I’m attempting today to address a trending topic on social media around whether wedding vendors charge too much. It’s a touchy one so bear with me however in most cases, I really don’t think that most wedding vendors do charge too much at all. Obviously, there will be an elite core of vendors who work in the luxury market where the word budget is a swear word however there are many who don’t charge enough due to competition and pressure from clients to price match. This unfortunately leads to many talented wedding vendors having to shut up shop and going back to paid employment.
With the average wedding these days costing over $30,000, it’s fair to say that the majority of couples have a budget to stick to and will therefore prioritise what they feel is most important to them. That’s totally reasonable. For some it might be all about the dress and for others it’s about creating memories through video and images. Naturally many couples decide to accept help from friends and family to put together the things they need to create their wedding like Aunty Doris making the cake or Cousin Stef designing the invites. Some may also go down the DIY route with mixed results. Most weddings however will involve commissioning the services of a professional at some point.
Without knowledge and experience of working in the wedding industry it’s easy to understand why wedding professionals can appear to be charging more than you may expect however when you break down the time and investment involved then it can all start to make more sense.
Let’s use wedding photography as an example. The role of a wedding photographer is to capture your day so that you remember it forever , creating wonderful memories for you and your other half. There’s heaps (and heaps and heaps…….) of wedding photographers out there and like most things in life it’s a case of you get what you pay for. Each will have their own style and skill level so it’s important to choose carefully (a post for another day).
Wedding photography is definitely worth calling an investment. It documents your day, capturing all the big and little details plus some once in a lifetime pictures of you and your new Husband or Wife looking amazing. Just like this stunning image here…..
Image credit Emme Jade Photography
If you haven’t realised already, the cost of a wedding photographer varies ALOT with each photographer on the market offering different packages and so you will definitely in this case be paying for experience. I hear alot of people saying that photographers are way too expensive for what they do since they’re earning on average $3-4k ++ per wedding. For one day’s work that’s not bad hey!!! Let’s all go and get a camera right now and start making a killing?! Except, it’s actually waaaaaaay more than one days work so let’s break it down.
Aside from time and money spent marketing their business (which is pretty constant) a wedding photographer will spend alot of time prior to a wedding getting to know each couple with 1:1 meetings and emails. They may also spend time scoping out the venue to know where the best places are to shoot. With a full time wedding photographer shooting 20-35+ weddings a year that’s alot of meetings and zillions of e mails. In addition, depending on the location of the wedding, there may be significant travel involved which again takes yet more time and it’s not unheard of for a photographer to shoot for over 12 hours in one day which is almost 2 days work in one day in itself and earth shatteringly knackering.
Photography in general covers alot of genres and wedding photography is out there on its own. Aside from the wide range of photography skills needed to confidently shoot a wedding, there are inherited skills that are both intuitive and learnt through experience. Many good photographers go above and beyond to ensure that a couple’s day runs smoothly by sticking to a timeframe. Emme from Emme Jade Photography mentions ‘It’s the little things like helping the Groomsmen with their button holes or making sure that their ties are straight to making sure that key members of the family are not forgotten like helping Nan to her seat at the start of the ceremony.’ These little things add up to make a big difference.
Gear & Costs
A reputable wedding photographer will be bringing along thousands of dollars of equipment including camera bodies, lenses, tripods, software, cards, lighting and more. This often expensive gear naturally depreciates in value and needs maintaining which costs, yep more $$. Plus they need all the other things that general businesses require like transport, stationery, web hosting, insurance, advertising, professional development via workshops, soft and hard ware etc etc etc..
After the wedding is over, the photographer will spend time backing up your images to keep them safe and will then begin the task of carefully editing all of the images taken on the day. This again takes a significant amount of time and skill to ensure you get great images.
Most of the above applies to many other types of professional wedding vendors such as stylists, cake artists, florists and stationery designers who all spend alot of time dealing with enquiries, preparing quotes, attending fairs, networking, general admin, travelling and that’s before they even get to work their magic which again will require specialist and expensive equipment along with the skills needed to do the job and do it well. Some also work very unsocialable hours and sacrifice their Spring and Summer and or family time by working extremely long days. Florists for example are working around the clock during the height of wedding season to bring to you skillfuly designed floral art that has been stored and delivered in the nick of time to ensure it doesn’t wilt at the sniff of a 40 degreee day. Then there’s the cake makers who are highly skilled to create works of art and that’s before they’ve spent a fortune on ingredients to make said cake.
Now what I’m not saying here is that to get married you need to have an enourmous budget in order to keep the wedding industry happily alive and kicking. The majority of wedding vendors are uber passionate about what they do and more than anything they are extremely proud to be a part of your special day and hand on heart they really don’t charge more just because it’s a wedding, they’re just trying to earn a decent living reflective of their business costs, time and expertise.