I'm currently organizing my wedding and it seems as soon as you mention the W word to any restaurant or caterer etc. the price immediately double. I'm not even kidding either - I've even gone to a restaurant who had banquets on their website for like $35 and they told me those wouldn't be available for a wedding and that the wedding ones start from $60+.
Can someone explain from an economic supply/demand type point of view why it is like this?
In any other situation, you would think it should be less per head to cater for a wedding than to just go to a restaurant. For one, there's massive economies of scale. I've been to weddings where it's a two/ three course meal with alternative dishes - so basically, they need to just cook two meals.
As opposed to if I just went to the restaurant, they would need to cook whatever dish I picked from the menu even if they weren't making this dish for anyone else.
There's other savings like the fact they know in advance the food they need to serve which I assume would help them optimize their costs, reduce wastage. They also have the guarantee that the restaurant will be packed out (most likely with happy guests not shy of taking advantage of a free bar tab) and know in advance how much they will be getting.
So is it just that the restaurants know that most ppl MUST have a wedding and they know that every other restaurant will ask a high price and therefore they can do it? Sort of like a cartel that inflates the prices? I find that hard to believe as there's many, many restaurants out there - and the cartel would break up easily as soon as one or two of the restaurants start lowering their prices.