Monday, March 09, 2009

I went to a bridal fair, now what?

After oooh-ing and aaah-ing, almost suffering a stiff neck from looking left and right at all the wedding vendors in this month's bridal fairs, and collecting all the flyers of potential suppliers who may be your partner in realizing a dream wedding day come true, what happens next?

It's time to make the cut.

From among the flyers, you must (in some cases, painfully) sift through the pile and pick your 3 top potential suppliers for each wedding requirement based on your vision, budget and agreement with your groom-to-be. If you want to be more organized, you can draw a table of your suppliers indicating each of their pros and cons.

If your wedding is at least 6 months from your bridal fair visit, you still have enough time to decide on the supplier who best meets your requirements. Meet with your top 3 suppliers (separately of course!) so you can discuss your vision, what you want and don't want, what your limitations are, what their provisions are, and other details of your wedding. If they have packages, you may want to haggle or discuss options in case some of the inclusions are items which you feel are things that you don't need.

If you are lucky enough to find them in the next bridal fair, book them on the spot to get a discount! Haha. Seriously, think of the 1st bridal fair as the first time you'll meet your potential suppliers, your first meeting as your way of testing the chemistry between you and the suppliers and the next bridal fair to seal the deal.

Remember that even if your wedding day may be the ultimate expression of your commitment with your loved one, some wedding vendors simply see it as business so choosing wisely is key.

While major discounts or exchange deals are next to impossible (unless you're a celebrity, perhaps), it won't hurt to negotiate with your wedding vendors for little freebies or a change in your package inclusions.

Some other tips in negotiating with wedding vendors are the following (if you like shopping, then think of it as if you were shopping for the perfect vendor):

1) Window shop - during the wedding fair, find out what each vendor offers for the same price range, and use this as leverage. (Note: Do not impolitely compare one vendor with the other by saying things like "Vendor A has the same cost but has a better package"). Ask about the details in the packages that they offer, inquire if they have extras that you can avail of in place of items in the packages that you may not have use for. For example, you might not want to avail of the doves or butterflies as part of a catering package, how about additional flowers for the presidential table, in exchange?

2) Be open and stick to your limit at the same time - when most brides start out planning their wedding, they usually start looking at pretty pictures of weddings and put together a vision for their own wedding. Then reality (budget concerns) sets in. Wedding vendors should be able to help you realize (maybe most, not all) elements of your vision. The truly helpful vendors will try to find solutions to what you want with your budget so be open to what they might suggest. There are however, pushy vendors that might want to sell you something that you don't really need so you must also be firm in saying "No, thanks."

3) Be indifferent - for those who are experts at haggling and bluffing, having an "indifferent aura" while you negotiate with your vendor also works. You need the vendor to believe that if they can not meet your request, you can always walk away so if they really want your business, they will usually oblige before you do so.

Well, I'm off to another bridal fair this weekend. See you there!

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