A wedding is often the largest party a couple ever plans! It is one of the most expensive events in a person’s life, just below the purchase of a home. Most couples have no idea how much work truly goes into planning a wedding and quickly become overwhelmed by the work required and the associated costs of the many professionals they hire to have the wedding they want.
The average wedding in North Carolina costs about $30,000 (according to the Southern Bride & Groom magazine June 2018) and utilizes the services of about 10 wedding professionals. These professionals will have standard business overhead they must charge for-rent, insurance, advertising, supplies, etc. Each professional will also have extensive equipment expenses in the tools of the trade-cameras, speakers, microphones, consoles, cooking equipment etc. These expenses do have to be rolled into their total charges to couple and are taken into consideration when they set their rates.
So, what do these people do for you and how much time do they spend doing it? Today we are going to look just at the amount of time, the sheer number of hours required to put on a wedding.
A professional wedding officiant is the person who performs your wedding ceremony. They are the only person required by law to be a part of your marriage! As a professional they will get to know you, beautifully write a ceremony reflecting your love, relationship, interests and beliefs. They tell your story on your wedding day! They do any needed research to be sure your cultural and religious background is properly represented and honored. Then, they custom write the ceremony as you wish. You get to look over the ceremony and ask for edits and changes, and the officiant will incorporate those ideas into the ceremony and send it back to you. They will attend rehearsal to assist you and your wedding party in being comfortable with what to expect during the ceremony. The officiant arrives about an hour prior to the start time of the ceremony to make sure all required items are in place for the ceremony, review the marriage license, take charge of the rings. A professional officiant will connect with other professionals such as DJ, photographer, videographer, planner to let them know of any special needs during the ceremony. They will let the photographer/videographer know of special elements that you will want recorded. They perform the ceremony, get the legal documents signed afterwards. Once they return to the office they will record the license in their records, complete any additional legal work on the license and return it to the proper authorities. A professional will also be available to assist with how to acquire your certified copy of the license and complete a legal name change if one is being planned. From start to finish, a couple centered, custom written ceremony by a professional officiant can involve 25-40 hours of total involvement. We can help you be sure your ceremony is exactly what you want! Contact us today!
A professional DJ works with you to make sure you have the ceremony music you want to walk down the aisle to and the right music to dance to. In order to accomplish this, they will meet with you to learn about your wishes. They will put together a play list, searching for just the right music and purchasing it (a professional will not play music they do not have the rights to). They work to be sure your time line flows well. According to Larry with A&A DJ Services, he will have 40 hours in a wedding including 6-8 hours on site on the wedding day, this includes set up and tear down time.
Your professional photographer will spend between 8 and 12 hours with you on your wedding day. They will be with you from start to finish in order to catch all those unplanned shots such as the looks of love that pass between mother and child as you are getting dressed, the fun times with your wedding party, the ceremony and all those cool reception shots as well as all the little details you will otherwise miss on your wedding day. Many photographers will bring along a second shooter so they can make sure to capture all the shots, which means your wedding day has 16 to 24 hours of staff time in photographer time. One photographer can’t catch each of you getting ready in two different locations or catch all the wonderful angles for those incredible shots you see in portfolios. In addition to the hours spent taking thousands of photos, the photographer must spend hours sorting photos kicking out the less than perfect, then editing the photos to remove red-eye, color balancing, editing out the stray sleeve in a shot, and laying out your albums, etc. Krista Ridge, Magnolia Ridge Photography, tells us that it is not at all unusual to have at least 40-50 hours in editing and planning the albums after a wedding day. This brings her total staff hours in your wedding day to about 65.
Videographers will have very similar hour investment in your day as the photographer. In talking with Jordan Vine Photography, in addition to the time spent shooting and editing the visual, they are also focused on the audio. It is important to have just the right music at the right place in your video and to be sure voice overs are appropriate. The technical skill needed to overlay all of this amazed me as we talked. She told me that the 5 minute highlight reel can take 15 to 20 hours to edit to be sure you are completely satisfied. They also have to be sure any music used has the appropriate permission granted. She said is it not unusual to have about 60 hours invested in each wedding that is videoed.
If you decide to have an event manager, sometimes called day of coordinator, you can expect that they will begin working with you about 4 weeks prior to your wedding. They will ask to see contracts to be sure everything is in place, follow up with other professionals to be sure they are on track to provide you with an excellent day. The manager will meet with you to go over any special circumstances you face, to finalize all plans and work with you to make your vision come true. Prior to your wedding day, a professional event manager will have about 25 hours invested in your wedding day. They will have anywhere from 2 to 6 assistants (depending on the size of your wedding) to make sure that all areas are covered and supervised during your wedding. Many event managers show up in time to assist with set up, putting out decorations, coordinating with other vendors as they arrive to set up and remain until everything is torn down and all guests and vendors are off the property. This means an average of 12 hours on-site the day of your wedding for about 6 staff. According to Jennifer Ball of Knot Your Average Events, with her assistants and her time, it is not unusual for an event manager to have between 80 and 100 hours in each wedding they work.
A full-service planner will have more hours invested in your wedding day than the event manager/day of coordinator. In addition to the work done n the weeks leading up to the wedding day, your planner will work with you to select the right vendors, accompany you on site visits, go to the rental company to plan out place settings and work with lighting company to achieve the right look. The planner is with you the full day, from set up to tear down, along with assistants as needed for the size of your wedding. Marian Hilliard with Everlasting Events and Décor said from start to finish with all the staffing hours, she often has 100 to 110 hours invested in her couples wedding.
Your florist will work very closely with you to be sure you have the colors, flowers and styles of décor you want on your wedding day. This will include meetings with you to explore your options. Their time in designing everything for your wedding day. Then, they and their staff will spend hours putting it all together. (I have heard that some of the evergreen runners can each take 8 hours or more to put together to achieve that full lush look you want). Those stunning flowers do not just magically appear at your wedding, the florist and staff will need to bring everything to your venue an then set it all up, decorating your ceremony site, having boutonnieres and bouquets ready for the wedding party and helping set up the décor for the reception. Susan Daly of Daly Floral Designs says that all of this can average just over 30 hours of work for a wedding and does not include the time she spends in the garden growing many of the flowers she uses in the arrangements.
Your cake is often the centerpiece of the reception. Area bakers take great pride in having not only the best tasting cake but the most beautifully decorated cake. What does a baker have invested in your cake? From the time they sit down with you to decide on the design, prepare various cakes for you to taste and decide on a flavor to baking and decorating the final cake, Krystle Destafino of Bakery 1818 tells me she will have about 40 hours dedicated to your wedding cake. This includes the delivery and set up as well.
We have not included the caterer because their staffing hours vary so much from situation to situation. It was impossible for any of the caterers I asked to give me a general idea since their hours include food shopping, prep time, delivery, set up, clean up at the site, return to the kitchen and clean up after the reception. All of this is really dependent on the choices of food, the number of guests and style of service which determine the number of servers needed, and distance from kitchen to venue.
These hours do not include the investment from folks like the alterations for clothing, invitation design, sign painters and designers for all the cool signage needed at a wedding, photo booth, bar tenders, rental company delivery, set up and tear down, hair and make up artist, transportation or other services.
Total hours, without caterer, alterations, invitations, photo booth, bar tenders and rentals, are 440 per wedding! As you can see all the professionals you have hired are working long and hard to provide you with the wedding day of your dreams!
Contact us to see how we can do our part to make your wedding day a dream come true!