It’s a challenge to charge what you’re worth as a wedding vendor and get it without argument.  Sometimes it feels darn near impossible.

So saying that you can charge more by giving something away for FREE, not only sounds crazy (“How can I make ANY money when I’m giving something away?!??”) it strikes fear into the heart of even the bravest wedding professional.

Use Free to Book More Weddings!

That fear makes us want to cling to every bit of knowledge, advice and every resource we have with all our strength.  After all, we’ve worked hard for our expertise.  No bride or groom is going to pry it from our cold, dead hands without paying for it!

Cheap Wine and a Lesson in Marketing

This is a true story…

I went into a Discount Wine and Liquor Store to buy a bottle of wine to bring to my future mother-in-law.  I knew we were having chicken for dinner, but I knew absolutely nothing about wine at the time.

So I asked the gum-snapping teen behind the counter, “Which wine is good with chicken francaise?”

She stared at me and shrugged.  “This one costs seven bucks,” she said.  “And the label is pretty cool.”

I was obviously on my own.

Months later, I visited Arlington Wine and Liquor with a similar predicament.  This time I wanted to impress our foodie guests with a good wine pairing for seafood gumbo.

There were dozens of rows and shelves of wine, brandies, cognacs, sake, types of alcohol I’d never heard of let alone tasted.  I cowered in the doorway, remembering my experience at the discount liquor mart.

A friendly young man appeared at my side.  “How can I help you?”  I told him what we were having for dinner and braced for an ignorant, uncaring response.

The young man recommended two different wines.  He explained that the wrong wine would taste horrible with spicy food, but a carefully chosen pairing would refresh the palate and enhance the whole dining experience.

I left the store with two bottles of wine, a smile on my face and a few more facts to boost my confidence in entertaining my wine loving guests.

The discount wine store sold…you guessed it…cheap wine.  The wine I ended up buying at Arlington was more expensive, but I understood instantly why their prices were higher.  I wasn’t just buying the wine; I was tapping into the knowledge and advice of wine connoisseurs.

The Easy Way to Explain Your Worth

The same thing happens with brides and grooms when they call up Fly By Night Wedding Business and ask for a price.  All they get is someone pointing at the price tag.

But when they call you and you ask them intelligent questions and find out what they need before making a recommendation, your value is instantly recognizable.  Even if they choose to go with someone else, they will know why you’re worth it.

Here’s why FREE can actually make you money…

It’s very difficult to explain your value and justify your price…especially an above average price…to a bride you’ve just met.  She doesn’t trust you.  At worst, your explanation sounds like a sales pitch.  At best, it’s a lecture.

However, when you give her a taste of your knowledge, skill and expertise for free, right up front before she’s paid you a dime, she gets a first hand experience of what you can do for her.  It cuts through all the mumbo-jumbo explanation and PROVES why you’re worth it.

The Psychology of Influence

It also kicks in a few psychological Principles of Influence (see Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, for all the geeky details) that make it more likely that she will book you.

  • Giving away free information, tips and advice without asking for anything in return:
    • Makes you likeable.  That’s the Principle of Likeability: we are influenced by people who we like and trust.


  • Creates a pressure in the bride to return the favor.  That’s the Principle of Reciprocity: when someone does a favor for us, it creates an unconscious pressure to return the favor.  In the case of a bride, it creates an unconscious pressure for her to book you.

You can learn more about how to use the psychology of influence to book more weddings in my Price Shopper Email Report.  It’s fascinating stuff and more importantly, it works!

Instead of arguing about your price, and failing to explain to those “price shoppers” why you’re worth your price tag, flip the script and give them a first hand experience of what it’s like to work with you.  Simply find out what they need and help them.

Use the power of FREE to book more weddings at higher prices.

What do you think about using “free” for your wedding business?


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Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

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4 thoughts on “How To Charge More By Giving Away the Goods”

  1. Mark Bohand says:

    I’m wondering what – If Anything – Photographers “give for free” to give brides a taste of what we can do. Would “an engagement session with a file sent to your newspaper” be appropriate. I understand giving thing away for free to reward brides who spend more, but what (tangibly) can/should I give her as a way of saying “Hello! Look at what I can do for you,” without JUST giving them everything they need for free?
    Any Thoughts?

    1. I wouldn’t recommend a free engagement shoot, unless you’re doing a full day of these “mini-shoots” at your studio OR unless you’re getting extremely qualified leads. Otherwise, you’ll end up attracting too many people looking for free lunch who don’t have the budget to hire you.

      My favorite freebie for a photographer is the same as other wedding pros: INFORMATION. Share your tips and prove your expertise in a free report or video and offer it in exchange for their email address. This is something you can make once and benefit from repeatedly without taking up any more time, and now you get to follow up with them.

      Topic ideas:

      – 7 Best Wedding Photo Locations In North Central Ohio
      – How to Look Your Most Gorgeous In Your Wedding Photos
      – 5 Things You Don’t Know About Planning a Wedding in Ohio

      You’re also giving couples a taste of what you can do by helping them when you get them on the phone. Ask them questions, listen and then make an expert suggestion or two. “Make sure you get a sunset shot by the gazebo,” or “Add at least an extra 15 minutes to allow your bridal party time to climb in the limo after the ceremony.” Share you best tip and it goes miles towards giving them an idea of what it’s like working with you.

  2. Rebecca Wey says:

    Sound advice here, that can work for most companies. ‘Giving away’ free knowledge is a great way to show clients you are there to help them, not just to sell things to them. This strategy can be used in social media as well, use these platforms to educate your fans not just to advertise.

  3. Jewel says:

    This info was great! And let me know I am on the right path! I already offer a free trial (unadvertised though) to brides that contact me.. Maybe now I will advertise it ! I offer way more than planning but its hard to explain to brides sometimes the value of it all! Thanks guys!

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