Negotiating with Vendors

If you search the internet for tips to help you negotiate with vendors, you will find lots of articles and advice.  Some of it is good, some OK and some ridiculous.  

This article from The Knot suggests that you "Try your hand negotiating at a flea market to see what talking style works for you."  Sorry, but wedding professionals are not flea market vendors; we don't haggle. 

Telling a vendor what another competitor charges isn't a great tactic.  Here's why....What I charge for wedding planning isn't the same as what another planner charges.  They offer different options and services.  You aren't comparing apples to apples.  You may pay less only to find out that the other vendor had better service or better tasting food...something that is hard to put a price on. 

The advice to be indifferent and prepared to walk away, that works at flea markets not for wedding professionals.  You might miss booking your dream photographer who only takes one wedding that date.  Would you negotiate with the plumber coming to fix your broken pipes that are spilling water across your floors? 

Don't lie to service vendors and call your wedding a "big family reunion."  The tools and supplies that are customarily included at a wedding wouldn't even be packed if you call it a party.  You could be missing out on services that would have been included - wasting you money in the long run. 

Good Negotiating Tips 

It is completely acceptable to tell a vendor your budget, in fact we prefer to know your budget up front.  If a quote comes in higher than you can afford, talk to the vendor.  We can usually come up with really creative ways to meet your budget.  Flowers too high? Ask the florist to suggest cheaper alternatives, such as flowers that are in season or cheaper per stem for the centerpieces and save the best for the brides bouquet.  

If you can be flexible with your date, such as an off-season or a Friday or Monday, you can get great discounts on venues.  Look for ways to simplify which will save you money.  Do you need both programs and fans?  That is easily $200+ out of your budget.   

Be reasonable about your budget and what you can accomplish with it.