3 Pricing Must-Dos for Every Wedding Pro

The elephant in the room does not have to be your price point. So whether you’re just starting a wedding business or you’ve been at it for years but have never felt good about the money conversation, these must-dos are for you.

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Photo: Nicole Balsamo Photography 

1. Make sure you can speak to where the money goes.

This might sound obvious, but before you can confidently talk money with your couples, you have to have the why in mind. In other words, you have to know why you’re priced the way you are so that you can then later explain it to prospective couples. The why is different for you depending on what services you offer. For example, if you own a venue, are a caterer, or are a florist, then you obviously have quite a few hard costs on materials (like flowers and food) that you have to ensure is covered in your cost. No matter what service you provide, you are certainly selling your talents, your point of view, your creativity and your time. All of that in mind, it’s important that no matter how you decide to price yourself, you have a rationale for it that you can easily explain to anyone who asks how much you charge.

Tip for the Taking: When a couple asks you how much you charge, you don’t have to immediately whip out the spreadsheet and break it down column by column (unless that’s working for you of course). Instead, talk about how you price your services. So it’s not “We start at $2,200 and here’s why.” Instead it’s “We charge you for the rental fee or hard costs of the flowers and then a flat rate, which covers the time and talents of our team. So it depends on what you want for your wedding day, but our typical clients spend around $3,500.” That way the message you’re sending to your clients isn’t about one large dollar amount; it’s about how you price yourself and then how you might be able to help them get what they want for their wedding day.

2. Be as transparent as possible.

The last thing you want to do is field dozens of inquiries from couples who can’t afford your prices. It wastes your time and theirs. There are a few ways to avoid the situation entirely, and the first of those is to be transparent about your pricing up front and to actually put it on your website. This is a hot topic in our industry (some pros swear it helped them double their business, others say it didn’t work for them). Try it for yourself. We know dozens of pros who tell us that having their prices on their website or having a “starting at” or even a range, was a great way to cut down on the volume of couples who didn’t have the budget. In the same vein, plenty of wedding business owners have also told us that listing a price range on their websites makes the conversation around money a lot easier.

Tip for the Taking: Try a test. The beauty of the digital age is that you can easily take it down off of your website if you’re not seeing the results you want. The test can be super simple. Add the average investment or a starting at price point to your website for a week or two weeks and compare your inquiries to the same time period without having listed your prices. Do you get fewer inquiries but the ones that do come in are an easier sell (and therefore more qualified)? Do the inquiries stop entirely? It can’t hurt to test!

3. Know that there is value in your brand.

There’s a reason people will spend more on a pair of shoes or a handbag with a brand name. It’s not necessarily just because the brand is recognizable (many big box brands know that they can’t rely on just their level of popularity). Most of today’s successful brands, particularly the ones that resonate with millennials, have built trust and established personal connections with their consumers. Trust isn’t easy to build (or fast) but there are some ways you can work toward it by spending time on your brand. Where to start? Spend time developing your unique brand as a business. What is it that makes you special and different from your competitors? Why should couples hire you? How do you want them to feel when they work with you? Make sure that everything you put out there online (your storefront on The Knot, your social media channels and your website) are all saying the same thing right down to the colors, photos and words you choose. The easier it is for a couple to understand your brand (who you are, what you stand for) and make an authentic connection with it, the more value you add to your business.

Tip for the taking: You’ll know your brand is really working for you when you start getting calls from couples who are less concerned with your price and more concerned with getting you booked. If and when you hit that point, you’ll know it’s time to raise your prices.

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4 responses to “3 Pricing Must-Dos for Every Wedding Pro

  1. Dear Ms. Hooper, I appreciate the fact that you write helpful copy for The Knot. Most often I think you comments are spot on. I take exception to this comment. “Then again, if you’re a designer or a makeup artist or a photographer, your overhead costs aren’t as high”

    Do you really know what it costs to be a professional photographer?
    Let’s start with a single photographer’s Canon bag of 2-5d Mark IV cameras, 3-600 flash and remote, and lenses: 70-200 f2.8, 85 f1.2, 50 f1.2, 35 f1.4, 24 1.4 and 16-35 f2.8. That is $17,000 and good for 3 years. Add another $2,000 in accessories.

    A good Macintosh computer can run from $5,000 to over $7,000. Plus a Qnap RAID storage system for $2000. And you really need two computers. Add some money for software for creativity and the business side.

    We won’t even address the possible $10,000 in studio lights, props and accessories. Then there is education, $1,000 a month rent (cheap) and utilities (electric, gas water, internet phone). All kinds of insurance. Advertising on The Knot and in their magazines. (plus other places) Did I mention labor and taxes? Don’t forget the accountant.

    It costs thousands of dollars a month to be a professional photographer and also far less to be a ‘chick who clicks’.

    So please understand when a photographer with a storefront who has a staff, and is tax and insurance compliant, sells a wedding for $4,000, they may make less than a $1,500 cash and run shooter.

    Photographers who stay current, pay taxes and really run a business have very high overhead.

    Again, thank you for your contribution to the industry.

  2. Hi Bob! Anja here from The Knot. Thanks for your comment. You’re right and we really appreciate you outlining it here. We went ahead and tweaked the post and replaced the phase “overhead costs” with “hard costs” so that it’s less misleading. In this case, we are referring to the actual raw materials that a caterer or florist has to purchase for the wedding day. Thanks again for your feedback!

  3. Hi Anja, Thanks for the speedy reply. Your revision is a great clarification and represents the true spirit of the original post. I appreciate your willingness to read my reply. Keep up the good work!

  4. I’m very transparent in what my prices are, but I really don’t feel the need to tell couples where the money is going – I’m clear on what the price and what they get for it – they need to shop around and decide if I’m the planner for them and if I do what they need for a price they like.

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