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The “W” Word

March 17, 2010

Recently, I learned first-hand how adding the word “wedding” to any service increases its price dramatically. I called my local hair salon, where I have been getting my hair cut since I started law school, and asked them how much special event updos cost. They quoted me at $50-75, depending on the intricacy of the hairstyle. I knew I wanted a simple chignon for my city hall wedding, so I was happy with this price. I wanted to see some of the stylist’s work before I booked though. I didn’t want a full out trial; I can do that for my big wedding in September. Rather, I wanted to simply see a few photos of the type of work she had done to assure me that I was in good hands. When I asked her about this, she said, “What type of event is this for?” That’s where I should have made something up. I should have said anything but the “w” word. But, being naïve and trusting, I admitted to the stylist that this would be for my city hall ceremony. “Oooh,” she responded. “So it’s for your Wedding.” Here is how the rest of the conversation went:

Me: Well, yeah, we’re making it legal in city hall, but the real wedding is later on this year.

Her: But you are taking pictures, yes?

Me: Yeah…

Her: Well so we have a Wedding Protocol for Bridal hairstyles. You have to get a trial beforehand for $50 and the hairstyle itself starts at $100.

Me: But I just want something simple. Really, it’s not a big deal.

Her: But it’s your Wedding. Don’t you want it to look perfect?

Me: Well we’re not making a big deal about the city hall wedding. I just want something simple. That’s why I asked you about special event hair, not wedding hair. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on this.

Her: I understand, but we have a Wedding Protocol.

What I should have said: And I have a Bullshit Protocol. Good-bye.

Instead, I stayed on the phone, talking to 3 different people about the situation. In the end, their Bridal Coordinator told me that due to my “special circumstances,” they would let me book it without a hair trial. Gee, thanks. When I asked her how much the hair would cost, she told me bridal hair starts at $100. I said that I wanted a simple bun and she assured me that if it was really easy, the stylist could lower the cost at her discretion. Ummm What?! So you want me to put down a deposit ($30, lowered from their regular $50 – oh, how kind of them), and then be at the mercy of the hairstylist that I might get a lower price the day of? Um, no thanks.

I am pretty upset about the whole thing. Upset at myself, for letting it slip that the hair was wedding related, and upset at the salon for basically refusing to give me a special event price simply because they know it’s for my wedding. What do you guys think? Am I overreacting, or is the salon being ridiculous? Have you experienced Wedding related markup?

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