Wedding Week: To save money on your wedding, don't be afraid to haggle
Weddings are expensive. Like, really expensive. It gets to a point, as I mentioned in my post about wedding dresses, where money doesn't even seem real anymore. Let me give you a real world example. The other day I priced wedding cakes at Publix, and they told me that a three-tiered cake for the amount of people at my wedding would cost around $400. I said, "Wow, that's cheap." Because in wedding world, it is.
As a frugal person, this has been difficult for me to comes to terms with. It is one of the most special days in a couple's life. But it's also just one day.
There are ways, dear friends, to save money. I am actually trying to go for a more affordable wedding, which meant not choosing some venues that were more elaborate and thus more likely to cost the price of a used car. I'm also not going to traditional florist route, and one room in my house is already stocked with decorations I've been collecting from thrift stores and JoAnn's Fabrics sales for years. But aside from all that, plus setting a realistic budget and really trying to stick to it, the easiest way to save money when you're planning a wedding is to straight-up haggle.
This can be difficult and intimidating. For one, a lot of vendors do not list prices on their websites; some won't even share that information with you until you're very far into the process. This happens for a couple reasons, according to some of the vendors I've spoken with. One, every wedding is different and it is really hard to quote a price that is the same for everyone. I get that. But vendors also do this because they know people are willing to spend a lot of money on their weddings, and they know that the people planning these weddings often have no clue how much the stuff really costs. If they can quote you a price that you think is fair, and you have little to no knowledge of what is really a fair market price, they can get more money out of you. Before you start planning, it can be hard to know even the range of prices you should be expected to pay. For typical weddings, DJs are in the $600-$1,000 range. Food, anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 to beyond. A wedding dress that costs less than $1,000 is often considered a bargain.
So be up front about it. When you contact a vendor, tell them exactly what you'd like to spend and see if they will come down to your level. The ones who want your business will, and you shouldn't waste your time with someone who isn't willing to budge a little. I was discouraged when two vendors I approached came back with quotes a couple hundred dollars over my preferred amount. So I simply asked. "Someone else is offering this service for this amount. Would you be willing to meet me there?" It worked. (This did not work with two other vendors, but it was easier for me to justify those prices because I had saved some money elsewhere.)
So the moral of the story is: ASK for a discount. A lot of people told me this, and I was skeptical. But as someone who shops on the clearance racks, I was also determined to make it happen.