photo by Sergio Alcala Photography
Have you noticed the infinite amount of wedding planning information on the internet? Yeah, us too—it’s kind of our thing. The Junebug team made a commitment to equip our couples with real, honest advice. So, when we read articles about negotiating with wedding vendors—specifically how to “ask for discounts like a boss” and “friendly haggle”—we wanted to set the record straight.
If you don’t read any further—though we hope you do—here’s a simple summary: You really shouldn’t negotiate with wedding vendors.
Stay with us here…You can and should discuss your budget with them. In fact, we highly recommend asking vendors—especially wedding planners—about their best wedding budgeting tips. Some vendors may even be willing to help you brainstorm ways to adjust your budget. However, we never recommend you ask them to devalue the cost of their services.
We Feature Vendors
You should also know Junebug proudly features a carefully selected bunch of the world’s best photographers, planners, florists, DJs, and more. We work with them to curate helpful advice we can provide to our readers (you!) at no cost. Whether you stumbled upon this blog post wondering if it’s ever okay to negotiate with the team responsible for creating your day, or you’re simply interested in our two cents, we hope you’ll find the—seriously—unbiased answers you’re looking for.
A Few Tips to Consider Before Meeting With Vendors:
- Research the market. There’s a vendor for every budget, style, and experience you’re looking for—it just takes time to find them. Not sure where to start? Visit our vendor directory for a carefully curated list of wedding industry pros.
- Determine your must-haves. Make a list of your priorities. Vendors will help you know where to allocate the majority of your budget and where you can cut back.
- Make a budget. When making your budget, keep in mind must-haves and market research. Know what you can afford before making any calls.
Once you’re ready to meet with potential vendors, we recommend reading these tips for making the most out of your meetings—even if they’re virtual.
photo by The Bold Americana
Professional Vendors Will Enhance Your Wedding Experience
We know you care about working with the best-of-the-best wedding vendors. Keep in mind, these vendors are small business owners. Your payment keeps their business running, feeds their family, and allows them to serve you with the professionalism and attentive care that inherently comes from working with a small business.
We understand it can be difficult to think of a vendor—especially a solo person—as a business, so here are a few scenarios to help frame your thinking:
- It’s the end of the month. Your boss asks if they can keep a portion of your paycheck because they can’t afford to give you the full amount this month. Your boss really loves the work you do for them and hopes you’ll continue to work for their company regardless of how much you’re paid.
- There’s a local restaurant in town everyone’s been raving about. The chef has even won awards for some of the restaurant’s specialties. Would you call beforehand to ask for a discount because you want to try their food but can’t afford the price?
If you’ve found a wedding vendor whose business would make your dreams come true prepare to pay the price for the expertise, time, and value they bring to your wedding experience.
Vendor-Client Relationships are Important
There are certain vendors who you spend a great deal of time with on the day-of—and before—your wedding. For example, you’ll likely spend more time with your photographer and videographer than anyone else on your wedding day. It’s important to choose vendors you enjoy speaking with and can form a genuine relationship with before your big day.
The fastest way to make sure you’re starting off right is also the most simple. Kick off your client-vendor relationship on the right foot by showing you respect the price of their invaluable services.
Surely you don’t intend to, but when you ask for a discount or try to negotiate with wedding vendors, the message you often inadvertently send is: “the value of your service or the work you will do for me is less than what you think it is.” Ouch.
Being Upfront About Your Budget is Okay
If you love a particular vendor’s work, you can reach out to them and be upfront about your budget. It’s pretty difficult to offend someone by telling them you admire their work! Keep your message short and sweet by letting them know you’d love to work with them and what your budget is. If they aren’t able to meet your budget, they might be able to recommend another vendor with a similar style.
photo by Phylicia Willis Photography
Instead of Negotiating with Wedding Vendors, Balance Your Budget
Remember earlier when you prioritized the services that are most important to you? Let’s revisit that list. We are confident you’ll find wedding professionals who match your dreams, needs, and budget. It might just take a little rearranging in your budget plan.
For example, if lush, enormous floral arrangements overflowing with the world’s most stunning blooms have been something you dreamed of since you were 12—we want you to have those super stunning floral creations. However, the right florist for the job might fall outside of your original budget.
Now is the time to look through the list and see if there’s another area of the wedding that you can cut back. Maybe those top-notch ceremony chairs (a detail you and most guests won’t notice on the big day) are worth sacrificing to make your floral dreams come true. Don’t be afraid to get creative and check out the advice from our real weddings to see what couples remember most about their wedding day.
We hope this advice has been helpful to you. Navigating wedding etiquette is stressful but it doesn’t have to be—that’s why we’re here. Our dream is that you hire a wedding team who will be a perfect fit for you and your budget. Wondering whether or not you should tip the vendors you hire? Work those tips into your budget ahead of time. We cover all of your questions in this post about tipping your wedding vendors here.
photo by Sergio Alcala Photography