Friday, June 15, 2012

How One Bride Saved £7000+ Asking These 5 Questions

A bride came into our Milton Keynes based bridal wear studio a few months ago to discuss her bespoke wedding dress design with me.  A really lovely lady.  We got into conversation about her dress and her wedding planning generally and she complained of how difficult she was finding it to keep to her budget.

Being a wedding industry insider, I decided to educate her on ways to get the best out of wedding vendors while keeping within your budget.  As wedding suppliers, we are in it as a means of livelihood but more importantly many of us “love love” and sometimes, when the opportunity presents itself and we meet the right type of bride or couple, we find ourselves bending over backwards just to please.

I gave her the 5 killer questions to ask wedding vendors to keep her in control of how much she expends on a product or service while getting the best they have to offer.  I have now decided to award you with the same benefit of knowing these killer questions.

Question 1

“When is your least busy period of the year/ month/ week?”

Many brides choose the date of their wedding based on the availability of venues, services or products. If you are able to select a period which your wedding supplier has admitted that they are less busy, you may be able to negotiate a really good discount.

For example, no venue wants to remain empty on any day. Therefore, they may agree to charge you less than they do for peak periods rather than have no business at all.

Weddings are usually more expensive in the spring and summer periods; however, if you have a theme that is dependent on the weather, then this may not work for you.

Finally, ensure that you are not given a diminished service or inferior product because you have paid less. Make sure that your contract with your vendor dots all the i’s and crosses the t’s of your requirements.  As wedding suppliers, we have a duty to provide you with exactly what you have requested and are paying us for.

Question 2

“Do you operate a Referral Scheme?”

By intimating that you intend to actively campaign for your wedding supplier’s business if you are happy with your price quote, product and/ or service, they feel more encouraged to make less profit from you as they see you as a potential source of enhanced business and ultimately profit.

Wedding businesses benefit greatly from your referrals and no vendor would turn down the opportunity for you to become an unpaid marketer for their business. How you get paid is by achieving a discount from your supplier even before you ever start recommending them.

I must stress however, that the honourable thing, would be for you to do as you have promised and refer a good wedding vendor on to your friends and family. One good turn after all, deserves another.

Question 3

“Why do these ‘similar wedding suppliers (mention competitor name)’ charge less than you?”

For you to be able to ask such a question, you have to do your research because I can assure you that your suppliers know what their competitors are charging.

Wedding vendors hate to hear that they have priced themselves out of the business. The industry is very competitive and you should prove to vendors that not only have you done your homework, but you would be willing to take your money to where you can get more if they don’t play ball.

If you go with a wedding supplier that is more expensive than their competitors, ensure that you get your money’s worth and make them prove to you why their products or services are less competitive.

Question 4

“What is the percentage of mark ups on your product/ service?”

Don’t expect an answer to this question. More likely, you would get thrown out.

The wedding industry is known for applying mark ups on products and services that cost about 3 times less for non-wedding related events.  There is usually a good reason for this but some suppliers believe that brides are willing to pay whatever it takes for them to achieve the wedding of their dreams and apply mark ups indiscriminately.

Do some research into how much items and services would cost if they were to be used at a non-wedding related event and let your wedding supplier know that you are aware of this.
Encourage them to explain why it costs more because it’s a wedding and they may be forced to give you a discount.

It is important that you note that the amount of detail you would require at your wedding is significantly more than it is for other events; therefore, if you are asking for a wide variety of features in your product or service, then your wedding supplier may be justified in charging more.

Question 5

“Can you sincerely tell me the absolute lowest you can charge on this product/ service?”

With this question, you go straight for the jugular and appeal to your wedding supplier’s compassionate side.

Contrary to what rumours say, most of the brides I have met do not have a bottomless wedding planning bag of money. So you need to let your vendors know this in the most convincing way possible.  Put on your most endearing face ever and say “pretty please” a lot.  I, for one cannot resist this ‘puss in boots’ look and I start to offer my life’s savings plus wedding dresses and the lot.

Most wedding suppliers are in the business to make money but more significantly, we feel a bigger satisfaction from making people happy.  

Needless, to say the bride who I gave these questions to, later advised me of how she had saved an absolute fortune asking these questions from wedding vendors in the Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire area. This may or may not happen for you too but it is certainly worth a try.

Don't be offensive by complaining to a wedding vendor that their prices are too high and you are planning on a budget. Its their prerogative to charge what they do and they are not responsible for helping you keep within your budget. Instead, ask these 5 questions subtly and politely and you may find your vendors playing into your hands by offering you more discounts and a more enhanced wedding product or service than you actually pay for.

We hope these questions help you to keep within your budget as you try to plan your dream wedding. Please let us know how you get on if you try them or even if you disagree with any of our points, we would love to hear your comments.  Also, if you have any additional tips, please post them here to help other brides.

Happy wedding planning!

Lisa xx


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