Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have noticed my ranting last week about struggling to find good, even affordable deals with suppliers.
I’m not one to kiss and tell, but several potential suppliers have even quoted me a radically inflated amount, I know this because friends of mine have used some them at a very different price. I’ve also had some rather frosty service in dress shops where friends of mine raved about the excellent and helpful staff.
What’s the difference between me and these friends? The only discernable difference is that I’m 24. They’re not.
On the phone, I sound about two. In person I look, as many industry professionals have (hopefully affectionately) told me, twelve.
So what’s the motivation for treating a young bride differently to her older counterparts?
Yes, that’s actually me…
“It’ll never last”
Traditionally 24 has been a relatively acceptable age to get married. But for a start, I don’t look 24. I still get asked for ID buying a lighter, when I answer the door to sales people, they ask if my parents are home. You get the picture. Secondly, is 24 still an age society deems you old enough to get married? Sort of. People assume that in your twenties you don’t know your own mind – but quite honestly I know people in their thirties I would still say are too young to make a lifelong commitment while I know people in their twenties I wouldn’t even question. Age is just a number.
So chatting on Twitter to other younger brides, many of you said you often got that “it’ll never last” look. Particularly when shopping for wedding dresses. I can identify – my first encounter with wedding dress shopping was wonderful. My second? Not so much. I felt like they were stuffing me in and out of dresses I definitely wouldn’t like without listening to a word I was saying. I’d called ahead with the dresses I wanted to try on and they had nothing prepared and no note of me calling.
But, quite honestly, it was their loss. I took my dress budget elsewhere. Where the service was impeccable. I almost felt like getting all dressed up and coming back to taunt them about the loss of their commission like this:
But that’s not all – part of me, maybe a paranoid part, wonders if vendors are raising their prices simply to get rid of me. Perhaps they don’t believe the wedding will go ahead – who knows? But at the end of the day, business is business, money is money and they’re the ones missing out.
It’s a confidence thing
I can only speak for myself here, but I’m not a confident haggler. But like elbowing my way to a tube seat, returning items of clothing and cleaning up cat poo, it’s something that will hopefully come with age. Lots of brides I spoke to asked their parents to do their haggling for them. Indeed, even I brought in my stylist, Jen, from Jennifer Sue Weddings to negotiate on my behalf (I’ll do a longer post on her soon because that wonderful woman really can do anything) because, confronted with the need to haggle, I suddenly feel about four years old.
Perhaps a sense of entitlement comes with age – or maybe it’s years of practice – or confidence.
Whatever it is, it can be somewhat disheartening when you receive poor service, or when you get given a quote that’s so sky high you don’t even know where to start negotiations.
Surely your parents will pay
While there are some generous parental donations going on, the reality is that John and I are paying for most of this wedding out of our own pockets – as are many young, working couples with a dual income. Of course, this means that money is slightly tighter. We are, after all, about thirty years behind our parents in our careers.
Many young couples, including John and I, have at least been asked once if our parents will cover it. Perhaps that accounts for some of the more inflated prices we’ve been quoted. More often than not, now I send John, eight years my senior, to do the talking. Not because I’m a woman, but because vendors don’t automatically assume his parents are funding him.
And even if our parents were paying for the whole wedding, is that an excuse to jack up the price in order to make a few extra hundred on commission?
Young bride survival tips
♥ If you walk into a shop and they’re anything but amazingly nice to you, don’t use their service. So far, I’ve only used vendors who’ve taken me seriously from the start. Why would you want to spend that much money on someone who’s sneering at you as you try on dresses or rolling their eyes as you take your vows? Let natural selection take its course and do good business with good people.
♥ Go in savvy with a list of questions prepared and your budget decided based on solid research. If only I’d known the right questions to ask from the beginning, especially when booking venues, it would have saved a lot of stress and hassle along the way. Know your mind, know your budget and don’t be pushed around, especially if you feel like you’re being ripped off.
♥ Get a planner – at least to help with part of the process, especially if you’re doing everything from scratch. I’ll write a longer post on this later, but if you’re not a confident negotiator, your planner will be well worth the extra money in what they’ll save you, both financially and emotionally.
♥ Go in as a team – don’t try to do all the haggling by yourself. Work with your other half and show each other support – two heads are better than one.
♥ Remember you’re the bride. Unless there’s something really wrong with you, you’re probably only planning on doing this once! Why should your age make it any less special. Every time you feel like someone’s not taking you seriously, remind yourself that this is your one and only wedding day – and you’re just as entitled to have a wonderful day as anyone else.
Have any of you felt let down by suppliers because of your age? I’d love to hear your thoughts!