips now, you have NO excuse! ;)
So if you’re looking for information from vendors on their pricing, here is what I recommend doing:
1. Make a list
Make a list of your potential vendors. These are vendors that you have already researched. You’ve already stalked their website, read their about pages, and fallen in love with their work. [If they have their pricing on their site, you can stop here if you’re just concerned about pricing. If you want more INFO from them beyond just pricing, like if they’re available for your date, continue.] For these vendors, there is definitely some potential of you booking them, and therefore, they are your potential vendors.
2. Email or Inquire
Email or inquire with each of these vendors, making sure to include: when you are getting married, where you are getting married, and that you are interested in learning more about their services/product.
TELL them if you are solely looking for pricing information and researching your options! They’re going to be okay with it- but you also want to be sure to respond to them- no matter what. Whether you want to schedule a consult or not, please please please let them know where you stand and that you received their email! Don’t ghost them! As a wedding professional, there’s nothing worse than getting excited about a potential couple and then never hearing from them. Trust me- I know.
[Extra tip: a great way to get an accurate representation of pricing is to ask vendors what their couples spend with them on AVERAGE. Not their starting amounts. This will give you a good enough idea of their pricing.]
SHAMELESS PLUG: All of the vendors in The V List have been extensively vetted and verified by me, and they are all the absolute BEST!
4. Be nice
BE NICE and remember that wedding professionals are people too! Goodness gracious, I can’t tell you how many rude emails I used to get from couples. It’s so weird- when you’re planning your wedding, it’s easy to think of wedding vendors differently. I don’t know what it is, but hey, I did it too! It’s really helpful to remember that yes, wedding professionals do what they do because they love it and enjoy it, but it’s also their livelihoods. So before you judge or question pricing, remember that tidbit, and maybe even put yourself in their shoes- how would you like it if someone told you that they thought you should make less money? I’m sure none of you would do any of that, but I’m just saying… it’s always nice to have the reminder, right? :)
Pricing will vary for every single type of wedding vendor,
depending on several unique factors.
Please do know that YES, pricing varies for every single TYPE of vendor, and then it varies even more depending on options, what you get, level of experience, etc. So no matter what, it’s impossible to compare “apples to oranges”– because an apple is certainly not the same as an orange.
While you might not be able to compare each and every vendor against one another, you can certainly educate yourself on their pricing– even if you’re not quite ready to book yet. Because an informed decision is far better than… an uninformed decision.
Click here to find out what a wedding costs when you use professionals…
Here’s the big thing to remember. If you’re just looking for information, then you need to convey that when contacting wedding vendors. TELL them that you’re looking into your options. Don’t be shady about it or beat around the bush. Just TELL them… but don’t forget to also get back to them!
Finding out vendor pricing really isn’t a big deal… pricing and information being shared are two things that make the world go ’round! :)
So, how are you approaching finding out vendor pricing? Are you intimidated like I was? Or do you find it easy to get information?
And vendors, if you have any tips for couples looking for information, please feel free to add them in the comments! :)
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2012 and and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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11 responses to How To Find Out Wedding Vendor Pricing
LOVE this post and tips! Thanks for sharing =) such great info for brides.
great tips. you are very insightful and, as a wedding photographer, i appreciate the respect shown us for our time in your article.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am up front about my pricing with all my brides, and totally understand if I am not in someone’s price range. I am still happy to provide the information. Brides should never be afraid to ask! Thanks for your perfect and helpful insight! :)
Great post Lauren. Plenty of great, encouraging info. Great wedding professionals will be happy to give out this information if asked (average spending, etc.). Unfortunately there is so much “us against them” in the wedding magazines. You have such a refreshing and professional voice in this industry.
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Great list! I would however add that for all wedding professionals reading, it is SO appreciated when you list an average investment price on your website. There is nothing more demoralizing than spending an entire morning emailing, falling in love, and requesting prices only to find that none of them work for your budget. an estimate of the average investment also allows us to either (a) rethink the amount we would like to budget for that vendor, or (B) not waste someone’s time. regardless of how lovely the photos/cake/etc. may be, if they are $2000 over budget there is no point in inquiring/scheduling a consultation!
great tips! And so true that just because pricing isn’t listed on a vendor website doesn’t mean they are over the top expensive.
This is a very helpful article and those planning a wedding will surely appreciate those tips that you mentioned and the vendors as well. Oftentimes, we forget to ask questions and that is why the choices that we acquire are often limited. You are totally right, getting information about wedding photography, wedding invitations, souvenirs or catering, people should always remember that respect and honesty would open more options. Thanks. Cheers!
As a planner, I find it very difficult to answer solely on “how much do you cost” because we are not a service that can be compared solely on cost. Another planner may say that they do the same job, but when it comes down to it, you really do get what you pay for. I have “starting” price ranges for my services on my page, but until I understand the scope of what is needed, I can’t simply answer with a flat amount because you sent me the date. Just keep that in mind when shopping for planners – we should be weighed on value, not necessarily on dollars.
Great post Lauren. Vendors can also make things easier for their customer by listing their prices. Be upfront and show them the goods.
As a photographer I like to list my starting price rather than average since each wedding is different, and while my “average” wedding might be 8 hours and an album, your wedding might only need 6 hours, and that is a huge price difference. I don’t want to scare anyone off! Also keep in mind that each photographer uses different companies for their albums. So while one might charge only $300 for an album another might charge a few thousand. It isn’t because they are ripping anyone off it’s because the quality of the albums is completely different. So it can be hard to compare based only on pricing. Take the time to talk to a photographer if you love their work and find out what would work within your budget. :-)
Excellent list of tips on find vendor’s pricing. I have learned something about the wedding vendors and how to better work with them as wedding photographer.
I have been mostly trying to establish a professional contact and relationship with many wedding vendors in my area and introduce them to my wedding photography. It doesn’t work all the time and it is not easy as so many other photographers in my area do the same, but once contact is established it is very effective.
I find many wedding vendors to be very professional and respond to inquiries. Hope more photographers have the price list to their sites, so it’s transparent to clients. I post mine so others don’t have to even ask for it: http://www.trifonanguelov.com/Pricing/
This transparency is the best sales approach and many clients prize me for that. Hope that helps everyone.
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