By Susan Southerland
You have the ring and you've set the date, but now the rubber is meeting the road and you're running around doing tastings, viewing venues and looking at photography and video samples, figuring out who you want hire for your big day. There's a huge difference between talking to someone about their products and services and actually signing on the dotted line on a contract that puts money on the line. Every bride wants to feel as if she is getting a good deal on the products and services that she needs for her wedding day. After all, weddings are expensive!
Yet many brides fall into some classic negotiating mistakes when contract time comes. Most first-time brides aren't experienced negotiators and repeat brides who have done this before can go over the top trying to demonstrate knowledge and aggressiveness in negotiating.
The good news? Most wedding vendors have some things that they are willing to offer deals on, especially if the bride knows how to properly negotiate. Here are some thoughts on what not to do when negotiating for your wedding.
• Don't be unreasonable: A vendor who charges $2,000.00 for something is not going to give it to you for $1,000.00, so don't insult him by asking.
• Don't make threats. Saying you're going to go with another vendor if your demands aren't met won't result in a deal.
• Don't lie. The wedding industry is very small. Chances are the vendors you are interviewing know each other. You won't get away with saying, "Well, so and so is charging me $1,000.00 less," if it isn't true. Vendors talk.
• Don't make comparisons between vendors who don't give the same type of product or service. You wouldn't expect to pay for a Volkswagen and get a Mercedes -- the same is true for wedding vendors. Sometimes you can expect to pay more because of name and reputation, but more often you will pay more for experience and expertise.
• Don't beat around the bush with your budget. When you make your budget a secret, a vendor may propose something to you that is way out of your price range. This can be aggravating to you and a waste of time for her. A good wedding vendor will give you suggestions on how you can use her services while staying within your budget, or she will simply tell you that the two of you aren't a good match. She might even make helpful suggestions on another vendor who might be better for you.
• Don't just ask for discounts. Vendors who don't give money off may have some items that he can give you to beef up the package for which you are paying full price. Some examples are overtime, dessert, additional bar time, extra prints, a toss bouquet and thank-you notes.
When it comes to negotiating, you need to remember the old adage; "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Most wedding vendors will go out of their way to work with a sweet, well-mannered bride. Transforming into "Bridezilla" will more than likely get you an extra nuisance fee, or an invitation to hire someone else.
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