Why Does Everything Costs So Much For My Wedding!?!

I hear it often when talking with couples about their wedding ceremony: “Why is everything so expensive to plan our wedding?” It can be a daunting task just planning it, but then add in the cost of everything, and it can be overwhelming! So, I hope this sheds some light on the costs of everything Wedding-related. 

At some point in your life you learned a concept called “Supply and Demand”. In case you’re like me, and have forgotten most everything you learned in school here’s the basics: as demand rises for a certain item/service, you produce more of said item/service. However, if it becomes limited, and you can’t keep up with the demand, the price of the item/service becomes more valuable. Then the price begins to increase. 

We’ve all seen it happen before in retail around the holidays. When I was a child, Cabbage Patch kids were all the rage - literally!!! People would fight over them. They would tackle others and start brawls to get to these dolls. Then came Tickle-Me Elmo, and then Beanie Babies, and so on and so forth. The same happens with weddings, on a Saturday, during the sunny parts of the year. 

Now, when planning a wedding, the last thing you want to hear is how you’re going to pay more for services because it’s “wedding season”. Unfortunately though, that’s the case. Depending on what day, time, location... prices could skyrocket just for you to say “I do” to your beloved. 

You see, they say upwards of 70% of the couples get married between May and September, and if you live in the Pacific Northwest, those months become even more difficult, as that’s usually the only time of the year it’s nice out. So demand becomes even higher for those months than say California, or other states, where beautiful weather is the norm. 

So, out of all those couples that want a date between May - September, around 80% of them want a Saturday wedding. In the wedding industry we say “Saturday is King!” 

Let’s take me for example. I try to keep my fee as officiant in the affordable price range, as best as possible. And because I’ve done this for over 10 years, and I have a 5-Star rating on every wedding site, including social media, I get booked very quickly. So, while most wedding sites will tell you there’s no need to book an officiant until your 3-4 months out, quite often for me, by the time  February rolls around, I’m already booked most Saturdays for that year during the popular months. In fact, by the time the end of February hits, I will already have about 45 weddings booked (deposit paid & contract received) for 2018. 

Now I’m not telling you this to brag, I’m hopefully shedding light on how the wedding industry works. You see, due to the fact that I’m already booked, I turn down tons of request, and I’m not exaggeratIng. I know once I book a wedding for a certain time, on a Saturday, during the wedding season, I will more than likely have to turn down at least 10 more weddings for each of those Saturdays. And I’m an officiant! I’m not a photographer, a caterer, or a venue. 

Imagine the amount of couples other vendors have to turn down. If you’re a venue owner, you want to make sure you can make a living off of whatever events you can book. Knowing that you’ll have to turn away so many couples, you want to make sure you can pay your bills. After all, there’s only one Saturday every week, and once it’s gone, that’s it! No other opportunity to make money for that Saturday. 

I know, I know... Hearing that people are making money off of your love is hard to hear and difficult to understand. I mean, you just want to celebrate your love and live happily ever after, why should you have to pay to do that. I get it. All wedding vendors get it. But we LOVE what we do, we love our couples, and we are lucky enough to do what we love for a living. So, that means, we must charge what we’re worth, and charge what the demand says we’re worth. In other words, in order for us to book a couple for a Saturday, we wedding vendors need to make sure we get the very best price for our services, because once we book, we won’t have an opportunity to book any one else. 

That’s tough to hear for some of you, I know. I was in the same position 18 years ago when my wife and I planned our wedding. And then I realized, any business owner would do that, not just a wedding-industry owned business. Auto mechanics, doctors, architects... everyone does it, because they realize they are in demand and can only handle so many request. 

BUT, there is a saving grace for those dealing with wedding vendors, and it’s this: we have an off-season. And most of us offer “special pricing” for those months!

It may kill you to have to consider this, but if you’re really on a tight budget, or you simply don’t want to pay higher prices for professional wedding vendors, here’s a list of ways you can cut down costs.

1.) Don't get married during wedding season.

If you’re wanting an outdoor wedding, this may be a bit of a gamble here in the northwest, so you may need to look for indoor venues outside of our traditionally nice weather season. With the demand during this season being less, you can usually score great venues, photographers, etc. at a reasonable rate. 

2.) Do your wedding on an "off" day.

The traditional day has always been Saturday. And remember, during Wedding Season Saturday is king! Of those getting married during that time frame, upwards of almost 80% of them get married on Saturday. 

Again, another supply and demand for pricing. The further away you move from a Saturday, the more affordable the pricing. A Wednesday night will be more affordable than a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday for example. 

3.) Look for a newer vendor.

Let’s take venues, for example. Older, more established venues will costs more because of their reputation, and the demand is usually greater. However, there are more and more venues opening every year, and most want to fill up quickly, which means they'll do quite a bit to earn your business. I know of some who have slashed their prices in August and September just to get couples in and build their reputation. They want great reviews, so even though they may be new, they're going to give excellent customer service to win you over and hopefully get referrals. 

4.) Have your wedding earlier in the day.

Say what??? That’s right! You don’t have to have an evening wedding. People will show up for your big day no matter what time you decide (unless you decide the crack of dawn, that may be difficult). 

