Wedding Costs: You Can Always Get It Cheaper {an oldie but a goodie}

This is a post that was originally on the blog back in 2010 but I think it still resonates today.  

You Can

You Can Always Get It Cheaper

There’s one thing that I definitely know and that is you can always buy something cheaper – telephone service, flights, cars, office supplies, SEO optimization, wedding gowns, pharmaceuticals, wedding flowers, catering….wedding & event planners.  You name it and I’ll betcha there’s somebody out there that can give it to you cheaper…  I think that the question that people miss is:  But Will It Be What I Want?

Let me give you a scenario that happened to me last year.  I sent out a floral & decor proposal for an event that wasn’t huge and over the top.  It was for a nice party and right in line with the type of events we do.  Prior to sending it out, I had gone through and made a few things optional for the client so that they could add in some of the “nice to haves”.  Exactly what I told them I would do when they hired me.

Then, the phone rings….it’s the Mother of the Bride.  We’ll call her Carol.

Carol:  “Sasha…in this economy how can you, in good conscience, send me a floral proposal THIS high?”

Please know that I had been through the proposal backwards & forwards and it met all of the required components that the bride simply HAD to have.

ME:  “Thanks for your call, Carol, I sent it because I believe it fits the desires of Melanie (name of bride has been changed) and I did shave a lot off to try to meet your budget”

Carol:  “But Sasha, how in the world do you expect us to pay for this?  We have decided we don’t want to spend more than X”  {this would have been nice to know at the beginning, by the way}

ME:  “Please let me know what you would like to cut and we are happy to  make any changes you like.  We can switch from long tables to rounds & squares, change the design of the flowers…”{basically, I gave her 15 options to make changes}

Carol:  “But Sasha, Melanie wants all that and we expect that in this economy people are hungry for business and would be willing to make a little less profit for the job”

{quizzical look which garners the side note that in this economy, business owners are more likely going to want a higher profit from each job, not lower to compensate for fewer jobs overall – thereby providing the contracted & paid for services ONLY and not over and above the contracted services}

ME: “Carol, I’m not sure that’s the case, but let me just say that I’ve found out something in life and in business…you can always get something cheaper but it will not be the wedding your daughter wants, it will only be the price you like.” {if you use this in your business, feel free to say “well, Sasha Souza says…”}

Why have I told you this story?  Because it’s true and the statement that I made at the end is an important one when educating couples and ourselves on weddings and what we get for our money. It’s easy to say you want a centerpiece to be smaller or “not over the top” or “simple”.  Let me give you a visual example.  We have seen this image from the legendary Preston Bailey in our office many, many times.  It’s gorgeous with hundreds of flowers in it and I’m sure the image does not do it justice to how grand it is in person:

napa weddings
Can every bride afford it?  No.  But those that value it will seek it & Preston out to design for them and will be thrilled with the results.  Here is how we used his inspiration for a bride who loved the look but couldn’t pay the price tag for the flowers:

napa weddings planner
Could the bride have gotten even this arrangement cheaper?  Yes!  Absolutely but the structure of the piece, the height, the design would have been vastly different.  More like this:

beaulieu wedding planner
While still pretty, it doesn’t emanate the same feeling – BUT it IS CHEAPER!  So, if it’s cheaper that they are looking for then this would work out perfectly but the expectation can’t be for the gorgeous images above.

Another example…Is the peony any cheaper because of the economy?  No.  So, we offer alternatives and often we substitute with garden roses.  Is it the same?  No.  It’s just cheaper and different.  Some brides are OK with that and others REALLY want the peony and are not going to compromise for anything less.  The decision is only theirs to make.

Carol did go on to pay the bill for the flowers when she  understood that what she would get by going elsewhere wasn’t what Melanie would have wanted.  We were very willing to make changes to the event to get them closer to their described estimated expenditure but they were unwilling to make any changes whatsoever and simply wanted it to be cheaper.  period.  just. cheaper.

That isn’t how this works, people.  If you go to the gas station to fill up your car, you make a decision on the name brand station that you go to, how much you want to pay per gallon & the octane level of the gas you want. 


You can go down the street to the gas station without all the special additives.  Will your car run the same?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  My car happens to like Chevron Techron 89 Octane or better.  I put anything less in it and I’m bummed by the lack of power and performance that I get in my car.  I can’t go into the clerk and ask them if instead of $2.99 per gallon I can pay $1.49 per gallon and expect the exact same quality & product.  If you want me to shave $100 off an arrangement, you’re going to lose $100 worth of flowers & design time.

So, when you’re visiting with your vendors and you ask them to reduce their price please be sure that you are getting the same exact thing – because if you’re trying to compare apples to apples and one person says they can do that Preston arrangement for hundreds less than the other person – chances are  you’ll be left with arrangement #3 on your 72″ round seating 12.


Sasha Souza Events is an award winning event planning company considered one of the top event design & wedding coordination companies in the US. Sasha Souza Events has offices in Napa Valley, Sonoma, San Francisco & Los Angeles