When it comes to planning your wedding, one of the first things you need to do is establish your budget. Some do this by crunching numbers, visiting wedding websites like WeddingWire or TheKnot, or just by picking a number out of thin air that sounds good. Either way, you’ve come up with a number and now it’s time to get the most out of it.

photo by the best: swoon over it

As you start your search for vendors (photographers, videographers, wedding coordinators, DJs, florists, venues, etc.) that you think you may want on your “team” you will be looking at several different things: style, price, personality, price, location, reviews, price and value. Yep, that’s not a mistake. Unfortunately, as you journey along on your vendor hunt, PRICE will end up being one of the BIGGEST factors in making your decision. So, how do you make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck? Negotiate. Right??? Uhm…. well…..

Here are my two points of view:

POV #1: Negotiating can offend your vendor.

By asking a vendor to lower their prices, you are essentially saying that you think they are only worth that much – which may or may be true. In most cases (hopefully), this is the vendor’s passion. It is their livelihood. It’s how they support their families and it’s a big part of what they look forward to doing each day. If you tell them that you only want to pay them $X as opposed to the $Y that they quoted you, it has the possibility to make them feel like you are undervaluing their services/products.

POV #2: Give them a chance.

On the other hand, I think a vendor should be given a chance when it comes to competing for your business. Let’s use a DJ service, for example. Professional DJ #1 is offering their services for $1400 and you REALLY LOVE them. Professional DJ #2 is offering their services for $1000 and they’re OK. The budget is allowing for $1100 which makes Professional DJ #2 the BEST choice for your budget. But is it the best choice for your wedding day? Maybe – maybe not. In this case, I would suggest having a conversation with Professional DJ #1 and explaining your situation. Let them know a) why you want their services, b) if they’d be willing to work with you, and c) that you respect their decision either way.* Depending on a million different factors, Professional DJ #1 will choose to lower their rates or stick to their original quote. Sometimes they will ask for a review or testimonial or some other type of non-financial compromise in return. Either way, it is up to you and Professional DJ #1 to come up with a FAIR arrangement. Maybe, you’ll end up with a better DJ for a better value.

I say this because all too often I hear fellow vendors (along with myself) say their potential clients ended up going with a cheaper company just for the fact that they were cheaper. Sometimes, we are not given the opportunity to even try and compete. Is that fair?

*Note: When negotiating in ANY situation in life, RESPECT is the most important factor. Try to understand both sides of the situation and never ask for more than what’s fair. Insulting remarks will NEVER get you the cheaper deal – or at least it shouldn’t.

What are your thoughts? Are you the negotiating type? Are you a vendor that experiences this on occasion? How would you like a potential client to handle it? Or, as a bride, do you feel you shouldn’t have to negotiate?