As vendors in the event industry, most of us are natural people pleasers. We want you to have the most magical day ever and we will do almost anything to make sure that happens for you. We won’t lie, there are some underlying business components as well…like acquiring great images to promote our business, hustling for that stellar review and future recommendations, and, yes, turning a profit. But the bottom line is we want to give you everything you hoped for on your wedding day AND maintain a successful business. So, when you ask a vendor for a discount, you are putting those two important goals at odds with each other. It’s a tough spot for us to be in! There are several things that run through our heads: Does the client not value our services? If we don’t give a discount, will we lose the client? If we give a little, will that only prompt them to ask for more? But if you are a budget savvy bride, there ARE ways to ask for discounts that won’t send your vendors into a full on panic attack.
TIP 1: Barter. Do you have a special skill or work in a field that can afford you the luxury of bartering? We have witnessed a handyman groom trade a custom ceremony backdrop for extra hours of service from a wedding planner. We’ve seen a trade for eyelash extensions for a slightly discounted venue rate. Be creative!
TIP 2: Substitutions. Consider substituting one service that you don’t necessarily need for another that is being offered. Forgo a ceremony rehearsal for an extra hour in your venue. Trade out some floral for similar, less expensive stems with your florist. Replace your hour for bridals for extra time at the engagement session in your photography package.
TIP 3: Military Discounts. Many vendors offer discounts for active and retired military. Some even extend this discount to police officers, firemen, first responders, and teachers.
TIP 4: Pay in Full. Occasionally, vendors will offer a small discount if you are willing to pay in full at the signing of the contract.
TIP 5: Cash/Check. In some states, there is an added surcharge for purchases made via credit card or ACH. Because of this, paying by cash or check may lower the final balance.
TIP 6: Kindness. Being nice goes a long way. Brides that are fun and easy to work with, make our people-pleasing hearts want to go a step further.
TIP 7: Ask the Pro. If you have found yourself enamored with a vendor and what they have to offer, ask THEM to suggest ideas to get to the same look/service/product without going outside of your budget boundaries. Putting the situation in their hands allows them to be creative FOR you, without you accidentally insulting the service you actually love! If they can’t help you, typically they are quick to offer other vendors who might.
All the above are wonderful options, but please don’t take on the “It never hurts to ask” policy to extremes because, actually…it does hurt sometimes. It can make vendors less likely to want to work with you, especially if they have other potential clients filling up their inbox. So, work through the list above first, and see if you earn any wiggle room in that budget! Happy vendor hunting!
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Photography Credit: Reigh Walker