Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm Sick of This....

Today I read yet another article "warning" brides about we unscrupulous wedding vendors. How we try to play on their emotion and try to get them to buy more than they need (and anyone in business or in sales tries to upsell .... how is that a bad thing to do and why are only wedding vendors a villian for doing it?). How each vendor tries to sell their service as THE most important. How we jack up the prices when the word "wedding" is used.

Well I'm sick of it.

I'm tired of free-lance writers, who have never planned a wedding, who have never sold a wedding service, who have never talked with a bride, just regurgitate the same 'ole stuff that they see in other articles. I honestly think there's just one article and all the free-lancers just trade it around, like the Christmas Fruitcake.

So I'm here to dispel many of these urban legends. I'm going to share with you how at least one wedding vendor operates......ME! And since I have planned a wedding and I have sold wedding services, and I have talked to hundreds of brides, I think that makes me qualified.

This caterer guides a bride to the unemotional decision. As we talk, I will point out the logistics and logic of what she is wanting. I steer her out of emotional pink-puffy-clouds-land and into reality.

This caterer actually shows brides how to NOT spend money on her reception. I share my 30-year formula to determine a REAL headcount (not the emotional one based on a self-perceived popularity level) and how that can save her $750 to $2000 on her reception meal.

I find out where the wedding is and if they are having photos taken before the wedding. Because if the couple will arrive at the reception within 30 minutes after the first guest arrives, then I suggest they DON'T need to purchase appetizers. For 100 guests, at $10 to $20 per person, this can save them $1000 to $2000.

If their guests will be waiting more than 30 minutes, then yes, I suggest they have some kind of appetizer for them. Otherwise, the guests will get bored and possibly leave, resulting in the dinner and cake and drinks the couple paid for going to waste.

As the couple talks about their wedding, I don't try to sell my food and cake as the most important purchase. I actually tell them, "Skimp anywhere in your wedding budget but DON'T skimp on your photographer. At the end of the day, the food will be eaten, the dress will be in storage, the music will be a distant memory .... but your photos are what you'll look at on your 25th Anniversary!"

This cake designer does not have two different prices for party cakes and wedding cakes. A 3-tier cake for a birthday is the same price as a 3-tier cake for a wedding. Call it a birthday, call it a celebration, call it a wedding, call it a kiss-my-butt-in-the-middle-of-Main-Street cake .... it's all the same work so it's all the same price to me.

I've no doubt that "some" wedding vendors may try some of these tactics. I've no doubt that every industry has businesses that try to upsell, to play on emotion, and have different pricing for different events (ever try to find cheap parking in any city during a professional football game?). I am just sick of articles that paint all of us with one brush, leading brides to believe that it's standard operating procedure.

This concludes my rant of the day. To any bride reading this, I hope you now realize there are vendors out there who are ready to work WITH you .... not against you.

Because at Cater It Simple, we really DO try to "keep it simple" for you!

Debi Brim can be reached via email at


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