How to Avoid the Wedding Tax
Contrary to what you might read in magazines or other blog publications dedicated to weddings, most wedding vendors aren’t out to get all of your money or take advantage of you. You may have heard of something called the wedding tax. We believe this is more often a lack of consumer education than a real occurrence. The idea that you pay more for the same exact goods or services just because it’s for a wedding is something we haven’t really seen. With that said, we do tend to hang around a more reputable crowd of wedding suppliers. This occurrence keeps coming up over and over. Therefore, we decided to give you some additional context that might explain why this seems to be happening. It may also help so that you can avoid being taken advantage of.
For all things to be fair, whatever product and service you are looking to have at your wedding would have to take no more time on the part of the vendor than it would if it was for any event type. This includes meetings, level of detail or time spent at the actual wedding. For example, if you are hiring a wedding photographer and you are unsure about why their wedding package is a few thousand and portrait sessions are $150 an hour, it’s because there’s a lot more time with one type vs. another.
Wedding photography in and of itself is a long day. They are usually with someone from the start of make-up until the last dance. Usually that’s just the tip of the iceberg too. This is because editing and retouching (let alone the volume of prints) is a much longer process due to the large number of photos shot. So if you think you are faced with a wedding tax, try to determine if one of the most valuable commodities (time) is equal in what you are comparing. It’s usually this invisible difference that results in a price change.
One of the other ways that couples might see a wedding tax when there isn’t one is through packages. When it comes to buying or renting goods and services for events outside of weddings, it’s pretty common to see a la carte pricing which separates everything out. More often for weddings you’ll see package pricing. This isn’t to deceive but to simplify. The chances that wedding clients haven’t purchased what a wedding vendor offers is really high. Therefore, supplier companies do their best to make it less overwhelming by putting together popular options into a A,B, and C choice. Now, in our experience, these packages aren’t written in stone and that’s where the savings can happen (as we discussed in a blog post about budgeting).
If you want to avoid what may appear like higher pricing due to organizations offering packages, you’ll need to do your homework. This way you will have a better understanding of what’s out there, what you want, and what you don’t need. With that information, you’ll be in a position to go a la carte and only pay for what you will get the most value from.
Specialists are a Premium
Another way that higher pricing for weddings might seem like a wedding tax is when you compare the prices of wedding specialists vs. other service providers who aren’t totally committed to weddings. Now this is not an indictment on vendors who work on corporate, non-profit, and other social events. This is a question of the differences between working on and with wedding clients as well as supply and demand.
Weddings come with unique circumstances, when compared to other events, that impact cost. For instance, there are more planning meetings with wedding clients than some other event categories. This is because other event types of people who make these event supplier choices all the time so they are faster at it. The fact that weddings are events that happen for clients annually is another difference between them and corporate events. With corporate events, a wedding vendor might give someone a break on pricing in order to get the relationship going. This helps give them a foot in the door in order to work on more of their events in the future. More marketing is needed for weddings which is also costly. This is based on the fact that new clients have to be found each year.
Apples to Apples
The explanations we gave above are based on the idea that you’re shopping the same company for their different offerings. If you are between one potential vendor and another and one focuses on weddings they seem more expensive. There’s another reason for that though, and it’s not the wedding tax. The wedding specialists who charge more also probably have a much better reputation and a longer one. Trustworthy and reliable team members are hard to come by. By compensating them appropriately they can rely on them year after year.
These types of wedding businesses know that there are no do-overs with weddings. You have one day to get everything right. This means back-up equipment in case something happens, entertainers on stand-by, and proper training. Proper training is crucial because it ensures the team will maintain and grow the well-earned reputation the company has. These businesses are in-demand for all the reasons above and that factors into their cost. While it might not be a line item, mitigating risk is one of the most important investments you can make when choosing who will be on your wedding team.
We are wedding specialists who pride ourselves in decades of experience. We honestly don’t believe the wedding tax is a real thing in any significant volume. There’s a chance smaller part-time organizations newer to the industry might raise their prices for wedding clients. However, their standard prices are probably already pretty low. Those of us invested in what we do believe in the value of what we offer. We are also very transparent with how we price. Feel free to talk to us about what we charge and why. We’re an open book and not afraid to have that talk at any time. It is our goal to make sure that our wedding clients are educated in the nuances of pricing. This way they can get what they expect.