Is There Really a Wedding Markup?

Is the wedding markup a real thing?

If you're planning a wedding, you've probably heard someone say something like, "Be careful, as soon as you drop the word 'wedding' the price goes up."

The Wedding Markup.  WTF?  Is this really a thing?  Yes and No.

Do weddings generally cost more than other types of events?  Yes.

Is it because wedding vendors are out to capitalize on couples’ inexperience at an emotional time in their lives? We can't speak for everyone trying to pass themselves off as wedding vendors, but in general, No.

The reality is, weddings generally involve more time, materials, and expertise than other social events. Here's why:

Weddings require more time and logistics.  Between the ceremony and reception, you’re looking at two distinct events (or more depending on your cultures), possibly at different locations, with all the logistics, set up, breakdown, and travel logistics that go along with them. Did you know the average number of vendors for one wedding is 14?  This means more phone calls, more emails, texting, etc. to coordinate among all of the key players leading up to the event.  And a very long day for vendors on the day of.  Most Photographers are expected to be shooting from getting ready through to send-off, which means they’re looking at a 10-12 hour day, plus all of the hours of pre-wedding prep and post-wedding editing time.

There’s also more expertise required to execute under the pressures of a wedding, and the stakes are high. You can't re-do a first look if your Photographer misses it. Flowers, Make-up and hair are all expected to last longer and look good IRL and in photos.  Perfect timing and high levels of service + quality are all needed to keep up with the pace of a usually packed schedule of events while making it seem effortless.

Plus, weddings are usually held at peak times on peak days during peak seasons.  And because the events are long and set up and breakdown are their own beasts, booking back-to-back events on the same day probably isn’t in the cards for most vendors.

So, yes, wedding prices are higher.  And it's tempting to leave out the part about hosting a wedding when talking to potential vendors.  But it's not ideal - they'll probably find out and that's not really the best way to start off a potentially year-long (or more) working relationship.  But all is not lost.  Here are a few strategies you can use to avoid or at least offset the Wedding Markup:

  1. Plan an off-season wedding on a Friday night or Sunday - part of the Wedding Markup is due to booking venues and services for peak times.
  2. Host all of your wedding events at the same location - this’ll cut down on logistics, travel time, transportation costs and the amount of time you’ll need your vendors since you don’t have to space everything out to account for travel.
  3. Prioritize and compromise on or cut out low priority items - you may not be able (or want) to host an off-season, off-peak wedding at a single location, but you can still manage your budget by taking the time to figure out what’s most important for you and your partner on your wedding.  Make those priorities your north star and then cut out the things that don’t matter.
  4. If you’re going for something small, explain your situation to potential vendors up front.  Some vendors have special "elopement" or "micro-wedding" packages.
  5. Work with a pro Planner and let them handle the vendor negotiations and coordination.  Planners use their experience and professional network to book the best vendors at your price point, which itself is a huge lifesaver.  Just ask any couple who booked a vendor for a bargain and got (or didn’t get) what they paid for.  Plus, other vendors know that your planner will be the main point of contact and liaison for your wedding, cutting out the time they would otherwise be spending coordinating.  Between the time savings gained by working with a planner and the possibility of them getting repeat business from your planner, they'll probably even cut you in on special pricing you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

So yes, you'll generally pay more for weddings than other events, but you'll get more too - more of your vendors' time, more of their attention, and more of their expertise to make sure your wedding day experience meets your vision.

While the Wedding Markup isn't completely avoidable, with the tips above, you can still plan a fab event without breaking the bank or stressing over how you're going to keep the truth from your vendor team.

Looking for a Pro Planner to help you book wedding vendors you'll love?

We're pretty great at helping couples find their wedding dream team and plan the best day without all the stress.  Find out how Flutter Social Virtual Planners can help you plan your dream wedding, whether you're just getting started or need all the help. 👇🏽

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