A wedding, be it a low key celebration or a fig fat wedding is a pricey affair. There are several things you need to necessarily spend your budget on from your venue to décor, clothes to make-up artists, catering to entertainment and so on so forth. Undoubtedly, your wedding is a once in a lifetime event so are your wedding vendors once in a lifetime investment. Every couple wants to celebrate their day in a very special and extraordinary way. In a wedding, no matter how hard you try, still things go beyond budget sometimes and it seems unavoidable in certain situations.
There are numerous avenues to spend on and like this you can go off budget, as the wedding by large demands thousands of expenses which you have to take care of. But, here in this post I am sharing with you 21 best expert tips to negotiate with wedding vendors and save thousands of bucks. Of course, the last thing that you would want is to go off budget, which can be horrendous undoubtedly!
Here we go…
1. Envisage the big day
First things first, the moment you have dates in your hand, the first thing you do is to start planning your wedding. Start envisaging the big day. What exactly you are looking for your wedding like; is it a beachy wedding that you are looking for a wedding amidst mountains or desert or in your hometown. Wherever it is, the first thing is to envisage what are you looking for, then only you would be able to figure out the budget and other details of your wedding. Also, once you know this, you can work on the other details like your style, colors and design.
2. Set Your Wedding Budget
Before you start planning your wedding the first thing that you need to do is set your wedding budget. Setting it beforehand will help you keep a strict watch on your expenses. Whether yours is a wedding in your hometown or in some other location i.e., a destination wedding, it is crucial to set a budget for your wedding and stick to your budget if you really want to save money on your wedding. As wedding is such an event that you may be tempted to buy everything and anything. You have to curb your temptations.
3. Do Mindful Research
While planning for your wedding, make sure you do a mindful research. It is crucial that you search for at least 4 to 5 wedding vendors for each wedding service from wedding venue to wedding photographer. Detailed research of every aspect of your wedding needs to be done. All this needs your time and effort to go ahead. You along with your spouse can research about all the aspects and plan your wedding accordingly
4. Planning Early is a Key
For a successful wedding, that too in a budget it is crucial that you start planning early. Planning early is very important, deals keeps on coming your way when you plan early for your wedding. You have multiple options to scour and go for the best. Even you can get the best deals on wedding caterer or wedding photographer. Be an early bird and get the best deals!!
5. Be Up-Front About Your Budget
To be up-front about your wedding budget when reaching out to wedding vendors is imperative. If you will be clear about your budget in the very first meeting with your wedding vendors, it will be good for you, possibly your vendors will understand your concern and they may customize a package for you. There is a lot you can do Even wedding vendors know that not every client has the same budget for their wedding and hence they also design their packages in a way that everybody and anybody can choose the best deal as per their budget and need. Try to negotiate with the vendors if their prices are not fixed.
6. Don’t Just Stick the First One You Meet
Normally couples tend to start planning for wedding upon getting engaged, so you have enough time to do a tad of brainstorming. Well, the idea is to search for the right vendors online, offline, referrals, and fairs, there are myriads of options to have a list of wedding vendors for sorting out, try out finding, get as many as possible quotes from them, compare their prices and services, only when you find the one you are comfortable with, book! If you will just stick to the first offer you see, chances are there will be others who will be willing to offer better packages for the same price which you have settled with the first one.
There is no harm in exploring more options as everything is online, you just have to visit a few websites, contact them and ask them for the quotes. You don’t even need to visit them personally until you get the one you are comfortable with. This task may seem monotonous or too much initially, but you will be happy upon getting the best deal after taking this small amount of pain. It is not too much to do if it is your wedding, after all you want to have the best wedding.
7. Try out Freelancers
These days there are many websites or job boards like upwork, freelance.com etc.who encourages freelancers in almost every field, mostly these freelancer put gigs on their pages or else you can also post your requirements along with your budget and find out the one you are searching for. These gigs are not too costly, mostly these photographers are freelancers, budding, less established, etc., and chances are highly likely you can get vendors from these platforms. Like this you can get a couple of good options, and then you can ask them to share their previous work with you. Do read reviews on their profile, you’ll get most of the idea from reviews itself. And accordingly you can book them.
For instance, your wedding photography. Online you can look for budding photography and videography professionals are often ready to work for less, as they want to increase their visibility and add to their portfolio. Sometimes these budding photographers are able to give you that professional-grade work at that nonprofessional prices you will be amazed to see.
8. Review Offers from Multiple Vendors
Besides conducting pricing research, make sure you collect bids from several vendors for each wedding service to find the best-priced option. For instance, some wedding photographers offer package deals that include bridal portraits, pre-wedding shoot or engagement photos and wedding albums after the big day, while others may be offering a la carte photography coverage by the hour. Make sure that you compare the same level of service among each vendor so you can see the actual price difference for services being rendered.
9. Look Out for Customized Package
When meeting with your vendors in person, the first thing you do is get the overall understanding of his/her service. Discuss the package with the vendors clearly like what all is included in the package. Sometimes vendors’ package contains too many services, most of them, you might not necessarily even require for your wedding. See the services included in the package and chuck out those which are not required in your wedding.
For instance, your wedding photographer must have added pre-wedding shoot in the package, but if you don’t want that or your passionate photographer friend can handle it, then you can remove it from the list. Like this for each wedding service vendor you can remove what is not required and avoid unnecessary expenses. Similarly, while booking your wedding venue, see if you can manage small wedding functions at your home only, then you can remove additional days from the list and book only for the days you want venue for. So, basically the idea is to customize the package according to your budget and removing all the add-ons or extra services. Go for what is necessary and leave not so necessary items from the package. EASY!!
