When it comes to vendors, your priorities and the talents available to you partially determine whether you will actually save by doing it yourself (in both dollars and sanity). After you’ve decided which you will use, there are several techniques to help you get the most “bang for your buck” while working with these professionals.
- Be a joy to work with. No one likes Bridezilla. Yes, it’s “your wedding and you should have it your way,” but treating vendors like underlings won’t cut it if you want any kind of deal. In fact, you may end up paying more in PITA (pain in the a**) surcharges. Instead, be truly interested in working together–given your preferences, budget, and priorities–to find the best solution for both of you.
- Just ask for what you want. While it is important to be nice, these are also business–not social–transactions. Rather than talk around the topic, get right to the point and explain what you want (or don’t want). If there’s something they are offering you don’t care about, ask them to take it out for a price reduction. If there is something relatively small you’d really like to add but don’t want to or can’t pay for, ask for it straight out. You may get it.
- Trade out items or services. In the spirit of figuring out your best solution, when there are features of a package you don’t really want, you can also see if they will do “x” instead of “y” for the same price.
- Make it easy. When asking for freebies, make it items easy for them to provide but valuable to you. Extra flowers when the florist is likely to have leftovers; the venue providing some of the serving supplies or decorations for free when they already have them; or the photographer throwing in a couple more high resolution images when you are buying others, for example.
- Put together a “vendor registry.” After you’ve decided which vendors to hire and put down your deposits, see if they are open to receiving partial payments from your guests as gifts. Then put each vendor on your list of registries. Also, so you know who gave what, make sure the vendors will be giving purchasers a gift certificate or other card guests can give you at the reception. With the extra funds you may be able to order extras–a larger photo package or an extra food station, for example. A word of caution regarding extras: timing may play a role in the vendors’ ability to provide them. Make sure to discuss ahead of time what happens if you receive enough money for an extra item or service.
- Consider barter. If you have a talent or skill, or make products others find valuable, see if any of your vendors would be interested in trading value-for-value.
- Sign up with your vendors. You can often enter giveaways and find specials online. Follow the companies you are interested in through the blog on their websites, Pinterest, newsletters via their websites, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, and/or Tumblr and you could find extra savings.