10 Things The Wedding Industry Won’t Tell You

by admin on May 1, 2013

Read the entire article HERE
1. “We could go out of business before your big day.”

Wedding spending tumbled 32% during the recession, from an average of $28,730 per event in 2007 to $19,581 in 2009, according to market research firm The Wedding Report. After recovering somewhat, spending now seems to be flattening out — in 2012, the average wedding cost $25,656, an increase of just $25, or less than one-tenth of 1%, over 2011.

Travelers, an insurance company, reports that of wedding insurance claims filed last year due to “vendor problems,” 21% involved caterers going out of business and an additional 11% were related to deejays.

2. “Inspiration boards? More like unrealistic-expectation boards.”

3. “We’ll punish you for those heightened expectations.”

Loring Pasta Bar in Minneapolis has a “bridezilla clause” in its contract, charging overly detail-oriented brides and grooms $5 per email or $12 per 15-minute increment of time required to respond, whichever is less.

The restaurant did not respond to requests for comment, but in 2011 Loring told MarketWatch the clause, which had yet to be enforced, was a safeguard against couples taking up too much of employees’ time.

Well, that’s pretty darn interesting.   I do agree that the wedding industry hypes up the bride to be a consuming, money spending bridezilla but paradoxically despises the Frankenbride it creates.

4. “Tax and tip not included.”

5. “The ballroom you chose only permits ‘approved vendors’ — that cost more.”

Yep, if you book a venue with only approved vendors, you just lost your negotiating leverage to reduce costs.

6. “Hope you’re running on schedule. We’ve overbooked.”

I never ran into this issue of double booking where I live.

7. “This award isn’t exactly an Oscar.”

I’ve known award winning, talented photographers with exception portfolios and web sites who were con artists who took thousands of  dollars from clients and never delivered a single photo.   Always check the Better Business Bureau and even Google.

8. “Do sweat the small stuff — or at least the price tag on the small stuff.”

A plain,white pillar candle at the craft store is the same white pillar candle with a “wedding” tag on it, except that the latter costs about 30% more…at least.   Amusing are the white twinkle lights that get packaged as “wedding” but the same set at Halloween costs a fraction.

9. “We’re eying your bling.”

10. “Every artist was first an amateur, and many still are.”


{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Lo May 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm

During the planning of our wedding I too was shocked at how much more expensive things were if they were specifically “wedding” associated.

Another issue that no one prepared me for was how, for lack of a better term, “walk-around-on-eggshells” some of the vendors were with me. These people deal with wigged-out brides for a living so I’d expect them to be fairly bullet proof. What I didn’t expect were the attempts to coddle, placate and sometimes downright patronize me. I got the impression that (some) of them expected me to be unreasonable and put themselves on the defense from the get-go. Another called me up in a fit of devastation when a small issue went wrong, crying apologies and offering to knock down the price. It was literally nothing, a non-issue. It wouldn’t even have occurred to me to ask for a refund.

This same vendor would tack the phrase “YOUR SPECIAL DAY” onto every other sentence. I got the impression she was making a bigger deal of it than we were. Dealing with the vendors in general was like entering some weird world where people are either trying to convince you that you’re a celebrity or that you simply cannot live without this one certain thing that isn’t essential in the slightest.

My advice to people having a traditional wedding with all the trimmings would be is to treat the vow as important, but not heighten the wedding day to this outrageous level. No one is grading you on perfection. Remember, if your looking at your wedding as the best and most important day of your life then technically you’re saying that it’s all downhill from there. It’s _definitely_ okay to hold back a little.


Marozia May 2, 2013 at 5:48 am

@Lo, you are completely correct. The vows are most important as well as your relationships with the people who wish you good luck. The trimmings are just that, trimmings. Of course, the venues, vendors, etc are also important, but I’m sure that all brides can ask for help from family/friends. Not everyone is useless! I remember for my great-niece’s wedding, ‘wedding-type’ candles were completely overpriced, so we went to a $1 shop and picked up exact candles.
The wedding business is just that. A business. And the rules of some businesses to run perfectly is “First Abolish the Customer”.


Kate May 3, 2013 at 4:10 am

@Lo, I had the same experience with vendors falling over themselves to apologise for the most minor things! I have my first fitting for my wedding dress in June and the sales assistant called me last month to tell me they’d overscheduled for that day and would I mind coming in a day earlier. I was thrilled because I was actually going to ring up and change the day myself due to work commitments. I reckon she thanked me about nine times for being so “calm” about the date change. It was pushed forward by one day and she gave me two months’ notice, why would that be a big deal?


