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Budget Weddings

Price negotation?

How much do you negotiate venue price? I know people ask for extras to be thrown in, but the venue I'm about to sign with really includes everything I want. I just wish it was less expensive. Is it rude to negotiate a lower price and if not, how much lower do people usually negotiate? I don't want to be insulting by offering a price that is laughable.

Re: Price negotation?

  • Hmmm tricky. It hadn't occurred to me to haggle and I don't know the etiquette of it. I would guess that perhaps you could say, ' we love the venue and x, y, z. Our budget was $x, we wondered if there was any space for negotiation on the costs?' Then I guess it's up to them. It will really depend on whether the venue is really popular and the proprietors know they'll be able to rent it to someone else for more. Also on the type of place. I would probably feel happier negotiating with a big company than with a small a family business.
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    snowywinter
  • I'm not sure that venue negotiations has an etiquette that needs to be followed more so than treating people kindly and with respect like you would if you were buying a piece of furniture. Most venues are businesses and they are trying to sell you something. If you don't sign a contract with them then they have to sell their space to someone else, so it's in their best interest to get you to sign a contract.. You may not have as much luck if you are booking a few years out than you would if you were booking 8 months out. We actually did exactly what PP suggested without the initial intention to negotiate snd our venue came back and agreed to knock down the price per plate 10% to match our budget. After that, we simply told every vendor that we liked with a high quote what our budget was and asked them to give us a deal that fit into our budget. The florist was able to knock $15 off each bouquet by substituting different flowers and the photo booth gave us the deal that we had scene on groupon a couple weeks before, the photographer through in an album. Don't be shy about asking for a deal. Just be nice, straight-forward, and business-like. I find it easier to avoid awkwardness to negotuate via a nicely worded email, if possible. Good Luck!
    snowywinter
  • Sometimes it just helps to be very upfront about the fact that you are on a budget. FI is much better at negotiating, so I let him take point on those conversations, but we were able to get a few discounts without pushing too hard. There were a couple of times where simply being firm about not going over X number (and letting the vendor see we weren't going to waffle) prompted them to offer us a discount. Because we were very upfront about being budget conscious, our venue coordinator helped us tweak our package to get the best value for your money. 

    Just know roughly what other venues in your area are charging and that might also give you a number to go off of. And get any discounts in writing! 

    Good luck! 
  • What, specifically, are you trying to negotiate on? Usually you don't just say "I want to pay less, whatdya say?"

    Generally if you're trying to negotiate something, you need a platform. And it "I want to pay less" isn't a very strong one. Because yea, so does everyone else.. There are lots of people who can/will pay asking price, so why would they book your date and make less money?

    An example of something you could try to negotiate on would be the structure of the bar. So, let's say the venue's only bar option is a per person rate. And let's say you only have a handful of people who are big drinkers. Obviously that's not a good deal for you. You could try to negotiate with them to let you do a consumption bar since the majority of your guest list doesn't drink. 

    Another example: let's say they require that you use one of their preferred bakers and those bakers are too expensive for you. You could say "the only baker I can afford is Betty's Bakery and they are not on your list. However, they are a certified bakery - not a home bakery or anything. To be able to book with your venue, I need to use this baker. If that's a problem, we'll have to go with another venue." 

    Always be prepared to walk away.
    *********************************************************************************

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    Amanderson1290pinupbride6189
  • We negotiated our price down. If you are asking to pay less, be willing to get less. We swapped filet for prime rib, nixed some extras (ice sculptures, who needs them?), and got our dream venue in our budget. We also booked only 6 months out, so we were in a good position, knowing that if we didnt book, they were unlikely to get another wedding that day.
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  • chloe97chloe97 member
    Third Anniversary 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited July 2015
    What, specifically, are you trying to negotiate on? Usually you don't just say "I want to pay less, whatdya say?"

    Generally if you're trying to negotiate something, you need a platform. And it "I want to pay less" isn't a very strong one. Because yea, so does everyone else.. There are lots of people who can/will pay asking price, so why would they book your date and make less money?

    An example of something you could try to negotiate on would be the structure of the bar. So, let's say the venue's only bar option is a per person rate. And let's say you only have a handful of people who are big drinkers. Obviously that's not a good deal for you. You could try to negotiate with them to let you do a consumption bar since the majority of your guest list doesn't drink. 

    Another example: let's say they require that you use one of their preferred bakers and those bakers are too expensive for you. You could say "the only baker I can afford is Betty's Bakery and they are not on your list. However, they are a certified bakery - not a home bakery or anything. To be able to book with your venue, I need to use this baker. If that's a problem, we'll have to go with another venue." 

