Lately I've noticed a lot of articles in lot of places offering engaged couples tips about how to save money on their weddings. I'm sure you've seen them too. Some of them offer good advice; many of them offer, well, bad advice. It's obviously a popular topic, though, and for good reason: Weddings are expensive! Most couples are interested in making their wedding budgets stretch as far as possible, which is smart.
Nearly every such article I've read over the past several months has recommended asking your vendors for a discount, but I haven't seen much advice addressing the best way to do that. So what is the best way? Not asking for a discount at all! (I know, I know, keep reading...) Instead of asking for a discount, open a respectful price negotiation.
Why shouldn't you ask for a discount? Well, you can, but it's probably not going to be very effective. Getting a discount means that you're getting a product or service at a reduced rate, right? And all businesses have their prices set as they do for a reason -- your wedding vendors are no exception. So while we're certainly sympathetic to budget woes (Seriously, we are!), that doesn't mean we can arbitrarily decide to charge some clients less than we charge others. It wouldn't be very professional, it wouldn't be fair to our full price clients, and if we did a lot of it then we'd soon be out of business.
How, then, do you get a discount? First, step away from the whole "discount" idea. Instead of saying this:
"What you're offering sounds great, but it's out of our budget. Can you give us a discount?"
"What you're offering sounds great, but it's out of our budget. We have [your dollar amount here] to spend on this. Is there any way we can work with you while still meeting our spending goals?"
See the difference? The first question basically says, "We don't have that much money in our budget, but we'd still like to work with you. Can we just pay you less?" Phrased that way, I'll bet you can't imagine actually saying it. The second question says, "We don't have that much money in our budget, but we'd still like to work with you. Can you suggest some changes to your proposal so that our cost will be lower?" Much better, right?
Now, not every vendor will be able to adjust their services and rates. For example, the starting rate for our month-of coordination service is our lowest price for sending our team to be on-site on your wedding day. We don't have room to adjust that one, much as we might want to. If you run into a similar situation with a vendor you really love, then you can either a) Adjust your budget (But don't overspend! See our tips here about smart budgeting.), or b) Continue your vendor search.
In so many cases, though, vendors can and will work with you on price! We're creative and resourceful, and if there's a way to make it work, we'd like to find it: Being flexible about your wedding date or season often means spending less on a venue. If you have only the priciest of blooms in your wedding flower dreams, then ask for suggestions about how to trim the cost with similar but less expensive choices. Have a discussion with your top wedding planning candidate about what services you can eliminate to get to a lower price. Basically, just be honest about your budget and receptive to vendors' suggestions.
Believe me, we know weddings are expensive. We get it. But we also know what makes weddings expensive and the smartest ways to save you money. Leverage our knowledge even as you're choosing your vendor team and you'll be off to a great start on spending your wedding budget wisely.