With the average wedding going for $30,000 – $40,000, couples-to-be are pinching pennies. In these economic times, it’s important to budget and try to find bargains where you can. One way to achieve that is by negotiating with your wedding vendors to get the most bang for your buck. The worst that can happen? They say, “no” and you pay full price—but why not try if you can get discounts or extras thrown in? Perhaps you can get an upgrade on the food, or an extra hour thrown in. Maybe you can get an extra tux for free. You never know unless you ask.
In order to negotiate properly, do your homework. Know what the average is in your area for a particular type of vendor. Use this information. Know what various line items cost, and ask about each item you’re looking for. Then, you know if you’re being taken for a ride, and can use that information as leverage.
Know your budget for each service you’re looking for. You’re more equipped to know if you’re getting a deal or getting had. If you’re interested in using multiple services, ask for package deals. If you already know your budget, and know the area’s information, you know if you’re getting a deal on the package.
Preparation is key. Know what you’re willing to do in advance. For example, perhaps your caterer is willing to cut their price per head, but only if you’re willing to purchase your cake through them. Will this cost you extra in the long run? You’d have to know your cake budget, and what you were already willing to spend at a standalone bakery.
Attitude is everything. You must be willing to walk away to negotiate effectively. Salespeople know how to press emotional buttons (but, of course, you have to have the whatchamacallit in order to have the perfect wedding.) You don’t want to be bridezilla, but you do need to be firm. Polite and professional, but firm. They need to want to work with you, but know that you’re there to do business. If they can’t meet your needs, you need to be able and willing to move on to a different vendor.
Practice! Try negotiating home repairs or a swap meet first. If you practice, you’ll be much more comfortable when it comes to negotiating something so personally important. Negotiations are a friendly type of confrontation and many people are uncomfortable with it. Do your homework ahead of time, and your nerves won’t get in the way of what you want.
Negotiations are one way to watch your budget on your wedding day. If you combine them with other cost cutting measures, you’re well on your way to a wedding you can afford.
This is a guest post by Sarah Harris. Her blog, Wedding Planning Advice is for brides, created to help them stress less by providing honest & unbiased wedding advice, ideas, and tips. Topics include wedding planning, wedding invitations, celebrity weddings, wedding dresses, wedding flowers, weddings on a budget and, of course, the bride & groom.