Why are Weddings so Costly?

Why are Weddings so Costly?

You don’t need me to tell you that weddings are costly. There are potentially a lot of suppliers to engage and they do not tend to come cheaply!

Some suppliers are probably guilty of hoicking their prices up as soon as they scent an engaged couple.

Mind you, mainly due to competition, some charge very reasonable rates. And others undervalue themselves. Not just anyone can do their work! They have been trained, possess specialist knowledge, particular skills and ability. All that needs to be reckoned with too.

Furthermore, what is a necessity to one couple might be a luxury to another, so there will be different viewpoints about how much is reasonable to spend. Of course, the scale and complexity of the ceremony need to be factored in too.

Then there’s the need for the couple to do their ‘due diligence’, shop around and check they’re not being shafted. But they have to take care to compare like with like.


You’re likely to want to hire a photographer, a florist and maybe a celebrant. Then there’s the catering, venue hire, dress/suit outlay, MUA expense, maybe a wedding planner – to name but half a dozen potential expenses.

Even that is not as simple as it sounds.

Do you want a single photographer or a couple, to capture different angles and facets? What about a videographer, or both? Can you get a friend to do the photography? (I’d say no, unless they are professionals themselves. You don’t want a foul-up at such a unique occasion.)

A wedding planner can be a long-term booking, or you can get one for the day only.

A decent celebrant needs to be able to ask the right questions (to get inside the couple’s heads and establish their vision). They also need to listen well (not just imposing their own choices, although advice can often be invaluable). They must be good writers when putting together the ceremony and, not least, be able to present well.

I hold a Diploma in Wedding Celebrancy and have over 10 years’ experience in conducting ceremonies. I belong to an ethical professional association. I have a suitable personality – calm, friendly, but professional. How many celebrants boast all these assets?

I therefore feel justified in charging for my services (although I am only mid-range).

The same must go for other suppliers. They may use other skills, but they are professionals in their field. Many are experts and can guarantee doing an excellent job.

When you’re seeking out suppliers, ensure you find out their Ts & Cs (I know it’s boring!). That way, there can be no nasty surprises, and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.

And what you’re not!

So, decide your budget, speak to suppliers and choose your team for the event. Hopefully, you can afford the team you want (if not, maybe you can juggle your outlay).

That way, you should get maximum peace of mind and a wonderfully successful occasion!

Wedding Suppliers

Wedding Suppliers

Dealing with wedding suppliers is often a new experience for couples. How do you know whether the service you’re asking about is a necessity or a luxury? What questions should you be asking? How much should you expect to be paying? How do you know that the suppliers are going to be reliable?

Starting out

If you know somebody who has used a particular supplier, then pick their brains. (The fact that they may have liked the supplier does not necessarily mean that they would fit the bill for you, of course. However, it’s a good stepping stone.)

A website may be helpful. It should answer some of your questions and give a feel for the supplier and what they offer. Testimonials may suggest how the supplier works and you can match these assets to your vision for the day.


Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, phone or meet with the supplier. The questions you ask will depend, according to the product or service you are seeking, and according to your personal inclinations.


As a minimum, ask the supplier:

  • About availability
  • Costs (possibly, expect only an estimate at this stage)
  • What is included and what is not. This may well vary between suppliers of the same service. As a celebrant, I quote a final, all-in figure, but mention in my Ts & Cs exceptional add-ons.
  • Terms and Conditions (including payment terms) – these need to state what you can expect from the supplier, as well as what they can expect from you.
  • Cancellation policy

Meeting the Supplier

When you speak to (or, preferably, meet) your supplier, there are things you will need to clarify. (These will depend on the particular supplier’s field, of course.)

You may well need to know what happens if a hired wedding dress is returned dirty. Does the caterer offer gluten-free alternatives? Can the florist supply out-of-season flowers? Does the celebrant offer a rehearsal? Does the planner attend in person, or send a (possibly inexperienced) substitute? What type of photographs does the photographer plan to take? Does the venue provide exclusive use?

