Picture this…You’re in Venice sipping a glass of champagne… You see something in the bottom of your glass. . Okay, okay, proposals aren’t always like that (and neither do they need to be) but the result of that moment – wherever it is – is a desire to have the wedding of your dreams.

And so should you – of course. But even during the excitement, it can be easy to start pondering – or even stressing – about how you and your husband-to-be will afford the Big Day.

Take a deep breath. You have all the tools you need at your disposal. And one you may not yet be aware of… Let’s dust off your negotiation skills.

There are plenty of ways that you can plan an affordable wedding and one of the best strategies is learning to negotiate with vendors. Here are some 101 bartering pointers for wedding planners:

  • The first thing to remember is that there is fierce competition amongst wedding vendors, so don’t be afraid to negotiate on price. You never know if you don’t ask. For many it’s not a comfortable process, so if you naturally shy away from money conversations try to keep this in mind: It’s business – a supplier won’t (on the whole) offer you a price they can’t afford to provide the service at. And those extra dollars saved could mean the difference between the venue you want (for example) or the second or third choice on your list.
  • Wedding planning is like wandering around the mall – don’t take the first price you are given; shop around to find the best price. This will help you to figure out what is a reasonable price for things – flowers, dresses, venues and wedding cakes – and to narrow down your choices based on budget and what you want on the day.
  • Get it in writing. It’s all too easy for a conversation to seem straight-forward and the price agreed but it is not until you receive confirmation in writing that everyone is on the same page. It might seem a bit OTT, but it will safeguard you against any nasty budget shocks as well as provide the opportunity to check in on exact service details and check that the agreed price does not exclude things you expect to be included.

We all have a negotiator in us: the key thing is to find your own style; know what you want and simply ask the question. There are many suppliers out there that want your business – bring your negotiating skills to the table and what may not have been possible for your day will be amongst the great things to remember in your photo album.

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