Say the word wedding and you think of a few things: love, marriage, happiness, and MONEY! Weddings aren’t cheap. The average cost of a Central Florida wedding is almost $30,000. But it doesn’t need to cost that much. We’ve got 8 steps to finding affordable wedding vendors.
Set a budget
Before you can begin, you’ve got to figure out how much you can spend on your wedding. “Set a budget for your full day, set your priorities first, and figure out how much to spend in those areas,” recommends Jenn DeFilippis from Jennifer Nicole Photography. Figuring out who’s paying for what will make tough choices a little easier knowing what you’ve got in the bank.
Know that you’ve got the budget figure out, it’s time to talk. Nobody knows better how much a wedding can cost than your friends and family who’ve already tied the knot. This is the perfect place to start when you’re just beginning to plan the big day.
“Couples ask their friends that have been married and ask how much they paid for their vendors,” says Rebekkah Rosado from Runway Events. Asking friends and family not only helps you figure out how much it will cost, but they can also share creative ideas with you on where to save money and cut costs.
Things may have changed since your bestie or sister got married. They may have started their planning by using popular wedding magazines like The Knot and Bride Magazine. Going online can also help you find affordable wedding vendors. “Wedding blogs are a great resource for figuring out the average cost per vendor, but it does vary per market,” says DeFilippis. “Most vendors have their pricing on their sites or at least a starting price point.”
Be careful of Googling to figure out the average price. “Couples also go online and search for ‘how much does a wedding planner cost’ or ‘how much does a DJ cost?’. They find numbers range from $200 up to $10,000. This is such a huge range for couples to understand why some vendors are $1,000 and some are more” says Rosado. Do your research about the pricing to see what will fit in your budget.
Call ‘em up
After you’ve found some vendors from friends and online, it’s time to dial them up. “Always talk with your vendors, whether it be on the phone or meeting up in person,” recommends Michael Fried from Sonacity Photography. “You might find that they have a special going on or they understand a certain circumstance you are going through,” Fried says be straightforward and prepared with questions.
Rosado agrees, talking to vendors can help you figure out if they have any packages or offers. “The best way for couples to find accurate pricing is to get on the phone with a vendor for a consultation,” Rosado says. “As vendors, we have different packages, pricing, add ons, and options so there are so many opportunities to make something work for both the couple and the vendor.”
Wilson shares, “Talk directly to your top vendors in each category.” Once you’ve done the research online checking reviews, watching videos, and looked at their website, it’s time to connect directly with each company.
To find affordable wedding vendors you’ve got to compare. “You can price shop, but remember to make sure you are comparing apples to apples,” recommends Barbara White from VIP Wedding Transportation. “Will you get the same service, high standards, and quality of service?”
This is where you’ll want to examine the differences in vendors.
“Affordable is such a broad term,” says DeFilippis and we couldn’t agree more. Each couple has a different number in their head when they say, affordable wedding vendors. Be clear and specific about your budget when you are shopping around.
Do your research
If you see a big difference in prices between vendors, be wary. “I have heard nightmare stories about the couple’s hiring cheap vendors and it always makes me upset. If you know they are cheaper than the average vendor, make sure you are ok with missed opportunities, poor quality work, and struggling on your wedding day,” cautions Fried.
“In my experience in this industry, there have been quite a few vendors to go out of business and take the couples money, show up on-site looking unprofessional and unprepared, or not show up at all,” said Rosado. “A majority of the time, they hired the vendor only because of the price.”
To avoid those scenarios, it’s important to research each vendor. Marcia Van de Kieft and Tyneshia Perine from Tootles Event Sitters offer some questions to ask before signing a contract: “Is the vendor insured? Is the vendor certified? Is the vendor experienced? Does the vendor have good reviews? Sometimes, you get what you pay for and when this is your special day, you don’t want anything to go wrong,” they said.
Remember that a vendor with a substantially lower price may be too good to be true.
“When something is super cheap, it usually means it’s cheap in value and quality. Good photography isn’t cheap and cheap photography isn’t good. The reason why wedding services may be a bit pricey from a reputable company is that there is a cost involved in maintaining a luxurious service,” says DeFilippis. “Legit vendors are licensed, insured, and have a CODB (Cost of Doing Business). Vendors who can offer cheap services don’t usually have those things that keep the couple covered legally.”
Reaching out to other couples who’ve used a particular vendor or finding online reviews should help you shift through and find quality vendors. “It should start to become apparent what the differences are in from a lower price versus a higher-priced vendor. And then they can decide what’s most important to them and where they want to make their investment,” says Kristin Wilson from Our DJ Rocks.
Once you’ve found reputable vendors who will live up to your expectations, it’s time to figure out which vendors get priority in your budget. “If you are a music lover and the DJ is the most important thing, find your perfect DJ first and spend what you need to on it, and go from there,” recommends DeFilippis. “If photos are the thing you value the most and are your must-have, find your photographers first and spend what you need there and then divide out the remainder.”
Each couple will have their preferences. Book first what’s most important to make your wedding day special and use your remaining budget for the rest.
Get it in writing
Once you’ve prioritized your vendors, make sure to get a contract signed by both you and the vendor. “Having a contract gives you a little more peace of mind than just a handshake or verbal quote,” recommends White. “Get terms, conditions, and cost in writing upfront.”
Do you know that saying ‘you get what you paid for’? Well, it’s true when it comes to weddings. When you’re looking at price, you’ve also got to make sure the vendors are reputable and experienced. “Find a vendor that shares your values,” says Fried.
“You want to enjoy your memorable day, choose your vendors wisely so you are not disappointed. Using a reputable wedding planner to help you through the process is a great investment in one of the most important days of your life” shares Rosado.
Finding affordable wedding vendors can be challenging, but it’s doable. Just remember what’s important and what you can live without.
Written By Daniella Hume