Photo: Justin Johnson Photography
Word on the Street: A backyard wedding is less expensive than a traditional venue.
My Take: This is a tricky one… typically, no. While there are always exceptions, essentially building a venue at a private residence tends to be more expensive. When you pay a fee for an event space or a rental fee, this is really because they’re providing you with a “completed” space. Especially in areas where weather is ever changing (particularly our lovely Northeast) weather backup plans are necessary. So while your family home might boast a large picturesque pasture that you envision not needing a tent to dine under… reality is, you’re going to need a tent as a back up. What it really boils down to is that with a private residence wedding there are a lot more logistical issues (restrooms, heating or cooling, kitchen setup, etc.) that can arise that will need money dedicated for them if something doesn’t go according to plan, especially at the last minute. All of this isn’t to say backyard weddings aren’t possible and simply lovely, just know that reality is a little different than the picture painted.
Word on the Street: You should only book vendors who are familiar with your venue.
My Take: False! I don’t like being ruled out as a planner because I haven’t worked at a particular location before. Hiring an educated and experienced team of vendors means you’re hiring teams that have worked enough weddings to be able to adapt to any location. We know the right questions to ask when working at a new venue to become acquainted with the space ensuring we aren’t missing a thing. Plus, we like a little variety in our lives! Working at a new space allows us a fresh perspective, a blank canvas...you’ll be getting a vendor who maybe sees things differently and through a different lens. That ultimately is a benefit to you if you’re looking for something a little different than what you’ve seen in the space before!
Word on the Street: Wedding vendors are overpriced and won’t even try to negotiate with us.
My Take: There has been a lot of conversation in media recently about wedding prices being exorbitant and couples being quoted different prices for a wedding as opposed to other events (say a birthday, for example). Well of course a wedding is going to be more expensive than a birthday! We have birthdays every year, but a wedding… typically a more rare occurrence. Vendors are fully aware of the pressures that come with these types of heightened expectations and so more time, precautions, and a more elevated level of customer service is provided. While there are always what some term as “shady” vendors out there, there are an abundance of trustworthy and hardworking ones, which is why it’s so important to do your research prior to booking. Book your vendors based on evidence… what have past couples said about them? Read their blog and review their social media accounts to get a sense of who they are. Get referrals from friends/family who have been through the planning process. Hire a planner whom you connect with and trust and rely on their recommendations.
Regarding negotiating, negotiating is ok! Keep in mind though, negotiating and haggling are two different things. The first thing is making sure you are honest about your budget up front. It’s a possibility that they might be willing to cut or reduce their services in order to fit into your budget, though realize the answer might be no. Most vendors put a lot of research, trial and error into their pricing, it’s not an arbitrary number that they are able to reduce without adjusting the inclusions of a particular package.