AS May 2, 2013 at 8:19 am

We got a bunch of sane vendors. guess we were lucky. But a lot of them would be surprised that I always included my then-fiancé on every decision. The whole term “brides looking for…” usually put me off. A person (at a store, not a wedding vendor) even told me that she is not into “girly things like weddings”! I just thought in my mind that weddings usually include a man and a woman (unless of course they are same sex weddings). So, what is girly about it?


inNM May 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

I’ve always found the saying, “It’s the bride’s day.” unfair to the groom; without a groom (or at least, a partner) there is no wedding.


Marozia May 3, 2013 at 1:10 am

I’m don’t know about that. I heard of one woman who married herself, as she reckons she was the only person who was trustworthy and sincere to herself.


Library Diva May 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I agree. My fiance and I have made most of the decisions together, but it’s all geared towards the woman. I even get emails and mailers addressed to me about tuxes. One of them said “Make sure he looks his best on your special day.” Insane.


KiKi May 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Exactly! I had the same response. My husband was involved in all the planning. A few of the vendors were really surprised to hear from him. It’s really a shame that we’ve been programmed to believe that the wedding is for the bride. It takes two to get married and so why should anyone be surprised that both would do the planning.


The Elf May 3, 2013 at 10:59 am

Yes, entirely! It is *assumed* that it is the bride’s job to handle all the wedding planning stuff. What’s more many brides (myself included) buy into that bs. Men who do get involved are actually discouraged from doing so by the wedding industry.

My husband and I made the big, important decisions together. Everything else, he left to me. I don’t think he realized the amount of work it was, and even if he did, he would voted to go without. But I felt this enormous pressure to “do it right” and fulfill my mother’s and mother-in-law’s desires that this or that has to be there. Crazy!


LawGeek June 5, 2013 at 7:26 pm

My husband chose the venue, the DJ, and our first dance song (with my approval, of course). We chose the photographer together, from his best man’s suggestion. We disagreed about whether to get married at the venue or elsewhere, and ended up going with his idea in the end (I’m so glad we did, it worked out well). We wrote the vows together, and I agreed to his idea of a justice of the peace. The only thing I was in charge of were the flowers, and that was just because I had an idea how to do them ourselves.

I am a ‘girly girl’ with a closet full of heels and dresses, I guess I just never saw it as my show to run. To be honest, I was a bit relieved not having to decide all these things myself. After the wedding, when we were watching a show about weddings, he said, “You know, if you were that exacting about everything, I would have been too afraid to be involved in the planning at all.”

I have no idea why the venues didn’t act surprised as yours did. He didn’t get any reactions until a few years later, when a fellow groomsman in a friend’s wedding was surprised at just how involved he was. He had to show up at 8AM to be in his friend’s 6PM Chinese wedding, so there was a lot of time to chat.

He still gets a kick out of telling old friends our wedding song was by King Crimson, and I get the fun of having a truly unique song that’s all ours.


Wendy B. May 2, 2013 at 9:24 am

Save money, ask your friends and family to help (I had more volunteers than I knew what to do with!) Ended up with a wedding under $5,000. It might have been closer to $2,000 or $3,000.


WildIrishRose May 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I had that wedding too. The only vendors I used were the boutique where I bought my gown, the baker who made the cake, the photographer, and the formalwear rental place where the guys got their tuxes. Oh, and whoever supplied the invitations I ordered. That was it. My grandmother did all my flowers and made the two bridesmaids’ dresses and her own dress, and my “going-away” dress. She and my sisters decorated the church, and ladies from my church served the cake and punch at the reception, which was in the church fellowship hall. It was a lovely wedding and reception, cost us a couple thousand bucks, and there were no tears and no hard feelings and no resentment about anything. It’s perfectly possible to have a beautiful wedding without breaking the bank and making unpleasant people more wealthy.


Katy May 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Key word in your reply is ‘ask’. We have too many stories here of volunteers who never volunteered!


Powers May 3, 2013 at 11:13 am

If you have to ask, they still didn’t volunteer.


Vrinda May 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

No, they volunteered. Just because she asked them, it doesn’t mean they were forced to help her. They could have said, “No.” It was their decision to make, and they chose to say,” Yes.”


AS May 3, 2013 at 8:12 am

@Wendy- that would work for some people, but not all. Our family lives in different states and countries, and no one was available to help. At our wedding, MIL and SIL had come a few days earlier (as had the rest of our immediate family) and made the cake. Asking anything more would have been too much. We didn’t have time to do much either as we were working until the Thursday before our Sunday wedding.
As Kate said, the key word is “ask”. We see too often on this site people who are assigned duties they don’t quite enjoy doing.


Michelle C. Young May 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Volunteers are great!

