Post # 1
I had a mini freak out taking closer look at how much money we have committed to the wedding thus far. I have yet to book the florist, (any decor…I’d love draping!), officiant , invites (I know there are great inexpensive options through various sites but I’m having a hard time choosing the cheapest options!) . Unfortunately I already have our venue, cake, dress, DJ, photographer all set. I had wanted to book our vendors early, because I’m horribly picky and Fiance and I are both in grad school for our Ph.D’s (the time in which we should have done this will be spend flying across the country on interviews+several months prep for materials for them). Unfortunately, beause I booked them so early, AND for a 3 day weekend, I didn’t have much of a leg to stand on to bargian.
Long story short, have any of you ladies negotiated with your vendors? How did you do it? How far from your date did you do it? Did you have any luck? Any tips? HELP
Post # 3
I think you’ll have a tough time negotiatnig with vendors if you’ve already booked them, by that I mean signed a contract and paid a deposit.
You may have some flexibility to negotiate the dress alterations or take your dress elsewhere to be altered if they won’t give you a good price.
You may also be able to save on catering. Our catering will be done by the venue. They gave me an estimate and a minimum I have to spend as so not to incur room charges but we’ll work out the details closer to the date. I can cut back on our food and beverage choices as long as I meet the minimum. Maybe you can change some of your selections?
So far, I haven’t had much luck with haggling but I have found that vendors are really helpful in making changes to their packages to reduce the price if you tell them your budget.
Also, make sure you check out the deals on Gilt, Rue La La, Living Social and Groupon daily. You can find some good deals for invites and decor. I’m saving a ton on invites and an return address stamp through deals from those sites. There’s one on Living Social today for a fabric store that I plan to buy to make some of my decor.
Post # 4
My best friend is getting married this June, and she straight up told her photographer “I can’t pay what you’re asking..I can pay this $$$” and the photographer ended up saying okay! However, her cupcake person was trying to charge $1.75 a cupcake, and she went to her and said she found another bakery who would do it for $1 a cupcake. Her original baker basically said “I could never do them that cheap..So go for it!” And she did!
I agree with PP above, if you’ve signed contracts it might be difficult, but otherwise it’s worth a shot! You also might be able to negotiate more for what you already paid for..An extra of shoot time, etc. Also, as far as catering goes, maybe you can see if they will box up any leftovers for you to take home? I’ve heard of plenty of caterers doing this and people freezing the meals and living off of them for a while, haha!
It also helps to shop around, so if you find someone cheaper..Take it to your preffered vendor and let them know what someone else is offering for less.
Post # 5
I agree it may be more difficult since you have already booked them. Have you signed contracts/done deposits? Prior to signing the contract, I’d say you have a bit more wiggle room. We’re just eloping, but we’ve haggled a little w/ our photographer – I knew through talking and looking at their portfolio that we had a shared interest, and i made sure to bring it up (that seemed to help, and it was genuinely cool to meet more locals with that interest – I may end up hanging out with them!). I also told them that we couldn’t afford their lowest package – BUT that we didn’t need them for the time that goes along w/ it. Since we’re just eloping, we only need them for a few hours. I was equiped to haggle a little, but they shot me a price that was exactly what I would have gone for. I feel like i’m not low-balling them, but also getting a good deal.
Last year, we had planned a wedding and haggled with some vendors. With our food people, we basically said, hey here’s what we can spend per person, what can you do? And they worked out a fantastic deal. We found our DJ at a bridal show…. and we only booked them (we were debating skipping a DJ actually) b/c my partner used to fight w/ the dude that owns the company (they did MMA – I don’t mean to make it sound like they bullied each other). He gave us a fantastic deal b/c of that. I did mention to him that we weren’t sure we were even going to hire a DJ so that probably helped.
Post # 6
To be honest, we’ve been pretty lucky so far. Our photographer was very accomodating, and our venue offered us great pricing. However, I will say it’s all because of our date. You can’t imagine how unpopular February in Upstate NY is. However, we knew this going in, and was definitely part of the reason we picked quite possibly the most unpopular month for weddings. That, and we wanted a winter wedding.
I wouldn’t dream of trying to negotiate with vendors we’ve already signed contracts with, but I think being honest about your budget is key when contacting new ones. If you tell them what you have to work with, they can tell you what they can do with it, or IF they can work with it. They are people too, and have to make a living, but that beign said, it doesn’t hurt to try. Don’t lowball them (i.e. don’t ask a photographer who charges $8k for a base price wedding to do it for $2k) but be honest, and they will do the same for you.
