Author Topic: Wedding Negotiation  (Read 2314 times)

ginjaninja

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Wedding Negotiation
« on: February 04, 2019, 10:41:00 AM »
Does anyone have tips on how to negotiate wedding costs?  Where are venues willing to compromise?

We are choosing a location that includes all rentals, silverware, staff, clean up and tear down, food, alcohol, etc. and I would like to know what I should try and ask for.

Things they charge for: food(all with 22% service charge), alcohol, extra hours ($500/extra hour), $2500 site fee.

All of the food has a 22% service charge but from my understanding that is really hard to get them to change and every venue includes this charge.

I was thinking we could set a food and beverage minimum and get them to wave the site fee?  Or reduce it?  Any thoughts would be appreciated. 

nereo

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2019, 05:53:07 PM »
Does anyone have tips on how to negotiate wedding costs?  Where are venues willing to compromise?

We are choosing a location that includes all rentals, silverware, staff, clean up and tear down, food, alcohol, etc. and I would like to know what I should try and ask for.

Things they charge for: food(all with 22% service charge), alcohol, extra hours ($500/extra hour), $2500 site fee.

All of the food has a 22% service charge but from my understanding that is really hard to get them to change and every venue includes this charge.

I was thinking we could set a food and beverage minimum and get them to wave the site fee?  Or reduce it?  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

You can negotiate anything, but if the venue has no problems booking other couples you have no leverage.  You need to find a venue (or a specific season) that isn't always booked.

I'd also challenge the notion that "every venue includes this charge".  That's probably because you are only looking at venues which host lots of weddings.  If you want to save money think outside the established-wedding-venue box.  We got married at a nature-conservancy center which was used to hosting events with 50-150 people but only occasionally hosted weddings.  They had a prep kitchen but no dining room; hence no food (or alcohol) service charge.  We got all our food from a local restaurant and hired a caterer to serve the food, handle plates/linens and do cleanup.  We got a reduced rate from the restaurant and almost covered the cost of the caterer.  Since we were allowed our own alcohol (we chose to do wine & beer, but open bar) alcohol was ~$2/drink.  Our entire bar tab was under $300 for 70 guests, many of whom drank a lot (you can get 15% discounts if you buy a full case of wine).  Total cost of the reception was just over $2,000 for 70 people with a full dinner and open bar.

Anyhow, that just gives you an idea.  Another friend of mine got married at a state park for a $200 "event fee" - he hired a chef-friend to cook all the food, including a full lobster and clam bake cooked on site.

Jon Bon

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2019, 07:04:18 PM »
Meh just go to a beach, and have a destination wedding. A wedding so rapidly becomes a minor footnote in your lives it is hardly worth it.

Like would you go out and spend 50k on a sports car that deprecates to nothing in a week? Because that is what a wedding is! I don't know anything about your age or life situation. But if I had blown a bunch of (my own) money on a wedding I would probably have to wake up and go to work tomorrow!

Just think about it, good luck.




Villanelle

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2019, 07:14:31 PM »
Consider going to places that typically don't do weddings.  And/or don't mention that it's a wedding.  Call it a family reunion. 

And going to a one stop shop where they do everything is a convenience for which you are going to pay a fee.  Find your own hall, then find a rental place to do do chairs and tables, hire a caterer (but check with the venue to make sure you can bring in outside catering and see what facilities they have available and if they charge for use), a baker, and whatever else you feel you must have. 

englishteacheralex

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 11:44:48 PM »
Warning/rebuttal to previous posters: Venues that do not generally do weddings can actually become more expensive, because the venue fee is not all-inclusive and you wind up having to rent more things than you ever thought possible and hire people to do set up and tear down.

1. Got a country club for the venue--a member we knew from church was able to sponsor us so we didn't have to pay a venue fee. It was a country club on Oahu that has hosted Obama for golf several times. (Preen.)

2. I thought all the country club's banquet menu options for weddings were too expensive, so we asked if they'd do their poolside bbq menu (usually used for more casual parties) for our wedding. It was only $25/plate and was custom grilled burgers and chicken sandwiches with 7 different salads. The food was great! Definitely not super formal banquet food but hey, who doesn't like a burger? So that's a possible negotiation tactic.

