5 Tips for a Successful Negotiation with your Wedding Suppliers…..or your parents

 Photo credit:  Silver Tree Weddings

Photo credit: Silver Tree Weddings

Firstly, we all need to ditch any preconceptions of good negotiators as being ruthless, mean and stubborn. A successful negotiation is not about trying to screw over the other person but finding a solution that works for both parties. Here are 5 simple tips to help, whether you’re negotiating a better deal with your caterer or trying to get your parents to knock 20 of their friends off the guest list.

1. Be brave – don’t ask, don’t get

No one is going to chuck in extras or reduce their prices if you don’t ask them. A lot of people feel awkward trying to get a better deal for themselves but the worst they can do is give you a flat no and at least you can say you tried. Besides, if you are able to utilise the suggestions below, the whole experience should be a lot more pleasant.

2. Swot up

Before you try and broker a deal, you need to have done your research. Are you paying over the odds for something that you could get a lot cheaper elsewhere? Or is the price quoted actually in line with other suppliers? If it’s the former you’ve got good grounds to ask for a better deal; if it’s the latter then you’ve got to be upfront and admit that they are your first choice but your budget can’t stretch to the current deal, then try and find a way forward together.

3. Be honest…then listen

Be honest about your limitations, concerns and priorities. They are more likely to help you find a solution, and offer up explanations as to why certain things are priced the way they are. Actually listen to the reasoning and then…

4. Look for a Win-Win outcome

If you have the attitude that all you care is about your outcome, then you can’t expect any more from your supplier. Asking them to reduce their price with no alteration to the deal is not unheard of but will very much depend on if they can get someone else to pay the quoted amount on the same day. Try and put yourself in their shoes –they are trying to make a living. Be respectful and it should be reciprocated. 

5. Be open to suggestions

Some things cost what they cost, which you will know by now if you stuck to number three and listened to any explanations offered. Ask the supplier to make suggestions on how you can make savings; they may be able to offer you some different options that won’t compromise their profit margin.

A couple of examples:

  • A caterer may suggest choosing a single dessert, rather than a trio of desserts, which has a lower per item cost and enables them to drop a kitchen assistant because there is less manpower required to put it all together, thus lowering both the staffing costs applied to the quote and the per head cost of the pud.
  • A caterer may not be able to reduce the per item cost of the canapés but could instead offer you a complimentary tea and coffee station.
  • A florist may suggest that you consider locally produced, seasonal flowers which will be more cost-effective. 
  • Your parents might say five of the 20 guests are absolutely essential and will cause them a lot of problems if they don’t invite, but they’re willing to relent and bump 5 to the evening only, and lose 10 altogether. 

Now you’re armed with these 5 simple tips, go forth and negotiate! And here's a helpful image for you to pin on to one of your million wedding boards....

 Photo credit:  Silver Tree Weddings

Photo credit: Silver Tree Weddings


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