Weddings are expensive! We understand that and know whatever your budget is you’ll want to receive the best value for your money. As coordinators, we are conscientious about costs, do not believe going into debt best serves a marriage, or that higher budgets create more meaningful experiences.
As planners we are your advocates and will guide you to make wise and cost conscious choices, and at times we are even able to off set our own costs! We will also be transparent with you when we feel you are cutting costs in ways that may impact the overall quality of your event and cost you more money in the long run.
Here the main ways in which we as planners are able to help you stick to your budget ...
We save you countless hours of research, emails, phone calls and work. Time is money after all! Are you working full time? If you do not have a planner, you’ll be working on your wedding during your business hours AND after hours.
We know the Austin market and what things cost and will help you budget accordingly prior to booking any vendors. We know what you will most likely be able to spend per vendor and therefore can create a realistic budget and also help you prioritize expenses. We will get an idea of what wedding elements are important to you, and where you should invest and get more "bang for your buck".
We are sometimes asked if we can help negotiate vendor rates on our client's behalf. I believe this idea comes from wedding blogs and the like offering tips and tricks for asking for discounted rates or upgraded services with vendors.
First let me clarify that we do have discussions with vendors regarding your needs and budget and work towards a contract that meets your requirements. What we do not do however, is negotiate for discounted rates. Despite the amount of blogs on this subject, (I think people are looking for copy to fill editorials). This really isn't customary within this industry (unlike auto dealerships) and leads to awkward conversations between you and your potential vendors.
Consider the scenario of going into a local restaurant and saying "I really like the look of your steak, I know it says the cost is $20 but I have only budgeted $15 to spend on dinner. If I eat at your restaurant will you offer me a discount or perhaps throw in a free dessert?"
If a vendor ends up giving you a discount, this can have a very negative impact on the overall quality of your event for the following reasons.
Vendors have carefully priced their services based on market value, their experience, hours, labor, supplies and overall cost of running their business. If you approach a vendor and ask for a discount it communicates that you do not feel that their services, talent and time are worth what they are charging. You as the client are clearly just trying to save money, however, you are asking your vendor to take a pay cut. Imagine that your boss came to you and said “We would like you to do the same amount of work next year for for 20% less than you earned this year". You would most likely try to find another job and would not likely be as invested in your work after that. The same applies to your vendors.
If for some reason the vendor ends up giving you a discount you most likely will not receive the same service for a lower price, you'll instead receive reduced service. For instance if your photographer is $4k for 8 hours, and he/she gave you a discount of $400, you won’t receive $4k and 8 hours worth of service. You’ll receive 8 hours on the day of and $3600 worth of service somehow because that is what you paid for! This may not be a conscience choice, but it happens.
How then do we work with vendors in regards to pricing? First we set a per budget category then approach vendors that fit your budget and needs. If you you have a $4000 floral budget max, we won't refer you to the florist you saw on Instagram that has a $10,000 minimum.
If your budget and desires don't line up, we will work with you to achieve something you are happy with or making needed budget changes. If you have a $2500k floral budget and want to replicate the florals at Harry and Meghan's wedding then we will have a discussion about increasing your budget or creating the essence of what you are going for in a more affordable way. Of course that's a complete exaggeration but the point being we want you to be knowledgeable prior to reaching out to vendors about what to expect in regards to pricing.
If a vendor offers special rates or discounts to sweeten the deal, say early booking or seasonal rates, then by all means take them up on it!
Lastly, while wedding planners may receive certain discounts for our clients here or there, we do not sell our value based on how many discounts we have. We price our services based on our experience, knowledge, time and labor. Our value is derived from the time and stress we save you and professional guidance we offer throughout your planning process.