It’s important that the supplier buys in to your vision. Of course, they may – should – offer advice, but they need to listen to what you want and accommodate your wishes, if at all possible.

Hopefully, you easily find suppliers who are pleasant and professional. You need to feel confidence in them, and, if not, look elsewhere.

If the supplier you want is a little expensive, maybe you can haggle a bit. (For example, shift from a peak-time date or time.) If that doesn’t work, perhaps you can balance your budget, by finding a supplier for another service for a lower price. Finally, if you really like the supplier, perhaps you can stretch your budget just a bit?

Decision made

Don’t rush into your decision-making. It’s such an important call. So, if in doubt, go back to the supplier and query the issue.

Of course, you should reconfirm with your suppliers nearer the date of your ceremony, but otherwise, if you have chosen well, they should be able to get on with their job effectively.

You should have such a lot less on your mind, come the big day, if you’ve done your due diligence.

If one of the potential suppliers you’re looking for is a civil celebrant, don’t forget that I am available for a chat.

Photo: aiony-haust-xCQm5_9aro0-unsplash

Why are Weddings Expensive?

Why are Weddings Expensive?

You may accuse me of cynicism, but I am convinced that some suppliers put their prices up as soon as they see an engaged couple on the horizon. They know it’s the couple’s first time (or likely to be), so they assume the pair aren’t very savvy in this area.

On the other hand, a lot of specialist knowledge, experience and ability is required, and they, deservedly come at a price.

Of course, what is “expensive” to one couple may be “reasonable” to another, so I am not going to put figures in this blog. I assume you will do your due diligence and compare suppliers in the various fields.

So what are you paying for?

Different suppliers may need different skills. Your photographer may come singly, or be inexperienced. In such a case, I’d look elsewhere, because the photographer has a lot to do and can’t afford slip-ups. Your caterer must surely be prepared to offer alternative menus (eg vegan or gluten-free). Your wedding planner will have to be available all day and absolutely know what they are doing and talking about.

As I’m a celebrant, I’m aware that a good one needs a lot of skills (some which are not commonly combined). These include being a good questioner-cum-listener, being a good writer and being a good presenter. Naturally, I have committed time and money to training and development, belong to professional associations that insist on high ethics and standards. Most of all, I have experience, as well as the personality that many find highly suitable for the job.

Consequently, I feel that I have a lot to offer my couples (and others too!) and it’s right that I should be remunerated for what I offer.

The same (or similar) applies to other suppliers. They may need other skills, but they are professionals. Many are experts in their field and can guarantee an excellent job.

So, although not all suppliers may be worth it, the vast majority are. Make sure you are clear on what you are expecting from them and read their Ts and Cs to ensure you understand what they will, and will not, offer.

Two mini-tips, if you want to save a bit of money: avoid extravagance (so don’t buy flowers out of season, for example) and think about the date of your wedding. It will cost more, if it’s on a special day like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Day, and if you hold it in the morning, say, you should have some bargaining power.

Come what may, work out your budget first, speak to lots of suppliers and settle on the team you want to have around you. If that costs a bit more (and you can still afford it), then go with them.

Peace of mind will be (almost!) assured, then!

Making a Civil Celebrant Work for You

Making a Civil Celebrant Work for You

When you buy a car, you usually know what features you will be getting. The same with most products. So when you’re booking a service like that of a civil celebrant, why should things be any different?


However, not that many people really know what a celebrant does. For example, they assume that a civil celebrant and event planner are the same.

No! The event planner usually books and organises the venue and suppliers. The one thing they don’t do is to organise the ceremony itself. (That’s usually their only time out the whole day!)

The weight of the ceremony falls squarely on the shoulders of the civil celebrant.

A lot of people also assume that a civil celebrant is either a “vicar” or a humanist. An independent celebrant can be anything they want to be – the clue is in the word “independent”. They may be prepared to include religious elements despite their own personal belief, and the opposite may be true too.

