A Terrifying Topic: Vendor Discounts

Happy Halloween! Let’s talk about a terrifying topic for couples: vendor discounts. As a wedding planner and previous bride, I completely understand how overwhelming wedding planning can be and, honestly, how shocking some of the quotes are that engaged couples receive from wedding vendors.

What I’ve realized in the almost five years I’ve been a planner is the reason vendor pricing is so shocking to engaged couples is because most engaged couples don’t know or understand why wedding services cost what they cost. In fact, most of my job as a wedding planner is explaining wedding-related things to couples because a lot of them are getting married for the first time and simply don’t know what to expect. As a result, a common question that engaged couples ask vendors after a quote or price range is given is, “Do you offer any discounts?”—and it’s cringeworthy.

If you’re engaged, I hope you won’t ask wedding vendors for discounts moving forward after you’re done reading this post because there are a lot of reasons you shouldn’t ask for discounts, but I’m going to explain the top two.

First, any professional wedding vendor who does their work full-time is running a business. When they quote engaged couples for their services, the price you see is not simply for the product or service you get. A lot of factors are included in their quote such as experience, labor, pre or post work that isn’t part of the wedding day, taxes, delivery fees (if applicable) and more. Professional vendors have a ton of overhead expenses they have to consider for their business (rent, liability insurance, employees, marketing, website costs, etc.). In order to keep their company up and running, they have to charge their clients accordingly for their services.

Let’s use a florist as an example. If a florist quotes $10,000 for their services regarding your wedding day, an engaged couple might think of that as “$10,000 for flowers? That’s crazy!” In reality, flowers are just a chunk of the quote. Most florists have a team of people who setup on the wedding day, so they will have to account for labor (i.e. paying that entire team) and delivery (vehicle, gas and travel time to bring the florals). Not to mention, there are usually floral consultations, changes made to the designs, and even a mock-up meeting of what the centerpieces or bouquets may look like (additional materials need to be purchased for the mock-up), which takes up a florist’s time and time is money. The same concept goes for a photographer. If one of them were to quote $5,000 for their services, that doesn’t not equate to $5,000 for wedding pictures. The $5,000 would include the 8-12 hours they are onsite on your wedding day, the countless hours they spend afterward editing your photos, the engagement session they do before the wedding and more. The quote is not a literal translation to the price of the product or service—it includes all the in between things like time, preparation work, post wedding day work, experience and more that engaged couples don’t see.

Second—and this one is especially true for experienced vendors—a lot of wedding professionals custom quote each couple’s situation because every wedding is unique. Guest count, location(s), logistics and more are just a few of several details wedding vendors have to consider when creating a quote. Professional vendors who have been in the wedding industry for quite some time will charge what they charge because they not only know their worth but they also know what to expect once they have a better understanding of a couple’s wedding situation. 

Let’s use two different wedding scenarios as an example. A 50-guest brunch wedding for three hours on a Sunday morning at a restaurant will be a different situation (and cost) than a 250-guest ceremony and dinner wedding for eight hours on a Saturday night at a wedding venue. Why? Time is an obvious reason. Working with a large group of people is more stressful than working with a smaller group. Most vendors have to setup and breakdown on the same day, so breaking down late on a Saturday night (or technically Sunday morning if the event ends at midnight) is harder to do than breaking down after a Sunday afternoon wedding. If the ceremony and reception take place at different locations, vendors have to consider logistics, traveling between multiple locations and the timing of everything if they are participating at both locations. The list goes on and on for the things wedding vendors have to consider when creating quotes for engaged couples.

What I’ve described is just the tip of the iceberg, but hopefully there is a better understanding to why engaged couples should not ask wedding vendors for discounts. It’s important to respect each vendor’s quote because they run a business and understand each wedding is different and usually custom quote accordingly. Most importantly, they know their value.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Have you ever wondered what else to ask wedding vendors before booking them besides, “How much do your charge?” Enter The Wedding Question Guide.

This digital wedding planning resource has over 300 questions engaged couples must ask venues and vendors before booking your wedding team—all through the viewpoint of a professional and experienced wedding planner.

Make informed decisions about your wedding throughout the entire planning process with The Wedding Question Guide!

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