The I Do Premium is that undeniable, and often times staggering, markup that comes with anything wedding related. It also sums up the tension between planning a beautiful wedding and feeling like you're getting semi swindled in order to do so. When one of my closest friends was planning her wedding, she called multiple Brooklyn florists over the course of a few weeks. Interestingly, their pricing dropped significantly for the same florals when she omitted it was for her wedding. Fashion analytics firm Edited studied e-commerce listings for wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses by J. Crew, Nordstrom, H&M and Asos, comparing the pricing of those items to the pricing of dresses that were comparable in design and fabric, but not described as bridal or bridesmaid dresses. On average, retailers were charging 3.9 times as much for the wedding dresses and 1.8 times more for bridesmaid dresses.
Here are a few ways to avoid "the premium":
WATCH FOR Hidden Costs The simplest of advice, but read your invoices line by line when you have the mental energy to do so. Businesses bank on the bride and groom being so preoccupied, if not emotionally drained, that they will only glance at the bill, especially the final bill. So try to review and pay when you have the energy and clarity to catch markups, hidden costs and errors. If you're dealing with small business, make sure they are presenting clear cut, itemized invoices instead of just a lump sum. My hairdresser presented a crazy expensive and confusing invoice literally minutes before I was about to walk out the door to get married. I had no mental bandwidth or time to challenge it that day, or even two days later when we were exhausted and flying off to Asia for our honeymoon... so I overpaid.
CHECK YOUR Emotions It's so incredibly easy to get caught up in the momentum of the wedding - emotions are high, bills are frequent, gifts are arriving so it's important to pick and choose your splurge-worthy and splurge-unworthy pots. I bought an expensive pair of heels for my wedding dress that I had zero business buying; I convinced myself I could splurge because the dress needed something special. They were beautiful, they were uncomfortable, and they were returned. I reeled myself in by remembering I actually hate wearing heels, and that I would rather have more money to spend elsewhere, like on the honeymoon.
DON'T RELY ON YOUR squaD This might sound odd, but this is an area where you actually don't want to rely on your squad to keep you in check. Based on emotions alone, your friends and family are likely as susceptible to the I Do Premium as you are, and they're not experts on your bank account. Instead, rely on a good old fashioned budget, on paper. I did mine line by line in excel so I could stay on track. It wasn't fun, it wasn't pretty but it was on point.
BUILD Relationships with YOUR VENDORS No matter how talented they are, it's easy to be just another bride in your wedding vendors' revolving doors. To the degree that I could, I worked with people I know and trust - my photographer was a close friend, the woman who made my bridesmaids skirts lived in our hometown. I also got to know my new vendors as best I could so they didn't think of me as a bride with a big budget. I had no problem saying "I'm stressed about the pricing, where could we cut?" and I felt like they respected me for it.