Wedding markup is very real, and Consumer Reports has the numbers to prove it. In a recent study, they found that 28% of vendors increase prices for wedding events. The good news is, many of these vendors are willing to haggle when you call them out on it.
Consumer Reports had secret shoppers get prices from 40 vendors in 12 states. They explain:
Pairs of shoppers called the same photographers, florists, caterers, and other party vendors at least a week apart and got comparative estimates for a wedding and a 50th anniversary party that were identical in every other respect. (We told photographers, for instance, that we needed their services only during the reception.) In more than a quarter of cases—28 percent—vendors quoted us prices that were higher for the wedding than for the anniversary party. That kind of wedding surcharge played out more in some areas than in others.
In one example, an Atlanta photographer charged $300 per hour for a Saturday wedding versus $150 per hour for an anniversary at the same time and day of the week. They also found some vendors charge a built-in gratuity of up to 26 percent.
We’ve discussed the wedding tax before, and really, this is nothing new. Somewhat surprisingly, though, Consumer Reports said their findings weren’t that cut and dry simply because some the vendors were willing to negotiate with shoppers.
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…we also found a number of those same vendors willing to work with our shoppers to reduce costs. Some even volunteered money-saving solutions. Yet a survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that consumers usually don’t exercise their bargaining clout.
Their overall takeaway is to read the fine print, ask questions, and try to haggle before you sign anything.