Cakes, flowers, venues, photography… the prices are magically skyrocketing when you mention the word wedding. Are you being ripped off? Is there a hidden wedding tax you don’t know about? Let me take you on a backstage tour to reveal you the real reasons behind whopping price tags and explain how you can get a hold of top vendors for a fraction of the price!
Have you ever tried calling a cake maker twice to check whether they will charge you more for the same cake if you say it is for your big day? If you’d do that, you’d find out that vendors are charging more for the same products and services when you specify they are for a wedding. Why? There is more than one reason for that! Here is all you need to know about the extra value that goes into the price!
Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you want everything to be just
perfect. From ceremony décor to food, desserts and entertainment, there are so
many elements of a wedding, and each of them has to be expertly made or
executed. Just imagine yourself in thirty years looking at photos of your big
day and remembering all those fleeting moments… It probably crossed your mind
that you can’t disappoint your future self? And the pressure is on!
But it isn’t entirely up to you to make sure things look spotless and that everything goes smoothly. Each vendor is going to go that extra mile to meet your expectations. Florists, dressmakers, photographers and the rest of the crew continuously work under stress, knowing that couples are expecting nothing less than pure perfection. And we’re not talking just about your expectations! Your mother wants you to look flawless while your cousins are expecting superb catering and your friends are hoping to have a great party. All of this puts pressure on your vendors who are struggling to deliver something far better than average.
While there is only one special day for you, your vendors probably have one every Saturday. They can’t afford to have a bad day because the stakes are high. Hence, you are not simply paying for a cake, bouquet or a photo album. You are also paying for hours of hard work and extra effort your vendor invested in creating that beautiful thing for you!
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Yes, your wedding involves food, cake, champagne and music, but it is nothing like a birthday party! It takes a high level of service, as well as the exceptional quality of products, materials, props and equipment. It usually also takes additional time and extra effort to perform a service or create a product. And this comes with a hefty price tag!
While the couple is enjoying their special event, it is usually a very stressful day for the vendors. They can’t just come unprepared or do an average job. It is because you can’t just go back and re-do a wedding or promise yourself to do it differently next year like you would if it was a birthday bash.
For wedding photographers, it is all about using the best equipment, communicating with people and capturing events as they happen. There is a lot of pressure on the day because we are shooting a one-off event and creating images for posterity. These photos have tremendous symbolic value for every family, and I’m aware of that. If there is very little time to do the portraits after the ceremony, a photographer needs to make a huge effort to slide from one backdrop to another quickly, change poses vigorously, find flattering angles and make snaps you will be proud of. And when the celebration is over, the job isn’t entirely done. Wedding photographers are spending hours and hours doing postproduction and designing photo albums. Did you know editing images usually takes three to four times longer than shooting a wedding? This means that you are paying for additional working hours.
Weddings are typically large-scale events which means they are harder to organize and require more supplies than smaller parties. Take catering, for example. Imagine taking 100 people to a restaurant and treating them to a three-course meal. And then add drinks to the bill. The same goes for stationery, wedding favors, centerpieces and the cake. Since you need to multiply almost every cost by 100, you can see how numbers quickly add up.
And because weddings are comprised of so many visual elements and micro-events, photographer’s job is large-scale too. Photography checklist includes everything from close-ups of bouquets, rings and marriage certificates to couples’ shoots, family portraits and photojournalistic snaps of the events as they unravel. I normally deliver hundreds or even thousands of images per single wedding, which automatically means I have to spend many hours sorting and retouching photos I’ve taken.
Many wedding vendors, including photographers, work only during the wedding season and the bulk of their work hours happens during the weekend. You might think they are ripping you off for their services, but in fact, they are just charging their worth. Remember that they need to earn for living in just a couple of months. They can only do one or two weddings per day, and the majority of weddings occur on Saturdays. This is the reason why Saturday weddings are expensive, while you can expect to pay less if you book a Sunday or a weekday wedding.
Don’t forget that wedding vendors are charging for their skills, knowledge, education and experience as well as for luxury materials or expensive equipment. And because they have a limited number of days in a year when they can work and earn money, their services come with bigger price tags. If a photographer accepts to shoot your wedding, they have to turn down all other couples interested for the same date. In some cases, they can make it to two different weddings if they are taking place in the same town but at different times. Costs of their services might rise if they are required to travel to a destination wedding.
