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Nice day for a costly wedding...

One month out from her own wedding, MELISSA CHRYS draws on her own experience to give you the inside running on how to get the best deal from the vendors you will need to deal with for your special day.

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Wedding vendors. Hostage.

Don’t be held hostage by wedding vendors. You have a right to know and to take your time.

Don’t just go for the first vendor you find - make sure you source a variety of providers and compare prices. If you have friends or relatives who’ve recently gotten married, ask them for advice. Trust me, they’ll be more than willing to give it.
22 December 2009

The cost of an average Australian wedding and honeymoon has risen once again and is now setting couples back nearly $50,00 - a 25% increase since 2006!

That’s the deposit on a pretty decent house, and my money is on the fact that some people would be spending even more than that!

In fact, a recent survey by Bride to Be online has uncovered some ugly truths about wedding costs.

Engagement rings have gotten more expensive, with costs rising 25% to an average of $5000.

Dresses are also costing more, with brides spending an average of $2200.. And while many couples are inviting fewer guests, it’s costing more, with many reception venues charging over $100 per head.

Weddings have always been big and important family events, so I suppose it’s not that surprising that people are blowing the big bucks on the big day, but there’s clearly a lot of people out there who are taking advantage of a bride’s willingness to spend.

What is it about brides and their parents? They must give off some kind of scent that can only be picked up by wedding vendors.

These people can see you coming - all bright eyed and bushy tailed, brimming full of excitement and optimism and ready to plan the wedding of the century.

And I tell you what, some of these greedy vendors are rubbing their hands together in delight and suddenly that plain old chocolate mud cake in the window doubles in price.

I’m not making this up. A recent investigation by Choice found that when it comes to weddings, for many vendors it’s an excuse to add thousands of dollars to an already hefty price tag.

For some reason, photographers, venues, DJs and florists all charge more for weddings.

I understand that for many of these vendors, a wedding adds a lot of pressure to get things exactly right - no one wants to be on the hit list of some furious bride. But if you’re a true professional, you should be a perfectionist anyway.

Most people don’t mind forking out if they know they’re getting the best, but we all know there are some dodgy operators out there.

So what can you do to stop getting ripped off? The most important thing you can do is your homework. Don’t just go for the first vendor you find - make sure you source a variety of providers and compare prices. If you have friends or relatives who’ve recently gotten married, ask them for advice.

Trust me, they’ll be more than willing to give it.

Also, make sure to ask lots of questions. Many people feel silly or too embarrassed to ask basic questions, but don’t be.

Unless you’ve been married before how would you know that a wedding photographer generally charges by the day instead of the hour, or that some of them have incredibly complicated contracts?

You need to ask. Ask anything and everything and make sure you get an answer you can understand. Finally, try and get some emotional detachment.

I know it’s hard, but when a vendor can see your undisguised desperation for something, they might try to take advantage of you. And while you might have you’re heart set on a certain venue, dress, ring, cake or photographer, sometimes it’s worth checking out other options.

Think about it this way, saving money on your reception means that you can have a longer (and more luxurious) honeymoon!

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