About a year ago a young lady contacted our venue for pricing on an event. Due to some confusion our staff thought that she was contacting us to schedule a business-related event. This caused our staff to provide a quote for such an event. The young lady was so excited about the price and stated she thought we charged much more for a wedding. Our staff apologized for the confusion and informed her that weddings do in fact cost more and provided that pricing. This caused the young lady to become extremely upset with our staff person. She could not understand why a wedding would cost more than a business event, nor could she understand the difference between the two. Although it was explained to her at the time, it is our hope to alleviate any similar confusion one may have should they choose to read this little white paper on the topic of “Why Weddings Cost More Than Other Types of Events”.
Unlike the majority of business events, a wedding is a milestone event in one’s life. For some, it is several milestone events in one’s life. Many people have had an idea of what their wedding would look like since the time that they were a small child. I can’t imagine anyone planning a business event since their childhood. Because weddings are such a milestone event, everyone has an opinion about them and how theirs was the absolute best wedding ever. Therefore, there can be a lot of interference in one’s planning of what they would like their wedding to look like. Unlike business events, there is an emotional attachment to a wedding. Not only for the bride and groom, but for parents, grandparents, family and guests. All that emotion can boil over from planning through clean up on the big day.
There are a ton of moving parts involved in putting a wedding together. From choosing the ring, choosing the venue, choosing a dress, choosing floral arrangements, etc. a wedding is a series of decisions that must be made prior to ever being asked if “you take this man or woman”. Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. We have all heard the “Zilla” stories and I’m sure each bride, groom or mother of the bride never wants to be identified as a “Zilla”. However, the stress of planning and executing this special event can boil over and effect family, friends, guests and the vendors that were hired to support the wedding. The level of decisions and emotions that go into a wedding are seldom seen in business events.
Weddings take a much longer time period to plan and put together. As a venue, our clients often need to make multiple trips to the venue to see if their decorating idea will work within the venue space. We answer numerous questions (and sometimes provide the same answer numerous times to the same question) related to wedding type events in comparison to any other type of event. Weddings also last much longer than any other type of event. Typically, an event run from arrival to departure is 4-5 hours. A wedding is twice that. Therefore, the staff supporting the event or wedding is working at least 2 hours on each end of that for an additional 4 hours just on the day of the event.
Weddings tend to have a lot of elements that other events do not have. Which means, deliveries to the venue and pickup of items later. There has to be someone there to receive the deliveries and to be there to let in the vendors to pick up whatever it is they need to pick up. The venue also has to store these items somewhere. There is not always unlimited space to store items which can cause them to be moved around and increase their chance for damage prior to the event. Let’s also throw in a rehearsal at the venue. Business events usually do not require use of the venue for a rehearsal. This is more time that a venue would have to be available for a customer that adds on to what the venue is already rented for.
To keep adding on to our point, let’s add vendors to the mix. There are multiple vendors to account for at a wedding. Much more than any other type of event. There are caterers, DJ’s, musicians, bands, florists, ministers, officiants, bartenders, decorators, wedding planners, makeup artists, limo drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, uber/lyft drivers, rental companies, cake deliveries and many, many more. The venue needs to know who is coming, when they are coming, what they are bringing, notify them of the venue guidelines for whatever it is they are doing, coordinate pickup of an items if needed, storage of items, setup of items and much more. Once again, meetings or other types of events do not have nearly the moving parts that a wedding does.
The venue has to be available for setup, decorating and clean up. The venue is usually responsible for collection and pickup of trash as well. Venues tend to hold onto items that are left behind whether in the lost and found or trying to find what vendor needs to come and pick it up. While all these items are true of any event, weddings tend to take more time to decorate and setup, as well as clean up at the end of the night. They tend to have more trash as well. Think about this for a moment. In a business or typical event setting there is one style of table/chair setup in one location. A wedding can have three different setups and locations from ceremony, to dinner reception to post dinner reception for toasts and dancing. This accounts for longer setup and cleanup of events.
I firmly believe that people have watched too many movies that have warped their thinking about what is acceptable behavior at a wedding. Some of the worst behaved guests we have ever had the venue were there to attend a wedding. By far, no other event that we have hosted has come close to the poor behavior of these guests that attended these weddings. Because of that, the venue is required to bring on more staffing than other types of events. I do want to stress, some of our best and most fun guests have also attended weddings. It is not always bad.
With that, you are probably asking yourself at this point “why in the world would this venue host weddings if they are so much work”? It is true that weddings are a ton of work, but they can also be a ton of fun. Unfortunately, it is the events that cause us the most work that tend to stick out the most in our memories. There have been more good than bad weddings and events for sure. The real good one’s stick out much more than the really bad ones. For the sake of this article, we did tend to articulate many of the negative’s that go with weddings than the positives. In doing so, we attempted to explain why weddings do cost more than other types of events. Simply put, a few bad apples did spoil it for the whole bunch and unfortunately, we have to prepare for the worst and always hope for the best. Fortunately, we usually get the best which is why The Estate at Elk Point is the Inland Northwest’s premier event venue since 2008 hosting over 500 weddings in that time.