With so much pressure to deliver superior quality for special occasions, wedding vendors are not just ordinary florists, cake makers or photographers. They have to be the best of the best to survive in the industry. When you are hiring a wedding vendor with years of experience, you are actually hiring an expert. Whenever you get a quote from a vendor, remember that their expertise is included in the price.
If you have a limited budget, you can consider DIY projects or hiring friends and beginners to do the job. But it is supposed to be the most important day in your life, and it really pays off if you pay a bit more for a professional service. One way to do it is to set your priorities and invest in tree key wedding experts that will elevate your event. For some couples, exquisite food and a scenic venue together make a killer party, while others might focus more on attire, decorations and photography or video. It is entirely up to you to decide!
When you decide to invest in top-quality wedding photography, you do this because you are happy to pay more for something you will be able to keep after the big day. An experienced professional knows exactly how to set the lighting, find a fabulous backdrop or pick a flattering angle. He or she will also be able to get around complicated situations and communicate smoothly or be invisible when needed. Their superpowers also include expert editing and binding images together into a breathtaking album.
I already revealed some not-so-obvious factors that affect the price of your wedding. But there are also some hidden costs couples don’t even know about. For example, a professional caterer might invest in cutting-edge technology or cooking utensils which affect the quality and taste of food. Some of these utensils can be quite expensive, and this can reflect in the price. Similarly, a wedding photographer might splurge on state-of-the-art equipment which results in better, yet more expensive services.
Another hidden cost might be insurance. You probably don’t know how much your vendor is paying to insure their expensive equipment, which is why you can’t justify a high price tag. But keep this in mind when you get a quote for your wedding. Photographers also might need to do a research before your wedding day! They might need to inspect the venue, find optimal locations and maybe even do a test shoot before your wedding. And if you’ve ordered a printed album, they might want to hire a designer to create a booklet and pay for the materials.
You might think weddings seem too expensive simply because you didn’t set a realistic budget or you didn’t prioritize well. You can host a beautiful wedding for as little as $5,000 or as much as $100,000. It depends on where and when you want to celebrate, how many people you want to invite and which aspects of the event are the most important to you.
Research how much you need to pay for each of the vendors. You can cut costs by choosing fewer suppliers. If you already have a gorgeous venue, maybe you don’t need to splurge on dramatic decorations. And if you opted for an early ceremony, you can host a brunch instead of a seated dinner. Effective ways to make your wedding more affordable is to cut the number of guests or change the date. Or if you want a grand celebration, consider a destination wedding package you can afford.
For many couples, the key question is how to get the best possible quality for a lower price. Can you pull off a fairy-tale wedding on a budget? Definitely! All you need to do is choose a jaw-dropping venue offering flexible options. Cut costs of your ceremony and reception to get the best vendors.
But how can you afford a photographer who charges $4,000 per wedding and your budget is only $2,000 in total? San Francisco photographers typically charge much more for weekend weddings, but their services are up to ten times cheaper if you hire them during the week.
San Francisco City Hall wedding is a unique experience and almost a life hack! Its drop-dead gorgeous and ball gown-worthy, while giving you a number of low-cost possibilities. With so many time slots available, you can opt for a romantic weekday wedding instead of a Saturday celebration. How about an early morning ceremony followed by a photoshoot and reception at one of the nearby upscale restaurants? You can afford a Cinderella-style dress plus the best photographer in town without spending anything on flowers and décor. Ornate white-washed spaces ooze with glamor and timeless elegance while providing almost endless opportunities for a skillful photographer.
At the end of the day, weddings are meant to be excessive, but now you can see you don’t have to spend a fortune! If you break down the bill and trace all the hidden costs, it is much easier to find affordable solutions. San Francisco City Hall is my personal favorite because it is otherworldly and inspirational, but a wedding can cost you as little or as much as you are willing to pay. It is just priceless!
INCLUDED WITH SELECTED PACKAGES
Being so close to our clients on the wedding day allow us to capture many intimate moments on film. The end result can be put together in a form of a cinematic story.
Our photographers have decent experience in taking and producing videos. And since intimate weddings do not require a large scale production team, these moments are relatively easy to capture.