Week 4: Booking Vendors: Where to begin? Bridal Expo!
Happy Wedding Wednesday! We’ve made it to week 4, so if you haven’t read the first three posts, hop to it!
This we we are talking about vendors: How to find them, how to negotiate with them and how to get exactly what you want.
How To Find Them
I was at a loss for where to start when Shawn and I got engaged. We picked our venue and wedding date, but that was about it. Spending countless hours on Google wasn’t much help, and I needed tangible options! It was doing me no good to find a cool florist in Canada. I needed one in my area!
On a whim, I bought a ticket to a bridal expo and crossed my fingers for some success. Shawn and one of my sisters came with me, and it was as bubbly as you’d expect. There were hundreds of booths snaking around a big room and everyone was trying to get my email for a raffle of some sort. It’s not my cup of tea, but I promise it was worth it!
I found my caterer, photographer, videographer, bridal boutique, and ideas for how I wanted to handle my florals arrangements. ALL. IN. ONE. DAY.
How To Negotiate
While each company is different, they all want your business! For each vendor I mentioned above, I was able to cut some sort of deal with them, and at the time, none of them knew I was a blogger who worked with brands. I received discounts solely because I showed up and asked!
Think about it this way: These companies pay to have their booth at an expo, and there are dozens of other photographers and caterers to compete with in the booths next to them. They were practically asking me to take their 15% off coupons or BOGO vouchers! My guess is that they receive most of their bookings for the year through these events. Use this to your advantage.
Because I love you guys, I actually did math for this post. (Shocking, I know!)
Here is what I spent vs. saved by going to the expo.
- The expo tickets were $12 each and I bought 3 for Shawn, my sister, and myself ($36 total).
- These were the things that were handed to me just by walking past a booth.
- $1,000 of my photographer + a FREE engagement shoot
- 15% off a wedding cake
- 15% off my entire purchase at a bridal boutique (yep, you can put it toward the dress, shoes, veil, whatever you want!)
These are just the offers that I decided to capitalize on. There were dozens more for DJ’s, linen rentals, caterers, etc.
Spending $36 in tickets saved me over $3,000 on this dang wedding. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT.
Incase this needs to be said, there are no sponsorships in this post! I found the expo on my own and hesitantly decided to go. Y’all, it was so worth it! It was like the olympics of bridal shows, and although I felt very overwhelmed, I’d do it again tomorrow.
How To Get What You Want
If I knew I wanted something, I wasn’t bashful about it. Because I didn’t have a lot of requests, I made sure what I did want, actually happened for me.
In particular, I wanted my photographer to have photographed weddings at my venue before. I even asked to see examples of their work from that venue! Furthermore, since I wasn’t wanting bridal portraits, I leveraged a free engagement photoshoot instead.
Figure out what your leverage is and use it to your advantage.
Something else I negotiated was two flavors in my cake. Before signing on the dotted line, I made sure that my 15% discount covered my entire bill, not just a standard cake or frosting, etc. These are things you have to ask to make sure you’re not walking into the unknown!
Be humble, but firm. If there’s something you don’t know (let’s face it, you’re no cake expert) just ask! From there, you can make a decision and stand your ground. If you’re showing interest in a vendor, chances are they will find some wiggle room.
There’s one final thing to keep in mind.
We were transparent about the deals vendors were giving us! This may seem a bit controversial, but it worked well for us.
There were two venues we were considering, and venue #1 offered to throw in our chargers for free. I told venue #2 what venue #1 was offering, and as an incentive to book with them, they gave us free linens! Paying for a wedding is painful. Don’t be afraid to ask for a deal!
Okay, this is actually the last thing. I promise!
You and your fiancé might have different ways of negotiating. Before talking with each vendor, I said a quick prayer and put the entire process in Gods’ hands. I’m the pushy person in the relationship, but Shawn trusted me to be polite with my firmness and it ended up saving us a lot of money!
It’s hard to cover everything about vendors in one post, so if you have more questions, comment below and I’ll do my best to answer!
PRO TIP OF THE POST: Before choosing your final vendor, make sure you feel confident that they can provide you with your vision. Ask to look at their portfolios to see if it matches your taste.