(Closed) negotiating with vendors

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1458 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I have found that the only vendors that were willing to negotiate with me were independant. The photographer, the videographer, things like that. Places like the recpetion hall there was no luck. Basically, if you want a deal they will be hesitant as it will be eaiser to simply fill the space with someone will to pay the full price rather then lose money by giving you a deal. Unless this place has a hard time filling spaces I would say you can try, but don’t set your hopes on it working too well. Corporate venues have powerful empolyees – but in most cases they can’t just hand out a discount. They have to go to their boss, and them to their boss…so on. 

I would try to find a place more suitable to your price range and put your effort into that rahter then months of back and forth possible negotiations.


Post # 4
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I agree with Sweeney. I didn’t negotiate with my vendors, but I did tell them what my price range was and asked them to work within that. Most vendors were happy to do so, and if they couldn’t, they told me outright and that was that. And I didn’t look at vendors who were well-above my price range.

I’d actually avoid negotiating — you want your vendors to do the best possible job at your wedding and give you the most attention possible. By asking for a lower price, you’re essentially paying for less time and attention at the outset, and I’m not sure you want to start your vendor relationships like that.

Post # 5
22 posts
  • Wedding: October 2008

We absolutely negotiated when we needed to, and it worked.  For our caterer, we noticed that one of the quotes we received was significantly higher in the equipment rental category than the others.  When we asked we found out that this company has to rent all their equipment from a rental company, but that they would be happy to provide it to us at cost.  Saved us $5k!!  I’ve found that if you are upfront about your limitations that vendors will happily work with you.  I am providing all the vases to my florist instead of being charged the cost of renting them through her.  My cake will be using fresh fruit as a decoration that we are providing ourselves from our local farmer’s market.  My approach is to just ask nicely if there is a way to lower cost as opposed to an out and out counter-offer. 

Post # 6
6 posts
  • Wedding: December 1969

Hi archicalgal,

Being that I myself am a vendor for custom invitations (Lilah Paper), I thought that I might throw in my two cents 🙂 Vendors often have promotions located on different websites that offer a certain percentage off of their services. It never hurts to ask a vendor if they currently have any offers or promotions.

Additionally, most vendors realize that our brides have varying budgets so it never hurts to ask if there are ways to cut back on the price (for example with invitations, a paper down-grade, different forms of printing, 1-color as opposed to 2-color, etc). All of these things can add up and can help you to save in the end.

However, all this being said, it is always best to give a ballpark budget if you have one in mind, as this will help the vendors to better serve you and show you what items/packages are within your range. We would hate to have you fall completely in love with something if it clearly is not within your budget.

 I hope this helps and congratulations on your engagement and have fun planning!

 Kalyn Denno

Post # 7
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

We successfully negotiated the following: photography, flowers, band, reception venue, rehearsal dinner venue

We tried but weren’t able to negotiate with: videographer

Our approach was to explain to the vendor what our budget constraints were (obviously they have to be reasonable – you can’t tell a $5K photographer you have $1K for photography!), let them know how much we would like to work with them (over other vendors) and then ask if we could work together to find a way to work with them within our budget.   It is often give and take – you have to be willing to give on a few items, but in general I found the vendors gave more.  you also have to know what your walking away point is – you have a more credible position if you are talking from a position of strength (eg you will walk away if the price can’t get below X).  My now husband took a negotiating course in grad school and used the basic principles to save us a ton of money (I took the same class, he was just better in practice!).  If you are serious about it, a good and easy book on  negotiating is Getting To Yes.  Keep in mind though that these relationships are important, and you want to negotiate a fair deal in good faith…..

On the venue specifically, it can be harder.  You might want to look into a different time of year, day of the week or time of day to save money.  At one rehearsal dinner venue, their price was too high, so we worked together to modify the menu (no appetizers) to get the price down.  They were happy to work with us on this. 

Post # 8
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

I totally negotiated with our photographer.  I found a photographer whose work I LOVE but the starting price of her packages was $1800, and we had budgeted only $1000 for photography.  I emailed her with the details of our wedding, and kinda gushed about how much I loved her work.  Imagine my excitement when she emailed me back and said the package included two photographers and an album, but for our small wedding, one photographer would be able to cover it with no problem.  Receiving a high resolution CD with digital rights was more important to me than an album since we’re trying to save money, so we hammered out a deal.  All of my requirements were met, and we’re only paying $1000 for a truly talented photographer whose work I love.  

It won’t always be that easy.  I sent out similar emails to a few photographers whose work I liked, and she was one of the few who was willing to work with us on price.  

 Like most of you, I wouldn’t try negotiating with the venue.  Sweeney’s right – most would rather book someone who is willing to pay full price.  The only other advice I’d give you is -never be afraid to walk away.  My first choice for venue, although beautiful, wasn’t working for us due to the fact that the staff wasn’t getting back in touch with us with info they promised, and when they did, it was often someone other than the person I was told we’d be dealing with.  They weren’t treating us professionally in order to get our business, and if they didn’t do what they said to get our business, I had a bad feeling they wouldn’t improve their service after we were stuck in a contract.  We walked away and I’m glad we did. My sentimental attachment for the place my fiance proposed isn’t as strong as my desire for our wedding day to be as close to stress-free as possible. 

Good luck! 

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