3. We got married on a Sunday, so the venue was more willing to be flexible.

4. It was a lovely country club. No need for tons of decorations. Not being picky is huge on saving money. We didn't need to rent anything. The food/bar (beer, wine, soft drinks, no hard liquor) bill was $4500 for 150 people. I don't think we did any bargaining but the menu change probably saved us ~$4k. All their other menus except the light breakfast one were a lot more expensive.




nereo

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2019, 04:55:37 AM »
Warning/rebuttal to previous posters: Venues that do not generally do weddings can actually become more expensive, because the venue fee is not all-inclusive and you wind up having to rent more things than you ever thought possible and hire people to do set up and tear down.
Nope, not my experience at all (see above).  Speaking about my own wedding, my best-man's wedding, my SIL's wedding and several friends.  It was *much* cheaper to hire staff and rent linens than it was to go to an all inclusive. 

Askel

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2019, 06:45:59 AM »
Warning/rebuttal to previous posters: Venues that do not generally do weddings can actually become more expensive, because the venue fee is not all-inclusive and you wind up having to rent more things than you ever thought possible and hire people to do set up and tear down.

Not my experience either. But we did all our own setup/tear down and the only thing we had to rent was the keg tap which the beer store let us borrow for free. :D

The venues we used (a ski hill and a concert hall) were both owned or managed by friends of ours. Setting the price was a discussion between us about what would be fair given their costs. 

There's so many ways to have a great wedding that don't involve $2500 site fees and 22% service charges.  Doing it on the cheap was way more fun for us and our guests than any prepackaged wedding venue deal I've ever attended. 

Car Jack

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2019, 06:49:55 AM »
Cash bar.

Saves money and keeps the family alcoholics from becoming huge embarrassments.

Remember that the length of the marriage is in general 1/cost-of-wedding. 

OtherJen

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2019, 07:02:44 AM »
Late morning wedding and brunch/lunch reception with either cash bar or open bar with a running tab that you pay at the end.

The lunch reception was over before my cousins' little kids hit the "needs a nap" meltdown, even my alcoholic relatives had no more than two drinks each (i.e., low bar tab), and the venue was cheaper at the off-peak time.

nereo

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2019, 07:09:25 AM »

Remember that the length of the marriage is in general 1/cost-of-wedding.

What??  I doubt there's any such correlation.

Sugaree

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2019, 07:18:31 AM »
Think outside the box.  For our, admittedly small, wedding we rented a little "lodge" for a weekend.  We were able to come in and set up on Friday night.  Have the wedding on Saturday, and breakdown on Sunday.  The lodge had maybe 4 bedrooms in the house and 4 little cabins on-site (they usually rented to church groups and boy scout troops).  All of that for less than what a "wedding venue" would have cost.  Funny enough, the lodge was set up to be an indoor/outdoor venue and we got married in January.  DH spent months cutting, hauling, and splitting firewood to feed the three big stone fireplaces.  We woke up that morning to 75 degree weather.  We sold the firewood and made back half of what we spent on the rental. 

The restaurant I used to work for catered it.  We went with a small plate station set up.  It looked beautiful and encouraged guests to mingle.  We lowballed the headcount by 10-20% and still had a TON of food left over.  We had an actual wedding cake, but DH and his brother went to the bakery and picked it up.  I ordered wholesale flowers and did the bouquets and boutonnieres (which the guys forgot to put on) myself.   I have no experience, but I picked simple designs and two flower types and it worked (it's so worth it to spring for a stem stripper if you go with roses though).  We picked up string lights and sparklers after xmas/new years on sale.     

We also considered a natural history museum as well as the lodge formerly inhabited by the museum's founder (all the taxidermied animals was kind of creepy though).  I don't know what's in your area, but look for places that are not what people first think of as a wedding venue.  It's a little more work, but you might save enough money to be able to hire an independent wedding planner .

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2019, 07:38:57 AM »

ginjaninja

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2019, 08:42:11 AM »
Thank you all for the replies.  I worked in catering for ~6 years and got to see the bills that some weddings were able to rack up.  I will not be spending $50K on a wedding. 

I have found that if you are doing a "traditional" wedding an "all in" place is actually more affordable.  For comparison at least 3 other places we have seen have a site charge of over $6k for a Friday or Sunday and that literally only includes access to the site, you still need to find all of the other things (food, bar, linens, glassware, trash removal, etc.)

