Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ask a Planner... "the centrepieces are how much!?!"


My fiancé and I are experiencing serious sticker shock at the costs being quoted to us for various wedding services. For example, we met with one photographer duo that charges $300.00/hour with a minimum of 6 hours for both of them and then we met with another photographer (just her) who charges a flat fee of $5000.00 plus tax for as many hours as you need her on the wedding day. Yikes! My question is why are some so inexpensive and others so expensive in comparison?  I like both photographer’s styles and am just trying to understand the difference.  We also met with 3 florists and they all quoted different prices even though we shared the same thoughts with each about what we were looking for. Again, what’s the difference?

Puzzled Bride

Hello Puzzled Bride,

Wedding Budgets come in all shapes and sizes, prices, and calibers and every wedding is important no matter what you are able and willing to spend.  Why a particular product or service may be more with one vendor than another can be due to several factors.  First of all, you need to ensure you are comparing apples to apples or in this case Roses to Roses.  For example, I once had a bride that received a quote for a centerpiece for $300.00 from a popular downtown florist, she then met with a “wholesale” florist who quoted $125.00 for “the exact same thing” or so the bride thought.  In the end the lesser expensive arrangement was exactly what I predicted it would be… a considerably scaled down (albeit still beautiful) version of the original $300.00 arrangement quoted.  The height and circumference of the vase was much smaller than the one that would have been used in the $300.00 arrangement AND there were about 2/3 less orchid stems both affecting the overall magnitude and diameter of the end result.  In this bride’s case, that is all she needed and the savings realized outweighed the desire for something grand.   

Other variables that will affect fees quoted in everything from photography to wedding planners to cake artists and beyond are years of experience, level of confidence, use of the latest technologies, how in demand a vendor is, and certainly their reputation.

The important thing to do is first ensure your budget is in line with your needs and wants and secondly HIRE THE RIGHT VENDORS for YOUR WEDDING.  As a planner, one of the first things we do after drawing up a realistic budget is short list vendors that will help maximize the bottom line OR the vision or both depending on a client’s priorities.  This is the “trick” to creating a successful end result no matter what your expectations may be -- hire vendors whose portfolio of work -- whether it be florists or photographers -- emulates the look you are going for. That way it’s not about how much you are spending, but rather the look you are trying to achieve. Another super important thing to do is BE HONEST WITH THE VENDORS you are meeting with and let them know your budget limitations up front so they can in turn be honest with you and help guide you in a realistic direction.

At DreamGroup, we have a list of vendors that we know will help maximize budgets and then a list of vendors that maximize visions and we try and ensure that we bring the right clients to the right vendors whenever possible. Of course, some of these vendors do overlap, but the point is that the vendors you hire should respect and appreciate your priorities whether it’s getting the best bang for your buck or upstaging the Jones’ daughter’s wedding. :O)  Don’t be frustrated at the varying quotes.  Just look for the one that you feel gets your vision and works within your budget parameters.  That’s all that matters.  Best of luck with your wedding plans!

Wedding Planner signing off!  Until next week… keep those questions coming in!  Submit your questions by emailing us at


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Genève McNally, Principal Planner, DreamGroup Productions

Genève first began her wedding career in 1999 as the Catering Manager for one of Vancouver’s most sought after wedding venues, Brock House Restaurant.  In 2004 Genève and college friend Sarah Shore ambitiously started up what is now one of Vancouver's longest running and most trusted wedding planning companies, DreamGroup Productions Inc.

These days, in addition to working with her clients in a full planning capacity, Genève focuses her attention on the sales and marketing aspects of the company and is most often the friendly voice you will chat with when first inquiring with DreamGroup.  Genève is known to inspire and excite both clients and industry associates alike with her exuberant personality and joie de vivre!  Her ability to be refreshingly candid and her in depth knowledge of the wedding industry have earned her the friendly moniker “Two-Cents McNally”.  Genève also teaches the Wedding Planning classes offered through the dg Academy and is the chief correspondent behind DreamGroup's weekly Blog feature Ask a Planner.

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Clare Day Flowers said...

I really like this post and the advice. Very sound. Nicely done.

Clare Day Flowers said...

I really like this post. Very good advice. Nicely done.