Why Is Wedding Photography So Expensive
Its a common question for newly engaged couples to have why is wedding photography so expensive? Its a bit of a loaded question for a number of reasons but mostly because expensive really is a relative term. What one couple thinks is really affordable wedding photography, another couple may think is ludicrously high. Ive been a wedding photographer in Toronto for nearly a decade and a half and Ive seen countless photographers try to enter the market at a variety of prices and each and every one of them has been told, at some point, that theyre too expensive. You cant really nit-pick dollar for dollar, but overall, wedding photography does seem to be a high ticket item compared to other wedding day expenses, so why is wedding photography so expensive?
Are You Preparing For An Expensive Wedding
So, why are weddings so expensive? The answer is that weddings come with tons of expenses, many costing hundreds of dollars.
Weddings are designed to be large celebrations full of dancing, feasting, and beautiful decor. Though they might be expensive, a well-planned wedding brings happiness to all who attend and is a perfect memory to carry with you for all your life.
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Custom Goods And Services
Despite whats been mentioned above, and while some goods and services may be overpriced due to the wedding markup, it should be mentioned that some items are accurately priced. Due to the extra time and resources needed to accommodate the custom requests often ordered for weddings, some vendors may be appropriately reflecting this in their prices. Although some do simply slap a wedding label with an expensive price tag on ordinary items, others really put so much more time and energy into the details, knowing it will be for someones special day.
In addition, because of the pressure that can come with weddings, there is a demand for an exceptional level of service that isnt usually present at other events, which contributes to the higher cost. Weddings are not typically an average-sized party, either. The fact that its an important event on a much larger scale may also account for the larger price.
Setting a wedding budget ahead of time, being mindful about going overboard and carefully tracking expenses are just some of the ways couples can avoid emptying their bank accounts for their special day. After all, its not the food, flowers or outfits that make the event magical its the people that attend who help make the best memories.
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The Experience Of Dress Shopping Means The Service And Attention You Get Is Reflected In The Cost Of The Dress
Also, shopping for a wedding dress at a high end shop, or any in-person boutique that requires an appointment, will mean that youre getting service. Youre getting one-on-one attention from a dedicated salesperson to find you exactly what youre looking for.
Understandably, this is going to make the final price of the dress more expensive. Its really important that you realize this before booking any appointments. If youre concerned with the high cost of wedding dresses, maybe opt to not have this personalized shopping experience with a salesperson.
There is the cost of the appointment itself in some cases, and this will cover some aspects of the experience, such as the champagne. But in order for those shops to really recoop their money for the time and energy spent on these appointments, there is a markup on the dresses.
Again, to avoid this, shop for your wedding dress online and skip the bridal dress appointment hassle. My favorite budget options include:
Church Vs Venue Wedding
In 1999, nearly 89% of all my weddings were inside a church.
Between 2000 and 2012, Church weddings dropped by 40 percent , by 2016, roughly 26% of all weddings were in churches.
That number is low because people want to get married outside the church doors and in return it has created this mental dynamic that they have to wed in a venue instead.
Many places have cashed in on the lack of religious ceremonies in a sanctuary and it comes out of the couples bank account.
When I first started in the wedding industry, there was only a handful of wedding venues in South Western Virginia, today they are the second biggest wedding vendor in the region, photographers being first.
Receptions have Become BIGGER and more elaborate too
Receptions too have become much more elaborate over the years with more décor, more alcohol and more entertainment for the wedding guests.
Guests at a wedding expect more than just music and food, they wants cute little party favors, lights, strobes, bonfires, special food bars, drinks and they want to be entertained.
Today, receptions are more party like than ever before and that also drives the cost of weddings upward.
Couples are looking for venues with lots of amenities, more than just your basic setup.
Demand for More Services
More services means more money.
Couples no longer want just a basic ceremony or reception video, they want highlights and feature films with cinematic look and feel to them.
And time is money, more of it.
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The Tip Of The Iceberg
See, you’re hiring a wedding photographer for the time that they are working. after the wedding.
As a couple, you only think about the time theyll be at the wedding, not the pre-wedding, and definitely not the post-production either.
As a general rule of thumb, for every hour a photographer stays at your wedding working, you can expect a good professional to spend upwards of 3 hours editing, combing through your images, and processing.
So, while you may only need them for say 6 hours of the day, thats an additional 18 hours in the edit bay, plus usually an hour of prep-time. In this example, thats roughly 25 hours or more.
Now the prep is usually looked over, but its very important.
Making sure batteries are fully charged, lenses are cleaned, memory cards are freshly wiped and ready to go, testing the bodies, flashes, and gathering up everything, thats usually a good hour of prep.
But, beyond the prep work, its the post-production time that costs the most.
There Is The Overhead Of The Retailer To Consider For Brick & Mortar Shops
If youre going to a brick and mortar REAL wedding dress boutique to buy your wedding dress, then your wedding dress will be expensive because of the overhead that the store has to pay to RUN that store!
That shop has to pay rent, electric bills, insurance, cashiers, sales people, etc And all of this will be reflected in the final cost of your wedding dress.
To avoid this, simply buy your dress online. There are beautiful online wedding boutiques such as Blush Fashion which cut out all of the additional in-person store costs while still giving you the experience of purchasing a quality wedding dress. She even makes custom gowns!
Traditional in-person wedding dress shopping is not really all that traditional anyway. Its a modern invention and something wedding dress boutiques make us feel like we have to do. But you dont! You can avoid that whole experience completely if you want!
