How to procure a wedding – advice needed

So congratulations to Sheena Moore, the Editor of Spend Matters US, who has announced her engagement to “her Jason” as we know him (i.e. not Jason Busch who is already very married).

Sheena has written a post here asking for advice in planning the wedding, and useful tips from a procurement point of view.  Sounds like she’s following a sensible procurement line already in her cost-conscious thinking.

 In doing some initial research, I found that the average cost for a wedding in the US is $25,631. Now, I’m not one for Hummer limos with swimming pools in the back, a Cirque de Soleil performance, or even gliding down the aisle in a pair of Louboutins (sorry, Jason, no cordovan for me). I’m really just looking for a memorable evening where my family and friends can watch us say “I do” and then eat delicious food, drink delicious wine, and dance the night away (without me hyperventilating over the cost of napkin rings).

But she’s looking for the very best advice from the most informed bunch of sourcing people in the world i.e. Spend Matters readers. So what advice would you give Sheena?

As I dive into planning, I’ll feature an ongoing column that covers war stories, success stories, and the ups and downs of planning a wedding – Spend Matters-style. I’d be thrilled to receive anecdotes, advice, and tips from our readers – please get some comments going or send me an email.

I asked my wife and her immediate response was, “don’t tell them it’s for a wedding”.

And strangely enough, Bitter and Twisted, our erstwhile commentator on both sides of the Atlantic, was the first to comment on Sheena’s piece;

When negotiating don’t let slip it’s a wedding. It’s a party, a function, etc.  Be ruthless in cutting the non-essentials.

What a spooky coincidence! Does this mean my wife IS Bitter and Twisted??

I think my initial piece of advice – which links with the above really in terms of negotiating strategy  – is to try NOT to set your heart too much on any one feature of the event. We all know that one key to effective negotiation and buying is to have alternatives at all times – your BATNA.

So try not to get hooked on wanting that particular hotel for the reception, or that particular dress, or hiring Adele to play at the reception. That doesn’t mean you can’t still try and get what you want – but you’ll be in a much stronger position if the supplier knows you’re open to alternatives. Tough, I know.

But anyway, we’re relying on our readers to give Sheena and Jason some great advice – what worked well / didn’t work well for you? How do you get that 50% discount on the white Rolls Royce? The free champagne for the reception? The BOGOF deal on stripping Policemen for the Hen Party? Sheena needs to know!

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Voices (4)

  1. Market Dojo:

    Congratulation from Market Dojo team! Wishing you all the best Sheena. Our advice is keep your options open so you always have room to negotiate, although if you end up with the one supplier you have your heart set on, you could always try a Japanese auction (kidding!). Having recently got married in Poland, I have learnt that you always have options, however dire the situation may seem to be so don’t get stressed and use lots of spreadsheets. If you do fancy a change of venue, I can recommend Torun in Poland, wonderful city and they certainly know how to party.

  2. Final Furlong:

    This is surely about demand management.

    Don’t do it…

    Buy an expensive sports car with really low mileage – it’s so much cheaper in the long run…

    1. Planbee:

      And often lasts longer of course

  3. TimBya:

    I can give plenty of advice on how not to do it!

    When my daughter announced her engagement, we were naturally thrilled and pleased to tell her and her finance that we would honour the tradition as brides parents and foot the bill. At this point I should mention that they live together several hundred miles from us.

    I then started to think of my multi sourcing procurement strategy, find an independent venue, seek competitive bids for catering, etc and even a take a trip to France with a van to source the liquid refreshments and optimise the project tax liability.

    . Unfortunately my daughter implemented a single tender, turnkey contract strategy and chose a bespoke wedding venue where they do it all for you (at a price!).

    Lessons Learned, engage with your stakeholders early, don’t reveal your budget, get the strategy signed off formally and most importantly, ensure the budget holder has ultimate authority to commit expenditure! But finally, smile, relax and enjoy the ride, it only happens once (I hope!)

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