I read this article and there are a few points that I disagree with, but most of it is accurate. I take issue with tip number two, advising brides to negotiate prices with vendors.
Most vendors, including myself, have set prices that are NOT negotiable. We have to make a living, just like you. We have bills to pay, in fact, we have more bills to pay. Insurance, equipment, employees and so on. Unless you're hiring someone who is NOT a professional, don't expect any negotiation. You should also expect to get what you pay for. We have several packages with various prices so that our clients can pick what best suits their needs. Our DJ services are prices well below the national average of $1150. In fact, for another $50 ($1200), we're including our photo booth (current special at the time of this article's publication - 4/25/15)
I do appreciate that the article suggests a DJ over a band. I've worked with bands several times in the past and more often than not, they tend to empty out a full dance floor.
With that being said, here are the tips by PAUL KATZEFF, INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY:
• Work the budget. Start by making a list of what you want to include, and then get a price — or a range of prices — for each line item. It's best to ask several vendors what they charge for each product or service. You may want to ask the ones that differ the most why their charges vary.
• Negotiate. Once you have a list of products, services and charges, you can dicker. "Negotiating is a two-way process," said Heather Bandur, of Heather Bandur Events & Designs in the Big Apple. Be prepared to take less of something or downgrade to get a lower price.
• Watch the calendar. Venues and vendors typically cost more during the high season. Consider another time of year.
Ditto for the day of the week. Saturday night is prime time. Switching to a day and time other than Saturday night can save 15% to 20%, Bandur says. That can cut thousands of dollars from your bill. Monday tends to be the least expensive day of the week.
• Use a disc jockey. A DJ can save you up to 90% in music cost vs. a live band. And many guests would rather listen to the original versions of songs than to ersatz covers, Bandur says.
• Cut your guest list. The average number of guests fell to 136 last year from 141 in 2010. If you trim your guest list enough, you can spend more per person and still cut your bottom line, Miles says. Stick with close friends and family.
• Say yes to another dress. Plan ahead so that you can take advantage of floor sample sales, which can save you up to 80% off prices that averaged $1,357 last year. Also, if you're aiming for separate dresses for the ceremony, reception and after-party, consider a convertible dress for the ceremony whose train, for example, detaches by zipper so the bride can dance in it.
• Avoid frills. Send save-the-date notices by email. With the subsequent actual invitations, forgo embellishments like raised lettering and die or laser cutting.
• Don't outsmart yourself. Think you can save money by selecting an unconventional venue rather than a full-service hotel or function hall? If that funky venue can't provide everything from tables to chairs, cutlery and kitchen equipment, you may have to pay extra to rent them separately.