Welcome guest blogger and the soon-to-be-married – Sarah Skinner. Sarah was kind enough to share with us how she is saving thousands on her dream wedding…
We’ve all heard it before…. “Try to negotiate with your vendors,” but how many of us actually do it? I’m getting married on October 2nd, in a small town in Central Wisconsin, and am planning an “Old Hollywood” themed wedding that includes a red carpet, search lights (the kind that shoot half a mile in the air and rotate), a paparazzi backdrop with our wedding monogram, and framed replicas of our favorite romantic movies (with my fiancé and I replacing the actors) from each decade beginning in the 1930’s, when my father was born. Since I’m getting married in such a remote area in Wisconsin, the planning process has been a logistical nightmare. Did I mention that I also live in Michigan? …. It just adds even more of a challenge. About 90% of our vendors are traveling 3-5 hours from Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis to help make our wedding as perfect as it can be. The reason I’m telling you all of this is to give you an idea of what my vendors must be going through. Not only do I want a Hollywood themed wedding (which is a little out of the box), I also want them to drive 3 to 5 hours to provide their services. Let’s just say, I’m probably not their ideal bride, but yet I was able to negotiate with each of them.
You may be thinking that my vendors are young, inexperienced, and desperate for business. This is far from the truth. They are some of the most sought after vendors that the Midwest has to offer, yet they are also willing to negotiate and I will tell you how I did it. I asked. I let them know how much I love their work and asked if they could do it for X amount of money. For example, my photographer wanted $4500 plus $1,000 for travel. I definitely don’t have that kind of money in my budget but I loved his work. I told him the truth, “I love your work and your photography speaks to me but I simply can’t afford $5,500, can you HELP (HELP–keyword) me for any less? Everyone loves to help people… especially in the wedding business (or they wouldn’t be doing it). My photographer responded with “I don’t know how much lower I can go…. what about $4,000 plus travel”? I said, “I think $4,000 is great but I still can’t afford $1,000 for travel.” He let me know that he would have to think about what he could do and would get back to me. He was the only photographer that truly spoke to me and his photography was exactly what I was looking for – he just HAD to be my photographer, and I let him know that. I emailed him and told him how much I appreciated him even considering helping my fiancé and me. I knew he was a very busy and highly sought after photographer but I thought, what’s the worst he can say – no? Often times, being honest and letting your vendor know what you really can and cannot afford will pay off for you…literally. He called me the next day and left a message on my voicemail saying, “let’s do this, just pay for my gas!” So far he has provided me with amazing service and we’ve already had our e-session… I love love love the pics! I have no doubt that he will be just as amazing on our wedding day! Just by reaching out and being honest I was able to save almost $1,500 with my photographer, alone. Honesty and flattery really will get you everywhere!
Not only was I able to negotiate with my photographer, I was also able to get better rates for my videographer, florist, baker, limo, band, invitations, linens, lighting, bridal party gifts, reception location and wedding planner…. all for my wedding in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. Without having the courage just to ask, it would be impossible for me to be having my dream wedding. Now get out there and start negotiating!
- Sarah Skinner currently resides in Kalamazoo, MI and is planning an October 2nd wedding in her hometown, which is located in central Wisconsin