Rewind to the 1993’s, I’m in high school, sophomore year. Our teacher assigns the class an unbelievably difficult semester project: a twenty page essay on anything we want. It’s cool that we can write about anything we want, but twenty freaking pages? Are you kidding me? That’s as long as… as long as the Bible! Well, that’s what it felt like back then. But I didn’t panic; I had a plan.
Months pass, and while everyone slaved over their research project, hacking away at those twenty pages, paragraph by paragraph, per week, I decide to take the easier way out; to goof off the entire semester and try to cram twenty pages of nonsense into a night of intense brainstorming, and creative interpretive writing (I’ll fill you in on my technique later at the bottom of the page)
Now I know what you were thinking, that I failed this project miserably. But I didn’t! I believe I either got an A or B, I don’t remember exactly. But what I do remember was that my nerdy little classmates who took their time throughout the year, got C’s, and some even got F’s . Why? Well, my teacher told them that they were padding their report with nonsense. If they were to subtract the padding from their essays they wouldn’t have twenty pages, they would have ten. So, they were credited with ten. Their padding techniques ranged from using a slightly larger font, double spacing, longer words they found in the thesaurus, and over describing details that were not important to the essay…anything to make their report look a lot longer.
Fast-forward to the real word, padding is still going on. And this time, it’s the wedding companies are guilty of grossly padding their packages. And likely so, they deserve a BIG F.
So how does one pad a package?
Let’s take a look at the McDonald’s Quarter-Pounder Value meal as it is displayed, honest and straight forward.
- Quarter-Pounder with Cheese
- Medium Sized drink
- Medium Fries
That’s easy, straight forward and honest right? Now let’s take the same package, and have one our wedding companies describe the same package WITH PADDING!
- Two buns, cooked to perfection
- American Cheese
- Hamburger, broiled
- Chef to assemble your burger
- Medium Sized Drink
- One single straw for your drink, with complimentary straws upon request
- Deep fried potatoes, hand packed, and seasoned
- Forks and utensils if needed
- Serving tray, must be returned
- Courteous counter clerk to take your order and provide you with service through your orders completion to delivery
Ah, now you’re getting my drift. Let’s try a little reality.
Here is sample package from my website, the patriot package
- Ministry Services – customized services if needed
- 1 hour of photography labor charge
- 75 digital photos – color/exposure corrected
I don’t include common sense services that a wedding planner should do, just as a restaurant doesn’t include the common sense service of giving you a fork with your dinner as an extra line item.
Now let’s see the same package from my competitor, that’s less in value, longer in description, and way more expensive.
I will include my comments on the side of each line item.
- Minister/Officiant of your choice – this is honest
- Marriage Licenses assistance – common sense responsibility of a coordinator to a bride. Why list it?
- Marriage license processing – not the responsibility of the wedding company, but the minister and department of health. This line item is a lie as the wedding company never processes a marriage license.
- 40 minutes of photography – honest, but too short of coverage. A wedding ceremony takes 20 minutes, that’s the ceremony and signing of legal documents. So are we to believe a professional photographer can get great shots in 20 minutes? No. this line item is made for the upsell.
- 50 retouched photos – too little photos. The photographer will most likely go over this. This is also created for the up-sell on the day of the package.
- Courteous On-Site coordinator – isn’t it the common sense responsibility for the coordinator to show up on the day of the wedding, and to be courteous?
- Prompt email correspondence – isn’t it the common sense responsibility for the coordinator to answer their email, promptly?
- Friendly Phone correspondence – ugh….really? Do they have to list answering their phone and returning calls as a service? Well at least they are being friendly.
- Pre-Wedding Consultation – I’m not sure if this has to do with the minister or not. What in the world is this? Are they psychologist now? Doesn’t this only apply to Catholics?
- List of Recommended Vendors – Isn’t it the responsibility of a coordinator to recommend vendors to go with, and to even book them for the bride. Just a list? Are you kidding me?
- $1350.00 – WOW!!!!
The same package without padding looks like this
- 40 minutes photography
- 50 digital color/corrected photos
- $1350!!! I honestly still can’t believe that price. That’s
dishonest horrible expensive a rip-off!
This same package would cost $425.00 with my company.
As you can see, there is no way they could ever getting away with charging $1350 if they truly showed the meat of their package.
Are they dishonest? Or even worse…cheaters?
You make the call. I report, you decide.
*Just how did I manage to write a twenty page essay within one long night during high school? I was always a pretty good writer, so that helped a little. But for the first step I literally copied and pasted what I thought were great facts, arguments, and quotes until I got around 30 pages of content. I rearranged the entire content in an order that fit my voice, and what I thought sounded cohesive. Then, I just rewrote everything in my own voice. The first draft was way longer than twenty pages, so it was just a matter of cutting the fat out till I hit twenty. So I “reverse-padded” That’s it… It did take a while to write, but that was the technique I would use throughout high school, and into the ½ semester of college; until I dropped out to become a professional screenwriter…