“Weddings are expensive”, ” I am shocked by these prices”, “unfortunately these prices are out of our budget”- phrases wedding suppliers hear on daily basis. A wedding supplier has to be ‘expensive’ so that they can continue running a specialised business. A closer inspection will reveal that ‘expensive’ in fact means ‘market related’. Couples planning a wedding really need to understand that a wedding is made up of costs that are directly related to the relevant prices charged by specific sectors supplying the wedding industry with raw materials and consumables, which need to be processed by the trained and skilled professionals.Weddings are priced at a market related value of raw materials, consumable products and man power required to produce and execute a wedding. An event takes hundreds of hours to plan and 12 hours to execute and on average a wedding requires minimum of 6 companies to supply products and services.
An average wedding supplier charges an hourly rate of between R50 – R950+ per hour depending on their sector, level of experience and equipment value. Even at a small wedding of 60 guests, there are minimum of 30 people who will be working and serving, making a wedding day special and stress free for the clients. Some of the suppliers will put in 300 hours, others 50, or 12 hours in case of waiters/ barmen/function manager. Every single supplier needs to be reinbursed for their services. Take out a calculator and multiply 30 staff members by even R150 per hour, that’s R4500 per hour. Twelve hours of service on the wedding day at a minimum rate of R4500 = R54 000 for the service on the day of your wedding only. What about the hours that are dedicated to planning a wedding, meetings, email correspondence, site inspections and finalising of finer details? What about post wedding activities which are often neglected but require attention (clearing the venue, cleaning the venue, dealing with breakages and editing photos, video). Yes costs add up but if someone is working, they need to get paid.
It is a fact that most wedding suppliers do not charge for every hour they spend working on a wedding. If they did, then they would be truly expensive. For example, if a planner was to charge for all 300 hours put into a wedding even at R100 per hour (which is laughable considering that students for hire are billed at R100 per hours without any skills or experience) then wedding planning packages would start from R30 000 – raise your hand if your packages start from R30 000 (and that’s for one planner, what about assistants and office staff?).
Another point to consider is the running cost of a wedding business and equipment/resources required in order to be able to provide wedding related services. For example, photographers, videographers, DJs, Sound and Lighting specialists all have to invest into superior equipment. Decor companies invest hundreds of thousands of rands into their stock. Wedding venues spend millions per year to upkeep their establishments. All wedding professionals have to invest in upgrading and maintaining their equipment, plus their education and ongoing training and skills development in order to stay relevant and continue to strive for excellence. All of this requires money, money that should be earned through supply of services.
When a wedding supplier takes their business seriously they charge market appropriate rates which allows them to earn money through their businesses and in return these suppliers commit themselves to the highest levels of services delivery on the day that matters the most to the couple. So stand up for yourself and charge what you are worth and if the client tells you are expensive, smile and say “I need to be!”.