Last year, Choice Magazine (an independent Consumer based publication in Australia) did a survey on whether vendors really charge more for weddings than other events. We touched on this issue when I interviewed vendors, and wrote about it in February “W Is For Weddings- Behind The Wedding Word Part One & Part Two“. It’s an issue I’ve been incredibly interested in and one I want to keep discussing.
With the report providing such hot debate in the industry and amongst brides, Choice decided to take it a step further and hold a ‘Round Table’ discussion at Sydney’s TOKO Restaurant with some of Sydney’s leading wedding professionals to discuss the issue.
Moderating the discussion was Henry Roth. With Anthea Leonard from Sweet Art, Lynleigh McPherson from Belinda Franks Catering, Lorraine Elliot from Not Quite Nigella, Phoebe Gazal from Papier d’Amour, David Mendes from KAREN Magazine, Alicia Richardson from The Knot, Claire Aristedis from Lifegloss, Matt Lee from Infinity Photography, and Matthew Duchesne from Milk & Honey Photography attending.
Also in attendance was CHOICE reporter Kate Browne, as well as Fiona Wood, Sian Jenkins, Leigh Golombick and Sean O’Byrne from Mark Communications.
The ‘Round Table’ agreed that full disclosure by the customer is essential. All suppliers agreed that by talking clients through the added value they’re providing for dealing with a wedding, they would avoid a sticky situation later on – so ask your vendors to explain why they charge what they charge.
Vendors felt that a lot of what they do for weddings is left unsaid (and unseen!) and therefore there are often misunderstandings, leading to a bride feeling she is being “ripped off”. The extra time spent catering to the attention to detail demanded by brides may have been factored in as the ‘standard’ service provided by the vendor for weddings.
The group agreed that customers should come with a budget in mind and tell the vendor upfront. This means the vendor can tailor a package to your budget. The group agreed that vendors and consumers both need to manage their expectations, be clear and upfront and be flexible with each other.
While a ‘regulatory body’ idea was discussed and thought of as a good idea, the vendors failed to see a fair way of implementing it.
The round table in action, sweet treats from Belinda Franks Catering.
The group agreed on a number of points to ensure you, the bride and groom, are comfortable with your vendors and their charges, and that you don’t feel stung by the ‘wedding’ word.
– Research vendors (utilising bridal forums, websites, social media and through word of mouth)
– Come to the vendor meeting with a budget outline
– Ask as many questions as possible of the vendor to ensure you are 100% comfortable with the level of service and the explanation behind the charges
– Be very clear with the vendor about your expectations of the level of service you require
– Be upfront that the event is a wedding so both you and your supplier start the relationship honestly and you both have the same expectation of the event.
– If you’re unsure of set packages, ask about flexibility within these packages
– Set up an initial one on one meeting with the vendor to make sure you get along with them. If you have any doubts, try and resolve them in a frank discussion, or search for another supplier. After all your relationship could span many, many months!
I delayed writing about the round table as I was waiting for an audio recording of the event, unfortunately the audio didn’t turn out, but the Choice team did produce a video which gives a little insight into the discussions that took place!