A few months ago, I expounded upon the virtues of finding what you value most on your wedding day (you can view it HERE). Essentially, what I said is this: A wedding is a luxury, not a necessity. One doesn’t need to have a party in order to get married. But for those who do, florals might be what they love most and for others the DJ or photography is more important.

You and your fiancé can easily become overwhelmed with options and how much things cost. So what do you do? You research. You ask a friend who recently got married, or consult wedding websites. Enter, The Knot and Wedding Wire. Inherently, they are good sites–what other place can former clients leave reviews that others can use as a benchmark to renew faith in vendors they are looking at? To top it off, they include tips and tricks for the newly engaged.

However…

They can also misinform. I’ve seen chart after chart of numbers of what the average vendor should cost which are completely inaccurate. To not seem biased and put forth due diligence, I both contacted and know the averages of some of my colleagues (and not just in photography). Their averages were different from those sites as well.

So where does this bring us? You, the consumer is whacked with sticker shock after reaching out to vendors. Then after calling a few people, the real averages start making sense. So why do the websites do this? Simply, to try to save you money (often they are based on averages over a whole continent).

But John, how is saving me money bad? Because usually when something is too good to be true, it is.

I get it. It’s expensive. You don’t know how you are going to pay for it all. But keep in mind that the saying, “You get what you pay for” applies to many things, including weddings. And while I can’t speak for other wedding professionals, I know friends who’ve gotten married who wish, in retrospect, that they spent just a little bit more in order to get a quality service. Maybe the DJ talked for most of the reception, the video crew never showed, or their photographer didn’t have a back up camera and missed important shots, etc. The list goes on longer than I care to mention. When I hear these stories, I often find out what they paid and who they really wanted and when I hear the difference in cost, it’s almost always negligible. So why pay more? My question to you is: Why pay less? Wouldn’t it be worth it to spend a little extra and be happy with your decision? Wouldn’t it be worth it to make a few more payments so you can have something you are proud of? Something that will stand the test of time?

If you take anything from this article, it would be this:

While websites are helpful, do your research. Find out what you are comfortable with and be open-minded. Find out who you like and what an average cost is, and if that person isn’t in your budget, think about the fact that it could be worth a few extra payments to have them. And, most importantly, use these websites as stepping stones and not as gospel. And above all, be happy with your decision!

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