I think, though, that a good idea is to make a list of what is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL (basically the legal requirements, a place to do it, and some form of refreshment and comfort for the guests). Hire professionals, by all means, but be prepared for them to go belly-up or no-show. That’s where Sneaky McSneakerson comes in: plan your guest list to include someone who can perform the ceremony, if necessary, someone who has a large backyard and access to lots of chairs, someone who can cook quickly and make tasty food for a crowd, on short notice. Get in reeeeaaaallllllyyyyy good with these people. IF your professionals vendors or venue falls through, then you cry on these people’s shoulders. Hopefully, they’ll volunteer!

And if they don’t, consider an actual elopement.


Leah May 2, 2013 at 9:28 am

I definitely felt the “eyeing your bling” aspect! My wedding is at the end of this month and I have distinct memories of vendors telling me something wasn’t “in my budget” when we hadn’t even discussed budget yet! The instance that stands out most for me is the stationer telling me a pearlized paper I liked would put the invites 75¢ per piece above my budget, which I hadn’t indicated yet.
The only thing I can think of is that I was proposed to with a necklace rather than a ring. To many it may look like costume jewelry, but my sterling silver wreath holds a great deal of value to my fiancé and I, despite what the price tag may have read.

I got the pearl paper, by the way. What that stationer should have said was “this gorgeous paper is going to make my so-so design skills seem even worse!”


inNM May 2, 2013 at 11:46 am

“The instance that stands out most for me is the stationer telling me a pearlized paper I liked would put the invites 75¢ per piece above my budget, which I hadn’t indicated yet.”
If I had been told that, I would have politely excused myself to buy a one way ticket to e-hell before returning to cuss to holy hell.


WildIrishRose May 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

My then-fiance was told by a jewelry salesman that he was cheap (yup, he used that exact word) because we couldn’t spend $3,200 on an engagement ring. I chewed that idiot out (the salesman, not my fiance) and told all my friends what a jerk he was. I hope he lost a lot of business for that remark.


inNM May 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm

That’s a little more than half of my total budget!


Katy May 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I didn’t get proposed to with a diamond- I didn’t want one and was thrilled with the garnet ring I got. For some reason people didn’t think I had the budget someone with a giant diamond on their hand would have, and I wasn’t taken seriously at a few places. I didn’t give my business to anyone who made presumptions about me or my budget based on the ring.


Michelle C. Young May 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm

My father was a jeweler, and he even helped me to make a ring and earring set – real gold, not just costume jewelry. My hands looked like his for a month! But it was worth it to me. I called that ring my “confidence” ring, and would wear it when I needed a particular boost, and it worked.

Being around jewelry since I was a child, I learned to look at it in a different light. Is it practical? Can you style your hair or change a diaper while wearing that ring, or will it snag? Will that bracelet get in the way as you’re typing? Will that necklace get tangled in the typewriter? (Yeah, I had that happen, once. ONCE!). Nowadays, I almost never wear jewelry because of such impractical issues.

So, when I was a young woman, and my father was still doing jewelry, I designed my dream ring. Had I gotten engaged then, I would have asked for my father to make the ring. I wanted an emerald cut (yes, less sparkly, but I liked the look), inset in a slanted band, with emeralds to the side. It wouldn’t be very sparkly, but because of being inset, it would not snag on things, and I wouldn’t run the risk of a prong breaking and losing the stone. Also, the band would be slanted to fit my finger (look at your hands – the webbing between the pinky and ring finger is lower than that between the ring finger and middle finger) so it would feel more comfortable than a straight-across band. A solid band is easy as can be to adjust the size (if it is thick, you can hammer it out to made it larger, and even a thin band can be easily adjusted smaller or larger by simply cutting the band, and either adding or removing gold, then welding it back together, and buffing it smooth). Yes, my dream band was eminently practical, and would suit me to a T.

If some vendor looked at it, they’d probably think I was too poor to afford a really good ring.

At college, when a young woman got engaged, she’d show off her engagement ring. I said “Oooh” and “Aaah,” with the others, but my first thought was inevitably, “You’ll put your eye out!” They all looked the same – big rock set in prongs on top of a band. It was a lost diamond just waiting to happen. And the women always wound up scratching themselves and destroying pantyhose until they adjusted and trained themselves how to move their hands with this big THING on the finger.

In short – don’t judge a budget by the ring. Some people are too practical for fancy bling. Such practical people are usually the same people who plan in advance and save up early for things, so that they can actually afford what they want.


Mae May 2, 2013 at 9:42 am

I would like to meet the person who started this “YOUR SPECIAL, BIG DAY” nonsense and deprogram them. In fact, all vendors should be deprogrammed.

Yes, it is a special day and many people want the fairy-tale, perfect wedding. We’ve been read stories about it and been told that’s how it is *supposed* to be since we were children. I’ve seen grown people reduced to tear-filled hysterics because something went wrong or they cannot get a specific item. Please, people. It’s not the end of the world. It’s one day in your life. Make it as great as you can and then let it go.

