Gross! Please just don’t, talking about money is tacky!
That’s what a lot of people think when it comes to the dirty topic of money. It’s not fun to talk about, especially for people in the wedding industry. However, as someone with insight I felt some responsibility to answer the question I get a lot. Why ARE weddings so expensive?
I see blogs and websites dedicated to how crazy the wedding industry has gotten. I recently saw an episode of “Adam ruins everything” where he talked about the wedding industry. After watching it and getting really aggravated, I felt like it called for some clarifications as a member of the demonized wedding industry.
The culture around weddings has changed.
It’s true, like most things it has gotten more and more expensive to throw a wedding. Weddings, as we know them today, are a relatively new thing in American culture. As America has become more and more wealthy, so have our celebrations. It’s just where our culture has taken us over time.
Let me just make this clear before I go any further: there is no wrong way to have a wedding. I’m not saying EVERYONE should spend $20,000 minimum on their wedding. I personally eloped with my husband and then threw a giant party. I think each couple has to decide what is best for them, but be honest with themselves. Having an honest conversation about what you really want is tricky. I have a blog post talking about common wedding regrets if you want some insight into what people lie to themselves about.
So why should anyone throw a big, expensive wedding? Isn’t a waste of money? The biggest justification I see for spending money on a wedding is this is literally a once in a lifetime event. You will have no other excuse in your life to throw a big, elaborate party. If you never want to throw one big party then don’t do it, it’s probably not going to be worth it to you. However, if any part of you would love to just once throw a big shin-dig no better time is your wedding. People will travel across the country for a wedding, it is highly doubtful they will do it for any other kind of party. Now whether or not that’s how things SHOULD be is blog post for another day. I’m just stating our current reality.
Ok, so now that you know why it may be reasonable to spend any money on a wedding. WHY ARE WEDDINGS SO EXPENSIVE?!
Again, the entire reason I wrote this blog post was because of an episode of “Adam ruins everything” and the the YouTube comments for this particular segment. The comment section was full of phrases like “corporate greed” and “taking advantage of people”. This is NOT what I do. This is NOT what any wedding vendor I know does. In fact, owning a small wedding business is EXTREMELY hard and takes a ton of effort and very hard work. No one is taking advantage of anyone here.
The wedding industry is one industry that is almost entirely run by small businesses. Just think about it, every vendor you hire for a wedding is a small business. There are a few exceptions, like chain hotels or David’s Bridal, but those are the exceptions and not the rule. Your DJ, florist, photographer, coordinator, and most venues are small businesses! Choosing to have a wedding is choosing to support the small businesses of YOUR COMMUNITY.
You are supporting small businesses in YOUR COMMUNITY.
It’s not a secret that small business owners often get the short end of the IRS stick. They also have a higher cost of doing business when looking when compared to big, corporate, high-volume businesses.
You may look at the florist’s invoice and have a heart attack, but what you aren’t seeing is the countless hours they spent honing their craft. The workshops they spent money to learn new techniques. The cost of their refrigerators, electricity, payroll, credit card fees, taxes AND what it costs to market their business so you could find them to hire them in the first place. Your wedding vendors likely spent money on just putting their business in front of your face to even consider hiring them. That is considered the cost of customer acquisition, meaning you have to spend “x” number of dollars on marketing to acquire 1 client! This is a huge contributor to why weddings are so expensive.
Weddings also come with HIGH expectations. When you hire professionals, they are just as invested as your wedding being perfect as you are. We are small business owners and creatives who take a lot of pride in what we do. We want our work to reflect us and our business, which means we want it to be AMAZING! Professional vendors know this is a once in a lifetime thing and we get ONE SHOT at it. That’s why when you hire a professional they will cost more than someone with less experience, we truly understand the gravity of what we are doing and take it very seriously. With weddings, you truly get what you pay for.
Small business ownership is hard. Entrepreneurship is hard. Every small business owner I know has to HUSTLE to make their business even a mild success. They don’t get to go home and leave their work at work. It only makes sense that if you are going to work that hard you need to be charging enough to at least pay your bills and live a reasonable lifestyle. I don’t know anyone in the Chattanooga wedding industry who lives in a mansion or drives a Lambo. They are regular middle-class Americans trying to live their dream and make a living at doing something creative that they love.
I am INCREDIBLY grateful to each and every one of my clients. I seriously love being a wedding photographer. Every couple that chooses me is giving me the gift of something I love to do.
I hope this article didn’t come off too “preachy” or like I was screaming from a soap box. I just felt like their are reasonable explanations to answer why weddings are so expensive. If you made it to the end of this post, CONGRATS! That’s impressive! Let me know your thoughts by sending my a DM on Instagram!
Hi! I’m Sarah Larae! Nice to Meet you!
Thank you for visiting my blog! I’m a wedding photographer based in Chattanooga and I would be honored if you took some time to look around my website to learn more about me and what I do. You can see more of my work on the blog and be sure to follow me on Instagram! If you are looking for a fun, bright, classic wedding photographer who prides herself on excellent client experiences head over to our contact page!