This post was originally published on Every Last Detail.
It's a question that I think just about EVERY couple planning a wedding asks: "Why do weddings cost SO much?!"
Don't worry, I asked the same exact question when I was planning my wedding. And I never really figured it out until AFTER my wedding when I started working in the industry, learning the ins and outs and what it really takes for a wedding to happen.
So at first, you're SUPER excited to start planning your wedding, right? And yeah, you know weddings can cost a good chunk of change... but when you start getting the proposals and quotes from people, THAT'S when it really hits you. I think a HUGE part of the issue is that you don't really have a good idea of what things cost before you have to dive into planning.
Whenever I give brides a ballpark range of what to expect something to cost, it's always so much easier for them to plan ahead and make decisions. There's just something about knowing what to expect ahead of time, right? (In regards to wedding pricing, I have some information you might be interested in knowing, found here.)
Here's the thing: when I was planning my wedding I did always wonder why things cost so much. But I was so focused on the COST that I never really considered or bothered to find out the why.
1. Making it happen.
What does it take to make a wedding happen? Wedding professionals. I don't know what it is about weddings, but for some reason, lots of people don't consider working in the wedding industry as a "normal" job. Maybe because weddings are such happy and fun times, so it's hard to think of any "work" being associated with them. (Confession: I was one of those brides who thought this!) Or maybe it's because there are indeed a few "hobbyists" in the wedding industry providing services to brides. Whatever it is that's causing this thought process, it's incorrect.
Wedding professionals aren't charging what they charge just for the heck of it. They charge what they charge because it's their livelihoods. Their career. How they put food on the table for their families. Sure, some charge less and some charge more, but it's what they think they're worth and what they need to live their lives. Oh and let's not forget about experience, which is also a huge factor of wedding professionals' costs too. And also, their TIME. They work during the week, and then they still have weddings on the weekend. Half the time, they're not even being paid enough for the time they put in, but it's what has to be done to make awesome weddings happen.
[Note: wedding professionals don't charge more because the word "wedding" is attached. This might be true for those who *aren't* in the wedding industry, but don't think it's true for those who are. Let's kill that myth right here and now.]
2. The *Things*
The *things*... so many things are needed for your wedding! Lots of them. And these things are also what "cost so much". Rentals, purchases, food, alcohol, flowers, linens, etc etc. They're all things, and are a HUGE part of wedding costs. These things usually have to be purchased (or rented) FOR your wedding, so they can be functional AT your wedding. [Get ready for a baking/cooking analogy because that's all I can think of right now...] Think of it this way: You want to make cookies to bring to a party. But before you can make your cookies, you have to buy all of the ingredients.
That's what the things for your wedding are. They're the elements, the ingredients, of your wedding. These things still cost money- they don't just appear out of thin air. And trust me- you don't want to buy them or make them yourself. So that's where wedding professionals come in, because they know, own, make, and have access to those things.
Yep, guests. THIS, my friends, is really why weddings cost so much. I probably say it once a month. The more guests you have, the more money you'll have to spend. It's more food, drinks, tables, linens, chairs, centerpieces... you get the gist of it, right? And it's something that you (the couple) can have complete control over (for the most part). If you don't want to spend much on your wedding -- keep your guest count small. That is the key!
4. What YOU Want.
You can be your own worst enemy when it comes to what your wedding costs -- I know I was! So a wedding costing "so much" could just be the results of what YOU want, and you may need to change up your expectations to accommodate your costs. But hey, it's AWESOME to know what you want -- just know that you might need to pay for it!
Out of all of the things above, it's important to determine which is the most IMPORTANT to you. Decide on this, and use it to help you decide on where to allocate your budget. It doesn't matter if you're just starting your planning, halfway through, almost done, or already married -- I'm sure one of these things is/was what you absolutely have/had to have!
I would love to hear from those of you who are fairly into your planning or already done of the areas mentioned above, where did you spend the most?