Wedding price gouging. The rehearsal dinner edition

22 Apr

So Fiance really liked this one place for a rehearsal dinner.

They do a Prix Fixe (set menu) of appetizer, meal and dessert  for $26 per person plus tax and tip on any regular day.  This excludes drinks. I called the manager. I told her our budget would be much lower than that, so I was hoping she could help us with a menu within our budget. She asked what the party was for. I was caught off guard and blurted out the truth that it was for a rehearsal dinner. I felt dirty. I knew she would charge us the “wedding tax.”

Definition: The wedding tax is when you buy anything that you’d normally buy, but the store or person hears “wedding” and jacks up the price 5x just to screw you. Even though you’re getting the same service.

Anyway, the owner just sent me an email with our “custom made” menu for our rehearsal dinner.

It’s basically their prixe fixe menu, but some meals are actually substituted with cheaper food. I.e., she took out the expensive mussels and replaced it with salmon, which is much cheaper here.

And she is actually trying to charge us an EXTRA $4 per person than their regular menu…even though she is giving us cheaper food!!!!!!!!!

That’s an extra $400.  And $550 over the budget we gave her.  Excluding the tax, tips and any drinks. This could very well end up costing more than 3x the budget we gave her.

Are you crazy?!

*Crosses this off the list.* Now I have to resume the freaking restaurant search. I feel so violated!!!!!!!!!!

Avoid getting scammed: don’t EVER bring up a wedding, unless you have to.


7 Responses to “Wedding price gouging. The rehearsal dinner edition”

  1. Amanda April 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Why not consider having the rehearsal dinner at someone’s home? Very nice alternative, and you can either cater some hot/cold trays and hors d’oeuvres…buy a case of white and red, some water, other drinks, a large cake or other desserts etc. – you can save some money, time…and still have a very nice rehearsal dinner gathering. Very common alternative these days. Best of luck!

    • unhappybride April 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

      thanks for suggestion! Unfortunately, both our parents homes are way too small for that many people, but it would have been a great alternative!

  2. Anonymous April 24, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Better yet, why not consider having it in the backyard with tents etc? It should save you money that could be better spent on the wedding itself. If that is not feasible then try negotiating further with her and inform her that if she does not substitute your meals for cheaper ones you may be able to take up the offer. After all it’s your wedding rehearsal dinner. If this doesn’t work out, try finding an alternative and remember don’t tell them that it’s a wedding rehearsal dinner, since you want affordable.

    All the best with the dinner.

    • unhappybride April 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

      Thanks so much for the advice. We live in the city in small homes with even smaller backyards so we can’t do that. My problem is when the resto asks you what kind of party it is, what do you say?! Darn me for being so honest. They shouldn’t ask, period.

      I’m gonna tell that restaurant lady who is trying to scam us to screw off. Her food wasn’t “that good” and she’s only trying to gouge us. Since I posted this, I asked her to remove the appetizers, and she only knocked off $2 per person. Funny because there’s no apps under $5 on their menu. #scam

  3. lberkner February 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Wedding tax, very clever. I am currently planning for my wedding with a tight budget and the high prices are the most annoying thing by far. I sort of understand the economics behind it. It’s because there are so many brides who are able to spend a doctor’s yearly salary on their wedding. So that drives the price up.
    But still, I hate having to suffer because of the spoiled princess-for-a-day brides.

    My mom told me a classic “wedding tax” story about a girl she knew who was trying to save money by not telling her cake vendor that it was for a wedding (it was just a sheet cake). They had already agreed on a (non-wedding) price and size and style when the bride accidentally let slip that it was for her wedding. So right in front of her the vendor says “Oh, it’s your wedding? We gave you the wrong price it’s….” They jacked the price up right there, even though the cake was the same, and the bride burst into tears. Where is the business ethics? Seriously.

    Anyways, love the blog. I’m so sick of wedding BS.

    • unhappy bride March 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

      Eww that is so dirty! Sometimes there are no business ethics. Just people trying to make money. I hope everything is going well with your planning and you are able to save some money. Just hide the “w” word!

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