4 Tips for Negotiating with Wedding Vendors

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As I’ve written about previously, planning a wedding is no picnic.  There are many, many elements to coordinate, many of which involve one or more wedding vendors.  Because of this, negotiating is part of the process whether we like it or not.  Here are some tips to get the most out of your negotiations.

First and foremost, be reasonable.  You aren’t going to get anything for pennies on the dollar, and some vendors might feel insulted if you ask for a crazy discount.  Expect anywhere from a 10-25% discount depending on the vendor, location and time of year.  Or, in lieu of a discount, you might be able to get some things thrown in for free (such as extra bar time, extra wedding pictures, extra desserts, etc.).  Just avoid asking for something ridiculous like a 75% discount because it’s a waste of time and energy.

Second, be clear with your budgetary requirements and restrictions.  By letting the vendor know your acceptable price range up front, you can avoid a lot of time being wasted on things that would be impossible for you to afford anyway.   Additionally, some vendors will offer advice to help you stretch or stay within your wedding budget, and many times these suggestions are helpful and extremely valuable.

Third, be respectful.  Do not lie or be rude because acting in these ways won’t get you anywhere.  Be aware that most wedding vendors are part of the same circle, so if you lie by saying, for example, that Vendor X charges half of what Vendor Y charges, your lie will most likely be exposed.  Additionally, avoid making threats.  Vendors prefer to deal with nice people, and as such being nice will normally afford you some extra perks.  On the other hand, being rude or threatening will most likely get you a “sorry, can’t help” attitude from the vendor.

Finally, when comparing wedding vendors make sure you are doing so in an apples-to-apples manner.  Just like you would not compare a 1 bedroom apartment with a 4 bedroom house, it would not make sense to compare an unknown startup with a highly reputable vendor boasting a high profile list of clients.  You often get what you pay for, and things like brand, services offered, bells & whistles and reputation usually impact the price.

In the final analysis, negotiating is not fun, but it’s necessary.  In order to get the biggest bang for your buck, you will need to engage in some constructive negotiation.  Just be clear with your budget, be respectful, be reasonable, and always compare apples-to-apples.  Follow these basic negotiation tips and you will be golden.  Good luck!

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