by: Lauren

This week I’m fired up about all kinds of things- unethical business practices, budget, wants/desires, and design to name a few. Of course I always write my {Thursday Tips} posts about things that are firing me up, so for today’s I’ve chosen to go the budget route. Specifically to answer the question I’ve been hearing lately from brides, “Why does it cost so much?”

When I was planning my wedding, I too was surprised at how much everything was. Trust me, you’re not alone in that. I didn’t have anyone to tell me ahead of time what the norm was for wedding costs, so I wasn’t ever prepared. I was shocked every time I heard a price. I was also very uneducated. The only information that I ever got was from crappy websites that are completely out of touch with the actual wedding industry, and they certainly didn’t teach me about what normal costs were. And that my dear friends, is one of the reasons that I started this blog.

So enough of that, now let’s answer the question “Why does it cost so much?”. There are two different aspects of things that you need for a wedding. Service and product. These two things are priced differently because you’re being provided with two totally different things. Let’s go over what vendors you need for a wedding that are in the service and product categories…


DJ/Band/Entertainment (sometimes these vendors will also provide lighting, of which those are products)

– Planning/Coordination/Design

– Photography (of which the product is often times a separate cost from the service)

– Cinematography (of which the product is often times a separate cost from the service)

– Officiant

– Hair & Makeup



– Lighting

– Rentals

– Cake/Sweets

– Catering

– Invitations/Paper products

– Photos and Album from photographer

– Movie/Footage from cinematographer

So some examples for you: my planning services were just a flat fee- no tax, no extra charges, no delivery- because it’s a service. As for something like flowers, that is a product, of which a floral designer has to purchase the flowers for you and THEN spend hours using them to create something beautiful. A floral designer cannot just charge you what it costs to purchase the flowers because they are spending hours and days on your flowers and would be LOSING money if they did so.

Everyone charges differently for their services and products- it’s up to the wedding professional and what they decide to charge. But keep in mind that if you are getting an actual product, the price that you are being quoted is also including in days and hours of preparation and work- essentially a product combined with a service. If you actually saw how much products cost for everything that you need for your wedding, you would be in even more shock. And keep in mind that you are also paying for that person’s experience, expertise, and training, which translates into the quality of the product and service you will be receiving. Then on top of all of that (For some reason people tend to forget this tiny detail), the obvious thing is that the wedding professional you’re dealing with has to make living. Yes- I said it. Wedding professionals need to make a living. They do have pretty sweet jobs, but they too need to eat and live just like you, your parents, your doctors, your servers, etc etc. :)

It’s the cold hard truth, and I’m here to tell it to you! And all of that, lovely ELD readers, is why things for your wedding cost “so much”.

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Founder & 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.

12 responses to Thursday Tips: Why Do Weddings Cost “So Much”?

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  1. Brit @ Landlocked Bride

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel so many sites beat around the bush on this topic and avoid educating couples.

  2. Megan

    I agree with you to an extent. However, there does seem to be an added “wedding tax” as I like to call it on certain items. In looking at certain venues, some charge more for a wedding than if it were just a large banquet for company party. We’re talking same cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. Also, if I were to contact a florist for centerpieces for said company party, I’m guessing the cost would be a bit cheaper than if I said they were for a wedding. I think this is what people have a hard time understanding. I don’t think anyone is naive enough to think that they would only pay the florist for the cost of the flowers and that’s it. I have no problem paying you what you’re worth and understand that you have have to make a living but I have a problem with vendors jacking up the price when they hear the word wedding. Note: I’m not saying all vendors do this but I’ve run into quite a few. It pays to do your research.

    • Lauren @ Every Last Detail

      Ah, that does happen sometimes- but those who do that…. totally unethical and unprofessional. It’s not the norm, although of course it’s negative and bad, so it’s what is talked about. The key is to make sure that the vendors you’re using ARE ethical and professional, and it’s also important to trust them. I have never charged less because something isn’t a wedding or more because something is a wedding- an event is an event. I myself refuse to work with vendors who do that. It sucks that people are doing this, and trust me- if I could be the ethical event police, and shut down people who did this, I totally would! So research IS key, and it’s also important to realize who is professional and who is not. :)

    • Megan Acosta

      I believe also one of the reasons a wedding is more than a company party is because weddings are usually on a Friday or Saturday, which is prime real estate in the wedding world. There are only so many of those in the year and only so many people can fill, so it tends to be more expensive. I’m sure if you had your wedding on a Thursday you would not run into this.

  3. guest

    Thanks so much for this post. I do have a question for you– do you consider the venue a product or a service? (do you expect to see tax added on top of a venue fee?)

    • Lauren @ Every Last Detail

      My first thought was that a venue that is ONLY providing the space
      would be considered service. However, in essence, the actual building
      is a product, since property is taxed and what not. A venue that is
      providing the food and/or any tables/chairs/rental items would be
      considered as a product. Hmmm so all in all, I would say a venue is
      more of a product than service.

  4. Erin Davenport

    So very well put! Bravo Lauren :)

  5. Megan Acosta

    Thanks for posting this Lauren. Not sure if you saw the similar debate about this on East Side Bride the other day. I was really shocked at how many bride’s didn’t understand the concept that vendors have to make a living. Most brides have never plan a big event before and never will again so it is hard to understand how expensive things are. But as someone should point out, you can make your wedding as big as you want it to be. If you are wanting a big party, be prepared to pay for it. (This all speaking as a former bride who had sticker shock before as well!)

  6. Katherine

    This is a great post, Lauren. I think Megan brought up a great point and I’ve noticed other vendors doing this. Though sometimes you cannot tell. Some vendors set their prices where they do because that’s the level that they value their work. If it’s not in your price-range, move along. Doing your homework is KEY when choosing vendors.

  7. Janice Carnevale

    In regards to the “wedding tax” that Megan brings up – one thing to consider is that you are often paying people for their time. Or, in other terms, a vendor has to bill you in advance for the estimated amount of time that you will take up. And to be honest, as someone who has planned both social and corporate events, corporate events take less time. Fewer emails and phone calls back and forth. Fewer changes to the proposal or the BEO. Less walk throughs. I’m not saying this is always the case – there are corporate events that take a lot of time and there certainly are people out there who hear “wedding” and unethically jack up their rates. But sometimes there is a rational reason behind the way the ethical vendors determine their rates.

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