Post # 1
How many of you tried to negotiate with your vendors? Were they completely put off or receptive?
If you successfully negotiated a lower price, what vendors were they? Florist, caterer…? I usually negotiate non-wedding purchases, but I feel awkward doing it for the wedding. Thanks!
Post # 3
It was so much negotiating as it was trading! We offered our vendors our design services (i’m a graphic designer & my FH a videographer) so we were able to take HUGE chunks off our bills by trading services.
it honestly doesn’t hurt to try. for some vendors, they were hesitant to trade but with enough repetitive mention, they gave in. 🙂 So be persistent when you ask!
Or we asked a few places, brought the cheapest quote with us to the place we wanted and go, "Well, so and so would have done the same thing for $$ much!"
We did that to our Cake guy. That worked. 🙂
And we’re trading services w/ our photographer & DJ. Two high budget things for us!
Post # 4
I negotiated the venue (for a destination wedding) and explained that I was concerned about filling all of the rooms. By showing serious (yet fake) reservations about having to pay for all the empty rooms, I got the venue to put 75% capacity into the contract. Also, since they typically have the ceremony on-site (but we’re having a church wedding off-site) I got them to take $ off the cost of setting up the dancefloor since we didn’t need ceremony set up.
I also negotiated the day of coordinator. She really wanted to work at my venue. She asked me what my budget was for a coordinator and I said $500-$750. She told me that her usual fee started at $1500, but because she really ‘liked’ me and was interested in working at my venue (ie she really wants to get on their recommended vendor list) she could come down to $900.
As for photog, I went with one who said her packages were ‘flexible’ and she was willing to work with couples to fit their needs and budget. So I was able to get her to give us a bare bones package of adjusted hi-res images on disk. I plan on just getting my album and prints through Shutterfly or something like that. Good luck!
Post # 5
Nope. Most of our vendors are actually people we know, and their prices are reasonable. In some cases I suspect that we may already be getting a little price break, because we have known them for a long time. At any rate, they are pretty much the best in town, we are getting married on a Saturday in July, and they would absolutely be working that day without our business. Given all that, I think it would be really rude to try to haggle with them. Of course, we’re fairly lucky in that the prices were about what we expected, and so we had budgeted appropriately.
Although we’re not spending a ton of money; there are lots of things other people are doing that we’re not (photobooth, chair rentals, big bridal party, boudoir photos, make-up artist, wedding planner). But I would rather do without a few things that we don’t consider really necessary than argue about cost with people who I know and like, and who are just trying to make a living too. I think its totally appropriate to tell your vendors right up front what your budget is; if they can provide you the service you need for something like the money you have, they’ll let you know. If not, then I think the only reasonable thing to do is to thank them and walk away. If they really want your business, they may try to provide you a lower price.
On the subject of trading services for services – I have actually done that in the past. One year I set up computer payroll and invoicing programs for a small landscape designer, in exchange for part of the cost of landscaping my yard. But whether your vendor can or will do that sort of depends. After all, I could offer to do some computer work for my baker in exchange for the cake – but probably she can’t mail Countrywide a cake for her mortgage payment next month. So if people turn down that kind of offer, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise. In general, our economy runs on cash, so the ability of your vendors to transition to a barter economy is fairly limited. How would you feel if your boss offered to do your photo albums rather than giving you a paycheck next month? Probably it woudn’t work for you.
Post # 6
We negotiated a lot – Band, Photographer, Florist – as everyone’s prices are really padded. I wasn’t able to negotiate with hair or makeup and only minimally with the venue.
With the photographer, we got a better offer from someone else and he essentially matched it. The florist estimate was way too high and we got it down by about 1/3. The band was our first and we got them down 10%? And we got our venue to cut the price of an "Extra" in half. We live in NYC though so prices are sky high. The basic approach is to tell the vendor how much you like them (obviously this should be true!) but that they are out of your price range (Easier to say if also true). If they can work with you, they will.
Post # 7
not so much on prices (i thought they were pretty fair, for the most part), but more so on contract terms. i’ve found that most vendors are willing to work with you on that as long as you’re not asking for something outrageous.
Post # 8
We negotiated. ( the planner did most of it but I was clear on what I would agree to and was steadfast on my budget). As part of what I do as a developer I negotiate contracts and typically vendors start high. As a rule negotiate, if not fee then be clear on terms of all your contracts. I found the book Wedding Planning for Dummies helpful.
We (the planner and I) wanted to be clear with vendors as to what is and is not included in the wedding, taxes, gratuities, publishing images, press for the wedding, etc. Not that I am famous but do you want you special day promoting someone elses webbsite and on the internet for eternity?
As a rule read all clarifications and omissions. Be prepared to walk away. Vendors as a rule ask for more -not fair- more! And why not ?They are in a business to make money and the wedding industry is filled with novice buyers (like us).
I am no DIY bride although I will do a few small things – feel no fear about asking "Is that really your best price?". Typically in business, I always get competive bids for a job, a minimum of three and I level the bids to ensure I am comparing apples to apples. Don’t fall in love with a thing or place or item – it is a dead give away to the vendor/supplier. Challenge them. These vendors and suppliers are professionals – they know the business. We have negotiated with all the vendors. We started all negotiations by stating we are having an event NOT a "wedding"- for some reason the W word adds cost. You asked an excellent question. So my two cents is "Keep asking!"
I realize I sound hard core but money is money. Good luck and good negotiating to you.
Post # 9
We did a lot of negotiating with our flower vendor — and got a greate deal. We did smaller negotiations will ALL of our other vendors. Got an extra hour and wireless mics from the DJ, an extra hour with our photographer and a free engagement session, a discount on our cake, an upgrade on our catering, $200 off my wedding dress, and early check-in and check-out for the hotel.
I think that most vendors expect you to negotiate; I only say this because the negotiating was very easy and not uncomfortable at all.