I appreciate the advice on having a small/informal/destination/elopement type wedding but we are pretty set on having one with ~170-185 guests.  Our original list was 275-300 people so this was cutting it back quite significantly.

The venue charges $45-55/plate and the alcohol is a "hosted bar" which means we pay per drink ($5/drink) instead of $40+/guest over 21.  We are also doing it on a Friday so that is helping with the cost. 

I will try and see if I can get the food costs down by switching to a more casual menu, and we are doing all of the decorations and centerpieces on our own. 

I would like to mention that we have gone thorough many of the community centers and local parks and they cannot accommodate the guest count we are looking for.  This is what we did for my graduation party years back and we went to Costco and did all of our own food and booze.  We have considered this but also do not want to put the burden on a friend or family member to manage this during the event. 

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2019, 08:59:17 AM »
I agree that it is hard to negotiate anything other than the actual menu with an all-inclusive place.  If you have a lunchtime reception, lunch menus are often a little cheaper than dinner menus, and also people tend to drink less.

I also agree that it is hard to find a DIY kind of venue that can accomodate a large guest list.  My two oldest daughters had a double wedding, so we had three (large but closeknit) families' worth of guests. None of the local parks, community centers, etc. could fit us. We ended up using a venue that did the catering but let us bring in our own things otherwise--tableware, decorations, beer and wine, and cake. They charged for the labour to serve the drinks and cake, but otoh we didn't have to buy a liquor licence or hire security (required for temporary licences in some jurisdictions) because the site had that already.

The other difficulty with a large guest list is that the work involved in a DIY reception pretty quickly outstrips the family's available labour pool.

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage, and enjoy celebrating with all your friends and relations!

nereo

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2019, 09:07:31 AM »

Remember that the length of the marriage is in general 1/cost-of-wedding.

What??  I doubt there's any such correlation.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article214550500.html
Wow - that article is horrible for conflating correlation with causation!  Seriously going to use this in my next stats class.
The underlying journal which published the article is even worse - impact score of 0.3 and in a steep downward slide.  Translation for non-science types?  stay away!  The article itself ran some paired regressions but didn't investigate covariate effects (of which there were 40 (!)

Anything more definitive?

ginjaninja

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2019, 09:22:59 AM »
Based on my personal thoughts if I end up with a divorce I really doubt it will have anything to do with how much I spent on the wedding. 

I wonder if how the wedding is financed has anything to do with this?  My fiance and I are saving up cash to pay for the whole thing ourselves.  If we went into debt for a wedding that might be a good indicator of other money habits causing stress on a relationship. 

chaskavitch

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2019, 09:31:52 AM »
My only suggestions are Whole Foods for delicious cake(s) if you're ok with not having a tiered cake, and Costco or Sams for bouquets if you want to buy traditional flowers for the wedding party.  I got married in February, so wildflowers weren't exactly an option, but we got all of our bridal party flowers for ~$200 from Sams.  And Whole Foods cakes are just delicious and well decorated regardless of occasion. 

Good luck, and congrats :)

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2019, 09:38:27 AM »
I am not sure what state/area you are in. Have you checked historic houses in your county and city?

We were married in a mansion at a park that was donated to the city.  we brought food drinks and it was much cheaper and better than any of the venues we looked at. 

AlexMar

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2019, 07:02:48 PM »
Get married at home.  Invite close friends and family. Do the catering yourself.  Sorry, I can't, in any way endorse spending thousands and thousands of dollars on a party for an evening. That's nuts and seems about as far from mustachian as you can get. So it's an odd request for this site!

And by the way. You are absolutely spending $50k on your wedding. Just compound your wedding cost over 15-20 years... That's how we do the math when thinking of FIRE
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 07:04:37 PM by AlexMar »

Villanelle

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2019, 07:30:40 PM »
Thank you all for the replies.  I worked in catering for ~6 years and got to see the bills that some weddings were able to rack up.  I will not be spending $50K on a wedding. 

I have found that if you are doing a "traditional" wedding an "all in" place is actually more affordable.  For comparison at least 3 other places we have seen have a site charge of over $6k for a Friday or Sunday and that literally only includes access to the site, you still need to find all of the other things (food, bar, linens, glassware, trash removal, etc.)

