Wedding vendor discounts …let’s talk about it! Everyone loves to save money. We all want a good deal. A bargain. The best value. However, value is relative and comes in a lot of forms. What we offer our clients is a value because the service is impeccable. We provide a full client experience, not just a service for a day. That’s value. But a bargain? Now that’s all together different. When I go to Nordstrom Rack, I feel good because I didn’t spend as much on those Michael Kors shoes as I would have if I had gone to the Michael Kors store on Michigan Avenue. However, we all know the shoes I got at a lower prices were from last season. They were discounted because they aren’t the best that MK currently offers. And that’s how discounts should work. Discounts are provided when the quality is not the same or the service is pared down.
Now, even when potential clients want to pare down services for a better rate, it still makes me nervous for them. Sure, you are a year from your wedding. You are on cloud nine. All in for planning your big day. You want to do this. You can do this… let’s go! Until the bubble bursts when you hit that three month countdown. Everything within you and everyone around you will be begging you to hire help. As a professional planner, I’ve seen it time and time again. The emotional toll is exhausting. I’ve been doing this for quite a while now, and I know what it is that you are needing in those moments, and even before they actually hit. However, we simply cannot pare down our service or process. By doing so, we would lose our quality, your day would suffer, and ultimately, our own reputation is at stake. Our vendor and venue colleagues expect a certain level of service when working with us, and we aim to provide it; mainly, because it’s what’s best for you.
If I’m honest, I get a little offended when I’m asked to give a discount. I mean, I get it. Blogs and social media tell couples to ask (and trust me, vendors are fighting back against this). So I don’t take it take it personally, but it does make me shake my head a bit. Can you imagine if I were to walk into my dentist’s office and ask for a discount? They would laugh me out the door because that’s just not how things work. As vendors, we have overhead: rent, staff, taxes, marketing, insurance, office supplies…the list goes on. So it’s a bit jarring to me that someone doesn’t think to ask for a discount on goods, but expects it on services. My product, and my ‘good,’ is my time, experience, knowledge and service. No, you can’t hold it in your hand like you would those MK shoes, but it is just as valuable. Cavity free teeth…. a smooth wedding day — can you really put a dollar value on those things?
I’ve said a lot here, but here’s my point…I don’t ask my wedding vendor colleagues for discounts. * GASP * I know…I know…you’re probably ready to stop reading, especially since The Knot, WeddingWire or some random person on Instagram told you that a planner should be able to pull in some amazing savings & discounts for you. Here is the deal, though, when asking a vendor for a discount, this is what they hear, “I do not value your service” and this is what they do – provide poor quality service. Sure, some of my go-to vendors might be willing or able to provide some manner of savings because, with me leading the team, they don’t have to do as much leg work and can eliminate some of their hours. But it’s not really a discount. They are simply not having to do some of that work; so they only charge you for what they do have to do, but even this is rare.
The best way for me as your planner to save you money is for me to do my job – connect you with the right vendors. The ones with the best price points (with quality) for your needs, budget and expectations. Ironically, cutting the vendor search is one of the first things people ask me to shave off or they say “I already booked my vendors. So I don’t need you for that.” However, what sometimes happens when we get further into the planning process is that I find gaps in their services or contracts, the vendor ghosts them, or the couple realizes that their selected vendor is far from professional and makes things all the more difficult. So while you may think you’re getting a deal, you’re actually costing yourself, and me, more in stress and frustration by selecting less than qualified vendors. So how can I help you in this? Well, apart from catching your planning mistakes down the road, finding the right vendors upfront is the biggest way I can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
The bottom line here is that when you value your vendors, they value you and put your wedding first. Your goal is to be someone’s priority and being that means making them a priority as well. As great as discounts sound in theory, I promise you, they will kill your wedding day. Things will go wrong, and a fellow planner said it best, the response from the vendor will be “well, I gave you a discount… so I didn’t think the expectation was as high.” (True story… it happened to her client.)
While I think it’s important to educate you on how discounts can negatively impact you, I also think it’s important for you to know that your vendors are real people, with real hearts. We really do care! We aren’t ‘no’ people, and we want to help. We may not be able to give discounts, but talk to us about your hesitations or concerns. We may have some other tricks up our sleeves that can still accomplish your end goal. Remember, the better your wedding day is for you, the better it is for us. Talking about money is hard. We all have financial constraints, and no one is special because they are on a ‘tight’ budget (which is so relative by the way because I’ve heard that from 5k brides and six figure brides!), but the reality is, we are all on the same team. We want to create an amazing day for you. Plus, we have way more fun and do our best work when you are happy!