Bride(r) Beware!

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Over the holidays I got engaged! It’s been a totally exciting time in my life and since I’ve had some down time, I’ve spent a lot of time doing research for my Spring 2017 wedding. Having over 10 years experience working logistics in Reality TV, I am lucky enough to possess an extensive knowledge about these types of events. Because of my work, I have actually planned both a wedding and a surprise vowel renewal ceremony from soup to nuts. Besides this, I regularly book catering for crews of 60-120, rent tents, tables, chairs, event space, etc. So, I really consider myself in the know about these things. I cannot tell you how shocked I was when I began to surf the web and realized there seems to be some sort of collective understanding by vendors to price gouge as much as possible for all things wedding related.

In my opinion, the most heinous offense was an article written on Every Last Detail about why you shouldn’t negotiate with wedding vendors, and it in the author said that negotiation feels dirty and is in fact, the same as having your boss demand a portion of your next paycheck. WTH?

The article left me dumbfounded and with a bunch of questions – who is stupid enough to believe this and seriously who is stupid enough to write this?  That is when I discovered that the site is Edited by a wedding planner. Ah, yes – this type of advice would serve very beneficial to her, but the absolute worst part is there were tons of comments left from vendors backing up the insane claim, saying they would simply walk away from anyone who is  difficult enough to try to negotiate prices – and on the flip side, suggestible brides were thanking this dumb website for it’s awful advice. A simple google search confirms there is a “wedding” cost surplus of around 25-35% that vendors charge – well, just cause they can. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is good old fashioned sexism, sitting here alive and well and instead of someone calling out this disgusting practice for what it is, here is an article suggesting women lay down and take it while they get ripped off! The fury inside me began to grow, someone on here needed to speak the truth to these poor misguided women. I took a deep breath and I left the following comment:

Oh PLEASE tell me this is a joke! Look, I’ve got 10+ years working logistics in television, which makes me in the know on all things event related – catering, event space, rentals, etc. Negotiation is how smart business is done in America and any business that is “offended,” is run by a fool.

We already live in a world where goods marketed towards women typically cost 20% more then the male or unisex counterparts and It makes me furious to know that the wedding industry takes this way farther in the hopes that silly women will pay just about anything to get what they want. Do us all a favor and stop perpetuating this type of sexism. And I see all these vendors here yelling hooray cause it’s a good message to help line their pockets – but seriously, let me give you some real insight for a moment:

Stills photographers who I hire to come on set for a few hours to take official behinds the scenes make about $300-$400 flat- these are the same guys who shoot official pictures for pro sports. Now, knowing this I would like to tell you about a Production Assistant (this is the lowest entry level position on a show) I once hired who was a “wedding photographer” on weekends. This kid barely had the skills to carry our cameras from the trucks indoors – there is no way we would ever let him shoot one – and yet, somehow even with a vastly unimpressive website (in my professional opinion) he was able to dupe brides into paying anywhere from 2-4k for him and 2 of his other PA buddies to shoot a wedding. Of course, it would take them months to deliver prints because they had to sub out the retouching because they don’t have a clue how to do it themselves. He told me those were the competitive rates and if he asked for less it would scare brides off. SERIOUSLY? Same goes for catering – I get world class meals (choice of 2 proteins, veggies, and a starch) served buffet style in fancy chaffing dishes for $25 per person. Sure, it may be worth it to double that price if you want to serve filet and lobster but certainly not if you are sticking with chicken and fish. Please brides, come to your senses here.

You should always ALWAYS always get as many bids from as many vendors as possible. I wouldn’t even mention a wedding when touching base – tell them you need an estimate on a family event with x amount of people and see what they come in at when they are not trying to gouge you because you dropped the “wedding” word.

I really hope this author decides to wake up in this century some time soon. Please do not take her horrendous advice.

And there it sat for days on end “waiting for moderation,” while other comments on different articles around the same time were getting approved. Seems pretty clear to me what is going on here. So Brides, if there are any of you out there, for the love of all things – PLEASE do not let this type of internet garbage persuade you to overspend because you are afraid to hurt a vendors feelings. You accepting any price that is placed in front of you makes it harder for the next person in line who may not be able to afford an unfair 35% price hike. Vendors want to take advantage of you and this is a capitalistic society, so they have the right to try, but you have the right to demand fair pricing and be prepared to walk away if they won’t give it to you.  Use common sense, if your caterer pulls together a menu that looks and tastes like Olive Garden’s all-you-can-eat pasta bar, but costs $65 a plate, it’s time to move on.

Personally, I decided for me there was no reason to go into long term debt for a one day event. My wedding will have all the bells and whistles, but by using some creative thinking and my negotiation skills, will only cost about half the national average. I’d much rather use that money down the road to invest in a home to grow a family in. It’s up to you what you want to do, but I decided to look beyond my wedding event and not forget the bigger picture – no matter where we are, I know I will have my friends and family at my side when I exchange vows with my best friend – and that’s a beautiful picture indeed.

 

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Update 2/23/16 – I decided to try and post a more tame response to the above mentioned article under a different registered user on February 15th, 2016.

There is no reason why you should not negotiate with vendors. I’ve seen from 35%-300% markups on products and services for no other reason then it is for a wedding. For example, there is a website offering private event DJ services $250/4 hours. The wedding price is $600/4 hrs with no additional personnel or equipment included. Why? Well, because they have found out that people will pay for it no questions asked.

Asking vendors for the best deal possible and then comparing bids is the american way. This is Capitalism, companies can charge anything they want for a service (especially weddings) and consumers have the right to go with whomever offers them the best deal. This is how it works, there is nothing offensive about it. Don’t go into even more debt for a one day event because you were too afraid to ask for a better deal.

and that too is still sitting there waiting to be “moderated.” Therefore, I’ve determined you shouldn’t trust ANYTHING on the website everylastdetail.com

 

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