Is the bridal veil you tried on in the bridal shop (which you’ll only wear for an hour plus photos) worth the price?

Have you ever wondered why the price tag of a wedding veil is so hefty in a bridal shop and varies so drastically online?

We hear it all too often — as soon as the word “Wedding” is mentioned the price goes up!

Wedding dress and accessory shopping is an emotional experience. Most of the time you aren’t paying for fabric and craftsmanship, you are virtually paying the ‘wedding tax’ and all the emotions that come with it. So today, we’re going to set the record straight and tell you how it really is.

You might be surprised to learn that according to experts, retailers in the wedding industry routinely mark up wedding accessories and dresses 100% from the wholesale price. In some cases, they mark up as much as 600%. Meaning they are using the wedding industrial complex to their full advantage.

What is the wedding industrial complex you ask?

It is a spin on the term military-industrial complex, first coined in 1961 by President Eisenhower. Basically, the phrase sums up the feeling that some brides have when forced to deal with such a massive industry built on getting you to spend more money without asking questions. Meaning, these large well-funded wedding corporations make a mint off brides who are in an emotional head space — brides who are willing to spend whatever it takes to achieve a Pinterest worthy wedding. There’s very little price transparency in the wedding industry, and more and more stories of wedding-specific markups seem to abound.

So what exactly are you paying for as a bridal consumer? Here are several factors that raise the cost of wedding gowns, rings, and accessories:

1. Perceived Value

This concept is all about brand marketing in the sense that an item’s cost provides an indication of its overall value. When you think about a wedding gown priced at $300, compared to one that is priced at $3000, the price difference gives off very different signals. For some consumers, the perceived value makes a big difference when it comes time to make a purchasing decision. As strange as it might sound, some shoppers seek out a more expensive item (i.e., gown or veil), because they think they’re receiving a higher quality product.

In fact, we read through a report put out recently by the esteemed Wharton School’s Baker Retailing Center on the subject titled “Online Luxury Retailing: Leveraging Digital Opportunities​”. The authors outline strategies such as creating beliefs, exclusivity, and framing to create a high-value perception within the luxury goods sector, and thus achieve a high willingness-to-pay.

A wedding industry example that comes to mind is a bride who tries on a gown in a bridal store, and doesn’t notice that the dress she is trying on is partially made of polyester. The bride may just assume that the item is made of non-synthetic materials because of the price tag.

2. Markup

Most industries have a standard markup to allow for costs like overhead in addition to profit. In the fashion industry, retailers often prescribe to a markup pricing guideline of 50% known as “keystone.” How is it calculated? Well, look at the math and you’ll see that marking up a product by 50% actually doubles the cost of the product. According to this explanation on Forbes website that shows how fashion brands set prices, the markup happens not once, but twice. When one takes a look at the bridal shop industry and associated manufacturing, the multiples become even higher!

Although we’ve left out the actual names of the store and wholesaler to protect the businesses that we looked at, below is a real world calculation of bridal store markups priced in USD as of June, 2017:

Check out that hefty 5.8X markup from the wholesale cost to the retail price you pay in a bridal store!

Although, it’s not entirely their fault. Many bridal boutiques need a high markup in order to survive as a small store and cover rent, insurance, inventory, etc.

  • Cost to manufacture the veil (fabric, labor): $22
  • Wholesale price= $62
  • Retail bridal store price= $360

3. Willingness to Pay 

Pricing is a reflection of what bridal consumers are willing to pay. If brides won’t pay the markup, then someone involved in the distribution chain must adjust their price to meet the demand side price. However, weddings seem to attract an abundance of people who are more than willing to pay, and prices reflect that reality. Hence why wedding stores are able to markup their product by so much. Consumers like to comparison shop on the basis of whether something is affordable compared to similarly priced products, as well as based on a perception of what things should cost.

Those 3 Factors Are Exactly What Drive Brick and Mortar Bridal Store Product Prices Up …

… but the worst part is that when you buy from a bridal boutique, you not only pay for your bridal veil, but you are also paying a premium to try it on in store, the assistance of the sales associate, the inventory they carry, marketing, and so on.

The keystone pricing model doesn’t seem entirely “fair” for wedding consumers. That being said, many brides need quality accessories for their big day and the wedding industry knows how to deliver on that promise. Of course, let’s not talk about how the groom is expected to shell out two months salary on an engagement ring from the get-go!

The Only Way To Know For Certain That Your Bridal Veil Is Priced Fairly …

If you want to be 100% certain you are neither over paying for your bridal veil nor getting caught in the wedding industrial complex, you need to know exactly who you are buying from and ask them questions around the product (i.e., the type of fabric, where it’s made, and who made it). If a bridal shop says a wholesaler made the veil, you best be aware that they are most certainly marking up the price. And if it sounds like too much, it probably is.

One online source where you can customize a bridal veil is ClassicVeils. Their online bridal veil business model means they don’t hold expensive inventory, leading to lower overheads than traditional bridal shops, and they can pass the savings on to brides. Classic Veils offer top notch customer server and works one-on-one with brides to make gorgeous and affordable custom veils.

Classic Veils Offers Services That Bridal Stores Can’t

  • Customize a bridal veil online to your specifications
  • No commissioned sales staff
  • No pressure to buy in store
  • High quality bridal illusion tulle and materials
    Handcrafted in Colorado, USA
  • Lower markups than traditional bridal shops

If you want to know the exact quality of veil you will get (and if you want to avoid huge mark ups), you should click the link below and try the interactive custom veil builder from Classic Veils.

Try Classic Veils’ Interactive Custom Veil Builder. Design A Veil That You AND Your Wedding Day Budget Will Love!

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