I have found so far in the wedding process that the most important tool to have to keep costs down is the confidence to tell vendors your budget and to ask for price reductions to meet that budget.
My photographer was great at lowering her $3,000 wedding package price to closer to my $2,500 budget. But I had to ask. Sometimes cost lowering happens serendipitously. Our caterer, who will be providing the mashed potato bar, mac and cheese and dessert bar items for our winter wedding, swooped in with a lower cupcake price. It was as though he was reading my mind. I initially thought that $3 a cupcake was pretty high. When we got our final estimate, he took it upon himself to lower that cost because of all of the business we were providing. I was thrilled.
I wish I could say that all vendors are as great about working with a bride's budget. I came across one vendor who simply left a bad taste in my mouth.
We were looking for a DJ for the wedding and we met one through a bridal show we attended. We traveled an hour to hear them live and I called to follow up the next week. When I began telling the DJ that we were having a smaller wedding of about 100 people and we're looking to work on a pretty tight budget, he said he would check his calendar and call me back. The tone of his voice changed dramatically as I told him about being on a budget and I was not surprised when I never heard from him again.
But, why would I want to hire a vendor who doesn't want to work with me?
I asked for a DJ recommendation from our day-of wedding coordinator. She gave me the name of her favorite DJ who is also local. I called him, booked him and the price was far less than what the other rude DJ would have cost — about $500 less.
Working with customers and their budget is good business. Being an off-season bride getting married in December also means vendors can be slower business-wise and we can take advantage of lower pricing. But, we as brides do need to appreciate the hard jobs our vendors have and not try to work the prices too low or have unrealistic expectations of what services like catering and photography really cost.
Did you come across any vendors who snarked at your budget or didn't want to do business with you? How is your vendor search going?