Lately, several people have asked me about negotiating with wedding professionals.
Here are 8 practical tips:
1. Compare apples-to-apples. Before you start negotiating, be clear on the services and quality you’re getting. I talk to a lot of brides and grooms who share that in retrospect, they wish they’d gone with another company whom they would’ve paid more to but who would’ve provided more professional/better/convenient services on their wedding day.
2. Always be professional and courteous.
3. Approach negotiation as a 2-way street. The idea is to end up with a win-win for you and the vendor.
4. Swap out services. Some of the services in a wedding package might not be useful to you. Ask to replace those items with the things you do want. i.e. hotels often include space for a rehearsal dinner in their package – which isn’t useful for many South Asians.
5. Negotiate on items wedding pros own and control. A decorator that owns upgraded linens or chiavari chairs is more likely to negotiate vs. a company that’s sourcing them.
6. Know the circumstances. Are you getting married on a popular day? Is the company new or seasoned? Are they popular? All of this factors in while negotiating.
7. Increase value vs. lowering costs. Focus on increasing the value of what you’re spending. Sometimes companies can give you upgraded services or waive some incidental fees when you’re spending a lot with them i.e. some venues will waive a food and beverage minimum on pre-wedding events when hosting other events with them, free pickup/delivery, reduced parking rates, complimentary hospitality room or usage of some AV equipment.
8. Be realistic. South Asian weddings are expensive and you’re doing everything you can to stretch your dollar. Wedding professionals are running businesses and trying to maximize their revenue. The more realistic, fair and professional, the more companies will be willing to work with you.
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Cover Photo Courtesy of Lin and Jirsa