by: Lauren

So last week’s Thursday Tips caused a little bit of a stir, huh? Some agreed, some didn’t… but best of all, it started a conversation. That’s what this is all about! The thing I need to point out though is that last week’s post was mainly in response to an article that I read, outlining “tips” on negotiating with vendors. In reading all of the comments on my post, I came to the realization that I just didn’t go into quite enough detail about negotiating- or even what it actually is! What exactly does “negotiating” mean? And how does this “negotiating” apply to weddings?

negotiate”: to deal or bargain with another or others, as in the preparation of a treaty or contract or in preliminaries to a business deal. (Yeah I know, it doesn’t even sound like English!)

You see, negotiation is part of human nature. (As my husband would say, even the cavemen did it!) Making a deal, bargaining, contracts. It’s all familiar territory to us. But the thing is, many of the things that were brought up in the comments of last week’s post were in fact not even things that would be considered negotiation.

{Thursday Tips} What Negotiation Doesnt Mean via TheELD.com

Image by Ashley McCormick Photography

Well my friends, my post last week was directly in response to the negotiation “tactics” outlined in an article that were just plain rude. Rude as in… if someone did those same things to you, you would probably smack them. ;) (Which is why I really don’t think any of you would have ever actually taken those “tips” to heart.) The post wasn’t in any way meant to say that you shouldn’t ask questions of vendors or know why you’re paying XX for something, or that vendors shouldn’t be willing to work with you. Those are all things that SHOULD be done in your normal dealings with wedding vendors- but they aren’t negotiating. Which is precisely why I still stand by my position that for the most part, negotiation doesn’t belong in your dealings with wedding vendors- and it should still be considered a “bad word”. :)

All of this got me thinking- perhaps instead of defining what negotiation is, we should take a step backwards and define what negotiation is NOT! More specifically, the things that you can still do or what can most likely still happen if you don’t “negotiate”…

1. Not negotiating doesn’t mean that you can’t ASK questions. You can most certainly ask a vendor if they have specials going on, or if there are other options available. In fact, you should never NOT ask questions! Always be educated so you can make an informed decision!!

2. Not negotiating doesn’t mean that a vendor won’t offer you something better or work to accommodate your needs. They DO want you to be happy and have the best wedding possible. :)

{Thursday Tips} What Negotiation Doesnt Mean via TheELD.comPhoto via Flaire Weddings & Events

3. Not negotiating doesn’t mean that you can’t share with a potential vendor what your budget is. 

4. Not negotiating doesn’t mean that a vendor won’t throw in something complimentary for you. Heck, I know I was always more than happy to throw in fun things when I loved my couples. 

5. Not negotiating doesn’t mean that you won’t get the best bang for your buck.

See? All of these things are NOT negotiation. They’re just the things that occur when you’re meeting with vendors and doing your research. Which is why I still stand by all of the reasons I stated in last week’s post on not negotiating with vendors. I won’t go through all of those reasons again, but feel free to go back and read them. :) Will just about everyone negotiate at some point in their lives, and perhaps even in their wedding planning? Yes. Negotiating is one of those things that, as humans, is just in our nature. Just remember that “negotiating” isn’t always the right way to go about things for your wedding.

So hopefully this will clear a few things up for you all! Last week I asked if you all had any experiences in “negotiating” with vendors… so now how about what you’ve experienced by *not* negotiating?

 

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{Thursday Tips} What Negotiation Doesnt Mean via TheELD.com

Lauren

Founder & Editor at Every Last Detail
Lauren Grove is the editor and owner of Every Last Detail. A clueless bride-turned-wedding planner, Lauren uses her experiences and knowledge to educate and inspire brides all over the world.
{Thursday Tips} What Negotiation Doesnt Mean via TheELD.com

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8 responses to {Thursday Tips} What Negotiation Doesn’t Mean

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  1. Laura

    I think the problem is the word negotiate itself. Asking a vendor (or anyone) to do something that is extreme to their pricing or services is not negotiation, it is taking advantage of “Don’t get if you don’t ask.” Pinning vendors against each other is not negotiation, it’s, as your said, rude. I have no problem with brides asking about deals or lower prices, or negotiating a print credit rather than a photo album (or something similar), but the tactics in which you were referring to, are NOT negotiating.

