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Old March 28th, 2005, 05:26 PM   #1
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why would a couple spend disproportionatly on a reception?

I did a wedding where the ceremony was bear-bones...maybe $800-$1000 on decorations. After the ceremony, I packed up and drove the 15 minutes to the reception expecting it to be another budget fare...low and behold, they had spent probably over $10k on the reception at a lavish local country club? Anybody else see some disproportionately spent money?
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Old March 28th, 2005, 05:29 PM   #2
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Dunno... It's their wedding. Don't they get to decide how to spend the money?
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Old March 28th, 2005, 05:44 PM   #3
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I don't think he is questioning the ethics of their spending, but rather, just wondering why the might be doing it that way.

I have worked with some couples who see the ceremony as more of a formality and look at the reception as the party that they really look forward to. I have also worked with couples who really go out of their way to make the reception impressive and a 'great party', and their ceremony had more of an emotional tone to it.
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Old March 28th, 2005, 06:13 PM   #4
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Some clients spend more on their cake than videography...lol. It's just the way it is. The better we become at our craft and the more our work gets out there...the more things like this will change. If brides see what modern wedding videgraphy is supposed to be I'm sure they'd be more inclined to budget their money a bit differently. There are some stigmas to break yet.
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Old March 28th, 2005, 07:10 PM   #5
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"Some clients spend more on their cake than videography...lol"

thats a line i actually use to some clients when they question how much the packages cost..

I actaulyl ask them, "how much did u spend on yoru cake? or How much did u spend on the cars? these things will not last as long as your Wedding DVD.. butas mentioned the stigma that video is sub par really boils my blood, as THAT stigma was founded by afew bad eggs whove pretty much ruined the industry and our reputations as professionals and artists.

Im not happy about it, but if i can at least change the way video is seen for my own work (at least) then i know that im not wasting my time and energy...
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Old March 28th, 2005, 07:13 PM   #6
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That's the way I'd do it. Simple ceremony, lavish reception. I see the ceremony as more of an intimate/emotional time for close family and friends. While the reception is more of a party for everyone in your life.

Coming from a hotel/restaurant family, I can tell you what the videographer is up against (and how the caterers sell their product)

Selling point #1:
Everyone remembers if the reception was good or bad. The reception is what leaves the memory, the ceremony tends to be just a blip. Ask people what they remember about a wedding and 9 out of 10 times they'll remember the reception. That's how you convince people to spend on music, food, and drinks.

Selling point #2:
No matter what the event, EVERYONE remembers if the food was good or bad. Doesn't the matter what happened during the event, people remember the food. If the food is bad, EVERYONE remembers. It can literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. And it will be remembered and magnified for years to come. Ask anybody about any past event, they might not remember the people, but they sure will remember if that food was good.

So yeah, Glen's right, you are competing directly with that wedding cake for your piece of the pie.

I think the hardest sell for the videographer is that money spent on the reception will have a greater impact on more people over time than the video. The wedding video may only be viewed by immediate/close family and then put away for years to come.
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Old March 28th, 2005, 11:31 PM   #7
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HI Michael,
Just my opinion, bu I think that people don't spend as much time and money on their ceremony when they aren't raised with in faith. The degree to which they believe in any organized religion can limit them. The ceremony may just not be important to them. There are many modern age things at work. Many of today's couples are the children of divorsed parents and don't believe that marriage is forever, and the lack of ceremonial details reflects that. In our area only about 35 - 50% of the invited guests even attend the ceremony. They go straight to the reception. The reception is the celebration that people remember and that is where the money is spent.
Just my thoughts.
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Old March 28th, 2005, 11:52 PM   #8
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"Just my opinion, bu I think that people don't spend as much time and money on their ceremony when they aren't raised with in faith. The degree to which they believe in any organized religion can limit them. The ceremony may just not be important to them."

Kathy, while I'm tempted to agree with that, I've also seen the opposite just as often. Many couples who are raised in a specific religion dont' see the need to spend a large chunk of money on decorating a church with lavish flowers, etc... because they don't want anything to take away from or distract from the religious ceremony.

As someone else already mentioned, the ceremony is a religious and emotional event, the reception is a party.
It makes sense to me to spend the bulk of the money on the 'party.'

And also, from a purley economical point of view.... the ceremony will be at the most 1 hour, the reception is usually around 3 to 4 hours if not more. Seems like it just makes more financial sense to spend the bulk of the money where you will spend the most time.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 01:02 AM   #9
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The ceremony is run by others for the benefit of church, elders and God(s).

The party is for the couple.

