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WPW: Things Cost Money. Nicer Things Cost More Money.

Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in Blog, Business Advice | 6 Comments

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.

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Natalie
    February 14, 2013

    Dear Ms. Castillo and Gonzalez,

    Thanks so much for responding to my article! You bring up some very valid points, and some holes that we hoped potential brides would have enough common sense to fill. We also go into further detail in the body of the actual post about planning strategies that don’t break the bank. For some couples, even $5,000 is a huge amount of money to commit to a wedding celebration, and we wanted to show some brides that it’s possible to have a nice wedding on their budget if they put in a little effort.

    We’re not encouraging foregoing wedding planners like yourselves — if a couple has enough money to make it happen — and we’re not at all suggesting that there’s a wedding industry conspiracy to cheat brides out of their money. Of course, a wedding that costs $50,000 will be nicer than a wedding that costs $5,000. But that doesn’t mean that a bride who only has $5,000 to spend must have a church-basement reception.

    Best,
    Natalie

    Reply
    • The Blogsmaid
      February 15, 2013

      Hi Natalie:

      Thanks for responding. First, I want to say that no one thought that you were suggesting that they not hire wedding planners- that wasn’t the point of my response and, I do apologize, because your article was simply bearing the brunt of a larger swath of frustration to the media diminishing/misleading people into what goes into having a wedding or any party, so unfortunately, we made an example out of your piece. For every article like this, there are 20 women that are having large budget weddings that that say things like “I can’t believe that you (florist, photographer, etc) are so expensive… I heard of a wedding that cost only 5K!”… It perpetrates a notion that somehow these things could actually be super simple but the couple is being gauged… that may not be your personal intention, but you (and Shecky’s) aren’t the only people writing these kinds of articles, so it’s a “pile on” situation…

      But, since you wrote, my issues with these types of articles are this: Why not re-invent what a wedding looks like for a couple on a budget vs. try to mimic what a couple can’t afford? No one said they should go to a church basement… but why not have a lovely afternoon that doesn’t involve a lot of labor for little reward for your friends and family? If a couple only has 5K, why not just use 1/2 of it, and get a park permit ($45), have a gorgeous wedding ceremony in one of our cities lovely parks and then take 20 people out to a lovely dinner at a moderately priced restaurant with unlimited drinks at a local haunt. Isn’t that also a wedding without being shoddy and involving making mediocre looking centerpieces and inconveniencing all of your friends by having them pick up take out, etc?

      Anyway, it was much more a call for people within our industry to adapt the way that we sell our own selves than it was intended to take YOU as a writer to task and I actually appreciate that you took the time to respond. I definitely don’t mean to engage you in a wedding industry debate, but I did want to take the time to personally respond to you since you so thoughtfully responded to us. Have a fabulous weekend!

      Warmly,
      Xochitl

      Reply
  2. Elizabeth
    February 14, 2013

    This is amazing!!

    Reply
  3. Leigh Anna (Moss + Isaac)
    February 15, 2013

    Amen! I am so glad someone said it. :)

    Reply
  4. Shawnda
    February 21, 2013

    I am a planning bride to be, and I read both this article and the Shecky’s article. I totally get that there are so many websites portraying an image of a practically free wedding however, I must say that as someone looking for ideas for a low cost wedding I found the Shecky’s article to be entertaining and helpful. I wouldn’t say that they are discrediting those that make couples dream weddings come true.i think the aim was to give guidance to brides such as myself that can’t afford a planner, some insight to things you can do yourself or low cost alternatives. Of course, there is no replacing the baker who bakes the cake of your dreams, or the fresh flower arrangements for your bouquet but brides should know things like you don’t have to spend thousands to get a beautiful cake.That being said, I plan to investigate some of the more practical ideas for my own wedding such as the park ceremony and cases of sparkling wine for the toast. Thanks Shecky’s!

    Reply
    • The Blogsmaid
      February 21, 2013

      Shawnda! Congratulations! I’m glad that you found their article helpful and thank you for taking the time to comment on our post.

      Reply

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