It may not be wedding season, but it is wedding planning season. So I am following up my recent post about trimming wedding costs with more resources for saying “I Do” without breaking the bank.
Attend bridal shows: get quotes and gather information at a show near you. Later you can use the information to help you negotiate a deal. Here is a list of bridal expos by state.
Haggle with vendors: nearly every vendor you are going to hire for your wedding is fair game, including the band, DJ, caterer, florist, photographer, videographer, musicians, printers (for programs), owner of the reception space. You can even negotiate with the officiant!
Here’s how to approach the subject. Before you book the vendor ask them for a quote. Get quotes from two other vendors for that same service. Go back to the vendor you like best and tell them how much you like them and want to hire them. If you got a lower quote elsewhere, tell your favorite vendor what the lower quote is (assuming it is a price you are willing to pay. If it is still too high keep looking until you get a lower quote.) After sharing the lower quote say, “I’d really like to work with you. Is there anything we can do?” Keep your mouth shut until they respond. Silence can be uncomfortable but it is necessary when negotiating.
If they won’t budge try another approach. Say they will do the job for $500, but you want to pay $450. Say “I would like to hire you but you are a bit above my budget. Do you have any wiggle room?” Wait for their response. If they do not come down enough, say “Unfortunately my budget is $450. If you can work for that much I can sign a contract today.”
While negotiating use any of the following factors that apply to persuade them:
- Your wedding is off-season or at an odd time when they will not otherwise be working.
- You pay in cash.
- Many guests attending your wedding are engaged and will be looking for vendors like them.
- You can provide them a written testimonial afterward (assuming they were fabulous).
- You have a family or social connection to them.
Read more of my haggling tips.
Throw a budget bachelorette party: start with cocktail hour at the host’s house to reduce your bar tab. If you are going to force the lucky gal into wear a veil, make it yourself by purchasing a cheap headband and attaching fabric you bought at JoAnn’s or Michael’s. Ask each guest to bring one silly toy or gag gift for entertainment. If there is a story to go along with it, even better! If you are really on a budget, have the whole party at home and play , like Rate the Men or Suck for a Buck. Instead of going out to dinner, have a potluck. If you do go out on the town, work the bachelorette angle to get free admission to clubs and discounted drinks.