I've learned that hiring vendors can be the biggest budget-breaking task of planning your wedding, and a daunting one at that! So, I've put together a few tips to help you find budget friendly vendors and lessen the stress of trying to do so…
1. Hire a wedding planner.
I know there are budget savvy queens of DIY projects everywhere calling me crazy right now, but sometimes going 100% DIY isn't always the most cost-effective solution. The reason being, is that a good wedding planner, along with their experience, advice, and amazing stress-lessening powers, will come with connections. We've hired a friend of the family who has been doing wedding coordinating on the side for years to help us plan the reception and find our vendors. best. decision. yet. She found us a highly recommended DJ/musician for our reception for $600 (I had been quoted $1,200 from other vendors! yikes!). She also found our reception location and got them to waive the $1,500 room rental fee so that we only had to pay for the catering! She has already saved us more money than we are paying for her services. Trust me, planning a budget savvy wedding does not mean you have to do it all on your own!
2. When it comes to food, go all inclusive.
There are definite advantages that come with having a reception venue that does their own catering. There are a lot of things that restaurants have that you would have to rent (and pay for) if you were to go with an individual caterer and separate location. For example, we are paying for the catering at our venue (which is also a restaurant), but they are also providing the tables, chairs, plates, silverware, glassware, napkins, serving supplies, etc. at no additional charge. They already have all of these things and because we are purchasing their food, we get to use them! It's not only saving us a lot of money in rental fees, but it also simplifies everything and saves a lot of worry because I know that they'll have everything we need.
3. Hire individual vendors instead of companies.
Bigger companies, such as large florist chains, bakeries, or photography studios, can do great work. But, they often have more employees and a much greater cost on their end than an independent vendor would have. Because of this, they tend to be priced significantly higher. An independent vendor can be just as talented in their craft as those bigger businesses. However, they will not only be much cheaper, but will also provide more personalized service than a large company. You will most likely be their only client of the day and they'll be able to take the time to get to know you and find out exactly what you want.
4. Use your referrals.
Many vendors in the wedding industry have built relationships with each other as they've worked together on different events. A lot of vendors will refer you to others they trust and have worked with before. This sometimes means a better rate. For example, photographer might give you a discount for booking them at the recommendation of a planner they work with regularly. Using a referral is a great way to get both a reliable vendor, and a better deal.
5. It never hurts to ask.
Many vendors will work with you to provide the service you need within your budget if you only ask. If you love someone's work or service but their set prices are out of your budget, be honest with them about it and see what they are willing to do. You may not get a huge discount, but they will very likely be happy to customize their work so that it can be provided at the price point you're able to afford.