My sister has chosen to have her wedding this year at brunch time. I think it’s a wonderful idea. Why? Because who doesn’t love brunch??? So her wedding will start at 11am on a Sunday. A Sunday Brunch wedding. Brilliant! 

And to top it off, she’s getting a gorgeous, highly-rated, very popular venue, at a fraction of the cost. Why? Because she chose a late September wedding, on a Sunday, and an earlier time. She’s still going to have a gorgeous ceremony, with lots of people to help her celebrate, and she won’t pay the same amount as someone who booked on a Saturday, in August, for an evening wedding. 

I hope you’re catching what I’m throwing out here. If you still want that perfect wedding, with the amazing vendors, and the beautiful venue, than go against convention, and try for a “non-traditional” day, time, and season. 

There are other ways to help shave costs, but these few I’ve laid out will definitely help some of you who are looking at saving money. And I hope this helps shed light on why wedding services/vendors charge what the charge. 

Either way, I hope everyone of you who read this lengthy post has a fantastic wedding! Good luck and congratulations!!!

Late Guests: Should we wait???

As a professional wedding officiant, I’ve been involved in hundreds of weddings. I have seen almost everything. And in my experience, there’s one thing that shows your guest you care above everything else. It shows them how much you respect them, and their time, and sets the mood just right for the rest of your celebration. What is this magical remedy? It’s starting as close to on-time as possible. 

One thing I appreciate more than anything, is when people show up on time. I get it, life happens, and we can’t control everything. We can’t control a traffic jam, and we can’t stop a flat fire, and we certainly cannot do anything about a newborn having a blowout in their diaper and needing to change the entire outfit. These things happen no matter what day it is, no matter how important an event is - they just happen. And I have been involved in all of these trying to get my family somewhere, on time. 

What we can control is our own event. And yes, your BIG day is important to everyone, and yes, you’re inevitably going to have late arrivals. It’s just part of getting married. 

Now, most weddings starts a little late, and when I say a little late, I mean 10, 15 minutes tops. Everyone expects weddings to start late. From running behind because your hair isn’t perfect, to the groom misplacing his vows, everyone knows it’s a stressful day for you both, and you have a lot going on. This is completely understandable. So your attendees have some grace about the ceremony starting late. But here is one  excuse I just don’t understand, and it needs to be addressed.

As I’ve said before, I’ve done tons of weddings, and still don’t quite understand this mentality: when everyone is ready to go, and I mean everyone... the groom is straightened up, the bridal party is locked in, the wedding vendors are waiting for their cues, the guest our on the edge of their seat, and even the bride is primped, and looking fabulous... then why are we waiting for last minute guests to arrive???

I completely understand if a parent is running behind or you’re waiting for your sister, who happens to also be your bestie, or even your great-grandfather Arthur who’s leaving the rest home for the first time in 5 years just to see you walk down the aisle. These are completely excusable, and no one would dare to question why we’re all just standing around. 

But to wait for your second cousin, or an old college roommate, or the coworker who sits next to you? No, this just cannot happen. Instead of you extending a courtesy towards them and altering your wedding day, let them extend a courtesy to you by profusely apologizing to you for being late and missing the “I do’s”. 

I have seen this way too much, and have started talking to couples when they allow this to happen. 

First, we must realize, things do happen, and some guests who RSVP’d, just aren’t going to make it. That’s an unfortunate part of planning a wedding, knowing some of your guest had every intention of coming, and yet they don’t show. 

Second, some people are just always going to be late. No matter what time an event starts, no matter how many times you send them a reminder, no matter how many times they assure you they will be there on time - they are always late. These people do exist, and chances are you are either related to them, or they are good friends of yours. 

These two types of guests should not be allowed to dictate your ceremony, and wedding day time table. It is what it is, and we move on. If they don’t show, well, you still have 100 other people who did, so party on. If they’re late, than let them grovel and plead for forgiveness for missing your ceremony. 

Here’s the reason why I’m saying this: those 100 other guests... they made sure they were there on time, they love you guys, and are elated to have been invited to your wedding day. Now, give them some respect and love, and make sure the ceremony starts as close to on-time as possible. Don’t make them wait for one person. 

I recently walked up to a couple I was officiating for, trying to figure out why we were still waiting to start. It was already 20 minutes late. They informed me the grooms co-worker wasn’t there yet. I said “Is everyone of utmost importance here? Because you have almost every chair full, and these poor guest have now been waiting for quite awhile. Is this someone you’ve been planning your entire wedding around?” They, of course, said no. “Then lets go get you married!”

And what do you think happened? 10 minutes into the ceremony, she showed up. 

I’m not trying to sound mean, or discount any emotional attachments you may have to certain people, but a good rule of thumb is this: If you’re ready to go, and it’s already 10 minutes past when the ceremony was supposed to start, and your close friends and family are there, then walk down the aisle. 

You and your future spouse are the important people that day, let every one else’s schedules plan around yours. If one or two of your guests miss something, than they miss it. That’s that. This is your wedding day, not theirs. They’ll get over it, and you, your soulmate, and your “on-time” guests will be happier for it. 

I hope this sheds some light for some of you. Now, get down the aisle and marry the love of your life! Cheers!!!