Today officially marks the 1-month mark until I get married, which means right now I’m making it rain on vendors (half payments due up front for some, deposits for others). It also means that, even though I have a budget and know how much I’ve spent so far, I’m slightly afraid to look at my bank account. Yes, yes, I’m putting it on cards that will give me cash back or travel rewards, but it doesn’t mean I’m not still nervous!
One thing I’m starting to wish I did for my wedding is barter. There are all types of success stories, from the couple that bartered for an $80,000 wedding, to another that bartered a $40,000 wedding down to $3,000. Countless people ask about bartering on discussion threads, and elements of bartering may be coming back into style.
However, not everyone is going to be successful at bartering. If you have nothing to offer, why would a company want to provide anything to you for free? If you’re considering bartering to pay for your wedding, here’s how to make worthwhile for both you and the company you’re trying to work with.
Barter Your Skills
If you’re a professional photographer, graphic designer, website-builder, videographer – literally any skill that a business could use – you’re on the right track to barter for your wedding services. If you’re good at writing copy that gets noticed on the web, or can design neat logos and incorporate them into a website, consider offering these services in exchange for services from your wedding vendors.
For example, let’s say your photographer wants to showcase his/her work online, but has no idea (or time) to set up a website. You can offer your skills as a web designer or creator in exchange for a portion of their work – or maybe the entire thing, depending on what you work out with the photographer!
Be sure to highlight how this will benefit your wedding vendor. If you have a portfolio or testimonials for you work, share them and consider doing a mock draft of what you’re offering, so your vendor can see if they’re truly interested in working with you.
Choose Newer Vendors
Established wedding vendors may be less likely to want to barter services because they likely already have what you’re offering. For example, our cake vendor is nationally recognized for his creative and delicious cakes, and has a website, testimonials, and a marketing department to prove it. On the other hand, a new cake baker just getting started? They may need an entire website, or someone to photograph their lovely cakes – you name it, and they be willing to barter for it.
By working with someone new to the wedding industry, you’re really making it a win-win. You’re able to provide services that will help market a new business, and they’re providing you with a service at your wedding, which also gets them more exposure. You may even be able to get a testimonial from them as well!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Many people get nervous when you mention “bartering for wedding services.” After all, your wedding is only one day – what if someone doesn’t follow through on what was agreed on, and you’re left without a cake on your big day?
First of all, get everything in writing and make it binding. This means for both you and them: make sure both of your services is written out completely and both parties sign an agreement. This not only covers you and makes sure you get what was agreed upon, but it also makes sure vendors don’t take advantage of you after the wedding. Don’t be afraid to write down exactly what they will provide you and what you will provide them, and by what date.
Bartering for wedding services isn’t exactly uncommon, although it may be difficult to start the conversation at first. However, the worst you’ll hear is “no” and your pride may be damaged. If you get a “no” to bartering from a vendor, you can always move on to another one, or stick with the vendor if you really want him/her anyway.
Remember that you’re trying to barter to lower your costs, promote your business, and promote your vendors’ business. This is supposed to be a mutually beneficial relationship, so really study your vendors and see how you could make a difference with your services. It is clearly possible to barter for your wedding, you just have to get creative and persistent!
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Would you ever barter to help pay for your wedding? If you did barter to pay for your wedding, what vendors did you barter with?