Post # 7
- Wedding: September 2013 - Ontario, Canada
I have managed to do a few things actually and I am normally useless at haggeling so feel pretty proud of myself…
We managed to negotiate the minimum spend at our venue down by $1200 by just asking if they could lower it.
I managed to get airbrush make-up and falsies thrown in for free and knocking about £100 off the cost of my make up artist by telling her about a cheaper quote I had received and asking if she could match it. She is better and has better reviews so I was happy to be able to get her to agree.
I got a really good deal on my flowers and she has thrown in pedals for the aisle and for the flower girl for free as I was deciding between her and another vendor and she wanted to close the deal.
Got my hotel block cost down by $30 per night and, as several guests are staying for about a week) got 50% off every other night for all guests staying more than 5 nights.
I also got my cake maker to throw in one large sugar paste flower in the price of my cake (normally $20-50, not much but hey everything counts).
I have also bough my bridesmaids dresses on sale and bought the grooms tux and shirt with a 25% off online voucher.
It’s definitely possible! Just shop around, get a lot of quotes so that you know what the price range should be for the service you are looking for and ask for discounts within reason.
Post # 8
I negotiated a significantly reduced videography package, in part because I didn’t want as many hours and extras as they offered in their standard package. I was just direct about what I was looking for in terms of hours/features and price, and he was very happy to accommodate us by designing a package that met our needs. I’m sure it helped that I booked the videographer just a few weeks before the wedding, since he probably wouldn’t have had the option to book another (full-priced) wedding instead of us.
I also negotiated for our hotel room block price by being honest about what price range we were looking for. We hired our day of coordinator when they were running a special, and they also reduced it a little further since we didn’t need them to run a rehearsal. We got the stationary store to give us a discount since we were ordering all our paper products through them. Finally, I was on the David’s Bridal email list, and they sent us a Mens Wearhouse coupon that saved us $40 per tuxedo rental.
As others noted, I’d suggest just being upfront about your budget and your needs. If you’re talking to vendors who offer pre-priced packages, but you don’t want all the items or hours offered in the package, that’s a great opening to negotiate the price down. Also, if you were referred by another vendor or client they know (like I was with our videographer and stationer), that can also help you negotiate a good deal since they want to keep you happy so the vendor/client who referred you keeps giving them referrals. Good luck!
Post # 9
When we had chosen our photographers, before they sent the contract over we asked them whether there were any discount incentives to paying in cash. They said yes! We also managed a small discount (6%, but better than nothing!) with our decorator, as well as our florist and DJ. Again, these were pay-by-cash deals. The discounts may not have been THAT significant but they were discounts nonetheless! It didn’t occur to me to negotiate a discount with our venue, but only because they’re a pretty popular venue and they probably don’t need to haggle with clients in order to secure business. But now that I think about it, perhaps I should have considered negotiating the food. I believe my Fiance also scored a good deal on my engagement ring by getting the band thrown in at the same time (he also paid in cash for it, and I think the jeweler forgot to charge him on something and just left it)
Post # 10
I’m a budget bride, but I haven’t tried to haggle any vendors. Instead I let them know up front what my budget is and minimally what I need it to include and see what they can do.
Post # 11
We Eloped to a Destination Wedding (just the 2 of us)… and had a Back Home Reception after our Honeymoon
We got the price dropped on our DJ (not by much, but it was nice of him to do that).
We saved on our Wedding Cake cause we skipped Delivery & did it ourselves (wasn’t a very big cake… 3 Tiers… 6-9-12 for 50/100 servings).
Our Caterers were great… we told them what we “thought we wanted” from their Website, and they worked with us by making suggestions that actually saved us A LOT of money.
Other things there was no wiggle pricing… just a flat cost.
Ceremony Location & Officiant Services – Photographer – Bouquet – Honeymoon Suite. Reception Hall – Booze – Bartender & Wait Staff Services
I didn’t mind any of them except the Booze Policy at our Venue (not all their fault, this is afterall Canada)… but I wish it had been a tad more reasonable.
(Once I order & pay for the Booze it is their’s to keep if we don’t consume it all… that seemed unfair to me. In that they could return it and pocket the money… or sell it to someone else, and pocket the profit twice. I actually think their policy seems to encourage those who book their Banquet Hall to overconsume… vs encouraging folks to be responsible drinkers. Aka Ontario’s “Take the Rest Home” Campaign)
Hope this helps,