Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles "Hello?" "I'm, uh, planning a wedding for next spring." "Quick quote on a venue for a family gathering." "Between 120 and 130 guests." "For 125 people." "We're aiming for April 16th." "The 16th." "That's gonna be a $15,000 food and beverage minimum." "The food and beverage minimum is gonna be $17,000." "OK." This 2,000 dollar difference is what's known as the "wedding mark-up" where some vendors charge a higher price for weddings than for other similar parties. So why are weddings so expensive? The wedding website "The Knot" surveyed thousands of its members and found that the average cost of their weddings was thirty-one thousand dollars last year. That's not including honeymoon. Wedding dresses average at thirteen hundred dollars and catering comes in at $68 dollars per person. And those numbers are a lot higher if you live in places like New York, Chicago, DC or San Francisco. The wedding industry is kinda weird and it's an industry that I have quite a bit of experience in. My wife Isabel and I run a wedding videography business in Washington DC and here's my take on why weddings are so expensive. There's this economic concept called asymmetric information. With most things you buy you have a pretty good gage in what you're getting for what you pay for. You're pretty sure that an 8 dollar avocado is way too much because you've bought avocados before. Familiarity with a market produces balanced information between buyers and sellers and so they can settle on a fair price. This is like Economics 101. But most people shopping for wedding stuff have very little, if any, experience with what they're buying. Cake, dress, napkins, catering, venues, flowers. This is stuff you just don't buy very often so you don't have a very good gage on what you should be paying. This is made a lot harder by the fact that us wedding vendors have a hard time posting prices on our website. You usually have to reach out and inquire to get any sort of pricing information. Imagine if you had to ask for pricing for every item in the grocery store. Shopping would be a lot harder. When I first was starting up my business, I read a ton of blogs about marketing to prospective clients. And overwhelming message that I kept reading is "steer away from talking about price". "We've put together a free report that shows you how to answer the "price question" with those email leads in a way that shift them away from price quickly so you can get them on the phone or to a meeting where you can book them!" And then there's Pinterest. Pinterest can be really useful I think using it as a starting point. It's an amazing tool for wedding inspiration or if you have an experienced wedding planner by your side, but usually doesn't help with the price question. And you see all these like amazing dresses and you can click on it to like get more information. You're gonna get a lot more pictures , but you're not gonna find any pricing information. And of course, there's always the option to "repin" it if you'd like to. If you are like a normal person with on a budget like you're setting yourself up to be let down. Another thing that makes wedding so expensive is the once-in-a-lifetime mentality. The classic line for brides shopping for a wedding dress is. It's the dress of your life, and if there's ever a one picture your ancestors have of you, it's the one in your wedding dress." That's wedding dress designer Anne Barge talking on the plan of money. I'm as guilty as anyone of this. Here's one of our very first ads. It's all about that once-in-a-lifetime feel. It's just really hard not to splurge when you put so much weight into one day. It's easy to look at this and think there's no doubt that wedding vendors are ripping off their clients. But there's another side to the story that I think is important to mention. Corporate flowers for example. There's probably going to be direction but maybe there's a little bit more flexibility where as a bride has dreamt up a certain flowers and she has been pinning it. And she wants to talk to the florist multiple times about the bouquet and the ribbon treatment, and the fact that her grandmother's broach is gonna be on that bouquet. It's a lot of time and energy spent on those flowers and that's gonna be reflected in the cost. The upshot of this is that the emotional weight of weddings usually means more work for vendors, and thus higher prices. And the most demanding clients are the ones that set the prices for everyone. So the best thing you can do to avoid being swindled is to demand the price range before hearing a sales pitch. We vendors might hate it but it's the fair thing to do.