Sydney Celebrant, Nitza Lowenstein in the Media - Nitza

Nitza Lowenstein
Nitza Lowenstein Marriage Celebrant
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Sydney Celebrant, Nitza Lowenstein in the Media

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About Nitza Lowenstein, Sydney Wedding Celebrant in the  media,
ABC TV, ABC Radio, Sun Herald, Indian wedding and more
Read: The Sun Herald: "24 Hrs in Nitza's Life"...
Please Watch a Video Clip,
Nitza Lowenstein Sydney Celebrant
talks to
The Sydney Morning Herald
about being a Marriage Celebrant!
Newspaper article
"Nitza knows love will find a way"...
ABC Radio: Civil Rites:
"Marrying Outside the Church".
Radio interview with
Nitza Lowenstein Marriage Celebrant ABC
Newpaper Article: about:
Nitza's wedding in India
"Indian wedding Jewish style"
ABC Television: Compass:
"Faithfully Yours", featuring Nitza
Australian Government heritage project
Rachel & Neill Australian wedding,
The Greenbaum's Certificate of Appreciation to Nitza
Nitza's Interview with:
"Bride To Be",  Magazine
The cost of weddings!
"Here comes the bride, up goes the price"...
Choice Magazine 28 Aug 2014 Author:Kate Browne
Please note that the figures are from 2014 and costs escalated since....
but in real terms, "Here comes the bride, up goes the price" will never change...
With the average price of an  Australian wedding estimated at  $36,200-54,000, it seems the  institution is immune to financial crises  and just about everything  else.
But are Australians couples planning to tie the knot paying a price   premium? Does saying the W word mean paying through the nose when it   comes to venues, photographers, cakes, hire cars and so on?
In 2009  CHOICE put this theory to the test, and sure enough, we found many   wedding suppliers and venues charge more for people having a wedding   than someone having a party - despite exactly the same product or   service being requested.
Five years later, we decided to put the wedding industry under the spotlight again to see if anything has changed.
CHOICE  commissioned two shadow shoppers to organise quotes for a  wedding and a  birthday. Both events had the same number of guests and  identical  requirements. Our wedding shadow shopper called the  businesses first. A  week later the second shopper called the same  business with an identical  request but claimed it was for her partner’s  40th birthday.
Our shadow shop focused on:
  • venue hire (including catering)
  • photography
  • hire cars
  • cake
  • flowers
  • photo booth hire
    Businesses were selected in both Melbourne and Sydney to provide a   good cross-section of suburbs and demographics. Our two shadow shoppers   contacted 36 businesses in total across both cities and each was   contacted twice, once by our bride and once by our party girl.
  • Florists were asked to provide quotes on flowers to decorate the venue only - no bridal bouquets were requested.
  • The photographer was told they were only needed for the reception and not the ceremony, as this was being done by a friend.
  • For the cake, flower and car enquiries, the birthday shopper used the same details as for the wedding scenario
  • For the venue, our shoppers asked for a quote on a sit down three-course meal with drinks for 80 people.
    What we found
No matter whether you’re having a party or a wedding, the venue (which   often includes the catering too) will be one of the most expensive   elements of your event.
Our shadow shop found three of the six venues contacted for quotes   charged more for the wedding than the party, despite having identical   requirements. One venue told our wedding shopper that they didn’t charge   per person for weddings and that the cost would be between $12,000 and   18,000 in total. Yet they happily prepared a per-head charge for our   birthday shopper of $125 per person for a five-hour, sit-down   three-course package, including drinks, venue hire and the cutting and   serving of a provided cake!
Another issue for our party planner was that one venue told her they   don’t accept bookings for any kind of function other than a wedding on   Saturday nights, while another told her she would have to pay “wedding   prices” if she wanted to secure a Saturday.

And when it comes to weddings, watch out for add-ons. Megan West, a   NSW-based marriage celebrant, says this is a trap  that she has seen   often. “I see suppliers all the time quote a base cost that actually   works within the bride and groom's budget,” she says. “Then the supplier   later adds on extra costs. This pretty much entraps them. If they  don't  pay up, it won't be the wedding they've been told they want. It's   pretty standard practice.
Hot tip: Venues often want you to come in for a   meeting to discuss your needs one-on-one. While this is great for   getting a feel for what the venue is like, beware any upselling of added   extras.
Professional photographers have a tough gig, especially when it comes   to weddings. Clients want their photos to be perfect, and woe betide   the photographer who forgets to get that crucial shot of great-aunt Esme   in the rush to capture everyone else on the big day.
When it comes to weddings, many photographers work on the premise of a   five-hour job, which usually includes shots of the bride and groom   getting ready, the service and the festivities afterwards, as well as   some formal posed shots with the wedding party and the family.
Our wedding shadow shopper was very specific about the fact she was   having a very informal wedding, a close family friend would be capturing   the ceremony, which was happening away from the venue, and that a   photographer was only required at the reception to capture the   festivities and some semi-formal photos of friends and family with the   bride and groom. This was so our shadow shoppers could compare apples   with apples and both requested a photographer for two hours to take a   variety of informal shots at the reception/party as well as some   informal shots of friends and family with the birthday boy.
The response from the photographic businesses our shadow shoppers   contacted was very mixed. Two photographers told them both that they   would not accept a booking for just two hours, while another was   perfectly happy to quote $400 to the bride without a confirmed venue,   yet told the party girl he wouldn’t provide a quote until she confirmed   the venue.
One upmarket photographer in Sydney quoted our party girl $1495, yet   quoted our bride-to-be $4750 for a full package for five hours, despite   her repeatedly requesting that she only needed someone for two hours.   She also received an emotional hard sell, being told that “this is the   most amazing day of your life – we capture that emotion, we tell that   story. You can go back and relive the whole day through the photos”.
Hot tip: As with venues, wedding photography   packages can be fairly inflexible and often priced at a minimum of four   or five hours with a one-size-fits-all approach. If that’s not you  want,  be prepared to shop around and be very clear what your  expectations  are.
Hire cars
When it comes to a hire car, you could fairly assume that the job   would be the same, no matter who’s travelling in it. However, we found   this isn't always the case.
Our shadow shoppers requested the same style of car and only a pick-up   from and drop-off at the venue over the same distance. Interestingly,   three of the six businesses contacted were only too happy to provide   this service to our party planner and quote her an hourly rate, yet our   bride-to-be was told by the same businesses that there was a minimum   call-out of three hours. As a result she was quoted $1000 by a provider   who quoted our party person just $450 for a one-hour call-out - even   though both shoppers asked for a booking for the same location, on the   same date.

