Of course everyone wants to save money, and everyone planning a wedding stresses about it … I think the (entirely valid) point @JenniferMm was trying to make is that if you’re going to negotiate, you need something specific. You need to figure out your bargaining chips, your talking points, your goals. If you go in there with just “we want to save money” – that’s too vague. There’s nothing to work with there.
As an example: let’s say you’re at a bridal shop and you really like a dress that costs $1100. You’ve also tried on a $100 slip and a $150 veil with it, and you have your eye on a $75 headpiece. The store wants to sell you a $40 garment bag for the gown; they also want to have you get your alterations done with them, and pay a $25 charge to steam the gown right before the wedding.
Now, ideally, your consultant would like to sell you *everything* on that list, for a total of $1500+, depending on how extensive the alterations are. Your goal, on the other hand, is to negotiate “a better deal.” But you need to figure out what “a better deal” means. What price would you be really happy with? What price would be acceptable – you could live with it, even if you weren’t overjoyed? And which elements do you care the most about, as opposed to the ones that you could take or leave?
Let’s say that you don’t care that much about the slip – you can probably find a cheaper one elsewhere, or even borrow one. The veil is okay – but you might be able to make one yourself for way cheaper. The headpiece, on the other hand, is exactly what you want. You also know that you can buy yourself a $25 steamer at Target (which you will then have and be able to use on all your other nice clothes!), and that bridal shop alterations are usually a ripoff and you are better off going with an indie seamstress.
Now, you are in a position to negotiate. Your goal is to get out of there spending a *maximum* of about $1175 (dress plus headpiece at full price), and if you can get them to reduce a price, throw in some freebies, you come out ahead.
Now, when you start negotiating, you want to start lower than the price you hope/expect/intend to pay. So you tell the salesperson, “Wow, I really like this, but I was really hoping to spend $1000 max on my dress and veil.” You’ve just established your anchor, a number that you don’t actually expect to pay, but that sets the tone for the direction the negotiations will go in. Now the salesperson knows that, rather than the $1500+ s/he was hoping to get you to spend, you’re going to end up with something closer to $1000 but probably a bit higher. Then you start the horse trading. See if she’ll drop the price of the dress to $1000 … ask her to include the veil for “free,” and if she refuses, say “what about the headpiece?” (Since it’s cheaper, she might go for that as a compromise, and you get exactly what you wanted). Pass on the alterations and steaming, turn down the slip, and she starts working harder to get you to buy at least a few extras – so maybe she ends up giving you a discount, and you get the gown, headpiece, *and* veil for $1200 with the garment bag thrown in at half-price …
That’s what you need to do. If you seriously want to negotiate something, you need to have specifics in mind. That said, with your venue’s package deal (and with the knowledge that they are having money troubles) it might not make sense on this one. But keep it in mind for other vendors – if you want to negotiate a package with your photographer, for example, have a benchmark price in mind and know specifically which components you do and don’t want.