Real Wedding Inspiration

Negotiating With Wedding VendorsJanuary 23, 2012

Alright blogettes. It seemed as if last week’s post, you know this one here, generated quite a bit of buzz.

Like close to 6,000 page views kind of buzz. A lot of you tweeted the post. A lot of you shared it via facebook. Some of you included the post in your weekly wrap ups. Many of you sent sweet emails to thank me. One of you sent me a really nasty email. And one of you triggered a healthy conversation about what it means to negotiate in the industry. Let me throw this out there. I meant every single word I said it that post. I think each and every vendor should stand strongly behind their pricing, policies, value and worth. I also think it’s rude for potential clients to expect vendors to give them whatever product/service they want when they can’t afford it. But there is a way to go about seeing if exceptions can be made.

And guess what? If you’re not good at this sort of thing because it’s awkward, a wedding planner can assist. But I digress.

If a vendor says on their website “I believe every bride deserves great _____, so if you can’t afford my prices let’s talk,” then that’s a great indicator that said vendor is open to negotiations. If a vendor has a listed price or the wording “Pricing starts at $setprice” it’s safe to say that negotiating significantly lower than the advertised price will potentially offend or just flat out frustrate the vendor. Typically, wedding vendors consider themselves artists; wedding designers, bakers, photographers, florists, stationery designers, gown designers, etc, all of these people create and design things and work hard to perfect their craft. They spend a lot of time, effort and money to offer a really memorable, beautiful and professional service or product for brides. Someone who tries to really negotiate far too below that original set price can come across as not valuing said vendor’s craft. But aside from that, plain and simple, at the end of the day, wedding vendors need to pay their bills too. We set prices based on not only what we feel we are worth but what’s going to put food on our tables, a roof over our head, etc.

With that being said, sometimes successfully negotiating can be done with phrases like “I really love the design you’ve sketched up for my cake and don’t want to scrap it but perhaps we could scale down the size of the cake to reduce the cost a bit? That way I can still keep all of those gorgeous sugar flowers!” or “I really love peonies but unfortunately am not sure they fit within the budget I’ve allotted for florals. Could you recommend a flower that will give the same look and style as a peony (like a garden rose!)? Or perhaps we could just keep them in my bouquet and find a substitute for the bridesmaids.” or “This dress shape is exactly what I am looking for but I am not sure the price is a fit. Do you offer discounts to brides who pay in full upfront? Or do you offer discounts to brides if their bridesmaids purchase their dresses through you? Or maybe you could recommend a different fabric because I heard Spanish lace is pricey.” The majority of vendors in the industry are willing to work with brides if the negotiating is done in a proactive and respectful way.

Imagine walking into Vera Wang and before you’ve even set an appointment, introduced yourself or scrolled through the salon to look at gowns (and any price tags) you flat out tell the consultant “Hi, I really want a Vera Wang gown. But unfortunately only have $800. What can you do for me?” Imagine how taken aback the consultant would be? If you don’t have a Vera Wang budget, it’s a safe bet not to even inquire about purchasing a Vera Wang gown let alone try and negotiate a ridiculously off price for one. And moving into a bit of a different area that’s still somewhat umbrella-ed under vendor negotiations, if you want to hear my take on the value of a product or a service versus the price, well head over here and read this photographer’s take. Honestly this woman has the most perfect analogy for what it means to get what you pay for.

On a completely different topic, here’s my first 2012 couple, Ash and Dallas. I know, I sort of love them together.

The sweet Beth of Elizabeth in Love will be photographing the big day and to say I am excited is an understatement. Hurry up June and get here so we can all celebrate :) Happy Monday friends. Make today so incredibly wonderful xoxo



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