Post # 1
I’m trying to walk the line between negotiating prices and being a nice person who my vendors want to work with. My parents keep telling me that I’m not getting enough discounts, not being tough enough in negotiations, etc. but when I ask for advice or suggestions of what to say, they are not helpful at all! Their solution is basically to let my dad do it. I’m not comfortable with that for 2 reasons. 1. I’m an adult, I want to handle this myself, and I need to learn how to be a good negotiator at some point. 2. My dad is very much the type of New Yorker that others would view as obnoxious, he works in the car businesses so he’s used to those types of dealings, and I don’t want our vendors to view us as annoying clients and therefore not do as good a job for us. We’re getting married in Massachusetts, and I feel the business culture is different there.
So bees, what are your tips for successful negotiating? How much were you able to negotiate with your vendors? Did anyone say they won’t give any discounts?
Post # 2
We didn’t really negotiate much with our vendors. We price comped several different companies for each service and researched their work, and went with the ones we felt we’d get the most value for our money with, while sticking to our budget. For my photographer, I did ask her to customize our package and take out a few things we didn’t want, either at a lower cost or to swap with something else, which she agreed to. The woman making my bouquets offered to alter the size of them to fit our budget. Our photobooth guy agreed to break policy by letting us only book for 3 hours instead of the standard 4 minumum, and at a $50 overall discount, because of the way I was referred to him. Other than that, it was pretty much as-is.
Post # 3
To negotiate successfully, you need to go in with a specific goal (i.e. not just “I want a better price,” but “I want to pay 20% less than what they quoted me) and some concrete bargaining chips to help you get there, such as “can we leave out X?” and “can we do Y instead of Z”? As the PP posted, you can negotiate the price of a photo package by picking and choosing what is included; you can negotiate the price of your catering by being flexible about substituting some parts of the menu; you can negotiate on your gown by getting your alterations there vs. elsewhere, buying your veil and headpiece at the same time, etc. In order to do it, you need an idea of what you want and some things you can trade with to get there (or get closer).
Post # 4
For us, we kind of got lucky. Our photographer got a neat new ‘toy’ – a quadcopter capable of taking high-res picture and video – and offered it to us for free to get more examples of its capabilities. We also got $200 off for not buying an album through him. For our venue, through various mix-ups by the poor coordinator (the owner of the venue managed to put two different event types in the same area but forgot to tell her, basically), Fiance got a 40% discount and more benefits than the original package.
Fiance is way better at negotiating than me as I am not very good at any sort of confrontation, but it seems that generally asking a 10% discount will work as long as you’re not obnoxious and you use logic. And as PP have said – photography is a great place to do so, because usually you can pick and choose and get a different price ala carte than package.
Post # 5
TGold: I’m not sure why your parents think you should be asking for discounts off the bat, but that is what it sounds like. If there is a particular reason you shouldn’t be paying market rate (morning wedding on a weekday in the offseason), then sure that makes sense, and you would frame it like that. If it’s about sticking to a budget, then you can approach it that way – we like your services but we have XXX budgeted for that service, is there a way we can work that out? But if it’s about getting a discount for the sake of a discount, then that can come off as insulting.
Post # 6
TGold: There is nothing wrong with negotiating pricing/packages with a vendor, and you don’t have to be rude or obnoxious to negotiate. People typically can’t handle being in awkward situations, so one good tip is to just be silent after they make their proposal or after you’ve made yours (if you’re meeting in person or over the phone). We usually can’t handle the silence so we’ll start giving things away just to talk. Using “If you…then I” statements can also be powerful in the negotiation. Just remember that it’s business; unless you’re rude about it your vendors won’t have a reason to be insulted. Most people don’t try to negotiate because it is so uncomfortable, not because it’s not accepted. Plus, the worst thing that can happen if you ask is that they say no.
I was pretty happy with my 20% discount for my dress :), and we got 15% off the bridesmaids dresses. In both situations the vendor was not opposed to negotiations and were not offended that we tried.
Post # 7
I did negotiate, but for specific things. I got a cheaper price from my photog because I cut the album and engagement pictures. I got an extra appetizer in place of unneeded desserts. I didn’t just try to convince people to charge me less for no reason. So think about what, specifically, you want.
Post # 8
I used to be anti-negotiating until I realized how much my in-laws had while paying so little. I asked my fiance how they were able to get so many things (furniture, appliances, telecom services, etc…) while paying a fraction of the price I was paying and his answer “because they asked to pay less”. I realized how foolish I was paying more for everything when I didn’t need to just because I didn’t ask. I’ve saved easily 25% of my wedding costs through negotiation, research and careful vendor selection (most vendors we chose were people we knew would be flexible to negotiation if we pushed them a little). This is business and this is what it takes to get what you want for what you want to pay for it.
Post # 9
Just chiming to say that you’re likely to get results by pointing out that you’re on a strict budget and you only have X amount of money to play with for Y service (flowers, photographers, what have you…) and you want to work something out.
Post # 10
I am actually going to negotiate with my venue lady today. They’ve changed names 2x without telling me so my invitations are wrong (She said. “Oh, I wouldnt have put the name on the invites, just the address”… Now I ask you… who does that?)
Anyway, there is a tasting today, and I am going in with the goal of getting extra time to set up (usually costs money) in return for me not demanding they play for new invitations!
I hope I succeed!
And just remember, it doesnt hurt to ask!
Post # 11
TGold: We didn’t do much negotiating. I think in some cases it’s fine, in others, not so appropriate. For example, I would never negotiate with, say, the photographer just to save money. I might ask for a price without an album, to keep costs down, but I personally feel that asking for a discount just because is quite rude.
The only things we negotiated on were the room hire fees at the venue, because originally they mis-led us (for them down from £900 to £300) and my dress, which was a sample (got them to knock £50 off the price and throw in cleaning worth the same again). We also got our venue to fix their food and drink prices for us (we booked April 2011 for an August 2014 wedding) as well as the room prices (it’s a hotel).
Otherwise I felt the prices we were quoted were fair, and didn’t feel it appropriate to negotiate.
Post # 12
Thanks for your advice, everyone! It’s nice to hear different perspectives and strategies. For some reason my parents think it’s insulting if someone won’t offer a discount to work with us, and we’ve been having many arguments over it. <br />
Post # 13
I didn’t really negotiate. However I did do tons of research. I knew how much I wanted to spend and only spoke with vendors within my price range so I wouldn’t waste their time or mine.
Post # 14
I got awesome deals with my vendors with the power of negotiating. The vendors I negotiated with th emost were my caterer and florist. I got a discount on the price per person on the menu plus when I had extra plates (I paid for 150 guests and had 133 rsvp), I was able to use the extras in upgrades.
my florist was my biggest savings I think because for what i got and what she inlcuded due to our conversations and my dealings with her, I got a steal of a deal.
Jut be honest with your vendors. I let my vendors know upfront I was having a simple wedding on a super tight budget and if they could work with my budget. most are more than willing to work with you and even help you out, especially if it means your recommendation wil bring them more business, which it did for my caterer and photographer and I could not reccomend my florist enough. Be honest and let them know if something is out of your price range, what you are looking for and if they have any options for you that you can afford. Then go from there. It helps to form a sort of relationship too with your vendors. That really helped me.
Post # 15
for the most part i think negotiating with experienced vendors is rude. they usually have a price and trying to get less won’t happen because they can just wait for the next bride that will pay their actual price