Today is “Wedding Pro Wednesday”, but I’m using the opportunity to chat a bit about budgets. There is a funny thing going on right now: people have never been more obsessed with weddings (the pinning, the reading blogs like this one, the writing about them on blogs that aren’t even wedding blogs, the TV shows- created because people will watch them). Yet everyone seems so annoyed that the Evil Empire of the Wedding Industry is so Opportunistic that we are actually charging money to create the stuff everyone sees on Pinterest, Blogs, and TV shows. Somehow, there is an urban myth going around that in actuality it costs nothing to have a “really nice wedding” and that the fees that professionals charge are put in place as 100% mark up so that we can all get rich off of other people’s good fortune to find love. Further, the idea seems to be out there that, if a savvy couple gets really creative they can have a really nice wedding for practically nothing.
I got on my Soapbox in particular because of an absolutely ridiculous “budget” that was posted on the site Shecky’s advising couples that they could plan their wedding for less than 5K and just because shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” can make it tempting to “go all out” “Your wedding doesn’t have to seem bare-bones to cost less than $5,000, though and we’re here to prove it. Don’t believe us? We’ve put together an entire budget…” Shecky’s, I have a bare bone to pick- because what you have planned is hardly a wedding and before brides all over NY start referencing your article, I need to pull it apart. Sorry.
For a wedding of 75, Shecky’s suggests that you drink some wine, buy 50 roses online and put them in the old wine bottles (voila! You are the next Preston Bailey!), buy two cases of Prosecco, rent exactly 75 champagne glasses and then buy hors d’oeuvres from Fresh Direct and make a playlist on your ipod. They found a venue that you can rent for 4 hours for 1K including 8 picnic tables and benches.
So, make sure your ipod is charged, because you have no sound system rented, so I guess the music is playing off of your phone speakers. You don’t need to worry about running short on time because 2 cases of Prosecco is exactly 144 servings… so not quite 2 glasses per person. How long will everyone stay anyway since you served them warm prosecco (no ice, no ice buckets), you bought no additional beverages (no water!), and heaven forbid a guest put their glass down- they are out of luck because there aren’t any extras?
Look, I’m no dummy- I realize this is a gimmick article and not an actual wedding- but it gets our goats because it not only puts it out there that somehow the cost of making celebrations nice is somehow “falsely inflated” by a conspiracy of vendors, when it simply… isn’t. Or that somehow all weddings are created equal and that a caterer who costs $50 per person is offering the same thing as the one who costs $100. They aren’t. Like clothes, handbags, homes: weddings come at different price points as well and it’s OFTEN related to the quality, craftsmanship, marketplace and visual effect of the final result.
It costs money to produce even simple, but well functioning weddings (i.e. they needed to spend 10K for the Shecky’s wedding to not be a total IshShow) Articles like this are an extreme example of the reason why so many brides are on the defensive when they meet with vendors (a “tell me why I need you and why are you taking my money? “tone ) It’s also why so often vendors are stuck defending their price models (“I read online that a photographer should only cost 2K, why are you 8K?”).
It’s important, as professionals, to change how we deal with discussing pricing. Brides today are very aware that all things aren’t created equal- after all some things are Pin-worthy and many things… aren’t- and so it’s now time for us to educate them that all wedding budgets weren’t created equal either. Things cost money. Nice things cost more… no matter what they think over at Shecky’s.