I sat on the floor of my living room playing with my puppy and eating my morning yogurt. It was our typical morning routine with the Today Show playing softly in the background. But something caught my ear, and I hit up the volume a few notches. I sat there with my mouth hanging open. I was horrified and hurt about what I was witnessing. What followed in the next few minutes left me confused, and bewildered at the naiveness of the news anchors and the Rossen Report. In order for this blog post to not be a hundred pages long, you can watch the video here to get a grasp at what I’m talking about.
Dear Today Show,
So many thoughts flickered through my mind as I watched the video accusing vendors of marking up services specifically for weddings, even when the service and package was the exact same as a normal birthday party.
Most wedding vendors fall into two categories: 1) We charge the same price for a birthday party as we do a wedding or 2) We charge different prices for a birthday party vs. wedding. You proved this in your video. But is it wrong that we might charge more for a wedding then another service? Absolutely not.
We as wedding vendors (a photographer myself), work our butts off. We’re constantly trying to maintain our business, personal life, and make our couples the happiest they can be. We worry about being booked for the following year, have the stress of a business on our shoulders and the desire to make our clients the happiest they can be in our hearts. Sometimes juggling a full-time job as well (*raises hand*), are stay-at-home moms, or are just trying to make a living.
We’re entrepreneurs, dreamers, creative souls, and the hardest workers. We’re constantly defending our prices, services, and final product. Daily we have people scoffing at the price of a wedding photo package, asking for discounts or deals and not respecting the hard work that is put into what we do. And today, that person was you, Today Show.
Your report proved nothing. The DJ was right in saying that a wedding requires way more than an average birthday party. And that’s what I’m saying here. What did your report do? It confused our potential clients and it made wedding vendors seem sneaky and greedy. The level of misinformation is going to make it even worse for us to defend our prices going forward. And to top it all off? Now we have to deal with clients sneakily sending emails about birthday parties to price check us and our integrity.
I’m not explaining the following for you. I’m explaining it for my future clients, my fellow vendors, and the general public so they can be rightfully educated on vendor pricing and why its different (if the vendor chooses it to be different at all). So let me gently explain the difference between a wedding and a birthday party, from a photographers aspect. A wedding, from start to finish, consists of the following:
A wedding and a birthday party are two different beasts. A birthday party might require one face-to-face meeting, possibly a second shooter, a few nights of editing, and we’re done. Even if both events have the same hours, same package, and same number of people. A birthday party is a birthday party. You have one every year. A wedding only happens once and is essentially “one of the most important days in someones life that rests entirely on your shoulders and if you screw it up your business and livelihood is dead.” It’s months of planning, preparation, and “behind the scenes.”
There’s a lot more riding on the shoulders of a vendor when it comes to a wedding. A lot more stress. More work. More risk. We have every right to price it differently, if we choose to go that route. Please don’t disrespect us and make running a business more challenging than it is already.
All the best,