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20/20 Wedding Confidential

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Last night 20/20 did an expose on the various things that go into a wedding.  One of the things that were touched upon was wedding vendors charging more for a wedding than they do for a party.  They alluded to fact that some vendors charge more for a wedding simply because it is a wedding.  In the interest of dramatic television, they cut one of the DJs off as he started to explain why he charges more for a wedding than he does for a party. I can only assume to try to prove their point.

In the scenario that 20/20 used one event was a wedding and one event was a 40th birthday party. I have had a full blown wedding at a banquet hall with 200 guests as well as a 40th birthday party at a banquet hall with 200 guests. I am also a DJ who services brides and private parties every weekend.  I can tell you that even at my own wedding the DJ simply had to work harder.

I can say that it is my belief and my experience that in the 25 years that I have been doing events, 99% of the vendors I know charge a fair price and do not gouge a bride simply because she is having a wedding. From a DJ point of view, when I have DJ’d birthday parties in the past, they are typically a referral from someone who has either seen my company or they are a customer that has used us. The sales process is typically over the phone and not in person. The details of the party are discussed a week or a few weeks before the party typically over the phone again. When you compare the amount of time for the sales process and the detail meeting for a wedding that time alone can be anywhere from 2-4 hours compared to perhaps an hour for a birthday party. Some DJS are far more detailed than others and those meeting can be even longer in both cases but weddings still require more time as there are more moving pieces. When you know that this is the case a business owner needs to add the appropriate financial dollar amount for their time invested in each event. This is simply one example of why a wedding would naturally cost more.

Typically most birthday parties will have an excellent DJ and are not on the same scale of a wedding and the amount of work needed by a client is also less. What 20/20 never said is that most clients having a private non-wedding event will typically use phrases like, “It’s not going to be as big or elaborate as a wedding so do you have something more cost effective that would fit our budget.” Today’s bride is 29 years old and today’s groom in 31. Compare that to 20 years ago when they were 23 and 25. They are more settled in their career and typically have already purchased a home of some kind together.  I also think that between their age and the information available to them on the internet today, they are more educated than the average bride was 20 years ago.

I am posting the 20/20 episode link for you to watch for yourself if you are interested but overall I thought that the show was a simple entertaining puff piece since we are currently in the first quarter of the year which I like to call bridal Christmas. It is now that we see a larger percentage of our bookings happen.

It is rather ironic that 20/20 would do a show accusing special event vendors for charging more for doing the same exact job, but we all know that if Oprah, Oj Simpson, Lance Armstrong or any other coveted ratings boosting celebrity were to be interviewed for the same 60 minute TV show, the cost for the commercials would be higher. They would argue audience delivery but you could also argue the same amount of work.