Five Tips – Negotiating with Wedding Vendors

March 16, 2011

in Reception

Although wedding vendors are a largely implacable lot, setting prices for wedding services higher than any other type of event, they are still businesses, like any other, that need to secure clients (and their money) in order to continue operating.  So although they make act like they hold the winning hand, the truth is that you have a full house to their aces-over-eights.  In short, you hold the power in this relationship because you control the purse strings.  Don’t be afraid to exercise your authority to get what you want for the price you prefer.  If you’re not sure just how to go about doing this, here are a few tips to help you along the way.

  1. Set a budget. This is absolutely essential to getting everything you want for less.  If you hit the ground running with a checkbook and no idea of how much you want to spend, you’re going to find yourself with a very expensive wedding and no money left for the honeymoon (or the new life to follow).  This is no way to start a lifelong relationship and it certainly doesn’t bode well for your future money-management skills.  So sit down with your honey and set a budget you can both live with (literally).
  2. Prioritize. You’re going to have to exercise some flexibility, and it will be a lot easier if you know where you want to spend a little more.  For example, you may be a lot more particular about the food than the floral arrangements.  Or you might prefer a plain dress and some flashy accessories (like that diamond necklace you’ve had your eye on for months).  By knowing what’s most important to you before you even set foot out the door, you’ll have an easier time allocating funds.
  3. Shop around.  You should start your shopping spree by looking online.  Then, when it comes time to hit the stores, you can approach vendors not only with a good idea of what you want, but also the best price.  You’ll know if they’re trying to overcharge you and you can use your knowledge to negotiate a better price.  You will also want to seek out several vendors so that you can try to secure price-matching from the one you ultimately select.  If they’re desperate for business, they may be willing to drop their prices to beat out the competition.
  4. Haggle. There is an element of the dramatic required for haggling because you sort of have to be a good actor to do it.  Of course, the desire to get the price you want doesn’t hurt, but there is an amount of emotional fencing that occurs as the vendor attempts to glean your actual level of interest in their goods or services.  So don’t give away how much you love something.  Just start with a lowball offer (don’t worry, their price will be ridiculously high) and try to wrap up negotiations somewhere in the middle (and a lot closer to your budget).
  5. Walk away.  Don’t ever be afraid to walk away.  There are literally hundreds of places to get what you want for your wedding and if the vendor you choose is not willing to give you added value (as in, a better price), then why waste your time?  If they really want your business, they will try to accommodate you.  If not, you don’t probably want them working on your special day anyway.

Mike Thimmesch is a writer for Adiamor Diamond Engagement Rings where you can find loose diamonds, engagement ring settings, and other fine diamond jewelry at affordable prices.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Wedding Vendors March 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Everybody wants to have an elegant wedding cause its one in a lifetime, but do not have the enough money to have it. Thanks for the tips, its finally possible to get.

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Heidi April 3, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Everybody can have a beautiful and elegant wedding on a budget. It’s all about keeping your priorities straight 🙂

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uk best probitics October 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

loved your blog, being british i find it difficult to haggle but what you said makes a lot of sense.

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Heidi October 26, 2011 at 3:07 am

haggling is definitely hard. Once you try it it gets easier.

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Lance December 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I agree with most of your post. A budget is extremely important, after all you can’t spend money you don’t have. In order to get all the pieces in place for your wedding you need to know how much you have to spend. You are dead on with prioritizing. I always suggest creating a list of what’s important to you. Be it the dress, photos, food, venue, or everyone having fun at your wedding put it on the list. Put the things that are most important to you at the top of the list and work your way down. Be prepared to spend more for the items at the top of your list. Shop around, but don’t just price shop. Not all services are equal. Talk to the vendors and pick the ones you like and trust. Peace of mind is worth more on your wedding day that you can possibly imagine. Haggle… you can give it a try, but just as the last point is walk away don’t be surprised if the vendor you love walks away when you try to haggle. Many vendors like myself have no trouble booking as many wedding dates as we want. On average I receive 20 inquires for each date. Often the vendors price isn’t some number they pulled out of thin air, it’s based on the cost of doing business. Equipment, insurance, marketing, and most importantly the time they will put into your event. If they are willing to flex on the price don’t be surprised if the flex on their standards too. After all if they are doing it for a reduced price the easiest was is to cut the number of hours involved in preproduction or postproduction.
As an idea rather than haggle on price, try getting an optional service included at the normal price. This too adds value.
I am a wedding DJ with 10 years and almost 600 weddings under my belt.

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