Wedding plans are in full swing! But with the fabulous meetings, initial consultations and delicious tastings, comes the payoff. Literally. Deposit time. You fall in love with a vendor, their work is amazing, they’re complimenting you and making a big deal about your day. You decide you want them- you MUST HAVE them- and you are ready to commit. Then they bring out the big, fat, ugly contract. And you see all their little charges.

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The buzz wears off quickly, and you’re on the defensive. You scan the list, make a checklist of those unacceptable items that simply have to go before you sign anything. All of a sudden, you become painfully and instantly aware of the second word of the term the wedding business. It’s business. Yes, it’s about love, and flowers, and cake, and happiness and a beautiful day of family celebration. But it’s business. It’s your money for their services. You need to prioritize, weigh what you want against what you want to spend, and be brutally honest with your wallet. Talk about taking the glamour out of the day.

We always hear about negotiating prices at flea markets, street fairs, and other transactions where haggling is deemed acceptable. Various vendors will be open to your ideas about how much they should get paid to drive 60 miles, and some will all of a sudden close down shop. Where do you draw the line? How far do you go? What do we use for inspiration in terms of price negotiation?

Some quick tips from a very inexperienced negotiating bride: Be polite, but firm. Let them know from the very beginning what your priorities and concerns about various charges. Be honest without giving up too much of your inner plan. Don’t insult or burn any bridges, because that’s just cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Keep yourself in the best position to get what you want. If you never ask, you’ll never know.

At the end of the day, it’s verbal skills vs. verbal skills. Communicate your point clearly, don’t give room for backing down or say “I don’t know”. Remain in control and in charge of the situation. You know what you want, and you can get it.