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!!!