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My husband gets mortified, like take our son and run out the front door of the store, when I begin to negotiate. But I operate on the idea that the only thing in life that’s not negotiable are death and taxes – and who knows, with medicine and Madoff even those seem to have had their day. Too soon?? For real though, you do not get what you do not ask for. There is an art though, there is timing, and what you’re actually asking for, and finesse, there is always finesse!
So when you’re planning your wedding and falling in love with your venue, and your music, and your flowers, and all the other great loves you will have in the process, you’re also creating a disassociation with your paycheck. In fact, you’d probably like to just cut out the middle man and sign that bad boy directly over to your vendors so you don’t even have pretend it was yours for a little while. But wait! There’s room to make some changes in the process that help, I promise. Because nothing feels better than when your fiancé comes home and you can play some defacto form of Price is Right by getting him to guess what you SHOULD have paid, but wait, what did you REALLY pay?! *brushes shoulder off in celebratory modesty* “Just another day at the Office of Awesome, nothing to see here”.
The secret is…negotiate UP FRONT. That means, when you see the 18th venue of the day that you’re dragging your 9-hours-ago-excited-for-you-now-eating-purse-lint-because-you-didn’t-build-in-time-for-lunch bestie and your mom to, and you fall in love – you must summon your calorie deprived brain power and have the hard talk. They will give you a price, and you will need to discuss if that’s ok right there, because the minute you take your shiny folder with it’s beautiful pictures that surely will be replaced by your awesome wedding for next year’s brides to be enticed by, you’re agreeing, in principle to accept the pricing they just gave you. And this goes for all vendors, in my experience.
This means with your flowers – discuss using seasonal flowers to keep cost down, discuss repurposing aisle flowers to centerpieces, discuss renting votive holder and vases and all that other jazz, RIGHT NOW. And if it doesn’t work out, they weren’t the right vendor for you and that is OK!
I get it, budget conversations are hard and uncomfortable, but they don’t always have to be, and especially if you time them right so no one is surprised on the flip side. People want to make your day special, and believe it or not, they aren’t trying to make you pay more than you can. But being open and honest during initial conversations help get you all where you need to be. Almost every vendor out there can work with you on pricing or add ons or substitutions. So when you go into these things, have your priorities and budget in mind. Maybe your caterer includes a sushi bar but you’d rather a sundae bar, or your photographer includes 10 hours of shooting when what you’re really into is another family album for grandma; whatever the case is, be willing to share, be willing to negotiate, and be willing to do it now. Go forth, finesse, and call me because I’ll totally give you the OOOOHHH and AHHH you deserve for your smart, money saving wins!

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