I also blame TV shows like Bridezillas and the numerous others “reality” shows that encourage and reward this behavior by making them pseudo-celebrities. Then there is the morning shows that have people getting their “dream wedding” and airing it on live TV.

I will never understand why people are willing to go in major debt and be stressed-out for months. Maybe I just like things too simple and drama-free. My husband and I were married at the courthouse, on Friday morning in nice clothes from Belk’s, had Olsen-Mills take our photos and had a simple, back-yard reception Saturday afternoon with finger-foods, beer & wine and a simple, 3-tier white cake with flower accents from a local bakery. We were happy, married, enjoyed celebrating with our family and friends *AND* everything was less than $800.00. Yesterday, May 1st, was our 15th wedding anniversary.


kingsrings May 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I completely agree! If it’s supposed to be about the vows, then what’s with all the hoopla?? Why does everything have to be so big, bombastic, and fancy? It’s all about the couple, their vows, and their guests – not the bling!


FeatherBlade May 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I’ve heard it suggested that the increase in huge, over the top, costs-as-much-as-a-college-degree weddings is due to the increase in pre-marital cohabitation by couples – that, because their married life is exactly the same as their pre-married life, they feel that the celebration to mark the change from one to the other must be a Really Significant Event, to signify that there actually has been a change of some sort.


AS May 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm

@FeatherBlade – I am not sure where you heard that from and whether the source had any data to substantiate the claim or not.
But I have a few examples of real people that show the contrary. Hubby and I had co-inhabited before our wedding. Yet, we didn’t want any gigantic over-the-top blown-out. We only had a family and close friends get-together, and that too because of quite a bit on the insistence from our parents as ours was the first wedding in both of our families (both sets of parents offered to pay without asking – so they definitely have their say; and we enjoyed the get-together).

Another couple we know also co-inhabited. They just went to the courthouse with their parents and siblings as witnesses and signed the wedding documents. They just didn’t want to be drawn into the wedding drama (they lived in a big city too, and the costs are at least double of what we had to pay at our little University-town!).

On the other hand, I have also seen numerous examples of people who don’t co-inhabit, who have over-the-top weddings.

Two data-points are not sufficient to draw a statistically valid conclusion. But I’d like to point out that the case is not always true. Very often, people who think co-inhabiting is a sin come up with such excuses (another thing I have often heard is that co-inhabiting leads to more divorces!). They may not always be true.

In our case, we didn’t see much change except for being able to call each other husband-wife, and have a legal standing. But the very fact that we have a document with the signature of an officiant makes it a gigantic thing. We didn’t need a huge party to see anything change.


AthenaC May 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

My suspicion is that the over-the-top weddings results from couples being able to afford it. If you get married at the very beginning of your adult life when you are flat broke, you get exactly the wedding that your parents feel like paying for. However, if you get married when you’re 30, after you’ve finished school, got your joint household set up, and stay engaged for 2-3 years to save up an book your dream venue*, you can save up an impressive amount of money to throw at the wedding you want.

*Don’t laugh – I know of at least 2 brides in my area who were in a bind because they tried to plan weddings 10 months in advance, only to find that all the venues they could find are booked up for 2-3 years.

NostalgicGal May 22, 2013 at 12:13 am

Agreeing with AthenaC…..

I had a niece that went through school, met the fellow of her life, and they waited, she worked and saved every penny for three years (pharmacist) and had the no holds barred fantasy dream wedding she wanted. She’s a beautiful gal to begin with and she looked just like she walked out of a photoshoot in Bride Magazine, and she had EVERYTHING, that was a really over the top event. It is what she wanted, and she worked and saved to make it happen. That was almost two decades ago, and neither one of them regrets waiting, and she doesn’t regret saving for what she wanted.

That’s the difference. She didn’t expect anyone else to pay for what she wanted. Yeah they cohabitated for awhile, but they didn’t start the family until after the wedding…

Jenny Islander June 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm

No, I don’t think so.

I have two sisters. The one who did everything the old-fashioned way had the big white wedding. The one who eloped to the courthouse (to avoid drama from our mom, but that’s a whole other story) had a religious wedding and a reception later, but did it on a shoestring with help from her friends; she made her own dress, folkie friends provided dance music as their wedding gift, the reception was pot luck with the recipes on cards as her other friends’ wedding gifts, and IIRC somebody even volunteered to make the cake for free. Basically sis and BIL rented the venue, did the invitations and thank-you cards (with my help), provided the drinks, and did most of the clean-up.

Meanwhile, my husband and I, who had cohabitated for years, had an extremely small and quiet wedding at which I wore my best church dress. But we don’t like fuss any more than we like going into debt.


