The Best ways to Negotiate with Wedding Vendors

Hi friends, I trust that you are doing well, thanks once again for reading my wedding blog! This week we reached 10,000 visitors a week on the page and I’m very excited that couples across the nation are hearing and using my wedding advice.

Okay, so working with wedding vendors like myself and negotiating with them. Many couples getting married often ask me about a discount when they book with me about a wedding film and many wedding vendors find themselves in the same boat.

Today, I want to share with you four great things that us wedding vendors love when talking to us that will help make a little pricing within the pocketbook.

First Understand This

While negotiating with service professionals is acceptable, you need to respect their offerings and be reasonable about what you can afford. A vendor's pricing often reflects their experience, skill level and the hard and soft costs of doing business. I know in my wedding video company here, I have about $18,000 worth of gear which isn’t cheap, so I must make sure I charge enough to keep that level of gear, wear and tear and replacements every few years.

A wedding vendor that is in high demand for example isn’t going to budge on the price compared to someone that isn’t in high demand. Another thing to consider is the class of wedding vendor that you’re dealing with.

Compare Wedding Vendors

Always get 2-4 quotes from various wedding vendors in the market that you’re shopping for, as an example, if you’re looking for someone like me, a wedding filmmaker, create a matrix where you can compare their price, services and the like too.  Let the vendors know up front that your price shopping around and those that do offer discounts will most likely work with you on the number should you provide that information up front.

As you compare them, use this form that I built in order to compare them to see what ones are worthwhile and best fit your needs.

Ask for Options

For those wedding vendors that do offer discounts for various things, ask. I know some vendors offer discounts for military and first responder’s, some offer discounts for those that work at various local colleges and universities too, but you have to ask in order to get it.

Many wedding vendors on the other hand don’t offer discounts and that’s fine too. In lieu of a discount, try asking for an extra service at no additional charge or for very little charge. For example, if you really love my ceremony video at $475 but you also want a clip of the first dance, ask for it and go about it in a subtle way.

“So, I really love your work and I want to work with you on the XXXX package, but what could you do by adding the first dance only to that, it’s VERY important to me here and that’s something I need to have that would only take a few minutes…”

While it’s not much to film the first dance for example, you might have the videographer ask for $50 or $100 extra to do it and that covers the post-production too if they do any.

Additional Fees Might Be Hidden

Some wedding vendors might put hidden fees inside the contract so be sure to look through it with a fine-tooth comb. Aside from state taxes, there shouldn’t be any hidden fees, everything should be upfront and known before you’re even given a contract of any kind.

Here’s an example:

Well just use my feature film cost, it’s $975. You have the state tax and perhaps a travel fee if you’re outside the Roanoke area, otherwise there shouldn’t be a hidden fee for anything else. If there is, ask for it to be waived.

I’ve seen some wedding photographer’s for example charge a copyright fee or sometimes an assistant fee for having someone there to help, if you’re not aware of it up front, I wouldn’t pay it.

The only three things you should pay for include:

·         Product or Service Price

·         State Tax (Every Vendor should be including tax)

·         Maybe a Travel fee, if outside a mileage range usually

 

For me, fuel fees are after 25 miles outside Roanoke (usually a flat rate of $25-40) and hotels are only required if I have more than a 2-hour drive outside the area. That can vary from vendor to vendor so be aware of that if you choose someone that travels a bit.

Off-Season Rates

If you’re a regular follower on the blog, then you know that I sometimes talk about the off-season rates that many areas have and the discounted pricing that vendors sometimes provide. If you live in New Mexico or Florida for example, then it’s weddings all year round but here in the mountains of Virginia our wedding season is from late March to October. Usually November through March I still film weddings, but I typically offer a discount of some sort to couples getting married then.

Now, not everyone offers an off-season discount, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Different Days of the Week

Some vendors also offer different rates for different days of the week. While I don’t personally offer something like that, many venues and other vendors do. Getting married on a Monday through Thursday is usually much cheaper than getting married on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Full time vendors like a wedding venue rely on your income to keep the doors open, so they can take a small hit and still offer weddings during the week to pay the mortgage, employees and the like too. The best time to get married if you’re wanting the best rates, Monday’s.

It’s the first of the week and people often think of work and not so much on weddings, so it’s the best time to save the most amount of money and have the same type of wedding at saving up to 50% on the same wedding you might have on a Saturday. Sure, it’s more difficult to have a wedding during the weekday, but it’s not impossible. If you’re considering the best savings, this is one of the best things you can try to do.

The Networking Discount

Another little secret that you might want to consider is asking vendors that you do hire whom they recommend for other pats of the wedding. Sometimes vendors will offer their preferred vendors list to clients that book with them and those vendors sometimes have a special rate or package that is just for working together.

For example, I have a very special wedding venue package I do just For Silver Hearth Lodge on Bent Mountain, nowhere else. This destination wedding venue is great for couples wanting to get married on top of a mountain and because of my relationship with the owner, I offer couples a huge discount on a customized package just for their clients.

While some wedding vendors might offer this, it’s best to ask the vendors who they like to work with in order to see those secret packages and discounts.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, some great insights on working with vendors on asking for a discount.

Here’s the takeaway, not every wedding vendor gives discounts, but it doesn’t hurt to ask in a way where it doesn’t seem too ‘cheap’ if you will.  You can always maximize your dollar by trying these great tips that might be able to help.

If you found this article useful, drop me a line and just let me know. I’m always happy to help provide and offer my support when it comes to the wedding industry here in Roanoke and SWVA. Finally, if you don’t have a wedding film for your wedding, you should highly consider getting one, I offer great wedding films at pricing that’s VERY affordable.