Why Are Wedding Vendors So Expensive?

Why Are Wedding Vendors So Expensive?
Why Are Wedding Vendors So Expensive?

Oh, the dreaded wedding quotes and estimates that just don't seem to fit the bill for you. One of the most frustrating parts of wedding planning, right? You have your dream wedding in mind, but trying to make the dream match your budget is entirely frustrating! So why are wedding vendors so expensive?

I'm going to be really straightforward and honest with you (I always am!). Wedding pros are not trying to break your bank. I promise. There's no conspiracy to quadruple our prices just because you're planning a wedding instead of a birthday party.

Let's do a quick breakdown of hiring a vendor (for the purposes of this demonstration, let's use your custom-designed stationery as an example because I know plenty about that!):

  • 3 = Number of hours I typically spend communicating via email or phone - to include initial consultations, reviewing and communicating about your proofs, and general discussion about material options and pricing
  • 1 = Number of hours I typically spend preparing a proposal to include a quote along with a mood board and color palette
  • 4-8 = Number of hours, on average, I spend sketching, conceptualizing, drawing, refining, formatting, and preparing your proofs (this number could easily go up to 12 if a very detailed design or monogram is involved)
  • 1-2 = Number of hours I spend preparing your files for print, communicating the details with the printer, and ordering your final materials 
  • 2 = Number of hours, on average, I spend assembling your invitation suites, doing a quality control check, and packaging your invitations or taking them to the post office to mail to your guests myself (this number could very well increase to 4 hours if you have a large guest list or detailed assembly)

So, on the high end of this spectrum, I could easily spend 22 hours on ONE couple. Even on the low end, I generally spend 11-12 hours on ONE couple. Break that down into a standard 40-hour work week and that means that I can take no more than three clients per week (assuming there's a good mix of clients on the low end and the high end of the spectrum). And let's not forget that most wedding pros only work with one couple per wedding date and that the majority of weddings happen on Saturdays and Sundays, with an occasional Friday wedding, so our calendars are very limited.

Want another example? Let's break down the cost of floral design (again, these numbers are based on my personal experiences, so all of these numbers are going to vary from vendor to vendor!):

  • 3 = Number of hours I typically spend communicating via email, phone, or in person - to include consultations, design and proposal reviews, and general discussion about the logistics of your floral design and setup the day of the wedding
  • 1 = Number of hours I typically spend preparing a proposal to include a quote along with a mood board and color palette
  • 2-3 = Number of hours, on average, I spend refining your floral design ideas and creating a complete, comprehensive floral plan
  • 1-2 = Number of hours I spend sourcing the perfect flowers in the perfect shade of color, the perfect vessels, and/or the necessary supplies needed to create your final product
  • 10-12 = Number of hours I spend processing your flowers and creating your bouquets, arrangements, and floral design pieces for your big day
  • 2-4 = Depending on the complexity of your design, the number of hours I spend delivering bouquets and setting up at your venue (**please note, this doesn't even include travel time!)

So on the high end of the spectrum I spend about 25 hours on ONE wedding and on the low end of the spectrum I spend about 18 hours on ONE wedding!

Want another perspective? Heather breaks down, in much more detail than I, the time and expenses involved in photography in this blog post.

But wait.

Let's not forget that their are costs associated with each client, as well. Not only are there general upkeep costs of running a business (for a stationer...a computer, design software, art supplies depending on their style, general assembly supplies and paper samples, packaging costs...you get the point!), but for almost every wedding pro there are also material costs of actual product associated as well. Oh, but believe me there's more. What about the cost of paying employees, consultants, contractors, advertising fees, or third party vendors?

The wedding industry is also one of the only industries where we can truly only accept a very limited number of clients per year. We are limited by calendar days (even if wedding pros worked every single Saturday and Sunday a year, excluding major holidays, that's 98 clients per year. But think about the experience you'd be getting with a vendor who is also working with 97 other people at the same time as you! That's a recipe for a disaster if you ask me.

So, you see, once you factor in the costs associated with one wedding (material, labor, and administrative time) along with the general administrative costs of running a business, and paying taxes (can't forget those!), wedding vendors truly are not expensive. To be quite honest with you, we're trying to provide a service for an industry we believe in with our whole heart - most of us aren't doing it for the money. We're trying to help support our families and love on our clients well while also paying some expenses we don't really want to be paying! If we could, I can guarantee that many of us would actually charge next to nothing if our livelihood didn't depend on it because we love what we do so much, and we love seeing this amazing moment in your life come together!

So, while it may seem like the wedding pros you're talking to are expensive, I assure you we're all just trying to promote the sanctity of marriage, create the most meaningful memories possible for you, pay our bills, and enjoy what we do along the way.

And if you've already exceeded portions of your wedding budget, I promise, that's okay - read all about that here!