How to Negotiate with Vendors Your Wedding — and Save

We know asking for what you want can be tough. But when it comes to sticking to your wedding budget, it’s a must. Negotiating with wedding vendors is a smart way to save money, and after all, you’ll never know until you try

Tips for Negotiating

Do Your Research

Start by gathering multiple quotes to understand market rates better. Sharing other vendors’ quotes during negotiation can encourage competitive pricing.
Pro Tip: Reach out to friends or acquaintances for recommendations and insights on similar services.

Communicate Your Budget

Transparency about your budget from the start reduces back-and-forth. This sets clear expectations and allows for constructive discussions. Vendors might identify areas where costs can be adjusted without sacrificing quality.

Negotiate with Newer Vendors

Newer vendors often seek to build portfolios and gain positive reviews. Being part of this growth can lead to more flexible pricing. In your initial outreach, let the vendor know you’d be willing to let them use photos of their work in their portfolio and that you’ll leave them a positive review after your big day 

Ask for Itemized Quotes

Having a breakdown of costs enables you to identify areas for adjustments. For instance, with florists, you can propose alternatives that fit your budget.

Be Nice and Respectful

Maintaining a positive and respectful attitude fosters a collaborative partnership. Vendors are more inclined to go the extra mile for clients who appreciate their work.

What To Say In Your Negotiations

Our scripts can make this process a whole lot easier. Just ask and you might get what you’re looking for!! Keep in mind, though, not every place will say yes on the first try. You might need to reach out to 12-20 places before finding the right fit for your needs and budget.

Commit to sticking to your budget and get ready to think outside of the box. You’d be surprised what you can get, sometimes even for free!

Negotiating with Non Traditional Venues

Wording to use when you call a park:

“I need a space for a [small/medium/large] gathering sometime in [desired month] Can I make a reservation? What is the cost and how long can we reserve it for?”

Keep calling different parks until you get one in your budget. Some don’t cost anything! 

Savings: potentially save up to $5,000 or more on a venue.

Wording to use when reserving a drive-in location for a tailgate wedding:

“I’m looking for space to tailgate/have an event on [date]. Is it possible to reserve the [lot or building name] parking lot for about xx hours? What is the cost?”

Keep calling until you find a few in your budget, then drive by them and pick the one you like best.

Savings: potentially save up to $5,000 or more on a location.

Negotiating restaurant and venue quotes 

Wording to use when you negotiate a large dinner party with a restaurant:

“I’m looking to host a dinner party/rehearsal dinner for [xx number of people] at your restaurant. Do you have a pre-priced menu including drinks and dessert? We have about $xx in the budget.”

If you can’t find a restaurant within that budget, ask how many they can host at that price. Keep calling different restaurants until you find a match! You don’t have to mention it’s for a wedding reception, but you will want to make sure they will cut a cake that you bring in, how they handle bringing in outside wine (corkage fees?), and any other special considerations. You’ll also want to know if you’ll be the only party at that time, what if any entertainment is booked for that time and any other events happening at the same time.

Wording to use when looking for a wedding venue:

Be prepared to call LOTS of venues until you find a match. More important than the perfect setting is that they can accommodate the number of guests in your budget. After all, the fun of your big day is had with the people who attend.

“I’m looking to host an event for [xx number of people] at your venue. Do you have availability on [date]? Do you require we purchase food and drinks through you or can we bring our own catering and bar? Do you have a pre-priced menu including drinks and dessert? We have about $xx in the budget. How many people can we host for that?”

Negotiation areas may include catering options, liquor choices, and even the possibility of swapping out certain items to better suit your preferences. Remember to Prioritize discussions on restrictions, unaddressed details, and deal-breakers. And, of course, always be kind; your delivery can make all the difference in getting what you want. 

Negotiating with Other Wedding Vendors

Wording to use when looking for a photographer or videographer:

“Capturing our special day is incredibly important to us, and we love your work. However, our budget is limited. Can we discuss a customized package that includes essential moments and perhaps a shorter time frame?”

Most skilled photographers and videographers may have flexible options, and you can negotiate based on your specific needs. You may be surprised by the creative solutions they can offer within your budget.

Savings: Potentially save up to $2,000 or more on photography and videography.

Wording to use when looking for a florist:

“We adore your floral arrangements, but we’re working with a tight budget. Could we discuss more budget-friendly flower options or perhaps a reduced arrangement size while maintaining the overall theme?”

Florists often have various flower options and can suggest alternatives that are beautiful yet economical. Be open to creative suggestions that align with your vision.

Savings: Potentially save up to $1,000 or more on floral arrangements.

Wording to use when looking for a DJ or Entertainment

“We love your music style, but our budget is limited. Can we discuss a scaled-down performance package or explore options like a DJ for part of the event? We want to find a solution that works for both parties.”

Entertainment is a significant aspect of any wedding, and many musicians and DJs are willing to customize their services to accommodate different budgets.

Savings: Potentially save up to $2,000 or more on entertainment.

More Tips to Help You Save 

Efficient Planning for Cost Reduction

Consider consolidating services with vendors offering multiple services. Some vendors may provide a package deal if you hire them for both photography and videography, or catering and decorations.

Savings: Potentially save up to $1,000 or more through package deals.

Exchange Skills for Services

Explore bartering with friends or acquaintances who possess valuable skills. Maybe you have a friend with graphic design expertise who can create your invitations in exchange for another favor.

Savings: The potential for significant savings by leveraging each other’s skills.

Explore Honeyfund for Honeymoon or Wedding Expenses

Don’t forget to check out Honeyfund, where your friends and family can contribute to your honeymoon or wedding expenses. It’s a great way to offset costs and share the joy with your loved ones.

Savings: Honeyfund couples average XX contributed to their account to help offset their honeymoon costs, wedding expenses, or to put towards another savings goal. 

Remember, negotiation is about finding common ground. Stay polite, be flexible, and express genuine enthusiasm for the services you are seeking. The more open and collaborative you are, the better the chances of striking a deal that suits both parties. Happy negotiating!


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