If there is one question we see over and over again in our Burgh Brides Pittsburgh Wedding Planning and Ideas Facebook Group, it’s brides asking for recommendations of reasonably priced Pittsburgh wedding vendors. Because this topic is SO prevalent, we felt compelled to address it and its underlying issues. Don’t get us wrong; we completely understand that a vast majority of couples have a strict wedding budget! And we definitely aren’t trying to steer you into spending more money than you’re comfortable spending. But, there are a few problems with searching for “reasonably priced wedding vendors” we think you should know about.
“Reasonable” is subjective.
Every couple is working with a different wedding budget. Therefore, what might be considered “reasonable” by one could be considered “expensive” or even “inexpensive” by another. For example, spending $6,000 on a wedding photographer could certainly work for the couple with a $60,000 wedding budget, but it definitely won’t for those looking to spend $15,000 on their celebration. What is affordable for one is totally out of the budget for the next, making “reasonably priced” something completely personal. When you ask for “reasonably priced” vendors, it’s really a loaded question. We have no idea what you’re hoping to spend and therefore can’t give accurate, personalized recommendations. You would be better off simply stating a number for suggestions tailored to suit your needs.
Just say what you mean.
“Reasonably priced”, “just starting out”, and “won’t cost an arm and a leg” are all words we’ve heard describing the wedding professionals some couples are searching for. These phrases all have one thing in common: they’re euphemisms for “inexpensive”. There isn’t anything wrong with having a budget, not wanting to pay more than you can afford, or generally not caring to spend a lot of money on something that isn’t important to you. Let me repeat and be clear: WANTING TO HIRE SOMEONE INEXPENSIVE IS OK. But if that’s what you’re after, just say that. Don’t dance around the obvious by using words like “reasonably priced” because it insinuates that any vendor who charges above what you can afford or want to spend is unreasonably priced…which leads us to our next point.
Basically, when couples say they’re looking for someone “reasonably priced,” what vendors hear is “I don’t respect your work enough to pay what you think you’re worth.” And that’s super personal to them.
A vendor will NEVER be insulted if you say that they simply aren’t within your budget. In fact, they will probably silently thank you for not wasting their time or totally ghosting them. However, they likely will be insulted if you start trying to nickel and dime them to death or ask them to cut their prices in half. Most pros are willing to negotiate a little bit, so go ahead and give it a try. But it won’t always work and that’s because…
Pricing isn’t based on cost of goods or services alone.
Wedding vendors charge what they charge for good reason. When you see that a wedding DJ costs $2,000 or more, you might think, “But they just play music!” So. Not. True. Yes, you’re paying them to play music, but there are some factors that weigh into their pricing that you might not be considering:
- Cost of equipment (and it’s EXPENSIVE)
- Music downloads, subscriptions, or licenses
- Standard business expenses such as stamps, ink, or printer paper
- Time spent emailing, on phone calls, or in meetings prior to the wedding
- Final wedding prep work, including finalizing timelines, coordinating with other vendors, testing and retesting equipment, downloading specifically requested songs, and more
- Parking, tolls, mileage, and other costs of travel
- Payments to an assistant or staff who help with things like booking, billing, email management, administrative work, set up and tear down, and other tasks
- State and federal taxes (yep, wedding pros gotta pay the government just like everyone else)
- Years and years of experience that allow you to have wedding day music that is flawlessly executed
- Not to mention health insurance, mortgage payments or rent, utilities, putting food on the table, basic human necessities…the list goes on and on
As you can see, you aren’t just paying for someone who “plays music;” you’re actually paying for a whole lot more than that.
Allow us to paint a picture for you. Let’s say you who get a haircut and highlights every 8 weeks, spending approximately $200 each visit. You’ve been going to the same stylist for years because she does a bang up job and you never have to worry about how your hair is going to turn out. You would never try to haggle with the stylist or salon’s prices because you respect her experience and talent and peace of mind has its price. Could you get you the same look with a drugstore box of hair dye and save some serious cash? Maybe, but is it really worth the risk?
Now apply this scenario to your wedding day. Can you find some pretty cheap wedding vendors out there? Probably, but are you really willing to gamble your once in a lifetime event to save a few hundred bucks?
Really inexpensive vendors hurt the wedding industry as a whole.
We are BIG believers that you get what you pay for. If a wedding vendor quotes you a price that is well below what you are finding elsewhere, it might just be too good to be true. There are a few reasons they might be charging so little. First and foremost, they might be very inexperienced. Is your wedding day really something you want to leave in the hands of a novice? Remember, there are no do-overs. Secondly, this may not be the vendor’s full time job or commitment. We aren’t knocking those side-hustlers! Every vendor has to start somewhere and sometimes you have to work a boring 9 – 5 until your dream gig takes off. But a word to the wise – make sure you’re dealing with a vendor who takes their side hustle, obligations, and clients seriously. Unfortunately, some part-time vendors aren’t as committed as others and you don’t want to be left picking up the pieces of a broken contract. Thirdly, the vendor might not know what they’re worth. This may work in the couple’s favor if they can snag a talented wedding pro at a bargain price. However, one final reason for that low, low price just might be they might be trying to undercut the rest of the industry. Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with other professionals. Why? Because it gives couples unrealistic expectations of just how much a wedding can cost. A lowball price can be very tempting, but booking based on price alone is rarely a good idea. Read what other factors you should consider when hiring your wedding vendors!
Wedding budgets are NOT a bad thing, and we’d NEVER encourage going into debt for what is essentially a big party. But we hope this post will provide some food for thought for those searching for “reasonably priced wedding vendors.”