Hello happy people! Today I want to share with you a few words of wisdom (not that I claim to be that wise!) regarding negotiations.

If you are planning to get married soon and you are searching for suppliers, you may end up feeling slightly disheartened, struggling to find a supplier to your taste and, more importantly, to your budget! When planning for your big day it is very easy to end up splurging all your money on the photographer or the villa of your dreams, but a sensible bride (and groom!) will need to stick to a set budget or else you will need to make huge compromises on other important elements of you wedding.

One way to achieve what you have in mind without breaking the bank is to learn to negotiate.

Admittedly negotiating is a skill that takes time to master. It requires practice and effort, time and energy. But once you’ve learnt how to do it effectively, it is massively rewarding – for your confidence, your bank account and what it will allow you to achieve.

As a planner myself, I’m not a big fan of people who negotiate aggressively and put one supplier against the other. It may work when switching mobile packages but in the wedding industry it can be slightly frustrating. Aggressive negotiation devalues the offering of the supplier and, ultimately, of the category. If that’s your tactic you know that in the end you will find the supplier that is desperate for work and will lower the price. This means that other suppliers, who may be much more professional but who really can’t lower their prices because they are costing their services as honestly as they can, won’t stand a chance. This is a recipe for disaster and it is what sends many people out of business.

The bottom line is, if you’ve approached a specific supplier it is because you are likely to be able to afford their services, so instead of knocking the price down, try to negotiate added value. Good, professional suppliers are usually willing to go the extra mile for their customers. After all, good customer service is exceeding customer’s expectations, so there is nothing wrong in you trying to get a little bit more out of your money.

To help with your negotiations and give you a few ideas, I’ve put together some suggestions on the type of added value you can reasonably ask your suppliers for:


– It is common practice for the photographer to follow the preparation of the bride and not the groom. When I got married, however, I knew I wanted to have both moments in my own wedding album, so I arranged for my husband to be ‘stalked’ by the photographer (can’t tell you how much he enjoyed it… not!) while he was getting ready. If this is something you’d like, you can negotiate with your photographer to have an assistant go to the location where your husband is getting ready. If the assistant is not normally part of the package, ask you photographer if he’s able to ‘throw it in’ for the two or three hours, including travelling, that it requires (that is if they don’t have to travel far for your wedding).

– If your package only includes one printed album/book, ask the photographer to add a couple of smaller albums for the families, perhaps with 20-30 pictures.


– Not all DJs will stay the whole night, and in some cases, particularly if you get married in the morning and you have a whole day ahead, the price they quote may only cover a specific amount of hours. If you know that your reception may last more than the hours agreed with the DJ, ask him if he would be willing to add an additional couple of hours in case your guests are keen to party on.

Bridal shop:
– Quite a lot of bridal shops offer alteration included in the price of the gown. If your shop doesn’t, feel free to ask for it, particularly if you’re going to spend a lot of money for your gown. Personally I’d lost 3 kg in the space of two weeks and when I came back to pick up my dress I was practically swimming in it! If they agree to it, you will have peace of mind knowing that you won’t need to fork out any more money than you’ve already paid.
– Another idea is to ask them if they would give you an accessory, such as the veil or a hair piece or a silk cushion for our rings.
Wedding Venue:
Now, this needs a small preamble – I discovered to my horror when I went to my first wedding in the UK that many venues offering catering make the bride and groom pay separately for drinks. Even more shocking was to find out that guests often have to buy their own drinks at the bar. Initially I thought that it was cheap for the couple not
to pay for drinks, but the cost of weddings is raising and thirsty guests can really affect your budget. So here’s what you can do:
– Ask the venue coordinator to include one or two rounds of drinks at the bar for each guest. If this isn’t an option, then find out if they would be willing to offer free drinks based on a small selection (i.e. two or free types of beer, a white and a red wine and soft drinks). This means that strong alcoholics may not be available unless a guest chooses to pay for it; everything else, however, will be free.
– Sometimes wedding venues will only give you availability to a restricted area. Find out if there are other rooms available, and if yes, ask them if they wouldn’t mind you using that section for free. If you were dreading having children running around and you were thinking of hiring a children entertainer, the extra room might be a suitable space for the children to be entertained for a while.
– If you get married in winter, some venues will charge you an additional cost for heating fuel (it happened to me and I wish I knew how to handle this before it happened!). Try and ask if they can include this in the price so that you will avoid any nasty surprises…
One very last word of advise is to think about hiring a planner. A professional wedding planner will negotiate on your behalf and pass on any discounts s/he’s achieve directly to you. Granted, it does cost money to hire a planner, but what you will save through their negotiations can go against the cost of hiring one and will give you the added benefit of having an event designed by a professional. Any issue with the suppliers will be dealt directly by the planner thus relieving you from a lot of stress. Indeed, it is acceptable to ask a planner for added value too. As a planner myself I know that many colleagues prefer this approach to offering discounts, particularly since the majority of planners already price their services at reasonable price.
There are many more negotiation tips that I’m sure anyone who has got married or works in the industry will be able to offer. If you do, please leave a comment below.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via the Contact page and I’ll endeavour to reply as soon as possible.
x Betta
Groom’s image via http://ruffledblog.com, photography by One and Only Paris Photography // Hair piece for sale on Hair Comes the Bride // Winter wedding venue via Style Me Pretty, photography by thepopes.com//