I appreciate the advice on having a small/informal/destination/elopement type wedding but we are pretty set on having one with ~170-185 guests.  Our original list was 275-300 people so this was cutting it back quite significantly.

The venue charges $45-55/plate and the alcohol is a "hosted bar" which means we pay per drink ($5/drink) instead of $40+/guest over 21.  We are also doing it on a Friday so that is helping with the cost. 

I will try and see if I can get the food costs down by switching to a more casual menu, and we are doing all of the decorations and centerpieces on our own. 

I would like to mention that we have gone thorough many of the community centers and local parks and they cannot accommodate the guest count we are looking for.  This is what we did for my graduation party years back and we went to Costco and did all of our own food and booze.  We have considered this but also do not want to put the burden on a friend or family member to manage this during the event.

It sounds like you guys are pretty set on the specific type of wedding/venue you want, so yes, your options and opportunities for cost-cutting and negotiating are going to be minimal.  You might consider going to a Thursday or Sunday, or even a Tuesday or Wednesday to see if they will go even cheaper.  And/or do lunch.  Not only would food be cheaper, so too would be alcohol, if you offer it at all.  If allowed, you could buy wine (via the venue or pay a corkage fee, most likely) and put a bottle of red and a bottle of white on each table and that's it.  People aren't going to miss hard liquor or drink very much during lunchtime. 

Also, plated meals tend to cost more than buffet, but not always.  Worth asking, at least.

Have a set playlist on a idevice set up and have a friend hit play, and be in charge of specialty songs if you are doing that (first dance, father daughter/mother son dance/s, etc.  (You'll need a sound system.)  That's free vs. paying a DJ or band.  Same for your wedding ceremony.  Have a friend hit "play" on the various songs during the ceremony.

ginjaninja

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2019, 11:14:35 AM »
I appreciate the diversity of opinions provided and am taking them into consideration.

One option I have recently heard of is doing "Chef's choice" for food options.  This can save 15-20% on the cost of food due to making it easier on the kitchens for ordering and cooking of the food. 

I will keep looking into options and only spending money on the part of the event that adds value to my life.  It seems like a lot of the silly "extras" really start to add up and do not add the value they cost. 

LifeHappens

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2019, 11:22:37 AM »
I will keep looking into options and only spending money on the part of the event that adds value to my life.  It seems like a lot of the silly "extras" really start to add up and do not add the value they cost.
This is so true. Favors, extravagant flowers, pricey gifts for the wedding party and the like don't add value to the day at all. Also, and this may be controversial, but nobody goes to a wedding for the food. (I also worked many a wedding at my high school job.) Shave costs there wherever you can.

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2019, 11:25:41 AM »
I'll throw my experience into the fray: Married at mile marker 72 of Hwy 95 (a nice scenic location overlooking the Kofa Mountains at sunset). Reception was at my house; biggest cost there was $10,000 to have someone completely landscape my backyard. Total cost was probably under $15,000 (including the backyard, open bar, dinner, etc.). This was pre-MMM, by the way.

AlexMar

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2019, 11:58:05 AM »
I'll throw my experience into the fray: Married at mile marker 72 of Hwy 95 (a nice scenic location overlooking the Kofa Mountains at sunset). Reception was at my house; biggest cost there was $10,000 to have someone completely landscape my backyard. Total cost was probably under $15,000 (including the backyard, open bar, dinner, etc.). This was pre-MMM, by the way.

I'm not sure I'd count the $10,000 in to the cost if you still maintained the landscaping as a home improvement.

Boofinator

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2019, 12:24:16 PM »
I'll throw my experience into the fray: Married at mile marker 72 of Hwy 95 (a nice scenic location overlooking the Kofa Mountains at sunset). Reception was at my house; biggest cost there was $10,000 to have someone completely landscape my backyard. Total cost was probably under $15,000 (including the backyard, open bar, dinner, etc.). This was pre-MMM, by the way.

I'm not sure I'd count the $10,000 in to the cost if you still maintained the landscaping as a home improvement.