10. Look for Off-Season Wedding Discounts
If your wedding is set to held in off-season, you know off-season right? Meaning when there is rarely any wedding happening or maybe few are, then for sure you can expect an off-season discount on your wedding vendors. You can ask for that straight away, they won’t mind. Mostly people get married in the peak seasons, then the rates of wedding vendors are automatically high. But if yours is an off-season wedding you can look out for the discount, and you’re not expecting anything unreasonable. TRUST!
11. Check on References
Lately your friend or your uncle’s daughter got married and by chance you also bumped into the same wedding florist as you and your family liked his services very much. Oh that’s great! You got a nice reference. You should tell him about your cousin’s wedding and how all of you have liked the entire floral decoration so much and that’s the reason you are back there. Ask him to give you a nice discount, tell him how he can become your family wedding vendor sort of, as there are many weddings lined up this year. This will surely click him as everybody wants to get more and more work!
12. Go with the Local Vendors
Whether you are getting married in your town or in some other town for that matter go with the local wedding vendors. This way you will be able to save on their traveling expenses. Why should you incur extra money on travel and accommodation of your wedding vendors? So, it’s always good to go with the local wedding vendors. Moreover, local vendors will always be well-versed with the venue because in their life time they might have provided services in the same venue before. Their familiarity with the place gives them ease to work in the known venue.
13. Work On Team Size
If yours is a close-knit wedding only fewer guests from family, relatives and a few close friends are expected to attend, then you can limit the size of the vendor’s team. Why should you incur extra money on extra staff when yours is a low-key celebration with just a few people? For instance, if you are expecting only 50 wedding guests, how many attendants or waiters would you need for the whole celebration – at the max 5? Logic right….. Apply!!
14. Referrals from Wedding Venue
If you are hosting your wedding in some venues, they also have their own vendors including florists, photographers, decorators etc. You can consider their vendors also, if it matches with your requirement and if you’re comfortable with them, then no problem in going ahead. In this case you can probably get the best prices, as already you are paying huge amount for the wedding venue for hosting your wedding there. Here, you have a valid reason to ask for some discount in your wedding vendors. Again, another benefit of having a recommended vendor from venue is the familiarity of the vendor with the location, and the person would know WHEREs and HOWs of the particular venue.
15. Know Who to Negotiate With
There is no point bargaining with an in-demand wedding professional during peak wedding season. However, vendors who are just starting their business may be willing to negotiate in order to fill their calendars and build their portfolios. Moreover, inventory businesses, like rental companies are much more flexible on price than a florist, because a florist has to order new flowers for each event, thereby making it hard to reduce service expenses, while the inventory business might already have paid off the cost of those items.
16. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Extras
Another option to negotiate with vendors is – Instead of asking for a lower price, find out if the venue or wedding vendor can provide some additional services at the same cost. For instance, you can negotiate for a free Champagne toast for meeting a food and beverage minimum or you can ask your DJ to play an extra hour of music. More often than not, venues have a base price to cover, so if they can’t reduce their pricing, see if they can throw in add-ons at low or no cost. Because, negotiating for add-ons can be much more realistic than asking a venue to provide some discount on standard packages.
17. Hire a Vendor You’ve Worked with Before
Another way out is to work with someone or a vendor who you have already worked with in the past. Using a vendor that you have already worked with previously will be much more willing to cut you a deal. For instance, if you frequent a particular caterer or photographer or florist, he/she may be more willing to offer a discount, especially if you have that vendor provide more than just the wedding party.
18. Be realistic
While you negotiate with your wedding vendors you need to be respectful about their offerings and be reasonable about what you can afford. More often than not, a vendor’s pricing reflects their skill level, experience, and the hard and soft costs of doing business. To seek out luxury wedding professionals when your budget is actually a constraint will be mere wastage of your and your vendor’s time. Mostly negotiations are successful if you’re also willing to make certain sacrifices to your vision in order to get the pricing down. For instance, if you’re certain to have the best wedding photographer of the town for your wedding, then instead of asking for a discount, you can ask for things that can be removed from the quote, like additional hours.
19. Check on Hidden Fees
It is crucial that you read all the quotes and contracts thoroughly for potential hidden fees. So that tomorrow at the time of paying bills you aren’t blindsided. For instance, your wedding venue. Hidden venue fees are common and often includes restroom facilities fees, high audio and visual costs, and additional administrative costs. Moreover, rental companies’ services also come with additional charges, like they can charge for labor, which can significantly increase the base price. So, if you also see some such additional charges, politely ask your vendor to waive them.
20. Compare Food Options
Well, food is the major part where you can reduce the cost. Simply by making some small changes to your menu you can easily reduce food costs. All you have to do is to ask the venue coordinator for a price breakdown of all the food options. Once you have the breakdown, you can easily customize the menu according to your budget. For instance, instead of going for food items prepared with pricier out-of-season produce, ask your venue or your caterer to provide seasonal vegetables only. Like this you would be able to cut on cost.
21. Stick to Your Budget
Last but not least, there will be many things which your wedding vendors will lure you with, but you know your budget very well. Just don’t go with the flow, give it a thought what all your vendor is proposing, as I said earlier there may be many services which you don’t even require. For instance, wedding photographers offer packages with few add-ons make it flair and showy just to lure you. The basic package will surely have all you need, like your wedding shoot, album, an online gallery or DVD. Photography packages however, vary photographer to photographer depending upon their location, quality and several other aspects, you don’t have to stick to the one who you are not flexible with hours. Otherwise you will end up investing more than your budget.
Go with your budget, because you very well know the consequences of going beyond your budget. You need to look beautiful on your wedding, if your expenses will go beyond your budget, it will start to hover your head you will be stressed later, and there is no point in doing so. As, it will ultimately affect your wedding. What matters the most in your wedding is – your inner contentment. If you are happy from within the whole thing will become more beautiful and will add to your celebration. So, be wise!!