    Always be prepared to walk away.

    I disagree with the bolded. Granted I am only familiar with working with hotels/larger venues in large urban areas, but it certainly isn't true in the markets that I am familiar with. We talk about all the time on these boards how wedding prices are inflated, and because of this and the fact that vendors are making larger profits off weddings than they would off any other events and probably quite a bit more than their actual costs, there actually is a lot more wiggle room in vendor prices than you may think. One hotel may quote you $60 pp and another 2 miles away may quote you $80 pp for the same type of package. They need to justify to you why they are worth $20 pp more than the other hotel. It may be truthful that they don't need to lower the price because someone else is willing to pay it, but they may also prefer to book your wedding a year out with a lower price than risk not selling the space at all for the day. Also, some venue/vendor sales staff work on commission, so they may find it worthwhile personally to get you a discount to ensure that they make the sale.   

    Either way you look at it, what is the harm in letting them know your budget and asking them to come in within it? The worst they can say is no. I used to work in event planning, so I can tell you that professional sales people are not offended if you ask. They work with hundreds of brides/wedding planners, not to mention professional meeting/conference planners, so they are used to these questions. 

    I will say that not every venue is going to give you a flat 10% discount that we got just by asking, so in that case you may be better off negotiating fewer appetizers or serving only wine and beer to get a better deal. But if you are working with professional sales staff, I would put the onus on them to have them tell you what they can do to get within your budget and earn your business. 
  • cj3561cj3561 Connecticut member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    One way I was able to negotiate with vendors was to ask if they have a cash/check payment in full courtesy (5%, 10% etc). Obviously I don't know if that is financially feasible for you, but it helped me quite a bit and some vendors were happy to give a courtesy, some even had never had anyone ask that question before and told me what a great idea it was - works to their advantage to have everything paid in full without worrying about payments.
    Just my two cents :)
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    This is why we can't have nice things.
    chloe97
  • It depends on the venue. I would ask if there are any discounts or a way you can get the price down. Sometimes having it on a friday or Sunday will drop the price.
  • Thanks for the replies/answers/advice. Appreciate it. I'm going to see what we can do.
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited July 2015
    Rule of thumb for all transactions in life:  You don't get what you don't ask for!  If you don't find a way to negotiate, you'll never know and the worst thing they can do is say no and you're in the same boat you're in now.  Just remember a negotiation is a give and take on both sides, so if they do compromise, be prepared to make a deposit and sign a contract relatively soon.

    We negotiated our bar package so we could have everything we wanted, and nixed everything we don't for their middle range price, plus we get to interview the staff and pick which bartenders we want.

    You have (2) options:  1.  Find the areas of the package you don't need and ask for a discount to eliminate them or 2.  Give them what you're willing to pay and ask them if they can be creative in your package and make it work (they choose what areas are nixed or swapped).  Just remember, the negotiated price will likely be somewhere in the middle of what they're priced at and where you'd like to be.  So if you want to be at $10.00 and they're at $20.00, don't ask for $15.00 because that's probably where you'll land.

    Good Luck!

    Edited to add words:)
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  • cj3561 said:
    One way I was able to negotiate with vendors was to ask if they have a cash/check payment in full courtesy (5%, 10% etc). Obviously I don't know if that is financially feasible for you, but it helped me quite a bit and some vendors were happy to give a courtesy, some even had never had anyone ask that question before and told me what a great idea it was - works to their advantage to have everything paid in full without worrying about payments.
    Just my two cents :)
    ____________________________________

    THANK YOU so much for this idea. I just used it yesterday and got 10% of my florist my offering to pay up front. She had never done this before, but thought it was a great idea, and may even offer it for future clients.

    cj3561
  • cj3561cj3561 Connecticut member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    @TNDancer
    So happy to hear that! :) Win/win for everyone!
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    This is why we can't have nice things.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Am I the only one who thinks of this when I see the title?

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    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    CharmedPamkimmiinthemittenthespeshulestsnowflake[Deleted User]
  • Just wanted to chime in that I've been able to haggle with vendors and have been successful. Photographer was willing to come down in price. I offered my florist that if I supply the jars for centerpieces if she could use the extra money on additional flowers since I have tons of mason jars just collecting dust. I also managed to talk the reception venue in dropping rental price down by over $1,000 when I explained we didn't need the venue for 48 hours as stated in the contract.

    I'm of the opinion that it's not going to hurt to ask.
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    kimmiinthemitten
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