Money Saving Tips: Negotiating with Suppliers

A lot of us are feeling the pinch these days. This includes wedding vendors. However many will be willing to offer a discount in order to secure your business. Here are Bride and Joy‘s top tips for negotiating with suppliers.

  1. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. If you don’t expect to get a discount, this will be obvious to the supplier and they will automatically opt for charging you full price. Well, wouldn’t you in their situation.
  2. Build up a rapport. The vast majority of people in the wedding industry are there because they love weddings (or can tolerate them at least). They’re used to enthusiastic couples who are excited for their big day. Use this enthusiasm to establish a rapport because it’s human nature to be nice to those we like.
  3. Don’t be embarrassed. Say “We’d love to have your service, but unfortunately it’s a little outside our budget. Can you do anything for us?”
  4. Silence is golden. If you’re not responding, the vendor will probably think they’re losing the sale. It may be hard for you to do this especially if it’s a vendor you really want to book, but it’ll definitely be harder for the vendor.
  5. Be open to offer. Some vendors will tell you that they don’t give discounts, but they may offer you a free add-on to your package. If this is something you had budgeted for and you are now getting it for free, take it as a discount from your overall budget.

If a vendor is unwilling to negotiate, remember the ball is still in your court. You can take your business elsewhere or else you can pay full price. This will come down to the quality of service offered and how much you want to have them as part of your big day.

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  1. From a vendor’s prospective here are some thoughts about negotiating.

    Most vendors are far more prone to negotiate an off season date or an off day of the week than a prime date during the season. For example, from May 1st to Nov 1st (in my area) I will rarely negotiate Saturday dates because I’m so likely to book them. But if your wedding is on a day other than a Saturday I am more likely to negotiate because it is not too likely that I will ever book Mon-Fri dates. For me, Sunday dates are a little different, I may or may not negotiate those dates, it just depends upon how busy I have been. Sunday’s are the only days of the month that I get to spend with my wife so I don’t really like working on Sundays.

    Regarding the advice to give vendors the silent treatment. I would not encourage your readers to do this. Most of the respectable vendors that I know are putting forth a genuine effort to be of help to prospective clients and if you refuse to communicate with us when we are trying to help you this only makes us mad. Remember vendors are real people too. For some of us this is an immediate ‘red flag’ that trouble lies ahead with this client and it might be best just to steer clear. I know when a client refuses to communicate with me I definitely will not negotiate with them regardless of the date and I will most likely view them as being a problem client (think bridezilla) and I will not want to work with them at all. So consider the flip side of taking this approach you could risk loosing a prized vendor. Remember the ole Golden Rule, treat others how you want to be treated.

    Lastly, when it comes to vendors who are providing you with a creative service, such as photographers, florists, event designers etc. their level of creativity can be effected by how they are being treated by the client during the entire process. For good clients I will jump through hoops to do extra things for them, not so much with the other kind of client.

    • Thanks for giving your perspective as a vendor on this post! It was really interesting to read your insights.

      Perhaps I should have been more specific about the silent treatment – I meant it as a technique to use in person. A pregnant pause is all that’s needed for the bride to be sure that she will get the best possible deal and that can mean a lot to a couple planning their wedding when their budget (and their hearts) are being pulled in every direction.

      I’m glad you agree on the importance of the rapport, and you’re right to highlight it works both ways, especially when choosing a photographer. If there’s a personality clash it can spell disaster for all involved, so I encourage brides-to-be – bridezilla moments notwithstanding – to pay it forward.

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