posted at 1/23/2010 10:46 AM EST
I know that the economy is not what it used to be and corporations have responded by decreasing their events, holiday parties, etc. I have heard that weddings are somewhat recession proof. Has anyone had success about negotiating prices with venues? Any tips/suggestions on negotiating with them? I am pretty much a total amateur.
posted at 1/23/2010 2:17 PM EST
I found that almost all of the places I looked at were willing to negotiate a little. Every place except one waived the room fee. The place that we ended up going with gave us an additional appetizer simply because we asked how we could get it included in the package and they just threw it in. We also asked about different options for open bar and found that most places are willing to do a lot of different things, regardless of what they advertise. We're also having a relatively large wedding (about 180 people) and I think places were more willing to work with us because they know they're going to make plenty of money off of us anyway.
What worked for us is that we went in with an estimated headcount, a budget and a vision of what we ultimately want. We didn't necessarily tell the coordinator what our budget was, but if they quoted us something, we could say, "We're looking to spend more like $x, so what can we do to get there?" Don't be afraid to suggest changes to their packages or ask how to include what you want. In addition to the extra appetizer, we got them to include chiavari chairs instead of chair covers at the same price. It also helps if you meet with an owner if possible. The owners usually have much more flexibility than the coordinators do, but that depends on the place. You can also play one place off of another. "So-and-so function hall is offering us 4 appetizers at the same price. Is that something you can match?"
On a side note, we also negotiated our band down (by 10% - woohoo!) and we negotiated a different photography package that got us the album we wanted for a little cheaper than we would have if we bought it separately. I even called around to find a cheaper dress shop for the dress that I had picked out. Just don't be afraid to tell them what you want. Do some homework to figure out how much things cost so you at least know what kind of deal to expect.
Hope that helps!
posted at 1/23/2010 2:35 PM EST
Thank you so much for your advice. I am having a wedding on the smaller size (under 100) but in the WAY off season. I am hoping to negotiate down the per person rate like $10-$20 dollars or so. Do you think this is reasonable to ask?
posted at 1/24/2010 10:22 AM EST
I would say they aren't going to negotiate the per person price that much unless you remove something. Is there anything you wouldn't miss? Either way, it's always a good idea to try!!
I didn't have any luck negotiating - tried to get them to wave/lower the room rental fee. I did end up with free chair covers from the caterer though. He said with the economy no one was paying the extra for them so he was offering them to all clients for free. You should ask about those extras that no one is opting for these days!
posted at 1/24/2010 1:24 PM EST
The only luck I had working the price per person down was with a venue that offered a very inclusive package. If I didn't get the floral centerpieces or the open bar, they took the price per person down. But I had give up the things that weren't that important to me. Almost all of the places we looked at said that they would work with any budget.
If you're doing the off season, some places will offer you 10% or 15% off of your total. Maybe you could try that angle if you are looking at places that don't advertise a special like that? My wedding is this coming June and I found that if there were vendors that are free 6 months out, they would be willing to work with me. No one in the wedding industry wants to be home on a Saturday night in June! I'm sure there are plenty of people in the industry who want to be working any night in the off-season!
posted at 1/25/2010 10:01 AM EST
The important thing, as you can see from those sharing their success stories, is to go in with a concrete budget. Just asking "what can you do for me?" isn't nearly as effective as "I see your room fee is $X, but that pushes us over our budget. We love your venue; is there anything we can do to allow the room fee to be waived?"
Think about it in terms of car sales. If you were buying a car, you'd go to the dealership knowing the maximum you could afford, how much the car is selling for vs. the MSRP, etc. Go in armed with as much knowledge of your own finanancial restrictions, what each venue you're considering charges for each service, etc. That way you can carry on an informed conversation about it that will be more likely to work in your favor.
posted at 1/25/2010 12:24 PM EST
I just had a very successful negotiation and thought I'd share! I think having your wedding in the off season or not on a Saturday helps tremendously! We are having our wedding on a Sunday (to save $$$) and were able to get the site fee waived ($1500) and got 10% off the whole bill!!! Cha-ching!!!
I really didnt have to do much negotiating, I just told the guy that they are our #1 choice and we love the place but its slightly over our budget, and he immeditely offered me the 10% off. Maybe that says that their prices are inflated anyways, but whatever. It made my day!!! I now have my wedding venue booked!!!!
posted at 1/25/2010 2:00 PM EST
That's great, mariya!! Congrats! I think all their prices ARE inflated like any big ticket item, you're so right. So many times people are afraid to simply ask. What's the worst than can happen, right?!
posted at 1/27/2010 11:44 AM EST
Bianca, I also recommend that you ONLY look at/consider venues that are within your budget in the first place. If you are looking at a place that is $100 per person and you can only afford $75, then you will end up being disappointed and frustrated.
Or, you will find that you've negotiated such a bare-bones package that you'll have to spend the money with outside vendors to make up for it.
If you tell us what your budget is and # of guests, we can help suggest other venues. Best wishes!!!
posted at 1/27/2010 11:54 AM EST
Cosmo is absolutely right! We looked at one place that was PERFECT for us, except the price was WAY outside what we were comfortable with. We were so sad when we left there. We thought that, where we were looking to book less than 6 months in advance, they would go easy on the price. They did budge, don't get me wrong, but it was still more than we could handle. We decided that we need to make friends with a rich couple and suggest they have their wedding there and invite us!
posted at 1/27/2010 5:03 PM EST
I would suggest getting a copy of the contract and all requirements before you book the venue or any vendor for that matter. Our venue was going to make us buy votives directly from them which I wasn't aware of during our meeting, but my FSIL made a comment to the owner that she had a lot left over from her wedding so the owner made an exception to let us bring whatever she had left over from her day. They also gave us a sundae bar that wasn't included in our package for free without much negotiation. I thought this was great that they were offering all of this and we signed the contract. Now, over 6 months later, I found out that they charge an arm and a leg to upgrade things like the linens and we could only get it through them. I wish I had known about all of these restrictions ahead of time so that I could have tried to negeotiate other upgrades into our contract as well. Having all of the fees and restrictions ahead of time will give you the advantage during negotiations.
posted at 2/8/2010 12:38 PM EST
Hello. I am lucky that my fiance is great with negotiations. He was able to knock about $900 off the dj we wanted from the start and $300 off our videographer. The dj has done many family and friend weddings and was doing the night wedding at our venue. We went to the videographer with deposit check in hand saying we wanted such and such package but would he take $300 off if we booked him and paid deposit now. He thought about it and finally said yes...
posted at 2/8/2010 12:40 PM EST
All it takes is the guts to ask, usually.
posted at 2/14/2010 11:51 AM EST
I ended up booking with a 5 star hotel in Boston! I made some minor adjustments by moving my date to Jan 1st (Saturday) instead of December (which was actually very pricey). I collected proposals from a bunch of comparable sites and had them with me when I went to the venue I was most interested in. I was able to knock $4000 off my minimum for food & beverage, got the room rental waived, bartenders fees waived, and a complimentary dessert station.