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How to Tactfully Negotiate With Wedding Vendors

How to Tactfully Negotiate With Wedding Vendors

By Matt Diehl • February 18, 2020

So you’ve set a date and narrowed down your guest list (sort of). The next step is to start pricing out wedding vendors.

But before you start — did you know most wedding costs aren’t set in stone? Some businesses might be willing to negotiate, and you could get a better price or package with the right approach.

Here are some tips on how to negotiate with wedding vendors:

Before negotiating with vendors

  1. Create your wedding budget
    When planning a wedding, the first and most important step is to create a wedding budget. And not just the total amount you can spend — how much you plan to spend on each individual vendor (flowers, DJ, photographer, etc.). This itemized list can help you divide your money appropriately and also rank what matters the most.

  2. Do your homework
    Word-of-mouth recommendations are a great way to start building a list of potential wedding vendors. Ask your family, friends, coworkers or staff at your venue. Another helpful idea is to search online for vendors in your area. Here are a few websites that let you search by zip code and read reviews, explore prices and more:

    The Knot
    Here Comes the Guide

  3. Schedule in-person meetings
    Now that your wedding budget and potential vendor list are set, start scheduling in-person meetings. A phone conversation or webchat could work, but speaking face-to-face can help you make a better connection. Be punctual, bring all of your notes and remember — you’re the one hiring.

During negotiations with vendors

  1. Get your ask on the table quickly
    Soon after the meeting begins, let the wedding vendor know you’re interested in negotiating. Explain why you’re seeking a different price or package and provide research to back up the request. This will show you’re serious and will drive the conversation toward your end goal.

  2. Listen and counteroffer
    When negotiating, listening can be just as important as talking. Give the wedding vendor a chance to take in your offer and respond. If they accept — great! If not, try one of these counteroffers:

    • Ask for an extra service — Some vendors or venues have a base price to cover, so they can’t reduce their pricing. Instead, see if they could throw in a free round of hors d'oeuvres or an extra hour of music at low to no cost.

    • Mix and match services – If the photography package you like doesn’t include a wedding video, ask to swap something for it. Wedding vendors offer packages to make it easier to sell services in a bundle and might work with you to create a custom package.
  3. Put the quote in writing If you come to an agreement, write down the details. Make sure you use simple language so there are no questions if you end up drafting a contract. You can also ask the wedding vendor to initial the quote as proof you both agreed on the terms.

After negotiating with vendors

  1. Don't rush your decision
    Unless you’re on a tight schedule, take some time before making a decision. There are a lot of moving parts to planning a wedding, and you can work on other tasks and wedding expenses for a day or two. Once you make up your mind, there’s only one thing left to do.

  2. Seal the deal
    Call or stop by your vendor’s business and have them draft up a contract. In addition to all of the negotiations you agreed on, here is some basic, but very important, information to double-check:1

    • Date of the wedding
    • Dates and times of all services (including arrival time)
    • Contact information and names of all parties in the agreement
    • The deposit due date and full payment schedule
    • Contingency plans and substitutions
    • Detailed description of services

Remember: Read the entire contract and make sure you understand everything before signing!

Use the power of negotiation

Wedding expenses can add up fast. But by using these negotiation tips and a confident approach, you could get exactly what you want at a lower price. If you’re on the fence about negotiating, remember this: You’ll never know if you don’t try!

1. Tandy, Heidi and Jacobson, Ivy. “A Complete Guide to Vendor Contracts.” (accessed January 23, 2020).

The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. The companies and individuals (other than OneMain Financial’s sponsored partners) referred to in this message are not sponsors of, do not endorse, and are not otherwise affiliated with OneMain Financial.