1. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, but don’t be jerk about it.
Between my work in the travel industry and my work in the wedding industry, I’ve seen a lot of negotiation happen in the interest of booking room blocks and getting weddings. You see, hotels and resorts typically have multiple rates for a single room or facility rental, and sales managers have some flexibility for getting you what you want at a lower price. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better deal on your venue, especially if your guests are staying at the resort or hotel, or your wedding is off season.
(Note: Winter is NOT an off season at a ski resort.)
Remember that the vendors you are negotiating with negotiate with practically every bride, and you all say the same thing “Can you do better? I’m on a tight budget.” Seriously, you’re not being original. Everyone knows that every planning book and wedding magazine tells brides to negotiate with vendors.
But the real trick to effective negotiation is to put yourself in your vendors’ shoes. Understand what they need. If you’re getting married mid-week in the off season, they will likely welcome the business you and your guests will bring to them. If you’re getting married on a Saturday at peak season, you may be flat out told, No when you ask for a discount.
You can even ask, “what would you need from me to get the price down?” If you’re really on a budget and cannot afford the quoted fee, consider being flexible with your dates or reducing the size of your guest list.
Finally, you can negotiate for perks. In the industry, these are called “value adds.” Ask if the venue can waive the parking fee, coat check fee, or cake cutting fee, each of which can add hundreds of dollars to your final bill.