Wedding planning is full of ups and downs, I should know, I am knee deep in it! There are so many decisions to make and prices to consider. What is the best price for a cake? Do I need the five hour open bar or will four do? Do I really need the blow up guitars and fake plastic Hawaiian leis? Everything in the wedding industry is marked up way beyond its par value. Typical markups can range from 10% to 200% depending on the item or service and can get as high as 500% to 600% in some instances. Vendors bank on the idea that this is the most important day of your life and you are planning to spare no expense. Let’s not lie, not all of us have that luxury. This article by Kelli B. Grant gives some insight into where the markups are focused and what to pay attention to when planning your wedding. In some cases, as the article states, vendors are reasonable in adding extra costs due to the labor involved in wedding affairs that may not be involved in a standard event. The term “Bridezilla” did not develop from a single instance. Brides want the day to go perfectly and are going to fret over the minutest details. With that understanding, vendors apply a cost to that extra attention needed.

Now to get down to the nitty gritty….the wedding wear. According to the article, gowns are marked up anywhere from 100% to 600% from their wholesale price! (Is your jaw on the floor, because I know mine is!) It’s like highway robbery, but they get away with it because brides want what they want and are willing to pay in most cases. There are ways to avoid spending the most you can when it comes to bridal and bridesmaids gowns. First, spend some time doing online research. This way my first avenue and it’s where I was able to not only find “The gown” but I was able to locate a store that was offering for 20% off. Second, don’t be afraid to haggle with the bridal salons. Now that you know the typical markup you know they have room to budge, a lot. I know this from experience as well. I visited two salons in one day, both carried the bridesmaids gown I was interested in, but for different costs. I started at the first shop where the gown was $226 with a 20% discount. The second shop offered me $200 with a 10% discount. This brought the dress to the same cost at both places. So I went back to the first shop and told them the deal I was getting at the second shop and they knocked another 5% off. I have yet to visit the second shop again, but I certainly plan to take my new deal back to them for a second round of offers! Check back for “Isn’t Everything Negotiable? Part 2” and you will see what happens with the gowns and for more wedding planning negotiations!
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Jennifer Ulrich

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3 comments so far,Add yours

  1. Fun, Jen! Can't wait to hear about the dress outcome. Interesting about the crazy mark-ups! I knew there were some, but500%... omg! And yes, I think you need the blow up guitars & plastic leis!

  2. You go girl!!!! What an eye opener. Glad you're not doing the guitars and leis.

  3. In today's economy, don't have a large wedding. Don't have a reception. Use the money for a down payment on a house. Uncle Sam will even give you a first time buyer's credit. What a deal!