It’s no secret that weddings are an expensive thing, but just how much they can cost never fails to surprise newly engaged couples. Today Samantha shares the secrets behind your spending, to help you understand just how much wedding suppliers actually cost, but why they’re totally worth their weight in cofetti…
Whilst it isn’t always necessary to fork out a fistful of cash for your wedding day, it is important to remember that for some aspects of your wedding, your hard earned pennies really are going a long way to ensure a perfect day.
As a wedding planner, I often hear questions asked over the supposedly ridiculous sums of money being requested by certain suppliers for the services they supply. But it is important to remember that in many cases, your finance doesn’t just fund what you see on the day. Hours and hours of hard work, quality equipment, and professional commitment go in to your wedding, both before and after the big day itself – so here’s a little glimpse in to the truth about supplier fees, and why many in the industry are simply worth their salt when saying ‘I do.’
The facts: Most photographers will snap away for an average 10 – 12 hours on a wedding day, capturing your every tiny moment from when you put your mascara on, to when you cry it off again during the first dance. They never miss a beat to ensure that you don’t miss a moment.
That’s a long time to be running around on your feet come rain or shine, with a heavy camera around your neck, different lenses in hand, and with a back pack the size of a small suitcase never leaving your side either. Often, they don’t even get a spare moment to nip to the loo or grab a sip of water between shots of the bridal party and your mingling guests.
Photographers work hard. Fact.
Not to mention then the hours – days! – spent editing on average 600-1000 photos after the wedding, to ensure you get that one memorable snap above your mantelpiece. And, of course, there’s the engagement shoot they did with you a few weeks before, the endless emails, the studying the venue and day plan, and the travel they put in to being there on your day… those extra hours really do clock up!
I’m a big believer in good photography, and truly feel that where your photos are concerned it’s worth paying well. These are the memories that will last a life time… and you’re paying for an artist, after all.
Look out for: Photographers who offer a full package from start of the day until shortly after the first dance, rather than by setting time restraints. Second shooters are always a bonus for maximum coverage (they have to be paid as well though!), and how many photos you receive after the wedding and in what format all counts in ensuring your money goes far.
Recommended Spend: £1,500 – £3,000.
The facts: Pretty much the same as above! These guys use some bloody expensive equipment don’t forget, and that needs insuring too. It might seem pricey now, but in years to come, having the beautiful footage of your father’s speech will prove truly priceless.
Look out for: What equipment will your videographer use on the day – is it HD and loaded with snazzy extras? Will they be using a drone? (They should use a drone – drones are AWESOME). Find out how long the finished video will run for, and whether your guests can download copies of the highlights too.
Recommended Spend: £1500-£2500
The Facts: The cost of a florist will of course depend largely upon the sort of flower display you’d like for your wedding. If you want big, blousy blooms, large red roses, lilies, and peonies a-plenty, it’s important you’re prepared to pay for them (or else consider cheaper alternatives!).
But even so, a florist is responsible not just for styling the day itself, but for all the creativity that goes into helping you implement the bulk of the décor. Often, they spend long hours in and out of consultation with you making a plan to help achieve your dream floral vision, and in the days before the wedding they work all hours taking delivery, visiting the flower markets, and prepping and pruning the perfect posies, in order to put it all together on the day – which in itself will take a whole morning!
There’s also all the props and pretty vases, candles, ribbons and wire, that come together to create a floral feast for the eyes.
Look out for: photographic examples of a florist’s work will give you a clear vision of what to expect for your money. Find out whether you’ll need to hire props and vases separately or if this is part of the package, and will the florist be growing her own seasonal blooms or ordering them in?
Recommended Spend: £1000 – £3000 (depending on your expectations!)
The Facts: Brides are often rather surprised at the cost of a wedding cake, but remember we’re talking about a cake that’s at least 2 tiers bigger than your standard birthday bake, and with enough sponge packed in to feed the hundreds!
Quality cakes use quality ingredients – Belgian chocolate, freshly laid eggs, the finest sugar – these things don’t come cheap! Your cake maker will spend a good few days working in her kitchen to ensure the base is perfectly balanced and the right amount of spring is in your sponge. As for icing – that sugar crafted cascade of flowers will have taken oooh hours of fiddly perfection to get right!
Look out for: Try before you buy – look at previous examples of your supplier’s work, and go for a tasting to choose your flavours. Delicious cakes are something to be sampled! Find out where your cake’s ingredients will be sourced from and the quality of them, plus whether your hire includes a stand and set up fee too. If you’re after something more exquisite, find out where your cake maker trained and what creative qualifications they have to justify their cost.
Recommended spend: £350-500 for 3 tiers.
The facts: When you hire a band, it’s important to note you’re not booking one man; you’re probably booking 4 or 5 of them. Similarly, you’re not just paying for 2 x 1 hour sets – you’re paying for the hour set up, the set, the break, the set again, and the break down – and that can be 5 or 6 hours on site, not even counting the travel.
Then there’s the rehearsals… learning the new songs you’ve requested… preparing your playlists… it all adds up!
At the end of the night, think how exhausted you felt after dancing. Yep, them too. Being super cool on stage comes at quite a toll!
Look out for: Consider how many people are in the band and where they’re coming from – could you look for a group that’s smaller or nearer? Check out their current playlists and repertoire – do they already cover most of the songs you want to hear or will you be asking for a few extras? Will they take requests on the night? Make sure you listen to their music in advance, even if it’s a recording or a video, to see what their talent is really all about and how they respond to their crowd.
Recommended Spend: £800-£1,200
The Facts: Remember that time you hosted Christmas for Mum, Dad, Granny, Grandpa, your Aunts, Uncles, their seven unruly children, and Great-Auntie Norah’s dog? Well imagine that, but times it by 10. Yeah. Stress.
Your caterers will have been up since dawn peeling and prepping fancy vegetables, chilling chocolate, and trying to work out which wine is for the tables, and which is for the bar. Not to mention that last night they set up an entire kitchen in a field for you.
A good catering team doesn’t just consist of the one chap you were emailing beforehand, there are chefs, sous chefs, waiting staff, bar staff, delivery people, office people – a whole small army of people involved in ensuring the starters come out at 18:00. These people have been working for days to prepare your wedding breakfast, and they won’t stop when it finishes either. Pots need to be cleaned, cutlery filed, and ovens collected; all before they can sit down and tuck in to a sandwich.
Look out for: What equipment does your caterers/venue already have at their disposal, or will they need to hire something in? Do you need a generator for them? A chiller unit? Where will they source their ingredients, and what’s the presentation like? Will it be silver service at the table, or a help yourself buffet? Always go for a tasting to get your menu just-so and read up on past testimonials about not just the food but the service too. You pay for top quality in a restaurant, so do it on your wedding day as well.
Recommended Spend: £80-£100 per head.
So there you have it, it’s not just a case of popping on a frock and raising a glass on the day. Hours and pennies go in to a wedding, not just for you the organised bride, but for everyone involved in making your dream come true.
Sure, cut your budget where you can, and there’s lots of ways to do so too. But where quality is concerned, sometimes you really do get what you pay for… so spend those pennies wisely!
Post written By Samantha Kelsie Imbimbo and first published on Wedding Planner. Post later published on Oh So Perfect and UK Celebrant blogs. All images in this post are by Sarah Gawler Photography and show images from Jonathan and Muncelle’s wedding – planned and coordinated by Oh So Perfect.