Today’s shop talk is about wedding discounts. Everyone loves a good discount. A bargain. A value. But value is relative and comes in a lot of forms. What I offer my clients, at top dollar, is a value because the service is great. We provide a client experience, not just a service. But a bargain, now that’s a little different. When I go to Nordstrom Rack, I feel accomplished because I didn’t spend as much on the Kate Spade as if I were to go to the Kate Spade store. But we all know the bag I got on discount was last season’s model. It’s discounted because it’s not the best that Kate Spade currently offers. And that’s how discounts should work- discounts are provided when the quality is not the same or the service is pared down.
But even then, when potential clients want to pare down services for a better rate, it makes me nervous for them. Heck yeah… you are a year from your wedding, you are on cloud nine, you want to do this, you can do this… awesome. Not awesome. When you hit that three month count down, your whole world will be begging you to hire help. As a professional planner myself, I couldn’t do it for my own wedding. The emotional toll is exhausting. I’ve been doing this for so long and I know what it is that you are needing. We cannot pare down our service or process– in doing so, we lose quality, your day suffers and even our own reputation is at stake. Our vendor and venue colleagues expect a certain level of service when working with us and we aim to provide it. Mainly, because it is what is best for you.
To be totally and fairly honest, when I’m asked to give a discount, I’m a bit offended. Not in a big way, I think blogs train brides to ask (and trust me, vendors are fighting back really hard), so I don’t take it personally. But I do giggle a little. Can you imagine if I were to walk into my dentist and ask for a discount? That’s just not how things work. We have overhead: rent, 4 full time staffers, taxes (those.kill.me.bad), office supplies, marketing, and on and on and on. It’s a bit jarring to me that one does not think to ask for discounts on goods but expects it on services. My product and ‘good’ IS my time and service. It looks different- you can’t hold it in your hand but it is just as valuable. Cavity free teeth…. a smooth wedding day, can you really put a dollar sign on those things?
So for these reasons, I don’t ask my vendors for discounts. GASP. Ooh dear, I’ve lost half of you because the whole reason you are here is because The Knot told you I would reign in some discounts for you. Here is the deal ladies, when asking a vendor for a discount, this is what they hear “I do not value your service” and here is what they do – provide weaker service. YES, some of my vendors are able to provide discounts because with my leading the helm, they don’t have to do as much leg work and can eliminate some of their hours and maybe even staffing. So it’s not a discount, they are just simply not having to do some of that work so they only charge you for what they have to do.
The best way for me to save you money is to do my job in the first place- connect you with the right vendors. The ones with the best price points (with quality) for your needs and expectations. Ironically, cutting the vendor search is one of the first things people ask me to shave off. Apart from catching your planning mistakes down the road, it is the biggest way I can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Which I often do. I've been doing for years what you are trying to research in one month.
The bottom line is that when you value your vendors, they value you and put your wedding first. Your goal is to be someone’s priority and being that means making them a priority as well. As great as they sound in theory, I promise you with all of my heart, discounts will kill your wedding day. Things will go wrong. And a fellow planner said it best, the response from the vendor will be “I gave you a discount… I didn’t think the expectation was as high as a result.” True life story... it happened to her client.
While I think it’s important to educate you on how discounts can negatively impact you, I also think it’s important for you to know that your vendors are real people with real hearts. We really do care! We aren’t ‘no’ people and we want to help. We may not be able to give discounts but talk to us about your hesitations, we may have some other tricks up our sleeves that can still accomplish your goals. Remember, the better your wedding day is for you, the better it is for us. Talking about money is hard, we are ‘all’ hard up and no one is special because they are on a ‘tight’ budget (so relative by the way, I hear that from 5k brides and six figure brides…barf) but the reality is that we are all on the same team. We want to rock this for you. We have way more fun when you are happy.