So what does a civil celebrant do (apart from conducting the ceremony on the day)?

Behind the Scenes

There’s normally a discovery conversation to start the ball rolling. That way, the couple can see if they even want to work with the celebrant – and the reverse is true too! What is also important is to discuss the couple’s vision for their big day. If the celebrant feels they can’t achieve it or opposes or even ignores it, it ain’t goin’ ta work!

Assuming the Ts & Cs have been agreed and both will work together, the celebrant prepares a draft and e-mails it to the couple in due course. They will probably want some changes, and there’s some toing and froing to be expected before the final version is agreed.

That way, there are no unpleasant surprises on the day, and the couple get exactly what they want.

On the Day

The visible role of the celebrant comes into play on the wedding day. As for me, I like to arrive about an hour before the ceremony is due to start. I can check that everything is set up correctly and sort it, if not.

I nudge relevant people, such as Best Men (“have you got the rings?”) and make sure any Event Planner knows I’ve safely arrived. The same goes for the bride (where accessible) and groom. A lot of it is about putting their minds at ease. I also collaborate with musicians (do they have the same playlist as me?) and photographers (“who is standing where?”). I try and remind those in the bridal train to process in slowly and remind them where they should end up.

As for the half hour or so in the spotlight, that’s our big moment. As celebrant, I never forget that it is not about me, but about the couple standing with me. I conduct the ceremony in the tone we have already agreed – usually solemnly, in places, humorously, and welcoming in others. I facilitate the events calmly and clearly. Sometimes there’s the unexpected to deal with. Then I rely on my years of experience.

The important thing is to make the ceremony memorable, enjoyable, meaningful and special for all concerned.

Much of what goes towards making the ceremony so special happens in the days and months preceding the wedding, and that is what a civil celebrant can do for you!

Feel free to have a chat to find out about how you could put together your special ceremony.

Photo: samyaz.sproutstudio.com

Making a Civil Celebrant Work for You

Judging the Value of your Celebrant

How do you judge the value of a celebrant? Yes, you expect a well-presented wedding ceremony, but is that the limit of your expectation? And what price do you put on that, anyway?

To some extent, the same goes with any supplier. They name a price and you decide whether or not to pay it. But it’s harder to evaluate the worth of a service, as opposed to  tangible goods.

First Steps

You may be able to ask around for recommendations. (But bear in mind that another person’s opinion may conflict with yours.) The website may furnish some useful information. Testimonials are useful.

But most civil celebrants’ websites will talk about the same things. They’ll tell you the sort of ceremony on offer. They may talk about their experience and training. They may have some lovely photos.

But no two celebrants can offer an identical service, simply because their personality and characteristics are individual.

I might not be the first choice for someone looking for an Elvis-impersonator; but they could jump at the chance to work with me on a mixed-faith ceremony, for example. Some may prefer my calm, measured approach; others, might go for razzamatazz.

So how do you know what you are getting?

 Choosing the Celebrant

 Ultimately, you may have to go with your gut. Do you actually want this celebrant to be conducting your marriage? Can you trust them to deliver?

A consultation will help you answer these questions. You may have a vision of your big day. Share this with the celebrant. Do they sympathise? Do they even listen ? Do they insist on doing it their way?

Do they seem professional? Have they a sense of humour? Are they pleasant? Are they passionate? How clear are their explanations? Do their presentation skills look good? Do you think they are dependable?

You may also like to consider the celebrant’s USP. I would have missed out on several wonderful ceremonies without my knowledge of Russian and Hebrew (and I speak French and German as well!).

Moving On

Before you sign on the dotted line, take the trouble to read the Ts and Cs. They may not be very interesting, but it’s as well to know what the mutual expectations are.

The cost is obviously relevant, but you can sometimes juggle your budget allocations to ensure you get the celebrant you really want. It is so important to get your choice right.

I hope these hints help you judge the value of your celebrant.

Do feel free to approach me for a non-obligation chat!

photo: samyaz.sproutstudio.com