It’s the word that certain businesses love to hear … ‘wedding’.
So does the ‘w’ word before ‘flowers’, ‘cake’, ‘photography’ or ‘transport’ actually increase the price of a product or service?
Curtin Economics Centre director Alan Duncan said it all comes down to the economical concept called ‘willingness to pay’.
“A wedding is a unique expenditure that people are just willing to pay,” Professor Duncan said.
“This gives wedding firms the capacity to use the concept as a basis for putting premiums on the commodity.”
Wedding season is fast approaching and brides-to-be all over Australia are frantically searching for the most cost effective yet best products and services for their special day.
Rhiannon Hall was married in April this year at the Old Broadwater Farm in Busselton and spent a total of $28,000 on her dream day.
She allowed only five months to plan her wedding and, although time was not on her side, getting the best deals was paramount.
“I guess you have to look at what your expectations are and what you’re willing to pay for,” she says.
“I found a perfect cake that I wanted for my style and it was $550 for a simple two-tier cake.
“I thought if you divided that between 70 people I just didn’t think it was valid so I kept looking.
“I ended up finding someone who could do it for $170 for the exact same cake.”
THE CAKE …
Avanti Cakes is a family owned business in Inglewood that has been operating for 32 years.
Owner Pina Cuschaeri has been making wedding cakes professionally for more than 30 years.
Mrs Cuschaeri says her wedding cake prices are very reasonable.
For a standard three-tier cake that feeds 120 people she charges $695.
For a birthday cake of the same quality she does not charge any less.
“A bride shouldn’t have to get ripped off for having the same work [for her cake] as what a birthday person would have,” she says.
“I always charge the same.
“You’ve got to be reasonable.”
… THE FLOWERS …
Harley and Rose is a florist in the Mandurah suburb of Meadow Springs that started trading in August 2013.
Sandy Twigley is the owner of the business and is busy preparing wedding orders for the approaching season.
For 12 roses in a bouquet for a wedding she charges $120.
For 12 roses for a different occasion the cost is $70.
Mrs Twigley says the price difference is because a lot more work goes into preparing flowers for a wedding.
“We’ve got to do the wiring, the packaging and delivering plus we order the flowers specifically for the wedding,” she says.
“We use better quality ribbon which bumps up the price and sometimes we need to have more staff on the day so we need to pay more wages.”
To keep costs down Mrs Twigley advises brides-to-be to order the flowers and arrange them themselves, use flowers that are in season, or consider silk flowers that can be re-sold after the wedding.
… THE PHOTOS …
Photography is another big component of a wedding that can cost thousands of dollars.
Apperture 22 is located in East Perth and specialises in weddings and real estate photography.
Wedding prices start from $1200 for four hours, through to $3700 for all day.
Aperture 22 director Frank Spano says his wedding packages are more expensive than his real estate jobs, but not when the greater number of hours spent on wedding shoots are taken into account.
The process involves having two meetings with the couple to work out what they want on the day, then taking the photographs which involves two photographers, editing every single image, printing and arranging the photographs in an album along with a CD and DVD, and finally presenting them to the couple.
“There’s certainly plenty of wedding photographers doing everything from $600 to $20,000,” Mr Spano says.
“I know of someone who just paid $20,000 for a wedding package.
“The photos looked [as] good as anyone else who charges $3000 or $4000.
“As soon as the word ‘wedding’ comes up the price is bumped up by some businesses.
“I’ve personally been told that my prices are too low, but I refuse to put them up because I enjoy what I do.”
… AND THE LIMO
So Cal Limos is located in the Cockburn suburb of Hamilton Hill.
Director Pierce Bradley prices his cars based on a four-hour minimum hire and whether the wedding falls on a weekday or weekend.
If you’re after a white hummer H200 limousine, be prepared to pay $1690 but if you want the same car for a weekday it’s only $1290.
“It may seem expensive but it all comes down to supply and demand,” Mr Bradley says.
“Most people get married on a Saturday.
“For instance, we do around 10 weddings each Saturday.
“As a business we need to make a profit.
“All the cars need servicing each year.
“We need to pay wages, rent, insurance and that’s why the prices seem hefty.”
Professor Duncan says the demand for weddings will never go away.
“The consumers will typically pay that extra anyway and will do so because a wedding is a must have,” he says.
Mrs Hall says research is the key.
“Research, research, research – if there’s things you can do yourself definitely do it,” she says.
“Make a spreadsheet for your budget because it can blow out so quickly.
“You only get one day for your wedding, so you have to weigh up what’s worth it and what’s not.”
Photography: Monique Passchier