    I also think it’s a lack of knowledge on the Bride’s part about what it takes that vendor to run their business – those prices are not willy-nilly. And sometimes we vendors overlook the fact that we don’t explain our prices. It’s a miscommunication, I think.

    Another great post, LAuren.

    • Pat

      I have read both posts and I guess you just don’t know that much about the vendors that are out there. I spent 20K on my wedding in 2002 for 65 people. The “award winning photographer” cough cough, that I hired rejected my vender meal that I ordered for her, and insisted on sitting at a table eating the food for our guests! One of our close relatives couldn’t come last minute because of health so she sat at the table for my husbands family! Really? She never brought up about meals when we met, or in her contract. Don’t even get me started. That was just one vender.
      We weren’t having a cheap wedding, but like any buyer, we watched what we spent. Our reception was held at a historical hotel in the carriage room with floor to ceiling windows and two fireplaces. If it wasn’t for the love of that room, I would have had nothing to do with the place because of their snooty wedding organizer that made us feel like we were low lifes. “No, they don’t do tastings unless of course you want specialty items like buffalo…” (We were spending $100 per person..).
      Then of course, there is the beautiful Chapel all white with stained glass windows near the ocean…..perfect for a smaller wedding. Except, that they have rules that you can’t have kids under the age of 7 in the wedding party NO EXCEPTIONS, and they fought with me when I wanted to have the flower girls walk down before me! On our wedding day! and yes, we did have a rehearsal the night before…I really can’t remember if it was an issue then also.
      So, there are a lot of demanding, holier then thou, this is how you do it, venders out there…of course, that doesn’t show up till AFTER the contracts are signed.:)

  2. Kristina (Thirty Three and a Third)

    I’m just now reading your first post on negotiating and finished reading all the comments. This post definitely adds on and being a wedding professional too, pretty how i feel about it has already been said by your post and the other wedding professional’s comments. Thanks for this Lauren. Both great reads and on point.

  3. Christie O. {Hindsight Bride}

    I think the problem is The Knot article did two douchy things: 1. It pits brides and vendors against each other from the beginning (dumb.) Brides and vendors are typically working closely with each other to pull of a very complex event with lots of moving parts. They should always be working toward the same goal. Creating a context of conflict from the beginning sabotages that! 2) The Knot article encourages the bride to have an overly inflated sense of entitlement from the get-go. Look I know wedding are expensive, but how much did you think a formal party for $200 people was going to cost? Feeling entitled to get the cheapest possible price and nickling-and-diming your vendors is a recipe for resentment on both sides. (dumber) Is that really the relationship you want to have with your vendors for nine months? Also, with that said, I’d like to say to vendors: I know you’ve been doing your craft or whatever for umpteen year, but when I ask for something specific for my wedding, don’t treat me like I’m an idiot. I think what we need more of on both sides is empathy and compassion. And brides and vendors need to learn to walk away from each other if the fit isn’t right.

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  6. My Love Wedding Ring

    Your posts always approach such matters with great clarity – a great post – vendors do want their customers to be happy, but they do have to survive too, balance is needed.

  7. CTA (a Vendor)

    I’m a wedding planner. I’ve been in this business for over 20 years and have pined over my pricing and services until I decided on something fair for everyone involved. When someone calls me and says “are you willing to come down on your price?”, I automatically know they’re going to be more work. What brides don’t realize is that we are trained professionals, and just like a doctor or a manicurist, you don’t ask for rate cuts and expect the same level of service. Asking for discounts is insulting. There are many price points of different vendors and if you can’t afford the pricing, you need to go to a cheaper provider. You probably won’t get the same level of service, but that’s business. If you can’t afford the Ritz, you have to stay at the Holiday Inn. The most annoying is when the bride convinces me to give a discount and then tells me all about how she’s bought a second pair of Jimmy Choos to change into for the reception or how she spent thousands to upgrade to the Presidential Suite for the wedding night. SO rude! There’s a definite pattern. Every time a bride asks me for a discount, I end up working harder than the full paying brides because the discount bride is always high maintenance. And brides….when you put us on the spot and we give you a discount, we end up resenting you and that’s not the relationship you want!

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