One of the great things about where I live is that we have so much variety in the forms of business. If I’m looking for something quick and cheap to eat, I can find it. If I want to get dressed up and have someone serve me food, I can do that as well. The whole experience from one to the next is very different, and it mainly revolves around the level of service. The same thing happens in the wedding world. There are different levels of wedding service, and it’s important to look at what you want and what you are getting.
Different Levels of Wedding Service
Imagine walking into a McDonald’s and sitting down and expecting someone to come and take your order. That’s just not going to happen. I think it’s important to know what to expect in certain situations. In my mind, there are really 3 levels of service. I’m going to stick with my restaurant analogy, but feel free to think about it in terms of other businesses like clothing stores or jewelry. The 3 levels would be a buffet, a sit-down restaurant, or a high-end restaurant.
The Buffet Service
I love buffets, but they aren’t places that I want to eat all the time. I go there when I don’t really care about the quality of the food and I just want a ton of it. At a buffet, you serve yourself and might not even interact with someone from the business except to pay.
There are photographers that provide service similar to a buffet. Their biggest benefit is the price, followed by the amount you get. The downside is the quality isn’t usually great, and they don’t do much for you. With this type of wedding photographer, expect them to show up on the wedding day and take photos. That’s really about it. In the end, they will hand over a bunch of digital files. The price will vary from market to market, but expect to pay under $1000.
- under $1000
- show up the day of and take photos
- you get digitals at the end and can do what you want with them
- don’t really get to know you or help
The Sit-Down Restaurant
This is where most restaurants tend to fall, and there will be a big range of what you will get from one to the next. In general, you should still expect to see some of the day things. One, there will be a higher level of service. You will get to sit down for the meal and a waiter will take care of you. There will still be a good amount of food, but not as much as the buffet, but the quality will be much better. Prices are usually close to double what you would pay for a buffet.
Just like restaurants, most wedding photographers and other wedding vendors will fall into this category. At this point, photographers are going to start helping and serving you. They will do things like having meetings, create timelines, and provide other services like engagement sessions. Most likely you will spend $1000 to $3000.
- have a meeting before hiring
- help you create a schedule for the day
- do engagements
- give some help
The High-Class Restaurant
I don’t go to high-class restaurants very often, only on special occasions. When we do go, we have high expectations. We expect to be well taken care of by the staff. Everyone will be very kind and accommodating. The waiter will have a high level of knowledge and be able to give recommendations. The environment to be pleasant. It won’t be loud and hectic like a sit-down restaurant or buffet. The food will taste amazing but also be presented in a special way. With all of that, of course, comes a much higher price tag. You pay for what you get.
The high-end wedding vendors will do the same things. It will be a totally different experience than what you would get from any of the other levels. Their main goal is to create a wonderful experience for you and that comes from providing top-notch service and expertise. With wedding photographers, they will have meetings with you and guide you through the whole process. They will make sure everything is taken care of and you’ll get amazing photos. Afterward, they will provide other services for you like album and wall art design. Expect to pay over $3000 and even up to $10,000.
- $3000 and above
- tons of experience, skills, and knowledge
- wants to take all the burden off you to create a wonderful experience
- meets with you several times and guides through the whole process
- provides full service (engagements, albums, prints, etc)
Which level of service is right for you?
The first thing I want to make clear is there is no right answer for everyone. Not everyone wants the highest level of service. Maybe they want something more relaxed and less involved. Not everyone can afford it either, and that’s perfectly fine. Don’t stress yourself out about trying to afford something you can’t.
The next thing to mention is you don’t have to have the same level of service for everything at your wedding. Think about what is most important to you and then spend the majority of your money on that. You might pick the best wedding photographer and then a relatively cheap photo booth. That’s perfectly fine.
When you are interviewing vendors, make sure to ask them about their services. Get a feel for their personality and what they will be providing. Does it seem like they really want to serve you or just provide the most basic thing possible? Hiring the right wedding vendors is extremely important because their service can really affect your wedding, and it all starts with knowing their level of service.