Exactly, it was win-win. (Except for the DJ. Got a good deal on him, but turns out he wouldn't play a lot of the songs we requested because they offended his Christian sensibilities.) Weddings (and wedding rings, like my wife's garnet) can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want to make them. Just make sure you throw a big party and make it memorable (or not).

nereo

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2019, 12:47:42 PM »
I'll throw my experience into the fray: Married at mile marker 72 of Hwy 95 (a nice scenic location overlooking the Kofa Mountains at sunset). Reception was at my house; biggest cost there was $10,000 to have someone completely landscape my backyard. Total cost was probably under $15,000 (including the backyard, open bar, dinner, etc.). This was pre-MMM, by the way.

I'm not sure I'd count the $10,000 in to the cost if you still maintained the landscaping as a home improvement.

Exactly, it was win-win. (Except for the DJ. Got a good deal on him, but turns out he wouldn't play a lot of the songs we requested because they offended his Christian sensibilities.) Weddings (and wedding rings, like my wife's garnet) can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want to make them. Just make sure you throw a big party and make it memorable (or not).

Ok - gotta ask; what songs did you want played that offended the DJ's Christian sensibilities?

Boofinator

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2019, 12:50:56 PM »
I'll throw my experience into the fray: Married at mile marker 72 of Hwy 95 (a nice scenic location overlooking the Kofa Mountains at sunset). Reception was at my house; biggest cost there was $10,000 to have someone completely landscape my backyard. Total cost was probably under $15,000 (including the backyard, open bar, dinner, etc.). This was pre-MMM, by the way.

I'm not sure I'd count the $10,000 in to the cost if you still maintained the landscaping as a home improvement.

Exactly, it was win-win. (Except for the DJ. Got a good deal on him, but turns out he wouldn't play a lot of the songs we requested because they offended his Christian sensibilities.) Weddings (and wedding rings, like my wife's garnet) can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want to make them. Just make sure you throw a big party and make it memorable (or not).

Ok - gotta ask; what songs did you want played that offended the DJ's Christian sensibilities?

We had a "Submit A Song Request" as part of our wedding invitation. Though perhaps not the most matrimonial of songs, the overwhelming vote from (my) friends was Stinkfist by Tool (they know me well). This, along with several less inflammatory songs, were not played. It was only after the wedding that we connected the dots for what wasn't played versus what was.

Jouer

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2019, 12:52:27 PM »

Remember that the length of the marriage is in general 1/cost-of-wedding.

What??  I doubt there's any such correlation.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article214550500.html
Wow - that article is horrible for conflating correlation with causation!  Seriously going to use this in my next stats class.
The underlying journal which published the article is even worse - impact score of 0.3 and in a steep downward slide.  Translation for non-science types?  stay away!  The article itself ran some paired regressions but didn't investigate covariate effects (of which there were 40 (!)

Anything more definitive?

I wasn't planning on reading the article but now I have to after that reaction. Signed, a fellow statistician (one province over).

chaskavitch

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2019, 01:10:47 PM »
Having read your journal now, I'd say also think about what kind of ring you get.  I don't know exactly what you do as an engineer, but nice low profile ring might be a good lower-expense choice.

I had a big fancy ring because my MIL let us use the stone from her wedding ring (FIL passed away 5 years before we got married, so she didn't wear it anymore), and we reset the stone in a fancy setting (for like $2k, even after we already had the center stone!).  But I work in a microbiology lab, and my ring kept pinching my fingers and tearing my gloves and being uncomfortable, so I'd take it off all the time.  DH got me a band that matches his for Christmas last year for ~$300, and I wear it ALL THE TIME.  I love it, it doesn't interrupt my work at all, I can wear it to work out, inside my winter gloves without catching on the linings, etc.  It's great.


TVRodriguez

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2019, 01:14:59 PM »
I appreciate the diversity of opinions provided and am taking them into consideration.

One option I have recently heard of is doing "Chef's choice" for food options.  This can save 15-20% on the cost of food due to making it easier on the kitchens for ordering and cooking of the food. 

I will keep looking into options and only spending money on the part of the event that adds value to my life.  It seems like a lot of the silly "extras" really start to add up and do not add the value they cost.

We did a big fancy wedding (about 230 people) at a catering hall.  It cost a lot.