Hot tip: When it comes to hire cars, take the time to shop around. Don't be pushed into minimum calls-outs that aren’t required.
Photo booths
Photo booths can be a lot of fun for party or wedding guests and have become increasingly popular over the past few years.
Our shadow shoppers had identical requirements when they called for a   quote and received identical prices in return, with the exception of   one business who charged our wedding shopper an extra $50 on top of the   $700 our party shopper was quoted.
The prices for cakes quoted to our shadow shoppers ranged from $200   to $700, depending on the store and the size of serving. Both requested a   modern style, white chocolate mud cake, decorated with fresh flowers   and big enough to feed 80 people.
While our bride-to-be was quoted more at two of the stores we called,   our birthday planner also got the upsell from one Sydney cake-maker,  who  suggested a different cake costing $1500 and suggested if that was  too  expensive, she could ask family and friends to “chip in”!
Tip: Most cake-makers offer the option of a “finger   slice” of cake to have with coffee or as a “dessert serve”. Serving  your  wedding cake as dessert could save you a bundle. If you’re sure  you  don’t want a traditional wedding cake, you don’t need to let on  that  it’s for a wedding as you may get a better deal.
Not surprisingly, a wedding is usually going to have different floral requirements to a birthday party.
Our wedding shadow shopper requested flowers only to decorate the   venue, saying that a family friend was going to make her bouquet. When   she called a week later, our birthday planner asked specifically for the   same flowers that had been suggested by the florist to the bride.
Of the six florists contacted, none quoted more for our bride or   party planner. However, one florist, possibly looking for an opportunity   to upsell our bride-to-be, refused to do a quote over the phone and   insisted she come in for a one-on-one consultation, yet was able to   provide a quote for our party person.
Do high expectations mean high maintenance?
Many suppliers who are involved in weddings will argue that   brides-to-be and their partners are high maintenance customers with high   expectations for service and quality of product, which may justify any   price hike whenever the W word is mentioned.
John O’Meara, chair of the Australian Bridal Industry Academy (ABIA),   argues that with about 40,000 wedding retailers in business in   Australia, in what is a seasonal industry, many suppliers have to charge   a premium. “I believe the premiums charged for a wedding are justified   because it’s predominantly weekend work and brides can be very high   maintenance. There are much higher expectations for a wedding than any   other event. As a retailer you only get one chance to get it right.”
However, marriage celebrant Megan West says she sees couples being   stung by high costs and hidden charges all the time. “Reception venues   will claim a wedding usually involves more work. I translate that into   'managing the behaviour of exuberant guests on the night'. Otherwise   it's a pretty absurd claim. The overheads are the same – grain-fed,   free-range, organic Wagyu costs the same from the butcher whether it’s   used for Johnny and Dee's big day or Nanna’s 90th.”
Invested and irrational
While a party and a wedding can share the same attributes, when it   comes to expectations and behaviour they’re chalk and cheese, says Dr Paul Harrison,   senior lecturer in marketing and unit chair of consumer behaviour and   advertising at the Graduate School of Business, Deakin University.

“A wedding is so far removed from a party in terms of the different   expectations and culture around a wedding”, he says. “The industry is   huge, and people feel like they’ll miss out on something if they don’t   do what they imagine is expected, particularly from their friends and   family.”

Harrison says even the most rational person can change their consumer   habits with the pressure of planning a wedding. “You throw out the   usual rational behaviours with a wedding, because unlike a wedding your   social identity - particularly for women - doesn't potentially hang on a   party.”

West agrees. “A wedding is about the biggest emotional purchase people make, besides their first home.”

Let’s meet up
Our bride-to-be received several follow-up calls and invitations to   come in for a one-on-one chat from the businesses she contacted. However   our party planner didn’t receive a single follow-up call or contact   after her enquiries.
According to Harrison, this is known as investment theory and is a   successful technique for winning over a potential customer. “The more   doors you go through to reach a decision, the harder it is to pull out.   When you interact socially with someone, you become a lot more invested   and it’s a lot more difficult to withdraw.”
For more articles and advice on saving when you shop, head to our Shopping and legal section.
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