Negotiating with Vendors

Expert tips on fulfilling all your wedding needs

If those cute sandals at the mall are tagged $100, that's what you'll pay—no exceptions. With vendors like florists, caterers, and photographers, however, there's often room for negotiation. Do it early in your discussions and well before signing any contract.

Do your homework first Have a set budget and know average prices in your area.

Set priorities Instead of dickering over low-cost items (boutonnieres), concentrate on reducing the price of big-ticket items (centerpieces). Know what you want: Are you hoping for a monetary discount or some freebies? Is quality or pricing your priority?

Stay calm A savvy consumer uses facts, common sense, and good manners—not screams or tears—as bargaining tools.

Disagree nicely Whatever happens, be courteous. Being rude and belligerent will get you nowhere.

Put everything in writing Make sure any verbal agreements are added to the final contract, or your vendor might come down with negotiation amnesia.

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