Two of the things I specifically remember doing to negotiate on the price per head was telling them that I didn't want 1) a raw bar at the cocktail hour or 2) a wedding cake.  They really like to show off their raw bars where I got married, but they charge an additional $$/head (I forget how much), and I didn't want it.  So they "threw in" a ceviche dish instead and didn't charge the additional $$/head.  They also offered a plated dessert with the cost of the meal, so I opted for that.  Wedding cake was an additional $3/head.  Then they decided it would look bad for them (to the guests) not to have a cake, so they threw it in with the price.  We did a Saturday luncheon after a morning ceremony, which was cheaper than Saturday night.

We also opted out of the catering hall's "extras" (fancier tablecloths and chairs, things like that).  A friend did our flowers for free (I bought them wholesale from a flower market the day before the wedding and bought vases from Ikea for her to use for the centerpieces).  The band was a latin band and cost about 1/3 or 1/4 the cost of "wedding bands."  A friend took a video of the ceremony and we didn't hire a videographer.

We did hire a professional photographer, but we didn't buy an album from him.  We bought one set of prints and all negatives and I made our album. 

The wedding dress was actually designed to be a bridesmaid dress, but I got it in ivory.  Loved it.

We did pay for the hotel bill for immediate family who were coming from out of town.  Definitely worth it.

My ring was my grandmother's wedding ring, and DH's was around $100 from a local jeweler.

I kept a spreadsheet of all expenses to keep myself on point.  That helped.

chaskavitch

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2019, 01:19:14 PM »
I appreciate the diversity of opinions provided and am taking them into consideration.

One option I have recently heard of is doing "Chef's choice" for food options.  This can save 15-20% on the cost of food due to making it easier on the kitchens for ordering and cooking of the food. 

I will keep looking into options and only spending money on the part of the event that adds value to my life.  It seems like a lot of the silly "extras" really start to add up and do not add the value they cost.

We did a big fancy wedding (about 230 people) at a catering hall.  It cost a lot.

Two of the things I specifically remember doing to negotiate on the price per head was telling them that I didn't want 1) a raw bar at the cocktail hour or 2) a wedding cake.  They really like to show off their raw bars where I got married, but they charge an additional $$/head (I forget how much), and I didn't want it.  So they "threw in" a ceviche dish instead and didn't charge the additional $$/head.  They also offered a plated dessert with the cost of the meal, so I opted for that.  Wedding cake was an additional $3/head.  Then they decided it would look bad for them (to the guests) not to have a cake, so they threw it in with the price.  We did a Saturday luncheon after a morning ceremony, which was cheaper than Saturday night.

We also opted out of the catering hall's "extras" (fancier tablecloths and chairs, things like that).  A friend did our flowers for free (I bought them wholesale from a flower market the day before the wedding and bought vases from Ikea for her to use for the centerpieces).  The band was a latin band and cost about 1/3 or 1/4 the cost of "wedding bands."  A friend took a video of the ceremony and we didn't hire a videographer.

We did hire a professional photographer, but we didn't buy an album from him.  We bought one set of prints and all negatives and I made our album. 

The wedding dress was actually designed to be a bridesmaid dress, but I got it in ivory.  Loved it.

We did pay for the hotel bill for immediate family who were coming from out of town.  Definitely worth it.

My ring was my grandmother's wedding ring, and DH's was around $100 from a local jeweler.

I kept a spreadsheet of all expenses to keep myself on point.  That helped.

Spreadsheets FTW!  Do it :)

ginjaninja

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2019, 03:27:39 PM »
I have a spreadsheet going already!  The engineer in me can't not have a spreadsheet ;)

We are going to DIY center pieces and do a "hosted bar" to limit cost of drinks and decorations.  I am also not paying for any of the site upgrades, with the exception of extra time. 

I will look at the bridesmaids dresses in Ivory.  I have a prom dress that I love from way back when and would be a wonderful wedding dress if it was white.  I am thinking that I will try and go that route because the dress was only ~$80. 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 11:46:30 AM by ginjaninja »

AlexMar

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2019, 04:57:29 PM »
I'll throw my experience into the fray: Married at mile marker 72 of Hwy 95 (a nice scenic location overlooking the Kofa Mountains at sunset). Reception was at my house; biggest cost there was $10,000 to have someone completely landscape my backyard. Total cost was probably under $15,000 (including the backyard, open bar, dinner, etc.). This was pre-MMM, by the way.

