Why Wedding Vendors Charge Lots of Money

Why Wedding Vendors Charge Lots of Money

Hi friends, welcome back to the blog. One common complaint from couples getting married and who enter the world of wedding planning suddenly realize one common thing, weddings are expensive!

Well, yes and no, they’re really not overpriced like you think, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

Today, I want to share with you some common myths as well as some realities on the wedding industry and help explain why wedding vendors charge what they do.

First, it’s a Business

First, like anything else, a wedding vendor is simply a small business. If someone is in the business full-time, then it’s what they rely on to pay the day-to-day bills and with that, they need to be able to make a living at the end of the day.

For every dollar a company brings in, there are so many things to pay for regarding a business. First, taxes on the state, federal and local level along can cost a company roughly 35%, then you have things like a business license, insurance, any equipment, perhaps a storefront or location to work out of the like too.

For many, roughly half of every dollar taken is eaten up by just the business surviving, leaving you with about $0.50 on the dollar.

It’s a Livelihood for Some

For those working full-time in the wedding industry, they need your business in order to make it or break it. In fact, most people that get into the wedding business don’t make it more than 3-5 years for various reasons, but most commonly people finally see that they can’t make money working their job or they get burnt out or a combination of the two.

This is what I mean, take the $500 Wedding Photographer. Yes, they exist in just about every marketplace, trust me. These are people with little professional experience and more times than none, they have a kit system, meaning the DSLR and the standard lenses that come with it.

Say they book 30 weddings a year at $500. That’s $15,000, take roughly half for business expenses and your left with $7,000. I doubt many people can live off $7k a year.

But, you take someone with experience and the passion to take great images, say they invest in a high quality pro-level gear and lenses and they charge $2,500 a wedding do 30 weddings, then you’re looking at $75,000, minus business related items, that’s $35,000 annually, not bad.

For those that work part-time it can be more beneficial because they use the part-time gig to help supplement their income. That many times can translate into a cheaper rate for the client, instead of $2,500, maybe they can charge $1,700 instead for a similar level of products and services.

Wedding Video Gear is Expensive

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Equipment in the wedding industry is very expensive no matter which part of the industry that you’re in. If you’re a cake baker, florist, DJ, wedding venue or a videographer, all of them have lots of gear and equipment that cost lots of money.

And with that, businesses need to recoup the equipment they invest in and that’s part of the higher costs.

Let me give you an example here, wedding videography.

I have 6 Mirrorless camera systems, enough for two filmmakers. Each set has a Panasonic GH5, Panasonic G9 and a Panasonic G85.

The bodies alone cost me $3,393.97. Then I have various lenses that cost me roughly $2,500 per kit, not to mention each one has a GoPro, Professional Manfrotto  Tripods, Monopods, battery grips, Led lights, cases, tons of batteries, wireless mics, cables and all sorts of adapters and odds and ends.

Each kit is worth about $10,000 and I have two of them so $20,000. Oh, then there is a drone, high end PC that can render all that, plus the software, USB drives that are custom made, etc. I’d estimate that my gear all together is near the $30,000 range.

Here’s my point, I can’t operate making $500 wedding videos, I’d never make money in that regard so I need to charge a rate that’s fair where I can make some and also recoup all the gear I’ve purchased too. (Not to mention replace every few years)

If you look at that 50% of each dollar that’s left after taxes and business operations (like licensing, insurance, etc) I’d say that 20% is covering my operating costs, leaving about $0.30 on the dollar for everything else.

(I haven’t even gotten into marketing costs, advertising, web and SEO, things like bridal show costs, business cards and media)

We Don’t Actually Make a Lot of Money

Thirty cents on the dollar is not a lot left to play with. Sure, that number can vary form company to company, a wedding planner for example isn’t going to have the amount of overhead someone like me might have, but my point is that most people in the wedding industry do not make a lot of cash to begin with.

Those that do are very high end and that’s a extremely hard market to get into. For example, in my line of work, charging $7,000 for a wedding film vs. $1,500 on average. It doesn’t exist but most people in the industry are in the middle-of-the-road market, nothing wrong with it either, in fact it can be very lucrative if you can do it long term.

As couples start their journey into the wedding planning, they might get some sticker shock on how much a vendor might be for their services and products, but it also has a lot to do with demand and the level of what couples seek in 2019.

Here’s another example. In 2002, couples wanted a long wedding film, a doc edit in todays terms. Although lengthy, it was easy to edit and put together because it’s a linear video, in other words, it’s an A,B,C type of event.

Today in 2019, couples really want the feature film, which is hard to edit and film, they want that drone shot of the venue, all shots to look cinematic and have movement, etc. Well, those are things that cost us more to produce, thus it cost more to have.

My Final Thoughts

Just remember that people in the wedding industry are hardworking, often doing a thankless job week-in and week-out. Not everyone within the wedding industry makes money hand-over-fist, in fact many barely squeak by at the end of a wedding season.

From wedding venue owners to wedding photographers, catering companies, make-up artists, filmmakers, florists and dress shops, we all play an important role within the wedding day and we strive to do the best we can for the clients we serve!