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Wedding supplier discounts – do you?

Here’s an interesting question and one which I can’t answer on my own – so I need your help, lovely couples and wedding suppliers alike. There are two perceptions of wedding supplier discounts, and I’m no longer sure which side of the fence I’m on here!

wedding discounts discussion

Original photo credit: Tony Gameiro. Click to see the full wedding feature

So – as a bride or groom-to-be, or as a wedding supplier: what do you think of discounts?

Are discounts great, a way to save on quality wedding goodies?

There’s no getting away from how hideously expensive weddings can be. For couples choosing to have all the bells and whistles to help celebrate their marriage, budgets can easily grow and get out of control. All too often a wedding budget which starts at £8,000 can leap to £12,000 by the time your big day comes around.

If you’re on a tight wedding budget, and a top supplier who is just out of your price range offers a great discount, then you’re in luck. Discounts like this are a way to get wedding accessories and treats you couldn’t otherwise afford.

For wedding suppliers too – offering a discount on your products helps brides and grooms. It means you can share your wedding goodies with a larger audience, get more customers and help people in the process.

At quieter times of year – for many wedding suppliers over the winter months – offering a discount can encourage more customers and often prop up a wedding business which might otherwise struggle to make it through to the next wedding season.

It seems like a winner for everyone!

Do discounts cheapen a wedding business and damage brand image?

The other side of the argument is that offering a discount can make your wedding business look cheap. There’s an element of truth in this.

Consider major brands: Tesco and Asda discount furiously, constantly and loudly. Prada and Gucci don’t. Where brand image is key, promoting discounts is never popular as it’s claimed it can damage a brand.

Wedding businesses who are actively promoting to brides and grooms on a budget will often discount their wares. Wedding designers do this rarely – although there are regular designer bridal sales, you’re less likely to see a whopping “50% SALE GET IT WHILE YOU CAN” banner in a luxury bridal store.

(I have heard that the bridal designer sales can be incredibly busy and even rumours they can get nasty! The best offer time slots and appointments – just a tip!)

I do agree that if a luxury wedding business suddenly started promoting big discounts it could have a negative impact on branding. Consider Jenny Packham for example: if Jenny’s website was like Argos with a new discount every other week, would it still have the luxury feel it’s famous for?

The middle ground – discounts are useful and nice

Writing this article, I’ve convinced myself there’s a middle ground. Discounts are a good tool; neither an evil necessity or a damaging practice for any wedding business.

For the vast majority of wedding businesses, brand image is quite important. It’s not the holy grail; neither should it be the business’s primary concern. Offering an occasional discount on a tactical basis won’t harm a wedding brand. (Discounting on the scale of SafeStyle UK or Farm Foods isn’t advisable though!)

What do you think?

I’m really interested in your opinions though – whether you’re planning your wedding or managing your wedding business. Have you bought something really special in a sale? Have discounts helped you get the wedding dress of your dreams? Has discounting your products helped your business through a quiet patch?

I’m listening – avidly – to your thoughts. You can also share on my facebook page – I’ve been thinking about discounts on there as well!

 

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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7 COMMENTS
  • Kath
    7 years ago

    I make cakes as a part time job and my fiance is a full time photographer, in and out of the wedding business. Seeing as we both work in fields that are within the wedding supply industry, we offer a 10% discount when clients book both of our expertise for their wedding. I don’t think that there is any harm in offering this type of discount, mainly because one of us will be travelling to the wedding venue anyway and we both benefit with the work. It also saves the couples time as we can discuss both the cake and photography in one meeting so everyone is a winner!

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hi Kath,
      I like your discount – it’s strategic and makes perfect sense to me too!
      I’d be interested to see how many couples would still book you together even without the discount. I imagine plenty would; the discount is an added bonus in my eyes.
      Thanks for your comment 🙂
      Claire x

  • Gary
    7 years ago

    Hi Claire. We don’t often discount unless we are running a specific promotion on something. In my experience most people requesting a discount have already decided what they want to buy and the discount is very rarely the deal breaker. Most people (understandably) ask just in case they can save a bit of money. Certainly can’t blame than trying!

  • Melinda Fargo
    7 years ago

    Interesting topic, covered very well.

    Since I want to make gifting words in the market place a REALLY special thing to do, with thought and care and a luxury gift feel, I tend to stay away from ‘loud’ promotions. I especially want young people to understand how special and profound their words can be as a gift and that The Gift of Words is not the place to come to throw words around carelessly. Free or heavily discounted would not have got that message across adequately.

    All of that to say, I have priced fairly but still with an aspirational reach. By the end of this year we should have two other products (a handmade wooden box and a pure silver box) which will then cover three distinct price points. People can then decide where their budget lies within a range that is lovely whichever they choose.

    A range with distinct price points is also a good way of avoiding discounting if doing so might harm your business.

    So your point is well made, brand position and pricing is heavily linked in some cases.

    Our human nature is a funny thing in general, though. A lot of people may want a Rolex watch, but in turn would shun the product if it was suddenly available for £2.99! Go figure!

  • I’m a Wedding Photographer covering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. I often offer discounts, but they are to incentivise clients to take an action (i.e. book on a weekday, order an album within a certain period of time). All the same, I don’t discount heavily as I believe it lowers the value of what I offer. I would certainly never groupon my services.

  • Aaron
    7 years ago

    We don’t offer any discounts. At all.

    This wasn’t due to a specific business reason but more of a moral one. We want to treat all our couples the same so why should couple A pay less than couple B? If the ‘product’ you are offering for both is he same then why should one have to pay more than the other? For us it’s a ay to ensure fairness and equality.

  • Kay McEllin
    7 years ago

    Interesting subject, very well written. I make unique bridal shrugs and bolero and I am having my first sample sale this week. I have gathered a fair amount of garments over the years from photoshoots and fairs. My garments are bespoke and all made to order, so it is difficult to sell them on. I have decided to reward my loyal Facebook fans, by giving them first choice of the samples, before they are up for sale on my website. My thinking is that some of my FB fans might not have any intentions of having a bespoke bolero made, but will be hoping for a bargain on my FB page. I think the occasional sale doesn’t do any harm to the brand and will attract new customers. Wish me luck x

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