Thanks for stopping in and congratulations to all of you who got engaged over the holidays! You’re probably beginning the wedding planning process and are overwhelmed with information. One of the hardest parts of planning a wedding is being educated on how much things really cost so you can make informed decisions. Below I’ve broken down some of the vendors whose prices seem to vary the most. I’ve split the prices up into low, medium, and elite costs. The reason these prices vary so much is because these vendors are providing a service, not a product. A service requires skill and experience so when you hire a low-cost vendor you’re usually hiring a low experience vendor; same goes for elite vendors – elite price, elite service. Sorry that this blog is a little long, but here we go! Let’s talk about the average costs of these vendors in the Raleigh, NC area:
Wedding Planner: Low - $300-1,500 | Medium: $1,500-$4,000 | Elite $4,000+
Wedding planners are the unsung heroes of the industry. Wedding planners offer an array of services from day of coordinating, week of planning, month of planning, and whole process planning. Elite planners will book your choice vendors for you and proof their contracts, set up on your wedding day, and schedule travel for out of town guests. They are usually your planning partner for at least 6 months and most will provide design services to achieve the look you want. Low cost planners usually offer day of coordinating or week of planning which is useful for telling people where to go and when on the day of your wedding.
Venue: Low - $0 - $5,000 | Medium - $5,000 - $10,000 | Elite - $10,000+
Venues provide an array of services, some even include the food in the price! Low cost venues will usually not include anything other than the space and maybe tables and chairs. Elite venues will usually provide everything: food, drink, tables, chairs, linens, food and drink, cake, flowers, planner, and sometimes decorations. Medium priced venues could include everything or nothing besides the space. Be sure to talk with your planner and the venue about what is included with the venue and make sure it is spelled out clearly in the contact.
Photography: Low - $500-$1,000 | Medium - $1,000-$4,000 | Elite - $4,000+
Photography is the kicker. This is the one where if you have the money to get an elite vendor SPEND IT. Low budget photographers are usually new to the wedding industry, medium priced photographers will usually have at least one year of wedding experience under their belt, and elite photographers have years of experience and the top of the line equipment. Generally more experience = better quality photos = a higher price tag. The price you pay will also reflect how many hours the photographer is on site, how many prints you get, and the type of photo release you will receive. You can save money by cutting down on hours your photographer covers and trimming some of the bells and whistles, but I would not recommend skimping on photography.
Videography: Low - $700-$1000 | Medium - $1,000-$5,000 | Elite - $5,000+
Video at weddings is a relatively new trend, but he same concept goes for videographers as photographers: the price reflects how how experienced they are and the number, length, and quality of videos you receive in the end. Be sure to watch the videos your videogrpaher produces to see if you like their style before booking with them.
A few tips from one budget bride to another: If you're on a tight budget, make sure you save up and designate the proper amount for the vendor that's most important to you so you get the best service in that area. If you can't afford the vendor you specifically want, don't be afraid to tell a vendor you only have $X in your budget for their service. They will either tell you that they can offer you 'this' much for that price, or refer you to another trusted vendor who can accommodate your budget. Don't be afraid to ask for a payment plan, either. Most vendors will break up payments leading up to the wedding so all the expenses don't hit at once. However, always be respectful when asking for favors; vendors don't owe you a discount just because you're on a tight budget.