Planning a wedding quickly gets overwhelming. Almost immediately your mind races with thoughts about dates and ceremony locations, dessert options and what you’ll wear.
Don’t worry. I am here for you, especially when you start to book vendors for the day of your dreams and you’re hit (slapped in the face is more like it) with some staggering numbers in the proposals. $800 for a DJ? Is that normal? Can we afford that, doesn’t it feel like a big number?
I get it, totally normal questions to have. Completely sane for you to question a $14,400 quote for dinner. Who knew food could cost so much? Maybe you’ll just opt for the McDonald’s dollar menu… that wouldn’t be weird, would it?
Check Your Budget
Before you hide your wallet and hit the courthouse to elope, take a deep breath and let’s talk it through Let’s first look at your budget. If you’ve got 15k for the whole kit and caboodle, then hell yeah, that catering quote isn’t going to leave you much for the rest of the day. But this has little to do with if a vendor is fairly priced.
What I mean to say is that you wouldn’t head to Nordstrom and get angry at the price tag on a pair of Manolo Blahnik Hangisi’s (about $985 BTW!) when your budget for a wedding day outfit only allows for a pair of white TOMS wedges. They are both excellent options, I opt for wedges because... feet, but there are differences that account for the cost disparities.
Search Within Your Budget
For your wedding, be sure to search for vendors who are within your budget. It’ll help you feel fairly treated when you are handed the bill. Not all vendors are similarly priced, you’ll have to do some research in order to uncover the truth.
Research does not mean sending out 40 email inquiries asking about price and demanding to see a PDF outlining their packages, though I must confess, I may have done that for my own wedding…
Research includes looking at the style of wedding you do like, getting inspiration for the way you want your wedding to look. Making note of the vendors who can accomplish that wedding look and feel, looking at their websites and their prices (if listed), to get to know what it might cost for the wedding of your dreams. Follow your favorite vendors online, get to know them and the value of what they offer.
‘Must haves’ and ‘Don’t wants’
Do some soul searching and come up with a list of ‘must haves’ and ‘don’t wants’. This will help you determine a value for the items that are most important for you, and my hope is that it will help you determine if a vendor has fair prices or not.
Perhaps in your searching and pinning (on Pinterest) you notice a pattern. All of your inspiration photos include cafe lights and you LOVE the look. You look on Amazon at the cost of cafe lights, $70 for 48 ft, and you also search some local wedding vendors and find that for 15 feet of lights you’ll be charged about $35. Hmmm. Is this a fair price?
Certainly purchasing them yourself may be a grand idea, especially if your mom is thinking about buying them already for her backyard and your wedding is taking place in her backyard. But let’s say you are getting married at a venue with 20 foot high ceilings, no onsite staff for stringing lights and you can’t access the space until the morning of at 10 am.
To me that sounds like a LOT of stress. To me, that sounds like at $35 per 15 ft, to deliver and string and take down and ensure they lights work and replace bulbs that are broken, that sounds like a heck of a deal. I would say, yes, that is a fair price.
See what I am saying? Each vendor you come across will have these same considerations you’ll want to ponder, ‘Is it worth it to not do it ourselves?’, ‘If we DIY will it look the same?’, ‘Will the stress of choosing the cheaper option be worth it?’.
Only you can decide if the price a vendor is charging is a price you want to pay.
Need more information on how to tell if a wedding vendor is fairly priced? Check out my video tutorial that’ll walk you right through the steps so you can walk down the aisle with ease (and confidence).
Prosperity, Love & Happiness,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josey Stafford- Founder + Head Planner
Sixpence Events & Planning
Josey Stafford is a Minneapolis based event planner, focusing on weddings for millennials who want a stress-free engagement and a wedding filled with laughter and awkward hand gestures.
As a people connector and lover of all types of tea, she works hard to ensure that her clients are educated, their vendors are happy and everyone receives their daily dose of happiness via hugs.