Hence, the money spent on the party.
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Old April 1st, 2005, 06:25 AM   #10
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Another point is that some churches doesn't allow any kind of decorations. Is a rule. Like: No taped flowers (They damage the seats and take out the finished paint) Maybe some flowers at the altar, but no bubbles, no rices, no roses on the floor, why? cause no member of the family stay there to clean up the mess, at least thats the reason they give.

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Old April 1st, 2005, 11:34 PM   #11
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Everyone spends more on the reception, when you consider the meal. Many reception halls include decoration with the meal, which can easily trump the church. My ceremony cost $750, reception 25K... It costs alot to feed people...
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 08:44 PM   #12
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Having viewed this process from the perspective of both client and vendor, I can add some comments.

First, the marriage license is mandatory, everything else is optional. And I do mean everything. People will add or omit anything the mind can imagine depending where their interests lie and what their resources will allow.

As a Justice of the Peace, I have been called upon to officiate in a variety of scenarios, ranging from a simple gathering at the clients' home with a small number of family and friends and light refreshments served, to a gala event on the beach with horses and boats. Even a kegger in the woods with friends of the bride and groom jamming Southern rock on acoustic guitars.

In virtually every case, the food & beverage bill is by far the lion's share.

I agree that things can often appear disproportionate, even illogical. As "executive producer" (father-of-the-bride) of a recent wedding, several things caught my eye. The $1100 wedding dress was about 5% less perfect than the $4500 one. I didn't bother looking at the $6500 one my daughter had seen. Quotes from florists ranged by a factor of 6-to-1; we went with the lowest one which just tiptoed into the four-digit range...results were excellent. For another $60 we had orchids shipped in from Hawaii...the impact was spectacular. Instead of paying florists' silly prices for an arch, my wife and her art teacher friend picked up an arch at Michaels' craft store ($12) and a couple hundred dollars worth of supplies and had a field day. I added a US flag (Wal-Mart, $28) to suspend above the stage.

Everything took place at one location (the rental of the venue was handled under the caterer's bill); therefore, no church, no church decorations, no limo from church to reception, etc. I wrote the ceremony and officiated (that's right, no JP fees).

As for music: as a DJ I charge retail clients $700 to $900. A colleague DJ (who also happens to be a videographer, what a small world) offered a $400 rate to handle it for me (we gave him a $200 tip afterward). Since I had scripted this whole business in the style of corporate theater, it required a fair measure of coordinating with the DJ, including timing, cues, etc. Other than the food, the music is the one thing people will remember the quality of. DJ fees are a drop in the bucket of your total wedding costs; find a good one and you'll thank yourself forever. (mine cost less than the chocolate fountain for dessert; your mileage may vary) Of course, if you want to hire Duran Duran or Black-Eyed Peas to play at your wedding, expect the fee to be higher! :-)

As a non-wedding (catalogue and promotional) photographer, I looked for a photographer whose shooting style went beyond that of the tired old Hasselblad-jockey who has done a million weddings and to whom they are all the same, and found a young wedding photojournalist for a high energy look (interesting, he holds an Emmy award for broadcast news video editing, what a small world) who was willing to sell me full-buyout rights (this is major!), he delivers the Photoshop files to me on DVD, and I will look after album-printing at my own pace.

Now for video. I have found that the majority of weddings have photo but no video. But my friends in the business seem to find enough activity in the minority to keep busy. I don't shoot weddings (and was obviously busy) but wanted to accommodate those who wanted this wedding to have video. For acquisition, I pulled a personal favor (family friend, using my equipment), so my cost=$0 (plus tape stock). Post-production will be done by me. Cost=only my time. Your clients may have no clue how much time it takes so you may need to educate them as to its value. If you are shooting a wedding, you should certainly charge a rate sufficient to cover your time and effort. And it will wind up being somewhere bewteen that of the DJ and the caterer. Again, the biggest chunk of the price of a wedding is the food & beverage. By far.

Everything, as I have said, other than the marriage license, is optional. (including a reception) It can be anything, and I haven't seen everything. it could include pyro (which I used to use for corporate events, but I shy away from after that RI nightclub tragedy) or theatrical lighting or choral groups or dance troupes. It's all in where the clients' interests are what what resources they bring to the table. And I don't just mean money. They may have a venue (or a membership at a potential venue), a boat, a friend with a special talent, a PowerPoint show of old pictures of the bride and groom, anything. And the client may want to add a personal touch, whether it be the $200 box of Macanudos or the afterparty at the bar down the street, or whatever.

A wedding is whatever the client makes it.
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