Jenny Islander June 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Re asking for specific presents: I should explain that, first, everybody in their social circle was living on a shoestring and, second, my BIL was career military and expected to be transferred every few years and their friends all knew it. Recipe cards were something they wouldn’t have to leave behind. Recipe cards handwritten by friends were a treasure. And of course without doing pot luck there probably wouldn’t have been any food at all.

InNM May 2, 2013 at 9:43 am

Thank you! I’ve found myself referring to it as an event or family reunion to vendors to avoid the impending increase in price. Case in point: there is a bakery in town that makes moist cakes I love. The fiancé and I have decided that, based on our preferences and colour scheme, we wanted to get a red velvet cake. A half sheet red velvet cake feeds about 50 (size of our event) and that costs about $50 plus tax. A wedding cake of the same serving side, event with plain design and buttercream frosting, cost $300 before tax. The fiancé and I agreed we were okay with a regular half sheet.
I also agree with point #3. At a wedding expo I attended, every vendor I encountered kept trying to sell me a bigger, grander, more ornate version of my wedding ideas, and budget be damned! (Because we all know the best way to start a marriage is in thousands of dollars in debt.). When I started asking for a price breakdown (because due to my mother and Google, I can reasonably price the cost of items) because I found the mark-up quite high, I couldn’t get a straight answer.
I am spending a large part of the budget on the location (they do setup, cleanup, security, and some other tasks I won’t have to worry about personally), and the food (I want to have it professionally prepared because I have a sensitive stomach and I cannot cook for a lot of people). Everything else is simplified because not only do I lack the time to spend to make multiple crafts for my table, but it’s more suited to my budget.


WildIrishRose May 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I have to say I got really lucky where my gown was concerned. The lady who owned the shop where I bought it had stuck her finger with a pin while doing something to one of the ruffly layers, and underneath that ruffle was the world’s tiniest droplet of blood. She knocked something like ten or 15% off the price because of it, even though it was completely invisible. And the gown only cost me something like $400.


InNM May 3, 2013 at 12:25 am



AS May 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

@InNM- we spent a large part of the budget for venue and their in-house catering too. But we didn’t regret it because it was such a peace of mind. We had the wedding in the Univ’ town we live in, and all our relatives are out of town. It was too much to ask them to help decorate, tear down, etc. Only thing is that my MIL made the cake, that she was extremely happy to make, and it was a family recipe, hence had sentimental value.
I lucked out on the dress because I wanted to wear red, and we get red dresses only as bridesmaid dresses. Hence the wedding mark-up didn’t apply. And the dress shop was a non-chain local vendor, and hence very nice.


Lannyrae May 2, 2013 at 10:13 am

I ran into the weird coddling during my wedding too. Even from friends and family. I had one bridesmaid call and ask if she could die her hair before the wedding. I was stunned she thought she needed to ask me. The worst was the reception hall. We had a bit of an unavoidable gap between the ceremony and reception. My husband hoped to be at the reception hall to greet people as the arrived. No big deal, I just figured as hosts, we should be there to greet our guests. The reception hall employees too it as, “don’t let anyone into the hall until the bride arrives.” When we did arrive, we found an empty reception hall and a ton of guests waiting in the hallway. I was mortified and quickly ushered them in.


Menley May 3, 2013 at 8:17 am

Hah! I actually asked my friend recently if it would bother her if I dyed my hair just before her wedding, too. I knew she would not have a problem with it at all. If she had for some reason, of course I wouldn’t have done it, but I was pretty much expecting her to say “Why are you even asking?” – which she did 🙂 But I figured it was better to mention / ask beforehand than to just show up on the day of the wedding with completely different hair. Since I live in another country, she wouldn’t have seen the hair until the rehearsal dinner, and I figure surprises are not always welcome just before the wedding 🙂


LovleAnjel May 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm

My husband’s stepbrother was one of our groomsmen, and he sheepishly asked me if he could use his own tux hardware instead of what the rental store included (he has a set of nice shirt buttons and cuff links). Of course, like anyone will care if his buttons are slightly smaller than everyone else’s! Iwas almost hurt that he thought I would be upset about some cuff links.


NostalgicGal May 2, 2013 at 11:38 am

I have sewn for brides, I have made jewelry for brides, I have officiated.

When I was going to get married just over 3 decades ago; my practical broke college self quickly hit stickershock on what everything cost… and I had the MOTB fantasy she’d planned when I was 4, that was bouncing reality checks past the moon. (aka her budget and her plans, she needed 10-15x the budget plus a several month delay)

From servicing, I got tired of brides (and relatives) expecting that 2 solid weeks of work could be done by tomorrow for nada; and they could change their mind tomorrow and not have to pay for it. Their cousins showed up regularly at my booth at various shows, where I’m hours away from my studio and I already hauled a ton of display and merchandise, I don’t have my raw stock and tooling here, and I can’t snap my fingers and produce what you want AT THIS SECOND with customers 2 deep. The looks I’d get when the best I can offer is to take measurement and post them what they want a few days after the event after I get home.

