Hey y'all, it has been a long time since I wrote any content for this portion of the blog. I am not going to make any promises about being more consistent or adding to this frequently, but I do have a couple of posts on the queue so stay tuned. In this post, I want to discuss PAYMENT. Obviously, it is a major part of planning a wedding and making sure your vendors like you. I have posted similar posts in the past that protect you, but this one protects your vendor and is key to making sure they don't hate you in the end. I have a couple of points to make so bare with me.
1. Discounts. This one is going to sting.
IT IS NEVER OKAY TO ASK FOR A DISCOUNT. I am sorry, it sucks, but it's true. Your vendor may know you and offer you a discount or know your friend or colleague, but that is your vendors prerogative. Asking for a discount implies that you don't value your vendors' work and time, or think that they aren't worth what they cost. We set our rates competitively and based on our experience. When I started wedding planning, I didn't charge full price because I lacked experience but doing an even for free is off the table because I still put in well over a day's work into your event and whether you think it is fair or not, it is your choice to hire me. I am a person that has a tough time saying no. So when someone requests a discount, I have to weigh my time and rates against a (friendship?). That is not a position anyone should ever be put in. I have often heard "you get paid in exposure, " but exposure doesn't pay my mortgage or give me back the day I lost ironing tablecloths and lighting candles, it doesn't give me back the gas money driving to your event, and it doesn't even always pay. I made an agreement once to help plan a wedding for the "cost" of all the detail photographs from the couple's photographer, and that couple didn't pass on that information nor did they give me any photos of the event; so NO exposure does not pay. For an all-inclusive wedding planning package, I charge $3,000. I answer unlimited texts, make plans, I set up your wedding day, I find the missing drunk uncle passed out behind the venue, I wash the dishes when needed, I don't sit down, and I dress to blend in at your wedding (so no running shoes). In the off-season, I might offer a promo or a discount, and that is okay to ask about; "Do you ever have promos or seasonal pricing?". I am so open to that question, but DO NOT ask your vendor for a discount or assume you deserve one because you know them!!!!
Vendors are usually quite clear as to when you should pay them. My contracts state 50/50. 50% at booking and the rest the day before or day of your event. If your vendor hasn't told you, ask them. We miss things; we are human. We try not too but sometimes the conversation gets off track, and it's forgotten. JUST ASK, trust me it's not supposed to be free, they will appreciate you asking. Pay on time; you don't get to pay when you feel like, we have bills to pay, company expenses. If you haven't paid me when you are supposed to, it makes me question showing up when I am supposed to.... I will because I need those YELP reviews, but you are a sucky person.
3. Your End of the Bargain.
If your vendor requests something in return for a discount like asking you for a review or photos or whatever it may be you need to hold up your end of the bargain. I didn't think that it was a big deal until I started wedding planning but being kind to your vendors makes it a lot easier to go the extra mile for you. If you don't hold up your end of the bargain, like cancel something without telling me, I can't fix it, and your event will suffer. If you say "I'm sending you 300 candles for the wedding", and then fail to send them on the wedding day without telling me - you likely won't have candles on your wedding day. If there is something you agreed on for your event, and you don't come through, that's not on me I will do my best to fix it, but I can't guarantee anything.
4. Know your Rights.
It is okay to ask questions and it is encouraged. Request a reference, check out the portfolio, and decide if the price they offer is what you feel you want to pay. No one is forcing you to hire a particular vendor. Also, read Before You Book and Contracts before booking any vendor it will protect you.
Paying your vendors and communicating means your day goes as planned. Everyone is happy, and no one is taken advantage of. I am FINALLY okay with losing out on an event because I am unwilling to flex my prices, and vendors, if you're reading this - KNOW YOUR WORTH.