Wedding markups exposed (CBC Marketplace)


>>This is amarketplaceshowdown…>>We’re going head-to-head. Taking on the big business of weddings.>>The minute you say wedding, the money bells go off. Ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling.>>It’s a $5 billion industry in Canada alone.>>Everything is marketed to brides as like, “You need this or your wedding will suck.”>>Are you paying extra just because of one word?>>[from phone]You’d be lookingat $452.>>You’re looking at $800.>>Wow.>>Asha: For our season finale, it’s a wedding war you can’t afford to miss.>>We’ve been together for seven-and-a-half years and we’ve been married for six months.>>Did we even have a budget?>>No, we didn’t.>>We didn’t set…>>Our target was to be as low as possible.>>We definitely went over budget because there were a lot of things we didn’t anticipate.>>Originally our budget was $8,000 and the final tally…>>More like $15,000. ♪ [groovy]>>Asha: So, are couples getting gouged with a secret wedding tax?>>Charlsie: For the answer, Asha and I getting wired up with hidden cameras. I ‘m about to go live. And going undercover to see who will get the better deal.>>We’re gonna to see if this wedding tax is for real. Our back story?>>I ‘m planning an anniversary party, and so we’re looking for a nice Saturday in September.>>My story is: I ‘m getting married and we’re looking for the same day, same month.>>So we’re looking at venues, we’re looking at limos, and then we’re also gonna look at florists.>>What do you think is gonna happen?>>Time to find out.>>Team Asha versus…>>Team Charlsie.>>Let’s do this. ♪ [upbeat]>>Asha: For the inside scoop, we catch up with an industry insider.>>Up-selling in the industry is absolute. It happens everywhere. Every vendor does it at some point because that’s the bread and butter of our business.>>Asha: A former wedding planner with over 17 years of experience, meet Angelique Sobschak. How have things changed from when you got into the business to now?>>In the beginning, weddings were about a celebration of family, bringing people together, having food, having dance. Now it’s about who has the bigger budget.>>What is it about the word “wedding” that hikes prices?>>It means dollar signs because you are going to pay. You’re going to pay for that one special day.>>Charlsie: Glasses cam, recording.>>Asha: Is this game already rigged against Team Wedding? Time time to find out.>>Charlsie: First we’re hitting up some banquet halls and high-end venues, chosen at random. Both teams are asking for the same date, 200 guests, a three-course meal, plus an open bar. ♪ ♪ Team Anniversary goes in first to a popular banquet hall north of Toronto.>>Charlsie: The manager makes a few notes and comes back with a quote.>>Asha: Now it’s time for Team Wedding to go in. And remember, we’re asking for the exact same menu.>>Asha: Our quote…>>That’s $7 more per person. For 200 people? An extra $1,400 just because it’s a wedding?>>Charlsie: Yup, first stop and we’ve already seen that so-called wedding tax. At banquet hall number two…>>The total for Team Anniversary? $70 per person.>>Asha: Will our team get hit with that wedding tax again?>>An extra $6 per person. For Team Wedding, a $1,200 price hike. ♪ ♪ Our insider says it’s all because of that magic word.>>You have to remember the minute you say “wedding” the money bells go off. Ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling.>>Asha: That’s the nature of the industry. You start to see things that are beautiful, then picture your wedding like that. It’s all about the vision, the dream.>>Charlsie: So far, Team Wedding’s paying more at all the banquet halls. So this time we’re testing the wedding tax at a high-end venue in downtown Toronto. But we’re sticking to our script. A simple three-course meal here too.>>Asha: But when Team Wedding hits up the same spot, a bit of a twist.>>Asha: She asks about our budget. Clearly wanting the wedding business and all that comes along with it. She drops the price. ♪ [fanfare] And we get a better deal. The final score for venues? Three out of the four places charge Team Wedding a higher price. ♪ ♪>>Charlsie: Next, it’s time for us to smell the roses.>>Something that I didn’t really expect to be as expensive as it was flowers.>>I think when I went in for a floral consultation I was kind of surprised at how expensive it was.>>Charlsie: So it’s time for us to have a few floral consultations of our own. Both teams are asking for 20 centrepieces with a dozen red roses each. Team Anniversary goes in first.>>Charlsie: Our final quote? $80 per centrepiece.>>Asha: Time for Team Wedding to go in.>>At about $100 bucks? An extra $400 for Team Wedding. And she insists on a sit-down consultation.>>Charlsie: Not all florists feel the need to charge that wedding tax. ♪ ♪>>But check out what happens at our last florist.>>And today’s our lucky day, she offers us a discount.>>Asha: And Team Wedding?>>Asha: No discount here. $15 more per centrepiece. Adding up to $300 extra for the same flowers. ♪ ♪ The final score for florists? Two out of the four companies we visit, Charge Team Wedding a higher price. [wedding bells] Our wedding insider says there’s a reason brides get drawn in, despite the big dollar signs.