Photo by Joshua Bobrove via My Hotel Wedding
Huffington Post: As someone who has worked in the wedding industry with reputable planners, vendors and venues for over ten years, I am often surprised by how the outside world views us. I hear again and again from people who are unfamiliar with our industry that we quote different rates for weddings than we do for other events and even charge more for weddings. I spent three years as a Catering Manager for a four-star Beverly Hills hotel and ten years freelancing for some of the top wedding planners in the industry, and I can say from firsthand experience that this is simply not true. It is disappointing to hear that there are people outside of the industry spreading misinformation about our business practices and ethics.
As a Catering Manager, I never once quoted higher prices for weddings than for other events. There were food and beverage minimums for the use of a space, and those minimums had to be met. It made no difference if I was booking a wedding, non-profit gathering, or corporate event. The only times we would negotiate were during off peak nights or for short-term bookings. Wedding business is some of the best business for many venues and vendors, so we work hard to book that business. But we never increase pricing “just because.” I honestly believe that if you are working with a vendor or venue who quotes you differently based on the type of event you’re hosting, then they are not a quality vendor and perhaps you should not be working with them.
When I work with florists, musicians or other wedding vendors, I call them to simply ask for rates, talk about the budget we have available, and go from there. They are usually able to work with the budget (as long as I’m within range) and will work with me on pricing. To be honest, involving a planner in these conversations can result in better rates, as industry pros get the lingo, have established relationships, and know what things you need and don’t need.
As a Catering Manager and Planner, I’ve put in 18 + hour days to ensure the success of my client’s wedding, but I’ve also done the same for non-wedding clients. I was trained by a hotel company that believed in and taught the value of treating everyone as a VIP once they walked in the door. So whether you’re a bride, groom, parent or corporate planner, I (and the teams I’ve worked with) will bend over backwards to ensure a wonderful event for you. These are the vendors and venues you want to work with, not the few non-quality ones out there who quote different rates based on events. Every event is equally important in the minds of quality planners and vendors; therefore, they maintain rate integrity across the board.
I felt compelled to write this very personal article to help end the stigma that the wedding industry is a racket charging more for weddings than for other events. Quality vendors are invested in their clients. And when you invest your time, money and trust in those quality vendors, you can be certain that your wedding (or any other special event) will be their top priority.