I want to discuss something Mr. Waterfall and I have encountered on a few occasions while planning. I like to call it The Venus Flytrap Effect.
Image via Wikipedia / Photo credit: Noah Elhardt
Scenario #1, wedding dress shopping: I am going through the racks with a consultant after having stated my budget and she pulls a Paloma Blanca gown for me to try on.
Me: How much is this dress? I’m fairly sure it’s way over budget…
Venus Flytrap Consultant: Oh, don’t worry about that right now! First, try it on; then we can talk about the price if you love it.
Ha! Yeah right! Any bride in her right mind who has ever seen an episode of Say Yes to the Dress knows that you never EVER try on a gown outside your budget. The most likely outcome is you will fall in love with a dress you clearly can’t afford and every subsequent dress you try on will look like poop in comparison.
It seems like some vendors want to trick you into falling in love with their product, even when it’s way outside your budget. You search their website and there is no mention of prices. You email them to ask for their prices, and they reply vaguely that they need to know more about your event first, that they tailor their services to each client, yadda-yadda. You answer all their questions but they play hide-the-quote until they have managed to convince you to arrange a meeting face-to-face. They dazzle you with all the different customization options and add-ons. Then, when they think you’re hooked, they go in for the kill; they smile their best used car salesman smile and slide a piece of paper across the table like a scene from The Godfather and stare at you while you take in the information and try not to cry. BAM. All of a sudden, you’re trapped. The whole thing is like a bad time-share presentation. See where I’m going with the whole Venus Flytrap thing? It’s kind of like The Parent Trap, but a lot less cute and a lot more awkward.
Image via IMDB
Anyway…I know I sound very angry, and that’s because I am. I’ve unfortunately gotten caught in this situation more than once in our planning. It’s actually become a bit of a running joke: If Miss Waterfall likes it, it must be the most expensive option around.
This happened to us while hunting for a photographer. I stumbled across P’s website and was instantly smitten with their photos; each one looked like a work of art. I forced myself to close my browser while I waited for their quote—no use falling in love if we can’t afford them. I was thrilled when a few minutes later I received an email stating at their prices started at x, the higher end of our budget, but still within it. I set up a meeting for the next night, and we drove to their studio. We sat there for an hour looking at glossy albums, watching amazing slideshow after amazing slideshow. It was all I could do not to drool all over my dress. I had entirely forgotten about the small matter of money until P casually got up and handed us a price sheet. I almost fainted. It would have cost around $10,000 for the entire package. Hive, I cried tears of rage the entire drive home. I mean, what a colossal waste of everybody’s time! I don’t even understand how that makes any sense from a business standpoint. I mean, they have to be aware that they’re definitely not “affordable,” right? Why not let potential clients know your prices right up front? Especially after they’ve specifically enquired? After I got home, I emailed my contact asking about the astronomical difference in price, and they answered that the starting price was for booking the junior assistant. I am not even joking.
The same thing happened again with a videographer. They used words like “up-and-coming” on their website, so I figured they would have up-and-coming prices to match. After several failed email attempts at asking them for a quote, we agreed to meet them on a Friday night. Hive, we got fooled twice. We sat through an hour and a half meeting with V, looking at their amazing wedding trailers, discussing our vision, and apparently wasting everybody’s time once again. We walked away with nothing but a quote for five grand and a whole lot of disappointment.
I don’t understand how this keeps happening to us. Mr. W says that I am no longer allowed to set up meetings with any vendors unless they have given us an estimate first.
Have you been in a similar situation? Please, tell me I’m not alone!