You want your wedding to be spectacular and perfect – all brides-to-be want that. This desire can often make you spend more money than you would like. After all, it’s your wedding day, right? But you can also have a perfect, breathtaking wedding without spending a small fortune. How? The key is to bargain.
Bargaining isn’t a big part of American culture, so it doesn’t occur to people that it can be done. Well, it can, and a wedding is the perfect place to brush up on your bargaining skills. Use these tips and tricks to discover the art of getting the best deal for your wedding.
Know What you’re Getting Into
Many couples figure their wedding will cost X-amount and then are shocked when they get the bill and it’s 20% more.
You can minimize the damage by asking about price right down to the very last dollar and then comparison shop. It’s important that you know exactly how much you’re going to spend before you open up your wallet. After all, how can you possibly bargain if you don’t know how much you can (or are willing to) spend?
You may feel annoying, but don’t be afraid to ask your baker about cake-cutting fees, the bridal shop owner about alteration fees, or the caterer about no-show fees. Get a detailed estimate that includes tax, gratuity, headcount or any other factors that will impact the final bill. Then, take that bill to the next vendor and see if they can beat it.
Bargaining takes a lot of legwork, but trust us, it’s worth it. Figure you save $500 on your flowers, $200 on the DJ and get a flower girl dress for free with your wedding gown. That’s something to be proud of!
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
It doesn’t always occur to us that most prices are not set in stone. Normally when we shop, we just pay whatever the price tag says and don’t ask any questions. Now that you’re engaged, it’s time to change all of that.
Say you find a gown you love. You have several options for getting a bargain. First, you may ask the salesperson how far down the store can come on the price. For something a little more concrete, offer to pay cash in exchange for withholding the sales tax. Another bargaining tactic: tell the salesperson how much you’re willing to spend, tax, alterations and all, and don’t budge from that price. You may not get a $3,000 dress for $2,000, but you may get a lot of extras thrown in for free.
Remember, if a particular merchant will not negotiate, another one will. Ask for the name of the dress designer so you can request items from the same designer at other shops. This way, you’re able to shop around and find the best price on the items you really want.
A word on bargaining: do so politely. Bargaining is essentially a game so keep it light and fun.
Finding Treasures for Your Wedding
You don’t have to shop at an upscale bridal boutique to find beautiful treasures for your wedding. Check your local flea markets, secondhand shops and even garage sales to find priceless items. (Such places provide the perfect platform for bargaining.) This is a great way to get a deal on items that you need, such as chairs or tables, linens, artificial flowers and even clothing.
Extra Tips and Tricks
When shopping for items for your wedding or reception, don’t look for the typical wedding items if you can avoid it. The same exact item will probably cost you more if it’s listed as a wedding favor than if it’s listed as just a gift. Look for the items you need listed under other categories. You can even find a magnificent wedding gown in the prom section and save thousands of dollars.
If you do find a bridal shop that you love, ask about discounts for multiple purchases. If it’s possible to get several items you need at the same shop and get a discount, go for it.
You can also negotiate a better deal on your wedding location, band and caterer by having an off-day or off-season wedding. For instance, most people choose a Saturday to have their wedding and most weddings are held in spring and summer. By having your wedding in the middle of the week or during autumn or winter, you can save money. As long as you let your guests know enough in advance, schedules shouldn’t be a problem to rearrange.
Many couples think that they cannot negotiate and have a cheaper wedding, but they can. If you remember that you’re not only planning one of the best days of your life, but that you’re completing a business deal, you can easily discover the art of bargaining for your wedding.
Photos by Gene Higa