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Taken for a ride down the aisle

CHOICE says businesses hit brides with pricey premiums

28 August 2014

A CHOICE undercover shadow shop has found that if you mention the word “wedding” when booking an event half the venues and many suppliers quote more than for an identical birthday event.

With the cost of an Australian wedding estimated at $36,200[1], if you are seeking quotes for venues, photographers, cakes or car hire it pays to shop around. 

“It seems that dropping the W word when talking to suppliers can attract a hefty premium,” says CHOICE Investigative Journalist Kate Browne.

“Yes, some brides can be difficult as they work to ensure their big day goes off without a hitch but should this translate into pricey premiums?”

CHOICE selected 36 businesses in Sydney and Melbourne and each was contacted twice, once by the bride and once by the party planner who asked for identical goods or services for the same date.

“When it comes to venues three out of the six we contacted quoted more for a wedding than a party, despite both customers outlining identical requirements,” says Ms Browne.

As for snappers, despite both shoppers requesting a photographer to just attend the reception to take shots of family and friends for two hours, one upmarket photographer in Sydney quoted our party girl $1495 for two hours, yet when our bride-to-be repeatedly asked for the same she was only offered a full 5 hour package at $4750.

“Some cakes came topped with a bride’s mark up too, with a request for a modern-style, white chocolate mud cake decorated with flowers and big enough to feed 80 people ranging in price from $200 to $700, highlighting the need to shop around.”   

When it comes to hire cars, while our party girl found it easy to get quotes for a one hour job, our wedding girl was pushed into pricey minimum 3 hour call outs despite both women requesting the same car on the same date.

“When it comes to getting quotes for a wedding many suppliers are keen to lock brides into cookie cutter packages that often come with higher costs. If couples don‘t want that, it can be very difficult to avoid” says Ms Browne.

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Wedding tips
  • Be very clear about what you do and don’t want included
  • Shop around and get at least two written quotes on a like-for-like basis
  • Agree on price and inclusions before you proceed
  • Check the terms and conditions

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