You found your dream venue, but it's not exactly at your dream price. Sound familiar? Whether you're experiencing sticker shock over the venue or your dream florist, know that it is possible to discuss the pricing you've been presented with. But before you step into the sweaty-palmed world of negotiation, check out the tips below from New York City-based attorney Jay Zimner. His tips will help you navigate this delicate process.
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but still bears saying: Be polite. After all, you are hoping to work with this person. "My number one key to success is building a relationship with the counterpart," says Zimner. "It's much easier to get your way when you're likable." Keep the discussions friendly and remember to be understanding of the other side's concerns. It's not about getting your way—it's about finding a solution that works for everyone involved.
Before you begin bartering, do your homework. Ask for a rate far lower than the industry standard and you'll get no consideration, or worse, you'll offend the person you're desperately trying to work with. "Using facts in your discussion makes you an authority," says Zimner. Pulling a number out of thin air doesn't give you much to stand on. But compare those numbers to relevant services? Now we're talking.
If the price can't go down, ask if what you're getting can go up. Additional cocktail stations, an engagement photo session, or extra hours can all be used to help reach a middle ground that satisfies both parties. While your budget is the bottom line, it's not all about the number on the table. Finding ways to use your funds as efficiently as possible is key. Alternatively, you can re-think standard packages to make them work for you. Instead of paying for an extra hour of an open bar, perhaps you can opt for wine service at dinner—saving you money without having guests go without.
Negotiating is the one part of wedding planning that shouldn't have any sentimental ties. "Once you become unwilling to walk away from a purchase, just understand that your negotiating power greatly diminishes," advises Zimner. Until you sign on the dotted line, understand that there are plenty of vendors out there capable of doing a great job—don't lose sight over one.