I’m yet another former vendor that gave it up as the working conditions were not worth it; however anything I was contracted for was delivered. I just quit taking more work and hung it up. That is a lot different than the vendor that evaporated (like someone on here that posted about a riverboat they had booked for their reception and it went into drydock and legal issues and the offices didn’t say boo about it, and wouldn’t have, up to the day of the reception…she had found out by other means and could at least shift her plans in time).


Ashley May 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

I’ve noticed a lot of these things in the course of planning my upcoming wedding.
1. “We could go out of business before your big day.”
Sad but true, a place in town we were looking at was taking deposits from people and booking dates even though they KNEW they would be bulldozed and turned into a parking lot for a new grocery store before those dates ever rolled around. Thankfully we didn’t end up one of the many court cases that resulted from them NOT giving deposits back when people realized what was up. However we were unlucky enough to have a florist take our deposit then vanish off the face of the earth.

2. “Inspiration boards? More like unrealistic-expectation boards.”
I’ve got friends who are all about pinterest and are all “I’m gonna do this” then they try and realize they can’t because they don’t have the whole troop of professionals who helped create what was in the picture.

4. “Tax and tip not included.”
Actually my venue spelled out everything regarding tax and tip pretty clearly. Other places we looked at did not…

5. “The ballroom you chose only permits ‘approved vendors’ — that cost more.”
This is actually the reason we decided against several venues, they all insisted we used things that were weirdly priced.

7. “This award isn’t exactly an Oscar.”
There’s a local DJ who has won “best of somethingorother” on theknot.com. I’ve been to several weddings that this company has been a DJ at. Picture the most stereotypical annoying cheesy DJs you can. Yeah. So how they won anything I don’t know.

8. “Do sweat the small stuff — or at least the price tag on the small stuff.”
Our centerpieces feature those colored glass river rocks. In the wedding aisles, they are like $4 a pound. At a pet store being sold for use in fish tanks though, they are cheaper, and the bags contain more. To be fair though, the wedding aisle is not the highest price they come at. Pen and paper RPG gamers use them for tokens in certain games, and at those stores they are like $5 for 6 little stones.

9. “We’re eying your bling.”
And your shirt, and your shoes, and your jacket, and your purse, and your fiance’s beard and long hair and all of your tattoos combined….I’ve actually worked this to our advantage though. We don’t dress poorly. All of our clothes are in good shape, they just aren’t what is really “popular”. We’re geeky heavy metal fans. We dress like geeky heavy metal fans. If somewhere we want to give our money to treats us poorly because of it, we leave. Their loss, not ours.


Michelle C. Young May 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm

best of stereotypical cheesy DJs award?


Angel May 2, 2013 at 1:33 pm

It’s a good list. I have found that you often pay at least a third more when stuff is labeled for “wedding” and sometimes even more than that! I didn’t experience any weirdness with any of our vendors. I got along great with all of them (at least I thought I did lol). But, I got married 10 years before Bridezillas was on TV. Actually it may have just started then–I think this is its 10th and final season. I watch this show pretty regularly please don’t judge :). I think that over the years expectations have gotten a lot higher and weddings are larger and larger affairs. I went to a wedding for one of my 2nd cousins about 2 weeks ago. My husband and I received a “save the date” magnet for this wedding about a year in advance. The wedding itself was beautiful. It was at a nice reception hall, sit down dinner and open bar. It wasn’t even the most over the top wedding I’ve ever been to though. It was just nice. It really reflected my cousin and the rest of our family. I couldn’t even picture my cousin as a “bridezilla” or anything of the sort. At her shower and at the wedding she took the time to personally greet and talk to each of the guests, she and her husband circulated and made sure everyone was having fun. I can’t imagine any bridezilla taking the time to do that.


June First May 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm

4. “Tax and tip not included.”

Yes, this was our experience! When you sign a contract that says one price, and then afterward the caterer explains the extra $300 they’re adding on is tax and tip, it’s a wake-up call.


Hilary May 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm

So true, especially #9. I started referring to my wedding as “a family party” when dealing with vendors. I believe it made a huge difference, since the whole event came in just under $8000. The caterer was visibly miffed when I showed up at the venue in a wedding dress. Haha!

I would at a #11 for prospective brides: None of this will matter to you on the “big day.” All of these things are details, and the “special” part of the “special day” is actually exchanging vows with your partner and celebrating with your family and friends. If you’ve chosen the right person, you’ll have a great time at the wedding!


