Dear Society, it would be really appreciated if you gave Wedding suppliers and the Wedding Industry as a whole a little bit of a break.
Every day recently the media has been peddling article upon article about how much Weddings Cost, and what people think they should cost and the value of those that work within that industry.
A quote I hear a lot in the Wedding Industry from Brides/couples is this elusive “reasonable price” but how do people come up with this magic number.
This will be very personal and come down to each individuals budget and one persons thoughts on the matter can vary wildly from another.
However there seems to be a widespread notion that the Wedding Industry is all about ripping people off, inflating prices and playing with peoples emotions.
While like any industry there will be unscrupulous suppliers, in the main most wedding suppliers are honest, hardworking and kind small business owners with families, mortgages and bills JUST LIKE YOU trying to make a living!
As someone new to the world of Weddings you can feel overwhelmed, confused with lots of information flying around you, but personal research is the key to getting what is right for you and your partner, and your budget.
Bridal forums can be helpful but what is one persons experience, and what is right for them might not necessarily be right for you.
You may come to look at one part of your Wedding Budget and wonder how something can cost a particular amount, but what you don’t see is the many things that contribute to why something costs what it does.
What also has to be taken into account is regional variations as what may be the average price in London, may be different to say Manchester or Edinburgh.
Lets take a look as an example at a professional wedding photographer as one of your wedding suppliers…
What you do see is your photographer taking photos for one day (set period of hours).
What you don’t see is…
-Venue / Location scouting – to get you the very best shots and create your memories
-A plan B and options for inclement weather
-Pre wedding shoots to make sure you are happy and at ease with them so you will not look like a scared rabbit on your big day
-The care and upkeep of equipment – A seasoned photographer usually travels with several cameras, lenses, lighting equipment etc.
-The purchase of new gear
-Professional and Business insurance
-Fast forward to day before your wedding – making sure all of their equipment is working, extra batteries, extra film, extra memory cards usually 2 – 3 cameras, and lighting equipment
-A 10 – 12 hour wedding day
-Following your wedding day its going home backing up your images and then backing them up again usually somewhere else in case 1st place has an issue
-The 60 hours + it can take in editing the thousands of images they took on the day
-Social media to promote their work/increase client base.
That is a lot of work that is UNSEEN but hopefully it should be coming clear why photographers cost what they do.
It’s not just simply a case of coming and taking photos, its so much more.
A Photographers story transcends to all sectors of the Wedding Industry whether you are a cake maker, a stationer, a venue stylist, make up artist, bridal boutique owner or any other creative.
These are those that work tirelessly to make a living and support their families.
A lot of the time my colleagues in the industry have to seem to justify what their service costs.
The warring cry of “How Much” and that magic “Reasonable Price” that people seem to think that wedding suppliers are worth is heard all too often.
This can leave the industry feeling very UNDERVALUED!
Lets look at the meaning of that!
Undervalued means rated too low, thought little of, minimised, diminished.
So now think of yourself as an employee or even just as a person and how you would react if you were made to feel all those things.
Feels sucky, right?
How would you as an employee feel if your boss came to you and expected you to work for less than your worth.
I expect you would have feelings of upset, you would perhaps threaten to quit, you would call a union to protect yourself.
Think then to yourself as someone looking for wedding services and always looking for a discount.
Would you go to Starbucks and say NO, I want a discount on my coffee, would you haggle over the cost of your lunch at your favourite café , the concert tickets foryour favourite band or for the cost of that night out that you think you need.
So WHY are Wedding Suppliers so undervalued, why is there always the undercurrent that you are being overcharged.
Would you want your Wedding suppliers to feel undervalued, diminished and minimised?
Recent articles in the media have sought to diminish the work of the industry.
An article from Refinery 29 suggests that couples should do without a professional photographer and have people use their IPhones instead.
And worse still use the money saved for a free bar.
Instead of a beautifully edited and curated selection of images that tell the story of your carefully planned day you could instead be left with pictures of random blurry moments captured by your now very merry guests.
Demeaning the experience and skill of someone who has spent years perfecting their craft over a piece of gadgetry is ill advised at best.
Another article said that the wedding industry was populated with unreconstructed simpletons, bitchy wedding dress shop people, women that squeal about ribbon and craven rip off merchants…Yay for sisterhood and female solidarity! NOT!
I’m sorry but that it’s the most judgemental, elitist piece of nonsense.
As I said before in every industry there are sometimes those that give that industry a bad rap but in the main and I know a lot of people in this industry go above and beyond every day.
We don’t all have to be the same as Wedding supplier just like not every Bride/couple has to be the same.
There are literally thousands of expert creatives focusing on every genre of Wedding style that work diligently to create products and services that exceed expectation
We may all want different things for our celebration and that’s ok but to tarnish an industry in such a brutal and generalistic way is really a bit rude.
Stylist also published a video on how to Boss a Wedding Fair with suggestions such as leave a fake email address and eat all the cake you can.
Please be aware that Wedding Suppliers can pay hundreds if not thousands of pounds to exhibit their products and services.
They do this to allow you an up close view on how they work and how they can help you.
Being encouraged by the media to not be completely transparent as the film portrayed is a low blow.
When the media treats this as a way to take advantage then that is rude, dishonest and unfair.
A polite no thank you to a supplier is always better than them spending time preparing quotes for you that you have no intention of following up.
In this economy we appreciate that times are hard, and we get it as we live it too.
Things to think about to save money for your big day are perhaps reducing the guest list or getting married midweek or out of season, reducing your Bridal party or perhaps doing some DIY if you are creative.
However I have lost count of the amount of forum posts I have seen from those who want to reduce wedding costs but pay £500 for Louboutins or who want to save on wedding stationery but want to invite 200 guests.
If you want that designer dress, those amazing flowers, beautiful decorations then have less nights out, take a packed lunch to work, watch out for samples sales at your local boutique, save those pennies in a jar.
You dictate your Big Day and its costs by the choices you make for what you want.
A lot of the time your expectations of what you believe something is worth will be very different from reality.
These thoughts are not meant to be incendiary but to perhaps take time to think about how you view the Wedding Industry and those within it.
When did society forget that the Wedding Industry is made up of REAL PEOPLE!
Why do these people have to justify what they do, what they love, what they have passion for every single day.
I read a post from a wedding supplier and new mother apologising for sending client emails in the evening instead of during the day.
WHY should this person, at what should be a special time in her life feel guilty even when she is going above and beyond and valuing her customers even if work/life balance makes that difficult.
I’ll tell you why!
The majority of the Wedding Industry is made up of self employed individuals.
That means NO holiday pay, NO sickness pay, NO maternity benefits.
It also means they are people who may be hit hardest with government changes to National Insurance.
This also means NO work… NO pay.
Think now why the costs may be a little higher than you anticipated, than you think a service is worth.
Yes you have to work to a budget that works for you, yes you have to prioritise what is most important for your big day but it sometimes prudent to think about those that work hard to bring you those most special of days.
They have lives too, they have problems too.
In this Instagram perfect world putting on a face and soldiering on is quite normal as for most suppliers giving up is not a option even though in the face of societies backlash its a feeling many have.
The Wedding Industry isn’t always glitter and rainbows but making this time special for you is what inspires them every day to go that extra mile and they have the right to support themselves as you do.