Bridey, I'm friends with pretty much all of my wedding vendors on FaceBook, and recently, a fellow vendor posted about how it's almost inescapable for a bride and groom not to ask for a discount these days. Somehow, it's become instilled in their DNA because of all of the free (and usually shitty) advice out there suggesting that couples must immediately ask if vendor pricing is flexible. Seriously, I'd say that at least 60% of recently engaged couples come out and ask for a discount before learning what they are receiving. They gear up for negotiation as if they are walking into a used car dealership... Like as wedding vendors, our prices are fluid, and adjustable and if they're not, then they should be. But, why? Why has this become the "norm" in the hospitality industry? I mean, has it really come down to the fact that if we don't automatically offer a discount, then we're not being hospitable? Well, fuck that.
Look, I have said time, and time again, that, "if you don't ask (for a discount) then you don't get". And, I still believe it. But, just like everything else in wedding planning and in life for that matter, one must use advice carefully and thoughtfully. Seriously, maybe I should have added the caveat that you must listen and understand the terms of the provisions before jumping the gun and asking for a discount. Perhaps once you learn more about what the vendor you are considering hiring for your wedding is offering, it won't occur to you to ask for a discount simply because their pricing is fair for what you are receiving. Forgive me... I really thought I didn't need to highlight this particular point, but apparently I should have.
Bridey, think about it like it's foreplay... Give your wedding vendors a chance to finish before the encore. Plain and simple. For example, the FB friend I referenced? He said that, "Couples always ask for a winter/off-season discounts. Don't you think that this (winter) weather might be a little bit more stressful than a nice summer or fall day?" Bridey, really think about this... Picture your vendors driving to the wedding venue, loading in (and out) their equipment, and then safely getting home... in a snowstorm. If anything, you should be paying more for "off season", not less.
The exception? Wedding venues. Yes, you should still listen to their offerings, and not rush into asking for a discount, but in my experience, venues such as hotels, country clubs, etc. would rather provide a discount and have a wedding as opposed to no wedding at all, especially in their "off season". Why? Because at the end of the day, these venues are a corporation with bosses to answer to, and monetary goals to meet and achieve, not an individual wedding vendor whose profession puts food on the table for their children. It's a completely different animal. Usually, your photographer, videographer, DJ, invitation designer, harpist, pianist, wedding planner, etc. are one or two peeps trying to make a living. And, when you ask for a discount (immediately or not), you're completely undermining their bottom line.
So, where does this leave us? Plain and simple, bridey, do you homework. Find out what the appropriate range for each wedding vendor, and then meet with them to find out why they fall on either side (or the middle) of the spectrum. If you love them, but they are truly out of your price range, then, and only then, ask if they have flexibility with their pricing. But, don't be surprised if they don't, because just like you, they have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Got it?