New York Times writer and bride, Catherine Rampell, took dead aim in a December 3rd column to shred the wedding industry, en masse. The article, titled “The Wedding Fix Is In”, demonstrated a colossal amount of frustration and ignorance. (You MUST read the article, despite the fact that your blood will come to a full boil.)
Among others, Rampell quoted
“David M. Wood, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants, said ‘part of the problem is that most brides are first-time shoppers. They are less informed about what a “fair” price is, or how long it should take to discover prices’…”
Wood statement is a reasonable one (shown fully in Rampell’s article). Unfortunately article misses the point, almost entirely.
Wedding Services/Products are NOT Commodities
A Bentley gets you from point A to point B. So does a Ford Fiesta. They are both cars; however, they are not in the same universe of equivalence.
Anybody with a camera does not constitute a professional wedding photographer. The training, skills, customer rapport, and most important… their eye, constitute the totality of their craft. It is this intangibility that constitutes value and special appeal to some brides and grooms.
It is not as simple as saying, ‘You get what you pay for.” though that is often the case.
With the dawning of the internet, brides have more information than they could ever dream of, and as a result, they are overwhelmed. The more comparisons they make, it is not unusual to glaze over.
The biggest demon in planning a wedding is time. The less time allotted, the greater chance for error. A wedding is a one-shot performance (see The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood).
Weddings are live events. They are scheduled, not scripted. Some go well; others go into a ditch. In large part, the mistakes are not a function of money, but poor decision making. It is arrogant to believe that a first-time bride, acting as her own wedding planner, will not have regrets, in retrospect, over poor decision making.
Hiring a competent wedding planner to help manage decision making and advise on budgeting is the single most important choice a bride can make,
In the real world, there are excellent wedding professionals, average wedding professionals, and a few clowns. Brides come in a wide range, too. The most common brides are over-confident, confident, and caught-up-in-the-process. Brides with perspective, patience, and priorities get the best result.
The issue of pricing on websites is one of continuing debate, among wedding professionals. In part, because many brides have established a ‘budget’ expectation by throwing a dart a pricing board, and fail to engage in more in-depth discussion. In reality, sitting down in a business office or studio is likely to take time, and will yield a more complete understanding of that category of business, and that specific business. And yes, that takes time. Acquiring knowledge generally takes more time than just asking the price.
Simply stomping one’s feet, and complaining that the process is unfair, begs the point. Planning a wedding is complex and emotional process. A reporter’s clueless rant doesn’t enhance the process of wedding planning, one iota.
So… ‘Miz Bride, Were you look for a Bentley, a Ford Fiesta, or something in-between? And were you planning to come to the dealership and drive one, or do you just want the price over the phone?’
I’m working on a New Year’s pledge to be less snarky, but topics such as this one make it quite difficult.
I’m sure you understand.