What is a ‘wedding tax,’ and should couples lie to avoid it?: ‘The wedding industry is out of their mind’

Anyone looking to plan a wedding may know that weddings can be expensive events, but future brides and grooms may not expect to be hit with extra costs from a “wedding tax.”

The so-called wedding tax is what some claim happens when vendors hired for weddings upcharge simply because the event is a wedding. For instance, while a venue may be rented for one price for an event like a birthday party, the same venue could cost more for a wedding.

Comedian Elena Cirillo (@elenacirillocomedy) posted her own experience with the “wedding tax,” claiming in a TikTok that received 1.9 million views that the wedding industry “takes advantage” of people getting married.

“The wedding industry is out of their mind!” Cirillo declared in a video. “I went to get flowers. They asked me, ‘Wait, is this for a wedding?’ I said, ‘Yeah…’ ‘OK, it’s a different price then.’ ‘You want your makeup done? Oh, 150. Oh, wait, you’re a bride? 800! Show me the money now!’”

Is the ‘wedding tax’ real?

Wedding resource company Bronte Bride explains that while a secret “wedding tax” — an upcharge for anything wedding-related just because it happens to be for a wedding — may not exist, weddings can be more expensive than similar events.

“Weddings are more expensive than other events because other events simply are incomparable,” Bronte Bride admits. “Weddings require an incomparable level of planning, communication, and preparation.”

Bronte Bride also explains that even if it looks like a venue or a vendor is charging more for your wedding day at first glance, it’s important to understand what’s behind the scenes that could explain the higher costs. For instance, weddings are typically booked in busy seasons. Plus, there may be more administrative work, vendor communication and liability and insurance costs that factor into the price, too.

That said, some are still convinced that certain vendors and venues charge more for weddings just because they can.

“Big facts. For my upcoming wedding, I told every single vendor that it’s for a anniversary. Not a wedding. No lie, I think I’ve saved about $2000,” said @blacksealsoap on Cirillo’s TikTok.

Can you avoid the wedding tax?

Like @blacksealsoap suggested, some people try to avoid a wedding tax — whether or not it actually exists — by not disclosing that they are planning a wedding.

But that strategy could backfire, as someone who claimed to be a former wedding manager warned on Reddit.

“If you’re thinking about trying to skirt the wedding tax at a venue, don’t even think about it. It will not work and your wedding may end up cancelled, they may void the contract, they may charge you a price differential (possibly even higher than normal prices to spite you for springing this last minute on them) so you don’t end up saving money in the process and possibly lose a venue to host your wedding at,” wrote u/weddingmanager.

Viewers of Margulies’s TikTok seemed to echo this sentiment in the comments.

“Just be careful bc a lot of vendors will cancel up to the day of if they find out it’s a wedding. Weddings are much higher stakes than a simple party which is why wedding tax exists. It’s a lot more work with way worse fallout if something goes wrong,” wrote @littletouchofcrazy.

Some people also claimed that the higher costs help manage the high expectations of brides or grooms.

“All day performance tax; flowers absolutely cant flop; makeup absolutely cant melt; cake def cant tilt; people wont forgive fails on that day,” added @officially1982.

Others pointed out that it really depends on the type of service or product. For instance, bridal hair and makeup rightfully should garner a higher rate than other types of special-day makeup.

“This. For normal makeup it’s 1 hour. For a bride it’s usually all day with touch ups,” noted @ellanicholas14.

Actual wedding vendors also begged people not to try to hide that they are having a wedding because it does affect things like equipment and liability.

“I charge the same price hourly whether its a wedding or senior session. But I need different equipment for a wedding. Don’t lie to photographers,” added @_lyssachelle.

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