Well, besides if I'm available on their wedding day, of course. You may not be surprised to hear that it's "how much does it cost". However, the answer may surprise you, because really, there isn't a clear answer. At least, not at first.
Why do brides ask this question first? Weddings are expensive, and a budget is a must. But, I don't think that's the real reason.
I think it's mostly a cover up for the real reason.
It's not just brides that do this, I think it's all of us. Sort of human nature.
You see, we're not experts at everything. Usually we have one or a few domains where we know stuff. Like our job, our hobbies, and some, like my walking encyclopedia of a brother, who know a little about a lot. But most of us don't.
Imagine a dealership. You're walking in because you're going to buy a car. If you're anything like me, you feel intimidated by the process. Why? Because you may not know a whole lot about cars. But what do you know? That you have a budget. And what is the common feature of every.single.car? Price. After that, they all offer different features, engines, horsepower, rust proofing, blah blah yada yada, stuff I know NOTHING about. I can't talk about that with any certainty. What do I understand? Price.
Going back to brides, getting married can be a daunting planning process. After you've basked in the glow of the engagement and you've somewhat gotten used to the weight of that shimmering ring on your finger, you have to start planning. And quickly it can become all business. And, unless it's not a first marriage, chances are, you may be a little intimidated. Wedding shows, venues, flowers, caterers, photo, video, etc. etc. etc. And it's mostly unknown. You may end up spending half your waking hours on The Knot trying to absorb all the instruction on what to do and how to do it, but truthfully, the only thing you really know for certain is your numbers.
So we've touched the soul of the problem. Price is a starting point because it's a familiar and common starting point. Does it mean you are only a colour-by-numbers person? Of course not! But until you know what you need to know, it's hard to ask a different question in the first contact.
When I bought my new Hyundai 4 years ago, I had a budget. After knowing my price range, I started to find out about the car. I did some research and then went to the dealership and talked with them. Once the sales rep demystified things for me, I understood a lot more. I ended up spending more money on some safety features, cuz my little baby girl is the most important thing in my world.
So is it all about the numbers? Well once you know more about it all, the numbers transform. How? They get a value attached. You understand the end game a bit more - that you want photos that your grown grand-children will show their children, that you want memories created on such a special day to relive every time you open the album. You realize that everything else gets consumed the night of, and the photos live on. You know you will rock the house - and there will be proof. The final number will reflect that value back to you.
So what's the best approach? Do some research, like any big purchase. Once you've shortlisted your vendors, drop them a note. You can still ask about price, but a better way would be to request a meeting. Meet that person, who will potentially be at your side on your most important day. Have them give you all the info you need. Have them show you images and albums. Inputting your numbers into that final equation will give you the magic.
In the end, the number matters less than the value you will receive. I know that the investment in my car was worth it for the safety of my family. Now I still stayed in my price range; I just pushed through where it mattered most. I didn't add-on sporty stuff for example, like a sun-roof. The car as I bought it reflects my values. Your wedding package will, and should reflect yours.