Imagine, you’re a couple planning your wedding, and you’re looking for the perfect wedding professionals that match your style, have great experience and referrals, and are within your budget.
Let’s say you’ve come across a professional that fits the first two criteria and you absolutely LOVE their work. You’re also certain that they can meet your every need and you think they are just the coolest person(s) ever!
Aaaand then they share their fees for their services…and, unfortunately, they are out of your budget. What do you do?
Many Brides and Grooms I speak with will take an “oh well” attitude and move on. They keep searching, but that one perfect, wedding pro keeps popping into their heads. As they shop, they compare all others to that one awesome individual and it becomes increasingly apparent that no on else will do.
So, here’s a thought.
Instead of giving up on your perfect choice and, perhaps, settling on second best, you do have a couple of options! Which option you choose will depend on just how far that vendor is out of your budget.
My first bit of advice is to contact them and explain what it is, specifically, that you love about their service, but don’t be afraid to let them know that you just don’t have quite that much to spend.
If your budget and their pricing are hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars apart, ask for a referral! As a wedding professional, myself, owner of Ron Ruth Wedding Entertainment in Kansas City, MO, I’d always prefer to find a way to work with couples that really want to work with me. But, I can also point you in the direction of someone that has a similar style that you might like just as much, will meet your needs, but is in your price range. And, you can still be confident that they will perform in a professional manner and do a great job.
Another possibility is that the vendor may offer associate services. They may have an assistant or associate that has been trained by them, works in a similar style, but is more affordable.
I have an associate Entertainment Director (her name is Carrie…she’s super awesome…but more about her another day) that has worked many, many wedding receptions with me. Most importantly, I am completely confident in her ability to plan, direct, entertain and exceed expectations at wedding celebrations. There are times that she’s a much better fit for a couple on a tight budget.
You may also find some wedding professionals, like me, that will try to work with your budget! If there is only a small discrepancy between what you have to spend and the fee, let them know what part of their services you love, that you really want to hire them and ask if there’s any room for negotiation. My mama taught me that it never hurts to ask! They may be willing to work with you a bit. But, be prepared to bend your budget a bit for them, too.
Personally, I want nothing more than to assist couples that truly appreciate my work.
Let’s say, regardless of the company, the DJ entertainment package you want is $500 more than what you have budgeted. Depending on the popularity of the date of your wedding, you should not be afraid to ask if there may be a reasonable, “middle ground” that is mutually agreeable. They bend, you bend and you both win. Keep in mind, however, that it is not fair (or nice) to ask any wedding professional to negotiate if you are not willing to make concessions, as well.
Another possibility is to consider the importance of each item you want to include in your wedding reception and the impact (and expense) that those amenities will have on creating lasting memories. In other words, in what areas might you scale back a bit that most of your guests will not really notice, let alone remember?
As an example, I am a DJ that is also a certified, Wedding Entertainment Director. I offer, literally, dozens of creative options. Some can be quite time consuming to prepare for in order to provide a quality performance. How much you may invest in my services depends greatly on all of the options you may want to include in your wedding celebration and the amount of time that must be dedicated to helping you realize your dream. Perhaps you can do without 1 or 2 to make my services more affordable to you.
Important Note: You’ll have a better shot with negotiating if your wedding is during the off season (November – March) or on a day other than Saturday.
One word of caution, Only enter into negotiations if you really, truly LOVE the vendor’s work and you REALLY…REALLY want to hire them for your wedding. If they simply have no room to negotiate, don’t take it personally. Like you, wedding professionals have budgets they must meet, expenses they must pay and depend on their salaries for their livelihood.
If all else fails, just go back to “Plan A” and ask for that referral! Either way, you’ll benefit.
The original inspiration for this post came from a blog article written by Kristen Kaplan, a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants and owner of Simply Stunning Events in Nashville, TN. I appreciate her permission to borrow from the essence of her article, “Vendor Pricing & Negotiation,” to create this post.