Why you MUST mention "wedding" when booking vendors (and it's not a money thing!)

It's no secret that weddings are expensive, and there are so many articles floating around that blame this on the "wedding tax".

What's the wedding tax?

The wedding tax is claimed to be an additional cost that a service incurs when it's for a wedding, instead of another more "standard" service. I've seen this advised over and over again, and though the wedding tax doesn't really exist, one of the top pieces of advice that's being given out to couples is this:

"Don't mention the 'w' word when booking vendors and services."

Come again?

And this piece of advice is everywhere - don't tell your photographer it's a wedding, say it's a reunion or a gathering. Don't tell the florist it's a bridal bouquet, just say it's an arrangement. And the list goes on and on through each vendor type.

This is legitimately awful advice, and here's why:

1. Omitting the detail about your event being a wedding can lead to improper service.

If you told me I was photographing a "gathering" of sorts (picture a family reunion or similar) I would bring entirely different gear/backup equipment than that of a wedding - so failing to tell me your wedding status can ultimately lead to improper or subpar service. Additionally, there are steps I take with couples before a wedding to make sure their event day goes smoothly - this includes things like getting family photo lists and building timelines and hiring assistants and questionnaires to fill out, the list goes on. None of this would be happening if I wasn't aware the event was a wedding - and the day might turn to chaos quickly.

2. Omission of information can lead to the cancelling of your service.

Let's take the floral example above - let's say for a regular arrangement, the florist orders the blooms to be delivered to their shop 5 days before your pickup date. If the floral delivery truck has a massive accident and doesn't make it, they're likely to offer you a different type of flower or more likely, a refund of your purchase.

But these just aren't arrangement flowers - it's your wedding bouquet. And suddenly you don't have the vision you want or the flowers you want, and in a worst case scenario, you may not have any at all.

But let's say you told the shop it was a wedding bouquet, and they ordered the blooms 10 days in advance. The truck still has the same accident. But now, they have time to order more blooms, possibly from another seller or from another shop, to make sure they're there in time for your event. The day is saved.

Extra precautions are taken by vendors when they're dealing with weddings to make sure your event is safe. Omitting this detail puts your event at risk.

3. Weddings have scarcity, and therefore added pressure - which your vendors can't accommodate beforehand without the knowledge.

When I know more concrete details of your event beforehand, it helps me make decisions about gear, assistants, etc. But even more so - I'm putting myself in an entirely different mindset that day. I'm prepared for all the questions I'll be asked and for parents and grandparents and to be the calming presence in the room - and if I'm expecting a boisterous family reunion, I'm not at all prepared for the wedding atmosphere, and your photographs are likely to be less expressive than they could have been.

The same goes for planners, for DJs, for venue owners - there are nuances to our jobs that would be difficult to execute on a whim if the detail about your event being a wedding was omitted.

4. Weddings can't be duplicated - and you shouldn't want to risk anything.

Yes, you can technically have multiple weddings - but you'll never have this same wedding, at this same point in your life. Never take risks regarding services surrounding your event because if something goes wrong, you have the potential to always remember that negative part of your wedding instead of all the positives.

The wedding tax is only real in the sense that great service, reliability, and safety nets all come with price tags - price tags worth paying on an event that can't be repeated. If you have specific questions about wedding prices, what to expect, or why something often costs the reason it does, please reach out and I'd be happy to talk with you.


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A wedding and portrait photographer based in Duluth + Minneapolis MN, traveling outward.

A believer in the honest and a photographer of the true moments that surround your life.

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