>>You hear certain catch phrases such as, “Once in a lifetime,” “Dream,” “Missed opportunities,” “You don’t want to regret not having this.” When you hear those things it starts to create fear; fear of losing out, fear of not being the best, and fear of disappointing others is the growing reason why we can up-sell. ♪ ♪>>Asha: Will we feel that pressure when we call up some limo companies?>>Charlsie: We’re both asking for a one-way ride from the same hotel in downtown Toronto to a banquet hall north of the city. [phone rings]>>Hi, there. I’m planning an anniversary party and I was looking to order a limousine.>>So it’s me and the groom and then our bridal party.>>The hidden wedding tax pops up. $100 more for the exact same trip! And we also get a special wedding sales pitch.>>Time to call another limo company and show Angelique our results. Wanna take a look?>>Absolutely. I’m very interested.>>So I’m looking for something that will seat ten people.>>Wow, that’s steep.>>Hmm. I wonder what I’ll be told. Hi, there. I wanted to get a quote. I’m getting married in the fall.>>Asha: [laughs] Thanks for the pressure!>>I know. I know.>>And get this. Team Wedding gets stuck with a five-hour minimum.>>Wow! $800? ♪ ♪>>Oh, god! that’s–>>Twice as much.>>Absolutely.>>Asha: Yep. A $348 price hike for Team Wedding. The final score for limos? All four companies up-sell to Team Wedding.>>They’re playing again into your emotions. They’re saying, one, if you want this limo, you’re going to pay for the price. And they’re going to start scaring you about time. Well, these things book fast, so book now or you’re gonna to lose it. So again, it’s all fear mongering.>>Asha: But when we challenge the companies who charge Team Wedding more, they argue, weddings are more work.>>Asha: How do you sum up our hidden investigation?>>I ‘m really happy that you’re showcasing to the brides out there, actually what is happening. This is truly the way it is.>>This showdown is not over yet.>>The next day after the wedding you’re gonna wake up, you’re gonna be married and now you’re gonna have to pay for that expensive wedding.>>A wedding budget reality check is coming right at you. This is yourmarketplace.♪ [upbeat]>>We’ve exposed the secret wedding tax, a hidden charge some companies tack on you as soon as you say that magic word.>>And those extra charges can sure add up. Especially now that the average wedding costs more than $32,000.>>Our overall budget was… Do you want to say?>>Sure, it was 60 to $70,000.>>The original budget that we had was $10,000, although I secretly always knew it would be at least $20,000. Well, we’re up to $25,000 now.>>I wanted to stay under $7,000 but it actually cost us around $13,000. ♪ ♪>>I do have this theory that a bridezilla isn’t born, she’s created.>>Asha: Everybody has a wedding story, but L.A. comedian and actress Laura Wilcox was so scarred by her experience, she wrote a book about it!>>I wanted to write a book that sort of poked fun at this insane wedding industry that I had suddenly found myself in this world of, like, the wedding world, and it was so over the top.>>What was the craziest thing you heard shopping around?>>Definitely the wedding flowers. I found this one florist and she just had like the most beautiful designs and so I contacted them and I got an email back from her that was, like, well, our minimum budget is $15,000 so if — anything below that we find really just isn’t worth our time.>>What do you get for $15,000? Did they say?>>They must be amazing flowers. Just like the best flowers. Great dirt, great worms.>>Tell me, how does this industry marketing play into the big day?>>I think that everything is marketed to brides as like, you need this. you need this golden table runner that matches the sash on your dress or your wedding will suck. [car tires screech]>>Wait a second. Has it always been this way? From the ring to the dress… How traditional are these these wedding traditions. Are they really worth it? Here’s what you need to know. Take your engagement ring, for example. Before the 1940s it wasn’t really a “thing” to propose with a diamond engagement ring. But in 1938 theDe Beersdiamond corporation came out with a marketing campaign. Telling us the only way a real man could prove his love was to put a diamond ring on his bride-to-be. And, we all fell for it. In fact, back in 1940, only 10% of north American brides received diamond rings. And now? Over 80% of brides are “rockin’ the rock.” And many of us follow that two-month rule, right? You know the one, believing we have to spend two months salary on a shiny diamond? Sorry, folks. That was just more clever marketing from De Beers that made you believe that. And for you brides-to-be? Ever wonder where the tradition of wearing a white wedding dress came from? Surely there’s a reason you spend hundreds, often thousands of dollars on that long, pearl white, strapless, lace-trimmed dress that you’re only going to wear once. Well, you can all thank Queen Victoria for that. Before the 1800s, women did not wear white dresses to their weddings. But when Queen Victoria wore a white satin dress in 1840, wealthy brides started doing the same. And everyone else soon followed. So now when you think about spending all that money, consider this: is it a wedding tradition or a wedding trap? ♪ ♪>>Charlsie: So how can you avoid falling into those traps? Ryan, hey. Financial planner Ryan Lewenza is about to give us a wedding budget reality check.