Brides told to be wary of shonky wedding operators

BRIDAL couples planning for their perfect days are being fleeced by service providers looking to cash in on the business of love.

Venues, photographers, florists and hire car companies are lining up to take advantage of couples carried away on the wave of emotion, often charging wedding parties more than three times the price quoted for birthdays or other functions.

It is little wonder then the average price of an Australian wedding has rocketed to over $36,000.

It pays, says consumer group Choice, to shop around when planning your festivities.

Their investigation found that while venues, car hire companies and photographers were happy to quote per-hour prices for birthdays, bridal couples were steered towards much more expensive packages.

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One Sydney photographer was happy to do a party for $1495 but quoted $4750 for a wedding, while there were higher prices for the cakes - ranging from $200-$700.

"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," said Choice's Kate Browne.

Choice's advice is to be clear on what you want, agree on the price before you proceed and to be wary of add-ons.

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