The No. 1 question to ask if you want to save money when planning a wedding

Rings and candle
Photo Credit: JF Photography

If you're planning a wedding and you want to keep costs down, this is the one question you need to ask all of your vendors: "Is this the best you can do?"

Just because you said "yes" to your forever partner does not mean you have to say "yes" to the first price your vendors give you when planning your nuptials. My husband and I learned that asking that one question can actually lead to lots of pleasant surprises — and it can also be a great introduction into negotiating.

Here's how strategic application of that question helped me save big on my own big day.

The venue

We wanted a traditional church ceremony followed by a ballroom reception. After touring several places, we agreed on a venue that came with a lavish cocktail hour, including a sushi bar (that's what sold us!).

The venue had everything we wanted and, as expected, ate up the majority of our budget. If we could negotiate down the price per plate, even a little bit, it could yield big savings.

After finalizing the package and giving the venue our expected head count, we asked the all-important question: "Is this the best you can do?"

We reminded the coordinator that we were getting married in January, which is considered the off season, and on a Sunday. In our research, we learned Saturday is the most expensive day, followed by Sunday and Friday.

The venue was able to knock a few dollars off the price per plate, which saved us over $1,000.

The floral arrangements
Photo credit: JF Photography; flowers: Barbara Bell Designs

Floral arrangements

Our vision for our wedding was a romantic winter wonderland, focused on colors of burgundy, blush pink and cream. Asking the question to our florist sparked a discussion about how arrangements are priced. Our florist taught us that each flower has its own price, and that flowers that are out-of-season cost more.

To trim some costs, our florist suggested swapping out two flowers in our centerpieces. We removed the white ranunculus and anemones and replaced them with a blush pink hydrangea. Cutting out two flowers and replacing it with another saved us $10 per centerpiece, for a total of $140 on just those arrangements.

To make the bridal bouquets more dramatic, our florist added long ribbons for no additional cost.

Photography and videography

One of the most important aspects of our wedding was photography and videography. We wanted to document our wedding and have memories we could share and pass down for generations.

After a lot of research and meeting with our top choices, we settled on a studio that was recommended by a family friend. We looked at sample photos and albums and started going over details of what was included in our photo and video package. That's when we asked the question and began our negotiation.

Our photographer offered to include in an engagement photo session, a $250 value, for free. This was great because an engagement shoot was something we did not include in our budget – so it was a bonus! It was also a lot of fun to spend an hour in the park taking photos and it got us familiar with our photographer ahead of the wedding. And it gave us beautiful professional photos for our Save The Date cards!

While we asked the question to every vendor, not all of them were able to give us a discount or add something extra into the package. Some vendors told us their prices were industry standard. In those cases, we went with the vendor we felt was best for our event.

However, we learned it doesn't hurt to ask, and you could be surprised by the results. We certainly were.

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Rings and candle
Photo Credit: JF Photography
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