Understanding the Wedding Buyers Market - The Bonuses and Setbacks to Booking Your Edmonton Wedding Services During a Busy Time of Year

I just spent the last thirty minutes writing an email to a potential client that will likely never be a client of ours. Perhaps that was silly and you might wonder why I would waste time on a client that I won't ever earn money from.

Silly or not, to me the answer is two-fold. First, whether I make a profit from a potential wedding client or not, I think any customer who takes the time to inquire into our Edmonton wedding DJ, photography or video services deserves a professional and prompt response.

Second, I truly believe that our wedding industry gets better when we educate all the parties involved. Meaning, couples should know the proper ways to seek out and hire wedding vendors and vendors should know the best ways to provide quality to their clients. Too often, both sides of the equation don't do things properly and the result is a poor wedding day experience.

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The motivation for this article came from my feelings of anguish and disappointment of dealing with a bride who truly after our best efforts just "didn't get it". In this particular instance, we had a couple inquire into our Edmonton wedding video services. They'd gone into great detail over many emails about how they'd found us through a referral, wanted a great service and laid out their vision for the video. Sounded at first like something that was right up our alley ---  great videos is one of the many things we do well.

Then the reality of the actual situation presented itself.

To provide what they wanted was going to take staff, time, quality and hard work and it wasn't going to be some poor quality shaky handy-cam work that any person with access to a camera could do. After all, that's why you call a referral -- so that the work isn't garbage. Our quote reflected that.

In response to our proposal was a request for a new quote adjusting for less time. It was obvious there were grandiose ideas but not a grandiose budget. Not the end of the world as our experience tells us that clients often can be surprised by the costs of a wedding. Creating ideas and making them reality can be very different things and while we work hard to be fair and affordable, we also offer premium services and this was a premium date.

The request by this client was to discount and customize an option. We don't mind if people ask, but in this case and many others like it, we would have been costing ourselves money and shooting ourselves in the foot taking away our ability to book a full day client by conceding to this request. Customizing is great, but low-balling ourselves isn't helpful to anyone.

In an effort to show we understood their situation and in order to go above and beyond for this referred couple we took another $100 off the package for the time difference. The service was now being offered below our base rate and we'd broken our own rule, but we extended the gesture anyways. It wasn't met with a great response.

Instead of being glad we were willing to move at all on our lowest package price (one we really weren't excited to promote on what would be a very busy date), we were met with a "we are very disappointed" email that we discounted only $100 for a few hours to be removed from the service time.

It became quickly evident that this client wanted to have her cake and eat it too. Even though in her emails to us she used the phrase "we understand that by asking you to work with us less, you can't actually replace that time working another event, but we feel the value isn't fair", she still couldn't wrap her head around why we weren't willing to give away the farm. She was stuck on the hours aspect and not the timing of her request. We opened it up for her to look elsewhere, but instead she preferred to take additional time to lecture us on our pricing.

By the end of this whole process, I realized this was a great opportunity to educate buyers and wedding couples. If you're planning your big day and can relate to this couple, here are a few things to keep in mind if you're planning your wedding on a prime date in your local areas prime wedding season:

1) Are you looking for cheap or are you looking for quality? 

It would be great if we could always answer "both", but the simple reality is that cheap and quality are often not one in the same. To get quality work you have to look past the cousins, family friends, and part-time fly-by-night services that will undercut their competitors just to get the work. You have to do your homework and make sure you hire excellence. Sometimes excellence isn't cheap and excellence is sought out by not only you, but many other clients. You'll often have to stand in line to work with the best in your area.

2) Should you really be planning during a peak time?

If you want quality but don't have the budget, reconsider the date of your event. By looking at times and dates not set during the busiest of bookings for wedding vendors, you should be able to get value deals on off-season times. Any company good at what they do will book up and when they're not really busy might be willing to throw you a bone. But, understand that busy vendors also won't likely take peanuts for services when they know they can find and book a couple who will pay premiums at a busy time of year.

3) Understand the difference between supply, demand and time.

When you're dealing with the busiest of dates for your wedding, cost is often not always reflective of the time you spend with that vendor. For example, say you wanted to book a hotel room in Calgary, Alberta downtown. Do you think it would cost the same for a room during the Calgary Stampede as it would in November?

You're spending the same amount of time in the room, the hotel hasn't remodeled, the service is the same, but the one x-factor is that everyone else wants that room at the same time you do. As a result, the hotel ups their prices drastically. You pay the cost difference.

If you're having an Edmonton wedding, you've probably learned that many brides want to hire an Edmonton DJ on a Saturday in August. If you too want a DJ on a Saturday in August, expect that you might have to pay more at that time than you did if you wanted a DJ on a Friday in October. It may seem unfair, but it's the law of supply and demand.

4) Do you respect the professionalism of the company you're speaking with?

If you truly want a good company to work with you, hire for value and quality, not for discounts and cost-cutting. Imagine if you were successful in getting that premium video company to offer it's services at a fraction of the cost they normally would. Whether it was a matter of luck, timing, the vendor felt guilty or for whatever reason it happened in your favor, do you think it will stay in your favor throughout the year-long process that is planning your special day?

If you were working a job that you knew should pay you $24 an hour, but your boss convinced you to work for $12 an hour, how long at $12 would you happily work knowing you should be getting $24 and everyone around you is getting $24?

Of course, in a perfect world people will live by and offer the same high quality for whatever amount they agree upon. You "took" the deal, therefore you should have to keep your end of the deal and swear by it. We agree.

However, a perfect world has trouble mixing money and emotion and on both sides a wedding is very emotional. You do not want a company who feels they've been exploited or pulled-one-over-on during a wedding where getting it right is key. Both sides want to feel wanted, appreciated and important. In those instances, everyone will do their best work.

You may feel you've won a small victory now by convincing a company to give you a discount when they don't really feel it's in their best interest, but over time and as other bookings come and go that company may grow resentful.

The company you hire should have the guts to stand up and say, "this is what we're worth. We provide quality and at this price, you're getting a great value." If you agree, then you both win. If you don't, move on and look at another wedding vendor. You may need to take more time, but at least you'll know it's for the right reasons.

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The moral of this story is, it's not uncommon at all for a company to tell you that there just isn't a way to meet your low needs or demands when then are many couples who will have higher needs and a higher budget out there. Don't be shocked, insulted or angered by this. It's totally normal.

If you're willing to pay premiums for less service, you'll get the vendor to love you, but that's not always a great plan either.

Determine what you really need or want and what budget you've set aside to achieve it. From there, decide who you want to work with that fits those boundaries. Businesses offer their pricing for a reason. They can afford to, they have the demand for what they offer, or they lack the ability to get hired for more. If there wasn't a reason, they wouldn't be doing it.