Why “Discounts” Hurt Weddings
Everyone loves a good discount. A bargain. A value. But value is relative and comes in a lot of forms. What we offer our clients is a value because the service is great. It works best when our clients who hire us, trust us, want to work with us, allow us to do what we do best! We provide a client experience, not just a service. But a bargain, now that’s a little different. When I go to Nordstrom Rack, I feel accomplished because I didn’t spend as much on the Kate Spade as if I were to go to the Kate Spade store. But we all know the bag I got on discount was last season’s model. It’s discounted because it’s not the best that Kate Spade currently offers. And that’s how discounts should work- discounts are provided when the quality is not the same or the service is pared down.
But even then, when potential clients want to pare down services for a better rate, it makes me nervous for them. Yes, we are a year out from your wedding, you want to do this, you can do this… awesome, right? Not awesome. When you hit that three month count down, your whole world will be begging you to hire help at any cost. As a professional planner myself, I couldn’t and wouldn’t go through it again on my own for my own wedding. The emotional toll is exhausting. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years on a full-time basis. I know what you don’t know and, more importantly, what you don’t know that you don’t know. We cannot pare down our service or process– in doing so, we lose quality, your day suffers and even our own reputation is at stake. Our vendor and venue colleagues expect a certain level of service when working with us and we aim to provide it. Mainly, because it is what is best for you and the one chance you have for a flawless wedding day.
To be totally and fairly honest, when I’m asked to give a discount, I’m a bit offended. These days, I think blogs train brides to ask for discounts so I don’t take it personally. But I do raise my eyebrows a bit. Can you imagine if I were to walk into my dentist and ask for a discount? That’s just not how things work. We are a real business that offers real services, real education, real guidance and – most importantly – real ability to make split-second judgement calls on your wedding day on your behalf. In addition to what you see, there is so much that you don’t see from our office rent, staff, taxes, insurance, marketing, and so on. What we excel in may not be a tangible product that you can hold in your hand, but it’s still a service … a very valuable service that is a product of years of experience, knowledge, education, and being in the trenches.
So for these reasons and more, we also do not request discounts from the vendors we work with. I know right here I may have lost half of you because the whole reason you are here is because The Knot or some other pretty blog told you that your wedding planner would secure some discounts for you. Here is the real deal ladies and gentlemen … when asking a vendor for a discount, what they hear is “I do not value your service” and what they then do is provide weaker service. YES, some of our vendors are able to provide discounts and – more importantly – extra services and/or products for the same rate, because having us leading the charge means they don’t have to do as much leg work and can eliminate some of their hours and maybe even staffing. So while it’s not a discount, you will certainly be getting the most you can for your money.
The best way for me to save you money is for you to allow me to do my job in the first place – connect you with the right vendors, create a feasible timeline for the weekend, act as the conduit between you and your vendors to ensure that everyone is playing well in the sandbox and to guarantee the most flawless of wedding days. By asking for a discount, by securing a “day of” coordinator vs. hiring a full-service consultant to guide you from making poor initial choices is the safest way we can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Which we do. Every day. For every wedding. Remember that we have been educating ourselves for years on what you are trying to research in one month.
The bottom line is that when you value your vendors, they value you and put your wedding first. Your goal is to be someone’s priority and being that means making them a priority as well. As great as they sound in theory, I promise you with all of my heart, discounts will negatively impact your wedding day. Things WILL go wrong on your wedding day; it’s inevitable. But how the professional and experienced vendors that you hire and respect enough to pay their requested fee will handle is is where you get everything you pay for.
While I think it’s important to educate you on how discounts can negatively impact you, I also think it’s important for you to know that your vendors are real people with real hearts. We really do care! We aren’t ‘no’ people and we want to help. We may not be able to give discounts but talk to us about your hesitations, we may have some other tricks up our sleeves that can still accomplish your goals. Remember, the better your wedding day is for you, the better it is for us. Talking about money is hard, we are looking for the best value, but the reality is that we are all on the same team. We are all invested in making your wedding day the best day of your lives thus far! Please trust in the vendors you hire!