I'm new here and have spent a few days digging through this forum and found something that my good friend and neighbor Paul Schrank, of
A colleague of mine just got an email from a previously mentioned AI. They demanded a $500 fee be paid for the right to shoot there,. This is a quote from their wedding coordinator's email "This amount should be paid cash to the weddings office the morning of the wedding." I'm surprised she didn't ask for it in a brown paper bag, it's pretty clear what's going on here.
Buying a day pass is normal for anyone you invite in from outside the resort for your wedding. It's a nice gesture for your vendors as well. It allows us to move about, get food and drinks as needed, and not be questioned or hassled by the staff. The above mentioned fees are in addition to the day pass fees. Americans like myself can get by for a while saying we are friends/guests of the couple but eventually someone begins to recognize us as "outside vendors." This is what happened with the above mentioned colleague.
I think this has been a closed monopoly for a long time. The concept of free market capitalism is relatively new and they don't know what to do, so they're fighting it. I've realized that it's a mistake to assume that the best quality/price wins. I've seen a resort photographer with a consumer grade, point and shoot camera. I've seen the resort videographers show up at the chapel in shorts and T-shirts with a five year old handheld video camera. It seems to be a gamble to rely on the resort services. I know that many wedding coordinators make more money from vendor commissions and mark-ups than they do with their salary or coordination fees. Many vendors know that by offering higher commissions they will get the work and coordinators will give you all sorts of reasons why you have to use a particular vendor, some are valid, but often it's the higher commission that they will receive from their "preferred" vendor.
I know this sounds like sour grapes, it can be frustrating. The only way it will change, is if consumers demand a free market. It's a shame to say out loud, but don't assume that your happiness and satisfaction is paramount. The motives are often cash-related. There are many vendors and hotels/resorts here that are sincerely concerned about your happiness and satisfaction and who will insure that you get the finest quality service available. I don't want to burn bridges by omitting anyone from the good list or naming anyone on the bad list on a public forum.
Julie (itsme7396) has posted here about her wedding. I worked at that wedding and everything was top-notch from start to finish. It was also well-timed and had a great cadence. I was surprised by the fact that both the photographer and I were hired for five hours and we got everything from Pre-Ceremony preparations to all the reception events and some of the general dancing. Normally at an AI a LOT of time is spent waiting or moving from place to place. With five hours of coverage, sacrifices have to be made or the coverage needs to be extended to get everything, this costs more money. It's also very hard to put a value on the frustration of waiting and conforming to the resort's schedule and logistics.
At a smaller hotel or resort, you get more for your money from your vendors because your not paying them to wait, and you're more likely to get a well-timed event that keeps your guests happy and engaged. A well-timed event, where everything is within walking distance and no one gets bored or annoyed, is something that's hard to consider up-front, but will always end up being valuable in many ways. If you're already booked, or considering booking at an AI, you have a lot of clout to bargain with as the couple bringing them business. Tell them you'll be bringing in photographer(s) and/or videographer(s) as invited guests. Expect them to be treated as all your invited guests from outside the resort and don't tolerate any additional fees or penalties for choosing not to use their services. Nobody wants 40 American/Canadiens complaining on the internet, on message boards like this. You the consumer have a right to demand free market competition. They have the right to expect you to purchase a day pass for outside guests.