The Elf May 3, 2013 at 10:54 am

We did our wedding on a shoestring budget. Such a shoestring, in fact, that when I realized the “wedding tag” cost difference, I resolved to avoid the entire industry. When shopping, I never used the “w-word” and I avoided places that focused primarily on weddings. I suceeded, and was so able to have the wedding I wanted and keep it affordable. It helps that I wasn’t particularly enamored with the whole princess thing, but still the wedding was fairly traditional, if a somewhat small (60 guests).

That said, it was difficult and time-consuming, plus the shoestring budget meant I (and one particularly crafty bridesmaid) did a the decorations, the bouquets, the boutineers, and corsages ourselves. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone and if I had to do it all over again, I’d elope.


Ally May 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I’ve always thought about the logistics of doing something like this for my future theoretical wedding… How did it work out for you? If some elements are done traditionally, like a white tiered cake or a DJ with the”first dance” song request, how can you discuss those with a vendor while still pretending it’s a family reunion-type party?


The Elf May 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Well, it probably helped that DJs and tiered cakes were out of the wedding budget to begin with!


Jolie May 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm

How did you do without a DJ? Spotify/ipod playlist and a friend doing the basic MC-ing like announcing dances? (In this case I’m guessing you depend on the venue’s stereo system, ut if you’re good at making playlists it’s really worth it)


Enna May 4, 2013 at 6:14 am

If you can afford to spend $250000 on a wedding that is one thing: many people say they don’t want to get married because of the cost are using that as a poor excuse as weddings cost what you want them to cost.


Angel May 6, 2013 at 10:38 pm

That is so true! Right on!!


Michelle C. Young May 11, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Oh, yeah. It always boggles my mind when I see or hear about couples who stay engaged for years and years, even having children together, because they “have to save up to afford a wedding.” No, you have to pay for the marriage license and maybe pay an officiant. That’s it.

These people are putting off their legal protections, because they “have to save up to afford” a party. Well, good thing that they are saving up, and not going into debt. That’s responsible. However, saving up and waiting on a wedding and an actual marriage, just because of a party is ridiculously silly. Especially if you have over-bearing in-laws who will try to take over if your would-be spouse dies. As a husband or wife, YOU are the official next of kin, and have control over medical decisions, financial decisions, funeral arrangements. Don’t even get me started on child custody issues! What is you become engaged to a man with children from a previous marriage, and you love those kids as if they were your own, but since you put off getting married until you could afford the party, then he dies, and the in-laws swoop in, cremate the body without even asking you, and take the kids away?

Marriage provides a legal protection, and I am all for short engagements. Long courtships, short engagements.

If you really, truly, want the whole special day-bridezilla experience, then have a vow-renewal reception.


Nancy May 4, 2013 at 9:39 am

That bridezilla clause is harsh, but many places have it, just not in so many words. I worked for a caterer in the same area, and while there wasn’t a clause, per se, our saleslady “knew” when someone was going to be a handful. The thing is if you’re asking for lots of Pinteresty things that are not on the menu, the venue gets to decide how much it will cost to execute it. If you’re asking for special china, special chairs, special linens, special sugar servers, ect… it’s gonna cost you. There are also a lot of things “on the menu” that it’s up to the sales person whether or not you’ll be charged for it, like the tasting dinner, and so forth. Trust me, if you are an enormous pain in the ass, you are getting charged for every little thing. If you call up and all the sudden you change your plans? You’re getting charged for it. If you call up and all the sudden need 20 extra guests? It’s gonna cost you. Brides may think it harsh, but people that work the industry don’t do so because they love weddings. They do it for the same reason most people go to work; to put food on the table. I think the bridezilla clause is possibly bad PR, but I 100% understand the sentiment behind it.


kingsrings May 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

“I’ve known award winning, talented photographers with exception portfolios and web sites who were con artists who took thousands of dollars from clients and never delivered a single photo. Always check the Better Business Bureau and even Google.”

I have heard of too many wedding horror stories of couples hiring a photographer who took their money and ran with it. I have also run into this in a different situation concerning photography and actor headshots. I’ve known of quite a few people who had their headshots taken, paid their photographer, and still haven’t gotten their photos back after a long time. That is why it’s recommended that you never pay a photog the whole price upfront and only put a deposit down, because if you pay everything up front, they have no real reason to finish the job if they’re a shister. BUT, the problem is, some photogs get all bent out of shape over the th0ught that someone could be possibly questioning their ethics. So what is one supposed to do?? When I had my headshots taken, my photog was one of those who was offended that I put my foot down on the deposit issue, but in the end, he relented, and I got my photographs back in a timely manner.


Michelle C. Young May 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm

People who throw a hissy fit because you “questioned their ethics,” especially in a service industry known to be riddled with such shysters, are most likely shysters who are disappointed that you called their bluff and are forcing them to do the job, instead of making it easy to take your money and run.

Honest people generally have been burned a time or two themselves, and understand such precautions, and do not take offense at them. In fact, many honest vendors will not only expect such precautions, but may even suggest it, themselves, to prove that you can trust them. It’s a selling point in their favor.