I'm not sure I'd count the $10,000 in to the cost if you still maintained the landscaping as a home improvement.

Exactly, it was win-win. (Except for the DJ. Got a good deal on him, but turns out he wouldn't play a lot of the songs we requested because they offended his Christian sensibilities.) Weddings (and wedding rings, like my wife's garnet) can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want to make them. Just make sure you throw a big party and make it memorable (or not).

It costs very little to throw a big party. I am still baffled by the money people spend on weddings. I truly can't understand it. The thought of spending that makes me almost sick. Thankfully my wife agrees!  I just can't think of a worse way for a young couple to get started in the world than to spend years and years of future retirement on a single party that nobody remembers or cares about the next day.

SwordGuy

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2019, 06:28:29 PM »
Meh just go to a beach, and have a destination wedding. A wedding so rapidly becomes a minor footnote in your lives it is hardly worth it.

Like would you go out and spend 50k on a sports car that deprecates to nothing in a week? Because that is what a wedding is! I don't know anything about your age or life situation. But if I had blown a bunch of (my own) money on a wedding I would probably have to wake up and go to work tomorrow!

Just think about it, good luck.

Depreciates, not Deprecates.

Sorry, but the words have very different meanings.   


Other than that, very sound advice!

AlexMar

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2019, 06:59:23 PM »
Meh just go to a beach, and have a destination wedding. A wedding so rapidly becomes a minor footnote in your lives it is hardly worth it.

Like would you go out and spend 50k on a sports car that deprecates to nothing in a week? Because that is what a wedding is! I don't know anything about your age or life situation. But if I had blown a bunch of (my own) money on a wedding I would probably have to wake up and go to work tomorrow!

Just think about it, good luck.

Depreciates, not Deprecates.

Sorry, but the words have very different meanings.   


Other than that, very sound advice!

Depreciate and deprecate are synonyms.

AMandM

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2019, 09:22:07 PM »

Depreciate and deprecate are synonyms.

Deprecate is a synonym for the less commonly used meaning of depreciate, to belittle or disparage. Deprecate is not a synonym for the more common (financial) meaning of depreciate, to decline in value.

Goldielocks

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2019, 10:19:56 PM »
Headcount reduction is your primary means of cutting costs, if you want to keep the plater meal / event more or less similar to your current idea.

Even a 20% reduction in headcount will have a significant impact on your costs.   I recommend that you only invite immediate family, people that you or your parents if they are helping to pay, have socialized with in the past year to 18 months, and people that you can see yourselves having Thanksgiving dinner with in the future or would call upon to help you out if you were suddenly homeless after a natural disaster.

IF that number is still 185 people, then you either have HUGE families or you have decieved yourselves.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2019, 10:38:35 AM »
Headcount reduction is your primary means of cutting costs, if you want to keep the plater meal / event more or less similar to your current idea.

Even a 20% reduction in headcount will have a significant impact on your costs.   I recommend that you only invite immediate family, people that you or your parents if they are helping to pay, have socialized with in the past year to 18 months, and people that you can see yourselves having Thanksgiving dinner with in the future or would call upon to help you out if you were suddenly homeless after a natural disaster.

IF that number is still 185 people, then you either have HUGE families or you have decieved yourselves.

It's very true that the number of guests has the largest impact on the total amount spent, but I dunno . . .  I tried to keep headcount down and neglected to invite some people who actually were quite close to me and I regretted it.  I do have a very large family, which took up a large percentage of our guest total, and I don't regret having so many family members there, but it would have been nice to have those particular friends there with us that day, too.

ginjaninja

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2019, 10:55:05 AM »
Ultimately I wrote this post to see if there was any room for negotiating a wedding contract.  My retirement goals are not going to be impacted by spending this money, I was just trying to hear some good stories from individuals who had found fun creative ways to cut costs. 

Thank you all for your feedback.  A wedding is a highly personal thing and I respect that everyone can have a wedding of their choosing. 

AlexMar

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #39 on: February 07, 2019, 11:33:15 AM »
Ultimately I wrote this post to see if there was any room for negotiating a wedding contract.  My retirement goals are not going to be impacted by spending this money, I was just trying to hear some good stories from individuals who had found fun creative ways to cut costs. 

