Your wedding is important, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay the first (and highest) price you come across for everything you need. You’ll run into debt before you’re even halfway done! It's important to shop around, make a proper budget plan and decide what are the most important things to you and divide the budget accordingly. Don’t worry, there are ways to lower your costs without settling for less.

Lavender field photography

The budget

First things first. You need to have your budget worked out before you start looking at vendors. Plan your budget, and then research suppliers you can afford within your price range. If you find some a little above your price range that you’re a little bit in love with, add them in for now – you might be able to get them into your price range. It's important to decide what you're willing to go over budget for, whether it's your guest list, your photographer or your dress, and more importantly, where you're willing to sacrifice some of the money from.

Do your research

Look at a number of different vendors and look at the packages and prices of what they are offering. When you go to meet one particular vendor, it’s worth knowing what others are offering for the same price. This might sway them to bring their price down. After all, a discount is better than no business at all for them. It's also important for you to have an idea of what different vendors are charging so you know what's above or below average. Then you can go in with your eyes open and ask why the price is what it is.

First dance

Flattery is key

If you love a venue, tell them. Sometimes, vendors that are out of your price range will try their best to make something work for you. They’re also more likely to lower their price for someone who really appreciates the quality of their work but just doesn’t have the budget, as opposed to someone who is simply looking for the cheapest deal they can get. Just as vendors want to impress their customers, starting off on a good note as customers will make vendors more willing to accommodate your needs.

Be open-minded

If you get too stuck on particular vendors, you’re going to have to pay for them. You have to be prepared to walk away from vendors that cannot come down into your price range. It’s also important that you are not attempting empty threats or walking away to prove a point in the hope that they will drop the price. If they have to come down too far, it won’t be worth it for them. More importantly, if you have to come up too high, it won’t be worth it for you either. Be open-minded about the possibility of looking elsewhere if you can’t get enough of a price drop.

Be firm on your budget

You now know to be charming with the vendors you love, honest about your budget, and prepared to walk away if prices are way too high. But remember to stick to your guns on your budget, don’t let several different vendors have you ‘slightly over’ your original budget, because they will add up fast. Like we said, you should be aware before you go anywhere how much you're willing to go over budget and where else in the budget you're planning on taking the money from. You can't get €200 out of €150. Remember, you are the one in control.

Read the fine print

There are often some hidden charges that only come to light on the contract, moments before you agree and sign, from a cake cutting charge to corkage. This is where you have your final bit of leverage for taking the price down. Check everything that’s included and see if you can – politely – negotiate that cake cutting charge out of the final price. Keep an eye out for charges that logically don't cost the vendor any money.

bride and groom, lowering costs

Other ways to lower costs

Midweek weddings, Friday the 13th weddings and off-season weddings will give you automatic discounts in most venues and they’re usually pretty sizable. If you look at a Saturday wedding in July, compared to a Thursday wedding in February, you could be looking at a discount of as much as €5-€10 per guest.

Look into bringing your own wine and paying a corkage fee. It could work out cheaper depending on how much will come off your package, and you might even be able to lower the corkage with your fabulous charm and negotiating skills. Don’t forget to factor in how much wine you will need.

Use flowers that are in season. Peonies are beautiful but they’re expensive and the cost only goes up out of season.

- Jenny Darmody

Image credits: Lavender field: Mastin Studio | First dance: The Photographix | Flowers: Peter Loves Jane | Cake: Pinterest | Bride and groom: Green Wedding Shoes