And if your friends or family members insist, consider having a little party at your house where you try-on affordable wedding dresses that youve purchased online and then return all the ones you dont want to keep!! You can drink champagne, play music, and hang out without a pushy dress salesperson!
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How Can You Save For A Wedding
First, lets talk about an approach that Im not a huge fan of.
In the book IWill Teach You to Be Rich , Ramit Sethi points out that on average, Women get married at 27 and men at 29.
He says you should take the cost of an average wedding, divide it by the number of months until you hit the average age people get married, and save that much every month.
Here are the numbers he shares of how much a woman should be saving based on her age:
Um, yikes. I guess if youre 22 and got a great job out of college youre in pretty good shape. But if youre 25 or older and/or off to a slow start in your career, good luck. Hopefully either your parents or your future in-laws are loaded and generous.
One reason why I dont like this approach is because I dont think you should be paying for the average wedding.
But another reason is that I dont think you should wait to get married until you can pay for a wedding. In fact, I think its best if you get married much earlier than most people do. I got married at 24 and my only regret was waiting so long.
Ive heard it said that marriage is better as a foundation for adulthood than a capstone of it. Most people today treat it like the latter. The reality is that getting married young gives you the opportunity of walking through adult life with your spouse. My wife and I have tackled all the joys and difficulties of adult life together.
Wedding Venues Are Pricey
The location of your wedding ceremony has a significant impact on your wedding budget. For example, couples who decide to marry on a public beach or in a national park might save hundreds of dollars on venue fees.
However, some areas discourage couples from marrying without prior notice and hefty deposits. Additionally, these places dont often have appropriate spaces for receptions.
Thats why many couples opt to reserve a wedding venue. But booking a spot to hold your ceremony and reception is often one of the costliest parts of getting married.
Small venues might charge as little as $400. But larger venues typically charge upwards of $2,000 to host a wedding event.
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Why An Expensive Wedding Is Not Worth It For Most People
I have heard so many friends and family members say something along the lines of I LOVED my wedding day, but it would be nice to have that $15,000 back right now!
For most people who are struggling to pay bills every month, the average cost of a wedding, which the 2019 Wedding Wire Report said was nearly $30,000 plus a $5,000 engagement ring and a $4,500 honeymoon, is just outrageous. In my opinion! Yes, I know this is a sensitive topic and very subjective.
A wedding is not a great way to spend money from a financial standpoint, because everything except for the photos, last for only one night. If you spend the average $30,000 on your wedding and have a 6 hour event, you just essentially spent $5,000 per hour!
The entire reason we spend all this money is because were trying to make it special because it will never happen again. But this kind of thinking gets us in crazy debt and makes us sick to our stomach. Some people end up in such a state of stress that they cant even enjoy their day from all the pressure thats been built up around it. Is that worth an expensive wedding?! No, I dont think so.
The money you spend on your wedding is just gone, with no return or appreciation over time. I know this is not why people have weddings no one thinks of a wedding as an investment! We know the food will be gone and the flowers will die the next day. But arent our an investment?
The Type Of Flower Matters
While some blooms can cost one to two dollars a stem , others can cost five or more . No matter how luxe the most expensive flowers look, you can definitely find something just as beautiful that fits your budget.
Also, consider that often flowers need to be special-ordered from different parts of the worldfor example, lilies of the valley are difficult to obtain in the US since they’re only available outside of greenhouses for two to three weeks in May. They also droop super quickly and have fragile stemsso, they’re not the most practical flower, to say the least. But if you have your heart set on them, consider using just a few in your pew markers or bouquet and supplement them with more affordable flowers like Casablanca lilies, Stephanotis or freesia.
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Theres Actually A Good Reason Why Weddings Cost So Damn Much
Every so often, a news outlet will come out with an investigative report, claiming they have proved that the wedding markup this idea that vendors charge more as soon as they hear the word wedding is, indeed, real.
A reporter will call a vendor about a birthday party of a certain size, on a certain date and get quoted one price. Then a colleague will call back and ask for the same product or services, for an event of the same size on the same date, but this time for a wedding. Inevitably, the quote is higher. Clearly these money-grubbing vendors want to rip you off, right? Not so fast.
What these secret-shopper experiments dont take into account is the amount of time, level of detail and enormous pressure of a once-in-a-lifetime event like a wedding, as compared to a corporate event or family reunion. The stakes and expectations, both from the client and their guests, just arent as high.
We talked to three wedding vendors a florist, a cake maker and a DJ to shed some light on why weddings cost as much as they do.
Cake designer Rachael Teufel, owner of Intricate Icings Cake Design in Denver, told The Huffington Post that while the baking ingredients and other materials for a wedding cake may cost the same as a typical party cake, the total amount of time spent is very different.
Buy Your Own Booze To Cut Costs And Look Out For Sales
Cut costs further by supplying your own alcohol. You’ll usually need to factor in the corkage fees, which can be as much as £15 per bottle. Do the maths buying your own and paying corkage often still wins.
Remember, like everything, corkage isn’t fixed, so haggle. Even better, look out for venues that don’t charge for corkage, then check out our Wine Deals page for codes to save you more.
Also check shopping comparison Mysupermarket’s wine section, which includes all the big supermarkets.
Some sellers, such as Majestic, offer a “sale or return” policy , letting you take back any plonk you don’t get through on the day. It’s best to mention this when you’re making your order if you think you’ll want to take advantage of it.
And, as always, please be Drinkaware.
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