(Closed) Negotiating… how successful were you?

posted 11 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
3219 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

We got our dj down $300. The venue gave us the big ballroom with the small ballroom minimum because they failed to tell us about minimums before we put down a deposit!

Post # 4
1580 posts
Bumble bee

My mom did the negotiating with our venue, using another local place’s price/package as a bargaining tool. We didn’t get the price down, but we ended up getting 3 passed hors douvres for free, upgrading to top liquor for $5 per person instead of 10, and getting the charger plates for free.

Post # 5
1820 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I was pretty successful negotiating (but I am a lawyer Smile).  I think a lot of your power comes from where you live/are getting married and which service you are looking to negotiate. 

  1. Venue – It can be hard to negotiate a venue down if you are looking to get married in a city, at a popular venue, or at a popular time of year (i.e. Saturday night in June or September).  If want to negotiate a venue, see if they can do a lower rate for a less popular day, time of day, or time of year.  Also see if they will give you a discount for booking within a certain time period of visiting (we saved $500 on our venue rental by agreeing to book or free our date within two weeks of touring the space).
  2. Small Businesses – You probably have the most room to negotiate with vendor-owned businesses right now because the economy is still not great, and a lot of small business owners are having a hard time,  I definitely am not suggesting that you make it harder for small business owners to earn a living my asking them to provide services at no profit, but I have found that there is a lot of room to lower prices by just asking.  For example, our baker generally has a $1,000 minimum for orders.  I told her that we would have 90-100 people and did not want to spend more than $6-$7/person, then I just asked if she was willing to work with that budget.  She was.  So it never hurts to ask.  Caterers and photographers are especially flexible right now, I have noticed.
  3. Compliments – You are much more likely to strike a good deal that both you and the vendor can feel good about if you find vendors you really like.  If you can tell a specific vendor why you would love to work with them, state your budget, and ask if they can work within that, you are more likely to hear good news than if you just try to negotiate for the sake of negotiating. 

Everyone has a budget (even if that budget is a million dollars), and vendors understand that.  If you are honest and respectful and put yourself out there by asking for a better price, I think you will be very pleasantly surprised by the outcome.  After all, the worst that can happen is that they can say no.

The one caution – I have never heard of anyone negotiating a really good deal on a dress (and I was not able to).  In terms of dresses, I think your best bet is to shop around (and maybe even look on preownedweddingdresses.com) and ask a salon you like to match another salon’s price (most salons would rather have you buy your dress there and lose a bit of money than lose your business entirely).


P.S. I once saved 65% on a brand new leather sofa and love seat just by asking.  So remember, nothing is set in stone.  And mark ups are really ridiculous.

Post # 6
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

My feeling is that if you have grounds for a negociation, you’ll be more successful.

We were able to get a more reasonable food and beverage minimum in the space we wanted at a hotel by pointing out that our guests would be staying in the hotel (nearly all of our guests will be traveling from out of town).

You also might be able to have better luck with negociations if you’re off-season or not on a saturday.  Lots of places offer Friday/Sunday discounts.

Post # 7
5839 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

My venue has a food/beverage minimum that is non-negotiable, but I did get them to knock some money off the block room rate (210 down to 190). Theres nothing wrong with asking but be prepared to have a logical reason for the discount.

Post # 8
2702 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

our venue is a country club and weren’t able to budge on their minimum food/drink requirement 16,500 on a saturday. (which covers our cocktail hour, h’ordeurves, dinner-plated, open premium bar, a candy favor bar, and chocolate fondue… linens, votives, table numbers, silverware, tableware, etc.

she did however not charge us tax on that minimum and also threw in upgraded linens, valet parking for all guests, and champagne toasts for all guests.

Post # 9
516 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

We were able to negotiate A LOT… OUR venue met half way between his price and another venues lower price (and then threw in 8.50/pp extras) AMAZING.

We also got out DJ to lower his price about 200-300 dollars and throw in hand outs and a photo montage screen

OUr florist is dressing the entire wedding including parents and grandparents with roses (Myself and Fiance with Callas) And def dropped about 300 off our price.

It is really easy if you pressure them for it.. and when they hear the words ‘i dont know we will really have to shop around’ that ALWAYS works 🙂

Post # 10
197 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

We got married in the off season, so we had more leverage for negotiations. I second what septcabride said about small business owners…look for those.

For the photographer we got 33% off the normal package cost.

For the caterer, we got about 30% off the initial price too – HUGE savings.

Post # 11
1418 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I have only negotiated with our reception venue thus far, but the rental (with the minimum room revenue) included our bridal suite with champagne and strawberries and breakfast the next morning, valet parking for us, a bridal party room to use during the day, guest room rates starting at $109/night, and then I got two complimentary rooms for our parents added into the contract!  I also got them to put in a clause saying that they will not increase food/drink prices by more than 5% from this years pricing.  (They increased food/drink prices by 12% last year!)  So I think that is pretty good!

Post # 12
2203 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Make sure to read the contract very carefully. Where there is room for them to charge you extra, get it clarified, in writing.

Be polite and logical. They are not going to give it all away for free but hopefully will come to a win-win deal (they are in it to make money).


Good luck!

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