Monday, June 08, 2009

Negotiating Wedding Costs - The Hidden Dangers

Found this on "The Wedding Marketing Blog" and thought it was just to fun not to share...the video, that is, not the message behind it.

While this video makes fun of the way people try to negotiate prices, this is a real issue in the wedding industry from a couple of different viewpoints.

The first and most important, is that many couples are simply not well educated on how to budget their wedding expenses. Reading magazines is just not enough. Investing in a consultation with a professional wedding planner is a first step many never take and the result is a free fall into budget chaos.

On the flip side, wedding price points are not standardized. There is so much that goes into consideration of setting prices, from level of customer service, to quality of product and experience. It makes it very difficult for the consumer to compare costs, so many times they find something they like and try to negotiate the price to something lesser they saw.

Add to this the economy and new people coming into the industry every day who are willing to give away service even to the detriment of the client and you have a disasterous wedding planned. Couples just don't know that service is one of the most important commodities of their wedding day. Here are some examples:

Baker #1: Started baking for friends and 6 months ago started their Wedding Cake business with no business skills but a love of the craft. She offers a 3 tier cake for 100 guests for $500 and will take $50 off if you pick up the cake.

Baker #2 Has been voted Best Wedding Cake of Your City for the past 3 years, educated in Paris and has been in business for 20 years. She offers a 3 tier cake for 100 guests for $800.

Our couple loves Baker #2 but knows they can get "the same cake" for $450 because they plan to pick up themselves. So they tell Baker #2 this and expect a hefty price break. Here's what they don't know.

Included in Baker #2's price is the following:
Consultation to make exactly the right cake (time expense)
The finest ingredients (additional product expense)
Freshly baked (yes, some bakers make layers well in advance and freeze)
Delivery and set up (time expense plus this is a risky venture for the consumer to do)
Education (education $$$)

Included in Baker #1's price is the following:
I can do "some designs" (lack of experience)
Box mixes from Grocery Store (lack of quality, less expense)
Baked previous week (she has a day job, too)
Discount for pick-up (she's sure you can carry that big cake assembled, lack of experience)
Learned from Grandma (no formal education)

Of course Baker #1 can offer a lower price because it is a lesser product. So the couple is considering a possibly dry cake that may fall over in their own car on the way to the reception. But many couples will see this as a standard and then pressure the more experienced vendor to bring their price closer to the substandard. This is a no win situation for both the Bride and Pro. The bride feels ripped off by the higher price and being "forced" to use the less experienced vendor and the experienced vendor loses a possible client. The very time that it is most important to do things just right, the couple makes a decision that ends in possible disaster to save money because they don't know what they were turning down for that lower price. This decision gets made time and time again...with the florist, photographer, DJ, etc, etc. Make the same decisions with all your vendors and you really will have a party they'll talk about for years, and so will you.

A Thump On The Side of The Head moment: You'll make the money won't have that Wedding Day again.

The moral of the story is: Prioritize and Budget. Research your local area's prices and use prices that are fair for the quality you expect for your special day. Be flexible. Know that you get what you pay for in this business. Professionals that have been in the business for years have been for a reason. Their experiences shows it and their prices reflect it. Be reasonable in your requests. Certainly don't overbuy, but make sure you are getting what you pay for and pay a fair price for it.

6 comments: said...

Amen to that!!

Susan with Mariee said...

So true, Marcia! I hear and see horror stories all the time. There are the botched veils when a bride's aunt made one with glue (happened 3 times). There is also the, botched "custom" aka knock-off wedding dresses causing a bride to buy the dress from me in the end anyway with a rush fee from the designer on top (happened 5 times that I remember). I also love it when people come in to try on Claudia's jewelry, then take a picture for their beading friend to copy. Good luck!

Marcia Mauskopf said...

Thanks for the comment, Susan. I always appreciate your thoughts.

Andy Ebon said...

Often the term 'Budget' is used when it really means 'I've got $xxx, I haven't set priorities, but I'm determined to get everything I want.'

A real budget is based on figuring out what things cost and correlating it with one's resources... then, making effort to stay within one's limits.

Thanks for your added value to this discussion, and referencing my blog. I appreciate it.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Marcia Mauskopf said...

Andy ~

Thank you for the inspiration. I hope you'll pick up many readers from this as your info is always timely and informative to those of us in the wedding industry.

Carrie owner of Bella Cupcake Couture said...

WOW Great post!!! And very funny video!