In my seven years of planning weddings, I've worked with budgets from $5000 to $50,000+ and I've come across all levels of prices for every service. Like I mentioned above, since most couples are planning an event of this size for the first time I wanted to help provide some insight as to what goes behind the pricing from a few very successful vendors in the Vancouver wedding industry. It's easy to look at the product or service and think that it's just a one day thing and automatically jump to the conclusion that it's priced too high. The vendors who will be featured over the next while have given some pretty transparent answers which I think will help immensely! I'll also throw in a few of my own tips.
Take "affordable" out of your vocabulary
I know what you are thinking... "Sara, are you crazy? You talk about budget all the time and now you want me to forget about affordable??". You are partly correct about that... I do talk about budget a lot and I really believe that to help reduce stress in planning that sticking to your budget is key (you can read what I say about deciding on a budget being your first wedding planning task in this previous blog post).
But as for the word affordable it can actually be less helpful than you think. Very often, I see couples post on wedding Facebook pages or other sites asking for "affordable (insert service here)". Then they get multiple replies and have to search through them and they might still not fit the budget. The biggest thing to remember is that the term affordable is different for each couple. Not only is it going to depend on overall budget but also the importance you place on that particular service. My advice is that if you are going to post asking for recommendations to also include your max budget for what you are looking for and then that should help direct the responses to be more helpful to you and save you time in the long run. Remember the saying that time is money! It's also a lot less stressful when you aren't falling in love with vendors and then realizing that you might not be able to afford them.
So, what is behind the costs of all of these services? The thing to remember is that you aren't just paying for the final product or the day of service. This is one of the questions I wanted to ask the vendors who are taking part in this series along with how long they have been in the industry, the amount of time they spend on each wedding, etc. What I really hope is that reading these answers will assist with all the couples who are planning their weddings and feeling the pressure of staying within their budget.
First up is Joanna Moss of Joanna Moss Photography. I've had the pleasure of working with her at a wedding last year for our clients Linda and Alex as well as a styled shoot that was featured on the Wedluxe blog in December. Joanna has an amazing eye for details and really captures your entire wedding day in a beautiful, timeless way.
How long have you been in business?
How many weddings do you book each year?
What do you love about working on weddings?
I love the joy of the day, everyone is happy.
What is the average amount of hours that you put into each wedding?
On average I put in about 50-60 hours over the course of a year. That includes, consultations, emails, phone calls, research, engagement session (editing, backing up, uploading), preparing for wedding day, timelines, wedding day (editing, backing up uploading), social media posts, blog posts, book designs, book revisions, and delivery.
What factors go into/went into determining your prices?
My rate is based on the amount of hours I put into each wedding. Products are priced separately.
Any extra comments on pricing for weddings?
There is a lot going on in the background that couples purchasing services aren't aware of. It's easy to purchase products because you see exactly what you're paying for. If we structured ourselves the same way some other non-wedding industry service providers like lawyers and billed/invoiced for every phone call and every meeting etc, you'd see how much time goes into your wedding and you wouldn't be as sticker shocked by the price
Joanna has a great point about what would happen if wedding vendors billed like lawyers do. There really is so much time away from the camera that photographers put into each couple which of course has to be taken into consideration when setting prices for their services. When you are interviewing photographers (or any vendor for that matter) feel free to ask questions like this. Of all the vendors I've chatted to about this, they have all said they are happy to answer these questions... they want you to feel how confident they are in what they provide. And if you happen to come across someone who can't really answer them then they may not be the right fit for you.
Coming up next in a few days, I talk to Jenny, owner of Mink Makeup and Hair. Watch for it on the blog soon!
As always, if you have any questions, email me or leave a comment!