Recent economic conditions has caused wedding budgets to be tightened like never before and as a result, some couples seem to think that wedding professionals should also reduce their prices accordingly. After all, any money saved is money that remains in your pocket, yes? Many couples therefore believe that wedding professionals should accept a booking at a lower rate rather than them losing that business altogether. Well this thinking is not quite right – just think about how you would feel if your employer came up and said, “Sorry, but things are a little tight at the moment, so I will need to reduce your pay by 25% for the next few weeks, but you will still have to come in and do the same amount of work.”

What couples need to appreciate is that wedding professionals are in a service industry. Negotiating the price when buying a new car, for example, is an entirely different scenario. In this instance, you are simply asking the car dealer to lower their profit margin. They pay a certain amount for the vehicle, factor in any overheads and sell it for a higher price. The higher the price, the more money they make, and so the listed prices are typically inflated to leave room for negotiation. A wedding professional, however, is essentially selling themselves. They provide a service and base their pricing on the time, effort, and resources required to provide that service. By asking them to lower their price just because you are unable to afford it, you are in essence devaluing them, requesting them to provide a level of service and quality that is compromised. Most wedding professionals certainly do not appreciate this.

Another issue is that more often than not, couples have absolutely no idea the amount of work individual wedding professionals put into their wedding. All that is seen is the finished product. For example take a Floral Designer, couples don’t see the hours spent searching for component products to use, or the time spent designing, planning and calculating their customised wedding. They have no idea that it takes at least three-four hours, or more, just to unpack their flowers, cut them, and prepare them for working with them. They can’t comprehend the number of actual hours it requires to make all of those boutonnières, corsages, bouquets, centrepieces or displays, and to add detail to them. Add all of those glass, cylinder vases and candle holders that have to be washed, boxed, loaded, unloaded, and unpacked on-site. All that is seen is the beautiful bouquet or wonderfully decorated room.

You really need to think of negotiation as a compromise: this is where both parties agree to give something up in order to get something in return. For example, should a certain photographer be out of your budget, you could ask for a reduced rate in exchange for less hours of coverage at the wedding, or fewer included photographic prints, or a smaller album. This way, you pay less and the photographer spends less time and/or resources on your event, and the quality of the service does not need to be compromised. Everybody wins – this is a partnership, and both the wedding professional and client need to feel that they are winners! This is important to keep in mind when negotiating with a wedding professional.