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Who doesn't like a good deal? Whether you're a master negotiator or break out in hives at the mere thought of money talk, the art of wheeling and dealing is a learned skill that can definitely save you big time when it comes to your big day. That is, if you know the proper etiquette. To avoid turning off potential wedding vendors or having your tactics totally backfire, check out these no-nos for striking a happily-ever-after deal.
Don't be bashful about your budget
In other words, don't beat around the bush. "Even if you feel shy about it, resist exaggerating or fibbing about your budget," urges wedding and event designer Marc Wilson of Weddings by MWD Lifestyles. This only sets you up for disappointment. "We can always work our true magic with what's agreed upon based on the couple's vision or revisit when concerns arise," he notes. Ultimately, it's beneficial to both parties to be upfront from the start.
Don't forget to do your homework
Before trying to score a better deal, event planners Jennifer Arreguin and Natasha Burton of Swoon California recommend finding out what things actually cost. "For example, if you want hundreds of peonies in August when they aren't in season, your florist is going to have to charge you a premium to get your blooms flown in from somewhere." Price compare with other vendors in town that have similar experience to discover what most people's bottom lines are, they advise. And most importantly, remember to be realistic!
Don't pit vendors against each other
One way to sour a vendor relationship real quick, especially in wedding-rich areas or smaller cities, is to pit vendors against each other, caution Arreguin and Burton. "Saying you'll go with someone else as a way to threaten a potential vendor may come back to bite you later, as this person could be close with the competition and warn him or her that you're not so great to work with."
Don't just assume you deserve a deal
It's no secret negotiations are tricky. "If approached in the right manner at the right time, some vendors are happy to consider a deal," says Ashley Smith, a San Francisco based destination wedding planner, stylist and founder of BuzzWorthy Events. However, don't ever just assume you're owed a deep discount. "While it never hurts to ask if there's a deal available or if they're willing to match a comparable vendor, do be considerate and appreciative of the services they offer." Good manners will go a long way.
Don't lowball wedding vendors
Yes, vendors may have some wiggle room in their pricing, but it's highly unlikely that they can drop their price by half and still cover costs, points out Phoenix, Arizona-based wedding planner Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events. "You're much better off finding vendors who are closer to your budget to begin with," she states. "Even if you're successful in negotiating a drastically reduced price, the relationship with that vendor is put at risk, as they'll need to be 100% invested in your day without getting 100% back."
Don't think solely in terms of monetary benefits
Because there's more to negotiate than just dollars and cents. "If you're intent on working with a vendor that you love but the price feels a bit high for you, you're better off asking them to include some extras as opposed to lowering their price," notes Keel. Let them know how much you dig their work and if there's anything they can do to sway you on the price. Who knows, maybe the photographer will throw in a free engagement session!