Last week, the BBC published this feature on how to have a wedding on a budget. Their suggestions included ‘do it in November’ and ‘get help from your friends’, or ‘serve prosecco instead of champagne’. Maybe not the fresh and inspirational kind of advice readers might have been hoping for – perhaps the Beeb journalist had taken her eye off the boil to enjoy the glorious sunshine.
The article left me unhappy. Not because of their money-saving, creativity-lacking suggestions, but this:
The implication being that wedding suppliers will rip you off every time with extortionate fees. Just because a ‘wedding’ is involved.
I want to put the record straight on the cost of weddings. I’m not going to rant, or get all righteous about something I feel strongly about. I want to expose some of the hidden costs that wedding suppliers have to account for when pricing their products and services. I also want to provide some really honest and truthful feedback from suppliers themselves. I would like for this feature to be a resource to educate readers to the costs involved when planning a wedding, and to provide sensible tips to keeping these costs manageable and within budget.
This is quite a long post, but well worth taking five to read, so before you push to the ‘TLDR’ file, consider this:
My first and most valuable advice is that you do not need a single ‘wedding’ product to get married. You need a registrar and a registry office and two witnesses. Any other cost you should actually enjoy adding. Be pleased to part with some hard earned cash for a celebration. (Emma Meek, Miss Bush Bridal)
It isn’t usually long after we’ve started planning a wedding that the internal dialogue starts niggling away…
Why is my wedding dress so expensive?
Why does this photographer want over £2,000 just to shoot my wedding for a few hours?
Why is the venue hire so expensive? I shouldn’t have told them it was for a wedding!
Over £500 for wedding flowers? Who are you kidding?!
Weddings can be as expensive or inexpensive as you like, but the view I have always held is that if you want to enhance your planning and wedding day experience by employing professional services, then you must expect to pay a fair and reasonable price for them.
The hours spent on e-mails, the time lingering over meetings, the extras, the travelling, the little things done to make someone’s special day even more special for no extra cost. Suppliers just don’t rock up on the day, do a job and get home by 6pm for an evening with their feet up. They plan, they prepare, they work relentlessly on the job and then they’re tidying up, sorting out, clearing away and finishing everything neatly afterwards. (Tamryn Lawrence).
As you may or may not already know, Tamryn Lawrence is a member of the Love My Dress team. She is also founder of The Candid Apple, a wedding PR expert, published author and former multi-award winning wedding planner. She knows a thing or two about weddings, and she has a healthy and realistic view of the wedding industry.
‘Some wedding industry suppliers do over charge for their services. I’ve been in the industry for over 11 years now and I’ve met a few suppliers that frankly should be paying to attend weddings, not the other way around. Happily, I’ve met hundreds and hundreds more super talented, uber committed and downright fabulous people who work their backsides off going above and beyond for their clients. If you think working in weddings is an easy gig and a quick way to make big bucks, then come and give it a go.’
Honest, refreshing words. Now, given the nature of the BBC feature, I’m particularly keen to focus on the subject of wedding photography. Wedding photography is often the first to get a bad rap by the press for being priced extortionately. Thing is, most people planning a wedding will not ever have invested in professional photography services before, so in all honesty they are likely not to fully appreciate the associate costs, skill and expertise involved.