Wedding Negotiation: Tips for Success

Wedding negotiation is one area of wedding planning that can be intimidating for many couples. Avoiding a contentious negotiation process and succeeding in a win-win, fair price for all, can be done with careful preparation and empathy for the vendor that you are negotiating with.

Tips for Successful Wedding Negotiation

Tips for successful wedding negotiation

Do your research.

Look for vendors that list their prices; find out what your friend paid for her DJ last summer; email a few caterers and see if they can send a few sample menus. Get to know reasonable pricing for your area. That way, you won’t approach vendors with unrealistic counteroffers, which lower your credibility as a negotiator.

Look for vendors that list their prices; find out what your friend paid for her DJ last summer; email a few caterers and see if they can send a few sample menus. Get to know reasonable pricing for your area. That way, you won’t approach vendors with unrealistic counteroffers, which lower your credibility as a negotiator.

Understand who is at the other end of the table.

Putting yourself in the vendor’s shoes is so important. Think carefully and consider that their costs are. For example, a caterer needs to not only buy food, but hire lots of staff to prep and serve the food. When you start adding that all up, it makes sense that things cost what they do. So, perhaps choose a style of service that requires less staffing, and work on a menu with a lower-cost (but still delicious) protein.

Consider other options.

Some venues and vendors- such as the stunning estate pictured below, Malibu Rocky Oaks – are priced at a premium on a peak Saturday night.  Many couples are considering weeknight wedding dates to receive concessions from vendors and venues.

Wedding negotiation

Photo By Dave Richards Photography

Be honest.

Couples who charge into the wedding negotiation process like a bull in a china shop with a contentious haggling style, tend to put everyone on the offensive. (Sometimes it even can cause the vendor to walk away from the job.) But offering a solid reason – “our parents can’t contribute and we’re paying for this ourselves” or “we’ve found other vendors in the area who are offering more competitive prices for the same services” – will open the door to brokering a fair compromise.

Talking about price can be uncomfortable at first, but if your requests come from an authentic, sincere place, you'll find wedding negotiation is easier than you thought.  Have you found success negotiating with your wedding vendors, and if so, how? Share your tips here – and happy planning!

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