Negotiating Wedding Vendor Contracts: 3 Smart Tips

Negotiating Wedding Vendor Contracts: 3 Smart Tips

Weddings come with many expenses, and, sometimes, you must agree to lower those fees. We’ve got various vital tips to help you negotiate with wedding vendors to get the services you want at the right price. Read on to find out how to discuss expenses with your caterers for the best outcome.

Negotiating Wedding Vendor Contracts: 3 Smart Tips

Understand the Appropriate Prices

First, set a budget and allocate your spending so you know the price you want to pay for each vendor you hire. An initial breakdown of prices helps narrow your scope as you search for photographers, food caterers, makeup artists, and the rest of your team.

Now that you have a budget in mind, you can compare local vendors’ prices; remember to note how the quality compares to the price. Hiring caterers with cheap prices isn’t worth it if the ratings are just as low.

Jot down a list of the options you believe are the most promising as well as their prices, then do a bit of searching to see what’s typical for your area. For example, if you plan to get married in Chicago and want to search for photographers, try searching “prices for wedding photographers in Chicago.” This will give you a breakdown of prices in your area so you can best determine if a company’s prices appear too high.

Request Itemized Quotes

Another way of easily comparing prices is by asking the most promising vendors to send you an itemized quote based on the details of your wedding. You’ll likely need to tell them the following about your wedding and reception:

  • Date and time of day
  • Number of expected guests
  • Services you want

All this information impacts price because certain times of year are more competitive and cost more money. Likewise, some vendors, such as waitstaff and food caterers, may charge more if you have more guests.

An itemized quote will give you a complete breakdown of prices so you understand all costs going into hiring this vendor. This makes it easier to compare fees, plus see what you may be able to negotiate to lower the price.

Wedding Timeline Matters

The time of year and day you plan to get married impacts the typical prices for your wedding. If you plan to get married in mid-September, on a Saturday, at 5 p.m., your fees will be higher than a couple getting married in mid-January on a Friday at the same time. This is because, during wedding season, more couples compete for the same vendors, which drives up the price. Expecting the fees of an off-season wedding during the prime bridal season is sadly unrealistic.

Negotiating Wedding Vendor Contracts: 3 Smart Tips

Find Out What Packages They Offer

Another tip for negotiating wedding vendor contracts is asking about their packages, as some vendors may offer various packages to appeal to a wider range of people. So your venue may have a package that includes food caterers and entertainment. Compare this price to the cost of hiring all three categories separately.

After adding up the expenses, you’ll have a fair comparison of which option is best. If the venue package comes out on top minus the food price, talk with the manager and see if you can come to an agreement. When it comes to main wedding courses, there are three main options: chicken, steak, and fish. If you need to negotiate prices, see if you can make chicken the only meat option, as it’s the most affordable.

Be Open

When you start talking to a vendor, remain transparent about what you can afford and how much money you’ll spend on their services. They may be able to customize their service to meet your needs by leaving out add-ons that you can’t afford.

Keep in mind that this isn’t always possible, as some caterers have set packages and price ranges. This is why having a list of potential vendors is key since you can turn to the next one on the list if your first choice doesn’t work out.

Negotiating Wedding Vendor Contracts: 3 Smart Tips

Ask the Right Way

There is an appropriate and inappropriate way of asking vendors to negotiate prices. Don’t start the conversation by telling the vendor their prices are too high, even if your research on typical fees proves this. These individuals are running a business, and sometimes, higher costs reflect a better outcome.

So how do you ask? First, have a conversation with the vendor and tell them you’d love to hire them, but their prices seem steep. Point out how much you admire their work based on reviews or their online portfolio. Flattery gets things off to the right start and shows the caterers that you’re not trying to be cheap but instead budget savvy.

Meet in the Middle

As you talk with the vendor, see if the two of you can agree to a price somewhere in the middle. This way, you don’t feel like you have the stress of blowing your budget, and the workers you hire receive the payment they deserve. Although you are hiring these workers, it’s still a two-way partnership, and if you want lower prices, you also have to make sacrifices.

Bonus Ways To Save Money

In addition to negotiating prices, there are several other ways to save money without making too many scarifies to your day. Some of the best ways to save money include:

  • Off-season weddings
  • Having a variety of vendors
  • Hiring the right people

Below, we’ve further detailed each of these items to make saving easier for you so you can spend your money on the right areas for the perfect wedding.

Get Married in Off-Season

Most vendors consider off-season weddings to be between December and March—minus the holiday season at the end of the year—and this is often cheaper. Since there’s less business, it’s easier to ask about discounts and secure your number-one choice. You can also save money by getting married on a weekday since most weddings are Saturday evenings.

Evaluate a Variety of Vendors

Aim to interview several vendors of each category so you know exactly what you want. Your number one choice isn’t always the best option, especially if they refuse to negotiate on prices. And when vendors believe your heart isn’t set on them, it’s easier to get competitive prices.

Know Who To Hire

Every vendor comes at a different price, and when it comes to the day-of coordinators vs. wedding planners, the fees are a crucial difference. Your day-of coordinator will handle the timeline and check in with your vendors, while the wedding planner helps with the creative aspects and hiring vendors. Day-of coordinators typically cost less, but your wedding planner can help establish a budget. Plus, event planners usually have a network of partners, so they can help you find vendors at rates you can afford.

A Final Note

Negotiating prices is important because it gets you the details you want at prices that work for you. The best way to come to an agreement is by informing yourself of what costs you should pay. Then, work with your vendor to come to a compromise so you can have your dream day.

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Everyday Bride

Freelance Writer
August 31, 2022

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