Today's topic can be a bit of a touchy one because we are going to discuss money. Now, some of your may be excellent bargainers, but others may try it and feel uncomfortable and awkward about it. When you're wedding planning on a budget, though, it's sometimes necessary. Here are my tips on how to tactfully ask for a discount so you aren't offending anyone. Now, of course, there may be some vendors that get offended, and some that may even be offended that I'm making this video, but I don't live in a bubble where I pretend no one ever has or ever will ask me for a discount. I did name my business Thrifty Events after all ;) I live in the real world where I know the importance of sticking to a budget, so I'm sharing my tips so you can do this really well and aren't left guessing how to go about asking for a discount.
1. Do your research.
When you aren't finding the right vendor within your budget, there are a few things you can do to help. First, try to find vendors that are over your price point by just a few hundred dollars. The reasoning here is that it's much easier to ask for a small discount than ask someone to completely slash their prices to meet your budget. Next, look for vendors that offer off-peak rates, or have recently offered some kind of special. Sometimes you can find this information on their websites, but often times you'll have better luck looking at their social media feed. Most vendors don't delete old posts, so if they had been offering a discount, you may be able to still find it. Then, when you reach out, you can mention that previous discount and see if they'll still honor it.
2. Be willing to compromise.
Find out if there is something in their package that you might be able to cut. If they are bringing down their price, then it's only fair that you're willing to budge on what services or products are offered. To give you an example, I've had clients come to me in the past asking for a discount on my day-of coordination services. There are certain things that I know I can be flexible on to help meet budgets. Now, it's not something I usually recommend doing because I've designed my packages to offer couples everything they'll need on their wedding day, however, it's great when the client knows exactly what they are looking for versus what they are able to handle on their own.
3. Take advantage of wedding show discounts and seasonal specials.
Often times at wedding shows, vendors will offer discounts and giveaways because they are trying to book as many clients from that show as they can. This is an easy one. Simply attend the show and sign up for any giveaways at their table. Usually the discount will automatically be applied, so you don't even need to ask!
4. Know your budget.
It's never appropriate to ask a vendor how low they will go on their package pricing. If someone sends me an email saying my day-of coordination package is out of their budget and asks how low I can go on the price, I'm likely not going to entertain that request. They are essentially asking me to cut out all of my profit, expenses, or chance of paying myself, and that's not fair. Instead, know your budget, be upfront about it, and ask the vendor if they are willing to meet your spending limit. If someone emailed me and said, "We only budgeted $1300 for day-of coordination, is there any way we can chat and are you able to meet my budget?" I'd be much more open to having a conversation with them and hopefully finding some kind of compromise.
5. Explain any special circumstances that may sway your vendors.
Let's be real. We're all human. And all wedding vendors want to ensure that every couple has an amazing wedding day. Sometimes really unfortunate events happen during the wedding planning process that are going to be relateable to wedding vendors because they understand more than anyone that these things happen. I recently had a couple come to me that had originally booked a wedding venue out on the peninsula, and then went to book hotel rooms for their guests at the resort, but the hotel didn't have any rooms left available. This was a huge problem since all of their guests would be travelling a significant distance to get to their wedding location. They ended up having to cancel their booking and selecting a new venue in Renton, just south of Seattle, at a hotel where their guests could still get rooms. They even had to change their wedding date in the process. The previous venue was offering a coordinator as part of their package for a lower rate, but when the bride met with me, I could tell she had done her research. We are located really close to Renton, so there was no travel for me, and their wedding was now on a Friday, so even though it's still peak season, it's an off-peak date, and she came to the meeting knowing everything that was offered in my day-of coordination package. She had really clear ideas of what she didn't need help with and what she did. Now, I wasn't able to meet her original spending limit exactly, but we were able to compromise and find the perfect middle ground.
When you do your homework and come to a meeting prepared, you can confidently ask a vendor to meet your budget without offending anyone in the process.