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The simplest way to cut your wedding costs...

A consumer watchdog has revealed one disturbing reason those costs are so high: it seems suppliers amp up their prices as soon as they hear the W-word.

Anyone who’s ever planned a wedding – hell, anyone who’s ever talked to anyone planning a wedding – knows it’s not a cheap process.

Despite a recent trend towards Pinterest-style wedding crafts and inexpensive online invitations, the average cost of a wedding remains between $36,200 and $54,000 — and that often doesn’t include the honeymoon.

Gulp.

Now, a consumer watchdog has revealed one disturbing reason those costs are so high: it seems suppliers ramp up their prices as soon as they hear the W-word.

CHOICE sent out two undercover shoppers to ask suppliers for quotes, with one woman saying she was planning her partner’s birthday party and another saying it was a wedding.

And of the 36 suppliers contacted, the watchdog found a number of florists, venues and hire car companies quoted the ‘bride-to- be’ more.

The categories most guilty of inflating their prices were:

Venues

Half of the venues — three of six — turned out to charge more for weddings, despite the fact both ‘celebrations’ involved the same number of guests and identical requirements.

The watchdog also reported: “one venue told (the ‘party’ shopper) they don’t accept bookings for any kind of function other than a wedding on Saturday nights, while another told her she would have to pay ‘wedding prices’ if she wanted to secure a Saturday.”

Photographers

CHOICE reports that photographers’ quotes were ‘very mixed’, but that one upmarket photographer quoted the ‘bride-to-be’ more than double the ‘birthday’ planner.

One upmarket photographer quoted the ‘bride-to-be’ more than double the ‘birthday’ planner, CHOICE reports.

The bride was quoted a whopping $4750 for a five-hour package, despite her insistence she only needed two hours of photography– compared to the $1495 quote given to the woman planning a ‘party’.

One photographer tried to justify his costs using a hard sell built on emotion.

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“(T)his is the most amazing day of your life – we capture that emotion, we tell that story,” the photographer reportedly said.

“You can go back and relive the whole day through the photos”.

Car hire

Three of the six businesses said they were happy to provide an hourly rate for the party shopper, but said there was a minimum call-out time of three hours for weddings.

In one case, that meant the minimum cost almost doubled — from $450 for an hour to $1000 for three, CHOICE said.

Cakes

Good news: Of the six florists contacted, none quoted the ‘bride-to-be’ more.

Two of the cake shops quoted more for a wedding, although CHOICE reports that for a white chocolate mud cake big enough to feed 80 people, “the prices for cakes quoted to our shadow shoppers ranged from $200 to $700, depending on the store and the size of serving.”

Despite these troubling findings, the CHOICE shoppers found some areas that appeared immune to wedding-related ‘price inflation’: the photo booth suppliers — with the exception of one, who tried to charge an extra $50 to the ‘bride-to-be’ — quoted the same prices for both celebrations.

Of the six florists contacted, none quoted the ‘bride-to-be’ more. (Florists were asked to provide quotes on flowers to decorate the venue only, in case you’re wondering; the ‘bride-to-be’ shopper told florists a friend was making her bouquets.)

Overall, the watchdog’s findings build a strong case for telling suppliers you’re planning a birthday bash… that just happens to feature a long white gown and a lot of people throwing rose petals.

Did you feel ripped off when planning your wedding? Do you think the cost of weddings is getting out of hand? 

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