>>So Ryan, you crunched some numbers. Let’s go through what you found.>>I looked at that average cost of $32,500 for a wedding and I looked at two scenarios. And so the first scenario was the unconventional couple. That’s the couple that goes down to the city hall, and basically saves the entire $32,500. They put it into a TFSA, Do you know what that grows to?>>I can’t even do that kind of math.>>Okay, well it’s $250,000. A quarter of a million dollars by retirement.>>Wow. I think people are gonna hear that and be gobsmacked. But not all couples want to invest their entire budget.>>So I took another scenario. And the other scenario was What I called a thrifty couple. Instead of spending the entire $32,500, they spent half. That grew to $125,000 by retirement.>>Charlsie: $125,000? That’s a sweet chunk of change. Ryan, if there’s one piece of financial advice you could leave people with who are planning their wedding, what would it be?>>Well, it’s an important day, but it’s one day. And the next day after the wedding you’re gonna wake up, you’re gonna be married and now you’re gonna have to pay for that expensive wedding.>>One of these dresses is $8,000.>>Can you spot which one? This is yourmarketplace.>>Asha: Getmarketplacein your inbox once a week. Sign up for our news letter atCBC.ca/marketplace.>>The wedding showdown continues on yourmarketplace.>>Falling in love doesn’t have to mean falling into serious debt.>>As a same-sex couple, planning a wedding on $1,000!>>In terms of your dress? Well, I bought two.>>The dress came in way too small for me and I ended up spending another $1,000 in alterations. ♪ [dance music]>>How often do you see a bride go over their budget?>>Brides go over their budget all the time. It’s an unfortunate situation, because you would try to limit them from trying to break the bank. And gain, it’s bringing them back to reality. I see more brides spend more money on their wedding dress. They go over 90 per cent of the time on their wedding dress budget. ♪ ♪>>Charlsie: We want to know, does the price of your dress really make a difference on your big day?>>So what we wanna do is actually test your knowledge of wedding dresses. To find out we’ve set up five gently used wedding dresses with an estimated retail values between about $1,000 and $8,000. Who’s ready to spot the $8,000 dress? (cheering) ♪ ♪>>Now, we’re testing you to see if you can tell the difference. ♪ ♪ One of these dresses has a price tag…>>$8,000?!>>That is pretty pricey.>>All right. Show me what you think.>>Speaking of huge, probably this one.>>Right away! You went straight there! What was it about this one that really said 8,000 bucks?>>I don’t know. It just looked a little more elegant. There was a little bit more details.>>Charlsie: The results? This is not an $8,000 dress.>>Is it that one? The middle one? That one?>>Charlsie: Yep. This is the $8,000 dress. [groans]>>One person was right and you were all wrong. Looks are deceiving basically.>>Charlsie: Now, there’s also a dress out here that is only about $1,000.>>That’s impossible to believe.>>You don’t believe it?>>No, I don’t.>>They’re all so nice.>>Are we right? [groans]>>Charlsie: This is the $1,000 dress.>>Never judge a book by its cover.>>It can look gorgeous on the outside and it’s cheaper.>>Now that you’ve seen the $8,000 dress, does it mean you’re going to return yours?>>Hell no!>>Definitely an eye-opener.>>I’m sure that any dress that she’s wearing, she’s gonna look beautiful in.>>Yeah, exactly.>>Awww, what a sweet…>>Brownie points. [all laugh]>>All in all, we did it. Jamalex wedding was still the talk of the town and no regrets. Nothing. We made everything. We made everything.>>Drop mic.>>I think it’ll be perfect for us.>>I get to marry you, it’s gonna be perfect.>>Do you still love me?>>No.>>You won’t look at me?>>Okay, I love you. ♪ ♪>>Ever wonder what happens when your emails lands in our inbox?>>Oh, hi. I ‘m calling frommarketplaceabout…>>Yeah, she thinks it’s accident waiting to happen.>>When you hit “send,” it sends us into action. You’re going to be forced to cancel the expiry policy.>>You’re telling me that I’m ripping off people?>>The complaint system doesn’t work. Why not just get rid of it?>>30? 30. 40? 40.>>The price just keeps going up and up.>>Yourmarketplacemeans your tips become our stories.>>Is it better to lease or finance your car?>>David: From your home to your health.>>Never would have imagined that I would be smoking marijuana on national TV.>>Charlsie: Your food…>>I can’t believe you did that.>>Charlsie: To your fun.>>Asha: What you’re sold and what you’re told. What about the people believe your reviews and trust you?>>You can count on us and we count on you, and together, create change.>>So help us decide what to investigate next.>>Asha: Because this… is yourmarketplace.♪ [theme]

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