Weddings are expensive, amirite?
Most wedding vendors post package prices on their web sites – and if not, a photographer or caterer or florist will usually have a brochure listing a sort of menu of various packages and options. And it’s easy to balk at those rates when you’re newly-engaged. I’ve been asked a few times by brides-to-be whether it’s okay to haggle with wedding vendors, i.e., say something like “Are you willing to give me Package B for $1500 instead of $2000? How about $1800?” My answer? I don’t think so. As much as I like to talk about the “wedding tax” and how overpriced so many wedding accessories are, I also like to think that most wedding vendors are good, honest people and thus price their services accordingly.
A wedding vendor is not a weekend flea market hobbyist or a homeowner hosting a garage sale, and the payment they receive for the services they provide to brides and grooms are often their sole source of income. Maybe it’s just that I’m a freelancer, but the idea of treating a specialty service like a secondhand stairmaster seems a little weird to me. So no, I would not recommend haggling with wedding vendors.
What you can do is negotiate based on your needs. Let’s say the aforementioned Package B is for wedding flowers and you think $2000 seems a little steep BUT you love the florist’s work. AND you don’t actually need or even really want every last little thing in Package B. There’s nothing at all wrong with approaching the wedding florist you’ve fallen in love with and telling her that Package B makes the most sense for you, but you only need five centerpieces, not eight, and you’re having bridesmen not bridesmaids so you won’t need any bridesmaids’ bouquets. I don’t think I’ve ever personally encountered a wedding vendor who was unwilling to make adjustments to prices when making adjustments to packages.
In other words, negotiating with wedding vendors is usually as easy as asking to order “off the menu” and there’s nothing wrong with simply inquiring as to whether a vendor is willing to lower their package prices when you’re not asking for everything in that particular package. (And you should never feel obligated to take everything in a package when you don’t want it!) That way, you and your wedding vendors can work together to create something that’s exactly what you need at a price that you can both live with.
What do you think of negotiating with wedding vendors? How about haggling – would you do it?