Thank you all for your feedback.  A wedding is a highly personal thing and I respect that everyone can have a wedding of their choosing.

Take the word "wedding" out of your question.  Now ask if you think it's fine to spend $10k - $20k or whatever on a party on a Tuesday evening.  What response do you expect from the MMM community?  It's fine, spend your money however you want, but don't be upset or offended if others point out that spending that kind of money is not very mustachian.  That's the type of forum you asked the question on.  You may want to try an actual wedding related forum for a more robust answer to your question without the financial judgments :)

englishteacheralex

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #40 on: February 07, 2019, 11:50:50 AM »
Personally, I spent $10k on our wedding for 150 guests in 2013 and I don't regret a penny of it. To me, a significant part of marriage is family/community, and a wedding symbolizes those things. I cut corners on everything EXCEPT the guest list. Guest list came first, all the other accoutrements came second.

Weddings mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Pooping all over them as "unmustachian" seems one-dimensional to me.

I recommend the website and planning books www.apracticalwedding.com. So much help on things like negotiating menus at all-inclusive places. So much practical DIY stuff. "Real wedding" budgets/photo journals from $2k up to sky's the limit. The full gamut of attitudes and possibilities about weddings.

I love this website so much I still check it pretty much daily even though I have been married 5+ years.

ginjaninja

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #41 on: February 07, 2019, 12:27:23 PM »
@AlexMar I actually received very good and relevant comments from other posters on this thread.  Thank you for your continued criticism of my decision, I am not offended I just do not think your comments are adding value to my original request.

@englishteacheralex I will check out the website!! Thank you. 


Goldielocks

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2019, 11:42:44 PM »
Headcount reduction is your primary means of cutting costs, if you want to keep the plater meal / event more or less similar to your current idea.

Even a 20% reduction in headcount will have a significant impact on your costs.   I recommend that you only invite immediate family, people that you or your parents if they are helping to pay, have socialized with in the past year to 18 months, and people that you can see yourselves having Thanksgiving dinner with in the future or would call upon to help you out if you were suddenly homeless after a natural disaster.

IF that number is still 185 people, then you either have HUGE families or you have decieved yourselves.


It's very true that the number of guests has the largest impact on the total amount spent, but I dunno . . .  I tried to keep headcount down and neglected to invite some people who actually were quite close to me and I regretted it.  I do have a very large family, which took up a large percentage of our guest total, and I don't regret having so many family members there, but it would have been nice to have those particular friends there with us that day, too.

if you have a large family and value connections with friends and people a lot...  why not go for the opposite style of wedding --- a wedding ceremony of your choice, followed by a large, loose, unrestricted gathering at a park or open venue?  Have a Barbeque and hire a live band of some sort and just have a great time, without worrying about anything fancy and able to invite a few more people while you are at it?

When I look back at the 50's and 60's... casual / small wedding reception were very popular and an exceptionally nice get together for family / friends.

FallenTimber

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2019, 12:53:48 PM »
Your best bet for a discount is to have a weekday wedding (especially Monday-Thursday). Or to get married in the off-season. From a wedding photographer's perspective and having close relationships with venues, caterers, florists, the general rule of thumb in the wedding industry is that the couples asking for discounts will also have the highest demands and be the most difficult to work with. The same is usually true in most industries (we won't rent our AirBnB cabin to anyone who asks for a discount, as they always leave the lowest reviews).

Point being, my recommendation is to cut costs where you can (headcount is certainly the biggest cost cutter), but be careful about coming across as overly frugal. You want to build a great relationship with your vendors, because being an easy client means they'll be eager to go above and beyond for you.

Just my two cents and perhaps another perspective on the negotiation.

LG89

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Re: Wedding Negotiation
« Reply #44 on: February 12, 2019, 01:13:03 PM »
@AlexMar I actually received very good and relevant comments from other posters on this thread.  Thank you for your continued criticism of my decision, I am not offended I just do not think your comments are adding value to my original request.

@englishteacheralex I will check out the website!! Thank you.

I just want to commend you for staying classy but firm. And even though I'm not getting married any time soon it was a helpful read.