In your negotiations, it is important for you to note that boutiques are businesses, and the purpose of businesses is to make money for their owners. As such, if you push or demand too much and having you as a client is unprofitable, the boutique will unlikely give in to your requests. As such, do not go overboard in your requests.
The key to negotiating with boutiques is to understand their costs of goods. This is because boutiques are usually willing to make concessions in areas where their costs are low. This however does not extend to their photo albums, as this is their main source of profit. In addition, package prices are set with a certain profit margin in mind with some room for negotiations. Consequently, you are likely to be able to ask for more items to be included in the package, as opposed to a discount off the package price.
Essentially, there are three Categories of concessions you can negotiate for:
CATEGORY A. Category A concessions are those which boutiques are likely to agree to, and which will help you significantly stretch your wedding dollar.
CATEGORY B. Category B concessions are those which the boutiques are unwilling to give, but will allow you to stretch your dollar.
CATEGORY C. Finally, Category C concessions are those concessions boutiques are willing to offer, appear attractive on the surface but which usually do not benefit you.
The following three lists will provide you with a good basis to commence your negotiations.
- Free use of ready-made men’s suit for the best man or fathers of the bride and groom.
- Free use of additional ready-made evening gown for the bride’s maid or mothers of the bride and groom.
- Free use of the “Kwa” for the Tea Ceremony.
- Free use of accessories for the actual day.
- Free trial by actual day make-up artists.
- Free false eye-lashes, facial toners and wash.
- No additional surcharge for early make-up.
- Extra corsages for the bridal party.
- Extra car decorations for the accompanying cars.
- Upgrade in album size (although you must note that larger sized additional prints costs more).
- Up to 4 additional prints free for the wedding albums.
- Up to 2 extra 8” x 10” table-tops free.
- Free out-door photography session.
- Return of "negatives" of selected prints.
- Fix the price of addition prints including volume discount.
- Free use of bridal car for the wedding day.
- Free upgrade of the bridal car to the latest model.
- Free portrait upgrade to 20” x 24”.
- Free actual day photographer inclusive of 4R prints.
- No surcharge for weddings over two days.
- Make-to-measure men’s suit. This is not really necessary as men’s suit do not vary that much in design. It is better to choose one off-the-rack and ask for other concessions.
- Wedding gown to keep. This offer is of little value to you, as chances are you will not touch the gown again after your wedding.
- Free make-to-measure tea dress. This is also unnecessary as you can always negotiate to use the Chinese “Kwa” for the traditional Tea Ceremony.
- "Negatives" of selected prints. This is not as attractive as you think. As once you have selected a print for the album, you are unlikely to develop more of the same.
- 8” x 10” Table-tops. A common misconception is that these can be selected above and beyond those selected for the album. Unfortunately, the choice is usually restricted to those selected for the album.
- Free upgrade in album size. As mentioned earlier, the larger the size, the higher the costs of the additional prints.
In summary, it is important to constantly keep in mind your exact requirements and negotiate only for what you need. Always bear in mind that boutiques are businesses and they must be allowed to make a reasonable profit.