Congratulations, you are getting married! Next up?...working with dozens of vendors to help make your special day the perfect day. But how much should those vendors charge? More likely than not, you can get similar services for less than what you are originally quoted. How? Here are some negotiation strategies that will save you hundreds, if not thousands.
First, know your budget. You will have to have a sense of: (1) what you expect to spend; (2) what you can spend; and (3) what you hope to spend. In order to get an idea of what vendors in your area cost, do your research: ask friends, email for price quotes, read blogs! This will help in the first part of the equation. Then, knowing what you can spend will help you see if you need to make adjustments. Finally, just because you have budgeted "X" amount does not mean you have to spend all that money (or all that money where you budgeted). Think about your vendors like retail, outlet, and flash sales! You might want the $200 dress from Kate Spade, but know you should only spend $100 on that dress (or maybe a similar one). But, nothing beats the feeling of walking away with your dress for only $50 bucks after finding an amazing sale. Try to walk away from your vendors with that feeling in mind! Don't underestimate the power of a bride to be!
Next, visit with as many vendors as possible. It will help you get a sense if you even want to work with those folks, regardless of their prices. Some places are cheaper for a reason! Ask for testimonials or pictures, and find out if you can talk to former customers. They'll give you the honest truth. But, do NOT discount the cheap options. While you might not want to go with those vendors, use their price quotes as a negotiating tool with more expensive vendors. Maybe the pricier vendor won't give you the exact same package, but they might come up with something if they don't want to lose your business! Another important thing to take away from your visits with vendors is to get a sense of which ones are flexible. The most expensive vendor might also be the one who is willing to work with you the most.
Even after you use this research to choose your vendor, keep negotiating! Try coming back to your vendor with hard and fast numbers. Don't be afraid to say that you can't spend more than "X" on an item. For instance, maybe your florist quoted you $100 for bridal bouquets. However, if you can only spend (or are hoping only to spend) $50, say so! That might mean your bouquet only contains local, seasonal flowers, as opposed to your favorite tulips, but the vendor can probably find something that works. If not, don't be afraid to go back to your second or third choice vendor.
Don't forget to see what else vendors can throw into your package. Maybe your reception hall can give you an additional hors d'oeurve for no or little cost, simply because you ask! Ask them to waive the cake cutting fee, or the ceremony set-up fee. What's the worst that can happen? These questions are all easier to ask if you stay firm on your budget the entire time. But, don't cave in where it matters to you! A reception vendor might be willing to negotiate by taking out things that you really want. If you want a full liquor bar, know that this is somewhere that venues are more likely to offer up as a place to cut. But, counter by explaining that a full bar is something that is important to you and your guests, but you would be okay without the appetizer course or intermezzo. Don't back down in areas where it matters most to you!
|Style me pretty|
Finally, and most importantly, be a nice negotiator. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar (actually, this is not true, and who wants flies anyway?!). No, seriously, if your vendors like you, they are a lot more likely to want to help you out. Please, don't ever be a bridezilla. Some budgets are tight, and sometimes you won't be able to afford everything you want. But, with some lovely negotiating tactics and a good attitude, you definitely can get a lot more bang for your buck!
How have you negotiated with wedding vendors?