Abria May 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I’m a harpist, and I play quite a few weddings. I recently moved from a smaller city known for it’s laid back, practical people, to a larger city with bunches of nice people but also just a phenomenal amount money. At home I usually worked with the bride personally, a few times getting along so well that I ended up being considered a member of the wedding party, rehearsal dinner invite and all. I and all the other vendors were always thanked profusely, as if we were doing the couple the biggest favor in the world, despite getting paid.

New city is the furthest thing from the world from that. I’ve yet to work with a bride directly, always a planner or friend (which is fine, just strange to me!), a couple of weddings my view has been blocked by the party and I’ve not even SEEN the bride. I’m used to relaxed vendors and everyone mingling with everyone. Here, the vendors are having panic attacks around me and the wedding party and guests look through us. I’m made very aware of being hired help. I have a good time chatting with photographers and wait staff as they go by, but the guests don’t look or speak to any of us. With my background it just feels unreal! Of course, in the end I’m there to get paid, it’s not the end of the world and I have gotten to play in some truly phenomenal locations. But folks here really do forget that the vendors, musicians, planners, cooks etc that that they hire are people even if they are being paid to do a job. I suspect that’s where this awful coddling phenomenon comes from! We’re afraid that if we annoy you in the slightest we’re not getting paid!

Quick related anecdote: Yesterday I played a very, very posh high budget wedding. Flowers everywhere, designer gown, eight bridesmaids , expensive wine, full steak dinner for everyone, happened a mansion with probably a staff of 30, you get the idea. This was quite interesting to me on my arrival, as when I was hired the planner told me they had a strict budget for music and wanted to pay me $200 less than the going price. Harpists in my area have a set wedding rate so we don’t undercut, and I’m very glad I didn’t budge on that! The couple didn’t seem to know anything about music and seemed to be under the impression that what we do is just easy and fun and doesn’t take hours of preparation. The band that that they had hired to play after dinner had given them a price break, oooooh those guys were mad!


Nancy May 6, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I’m a bagpiper, and I don’t take gigs (yet), but I have heard of that practice from other pipers. Let me just say that it’s VERY obvious when you’ve hired a bad piper. I’ve heard of people trying to get pipers into bidding wars. What the wedding guests don’t realize is that a) most of us don’t like piping at weddings. We would MUCH rather do a funeral, and are far more likely to cut deals for these because they’re pretty straightforward. b) there are a few people in the area who are ONLY bagpipers by trade. And they don’t cut deals either. The rest of us have jobs, and we are not interested in giving up a Friday and/or Saturday to your wedding for a discount or for free. c) It costs us money to maintain our instruments and our skills, not to mention gas to get to your wedding site d) we all know each other. So if you pull this bidding war nonsense, we’re all going to know about it, and adjust our prices accordingly.


Michelle C. Young May 11, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Heh. In the olden days, pipers were honored, almost as much as royalty!

Ah, how far the mighty have fallen.

You know, maybe we should post warnings on Google about Shyster wedding parties who try to take the service and run.


NostalgicGal May 6, 2013 at 1:05 am

I was never offended by non-refundable deposit first, payment in full upon delivery. Deposit had enough to cover the materials used, PIF is labor, expenses, and my profit. If you don’t pay I’m stuck with it, but at least I kept what I laid out for hard goods as well as my time…

A client (L) had me make a rather expensive ‘not unlike this website picture from a very expensive retailer’ necklace including pearls and PITA work. There was the standard contract I used and had to be signed both L and myself, that gave the item to be made with description, quote, delivery date, and price. Deposit was non refundable, period. (I used that to buy the materials to make the item). I made the item, it was in the box, it was delivered, and L decided he wasn’t paying me any more for the item. I wasn’t going to turn it over, I had a wire cutter in my case, and I offered I would use it on the item first, as it wasn’t paid for. I would not give a refund of deposit, it was in the contract. Well, L demanded his value for payment. I went home, counted out, measured out, and baggied/packaged enough material of the same value as the item that would with the right skills, tools, and about 25-30 hours of work, become the finished item that had been produced once. I returned to L’s office within the hour and gave him an itemized receipt for his deposit and the ‘raw goods’. L went home that night and Mrs L found the big baggie with the receipt and such in it, and L had to EXPLAIN that one. Next day I was summoned to L’s office, he gave me the payment, and the baggie of raw materials back. I gave L his custom order item, properly packaged for presenting.

I am never offended by deposit and payment, and most vendors should not be either. Keep shopping if they are.


Michelle C. Young May 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

NostaligicGal, you are my hero!

Take the service and run wedding party shysters, indeed! There should be a list like this for vendors to look out for thieving “customers.”


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