A Day for Serious Business

One lovely afternoon, Adam and I were in the car, on the way home from the train station.  Earlier that day, I had gone to a bridal salon so I could try on wedding dresses!  Here is the conversation that followed:

“Did you like any of the dresses?”
“Yes!  I love two of them.  But I think I like one more.”
“What did it look like?”
“I’m not gonna tell you!…….It was fancy.  And beautiful.  Do you wanna go see it?” [Way to stay strong, Hannah.]
“No, I can wait.  How much does it cost?”
“I don’t know.”
“You didn’t ask how much it cost?”
“No.  It didn’t say on the price tags, and the lady never mentioned it.”
“You could ask.”
“But it feels like a secret.  I don’t want to impose.”
“So you’re planning to buy the dress, but you don’t know how much it costs?”

This happened a few months ago…before I started listening to Adam’s advice, noted in my previous post.  Nowadays, I think I’m slightly better at talking with wedding vendors.  I’m learning to state our needs, find out important details, and even do a teeny bit of negotiating!  Here are some things I try to keep in mind when working with wedding vendors, so that I’m not such a wimp:

  1. Know my budget.  And don’t apologize for it.  I get comments about how big it is and about how small it is.  Oh well, I say, oh well!
  2. Do a ton of research on the vendor.  And not just on their website.  I’m surprised at how many vendor associations I find just by asking friends and family!  Also, blogs of local photographers can give you an inside look at venues and vendors; so can online reviews.  Lastly, I have a ton of wedding magazines, and I cut out ads for the vendors I’m considering.  I think it’s interesting to see how they advertise themselves.
  3. Ask about prices.  Don’t feel intrusive for asking.  This goes for huge expenses down to the cost of the smallest details.  Since many of the vendors I like don’t state their prices, I feel like I’m stepping on toes by asking.  But if I’m paying, I have a right to know.
  4. Make that change!  All of our contacts have been willing to change their packages.  I’ve inserted and taken out hors d’ouevres, chair covers, specialty linens, and champagne toasts from catering packages.  I feel like it’s a hassle for the event coordinators to send me a revised, personalized package (and for us to be different from their “standard wedding format”), but I also don’t want them to provide things we really don’t need.
  5. Work with nice people.  Almost everyone we’ve met has been very kind and professional, which makes it easier for us to share ideas and trust them with our event!
  6. Find a vendor that has an amazing deal going on!  If it’s for a limited time, it’s worth asking if they’ll extend the special for you.  Then I don’t need to negotiate a great deal–they’ve already offered it to the world.  Ahhh, that’s totally the way to go.
  7. Bring the fiance along.  I went to a few venues by myself and came away with a TON more questions than when I would go with Adam.  I’m so abnormally shy when meeting new people.  When we’re together, we work off of each other to better communicate our perspective and to better understand the person’s (or company’s) style, methods, and personality.

Wow, when I type it all out, it looks like a lot to remember!  But it all boils down to creating the smoothest possible business transaction between two friendly parties.  It helps that I’m not doing it alone…and that my teammate is my super-business-savvy fiance!  With his help, I know we’ll find the sweet, fun, and, of course, budget-friendly vendors we need for our special day!


July 21, 2009. What I've Learned.

One Comment

  1. Ellie replied:

    Hi Hannah,

    I’m Jeanette’s friend, and we met as you were arriving and I was leaving her sushi party.

    I’m much older than you, but I got married two years ago. I did things on the cheap, not at all into every detail (I blame this on my age), but I will warn you–they (vendors) will go for the heart! The whole, “It’s your day!” (It is, but it is also a day to be shared.) “You should have exactly what you want!” (Meaning, if the dress costs $3000, but you only want to spend $1500, who cares if it’s what you want?) It is a business based on getting brides (in particular) to walk around with their wallets open and pen in hand ready to write a check at any and every given moment.

    Rereading what I’ve just written makes me sound like a cynic, and I don’t feel I am at all. Your advice to yourself is sound. Have some firm parameters and stick with them. As soon as you find yourself thinking, “Oh, we’ll find a way to pay for this,” then you’re being asked to pay too much!

    Savor this planning time, savor the day, but keep in mind it’s only the best day of your life up to that point. There will be HUNDREDS that follow that will bring more joy and as many tender memories!

    You will be a beautiful bride.


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