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Wisdom for the Haggling Bride and Groom

TRANSPORTATION

WHAT TO SAVE WITHOUT DRIVING VENDORS BONKERS
After your husband-to-be is dropped off at the ceremony, have the same car pick up your parents. If you’re booking for a large party, ask if they can throw in free transportation for you and your family after the reception, or a ride to the airport for your honeymoon. If you know that you’ll be providing your guests with mass transportation, reduce the valet parking rates. If your wedding reception is at a hotel, arrange for free parking for your guests.


NECESSARY COSTS
Don’t skimp on the transportation—it’s the simplest part of the day but the biggest problem should something fail. If your ceremony and reception are far away from each other, hire transportation to take your guests from point A to point B.

HIDDEN FEES TO AVOID
Use a credit card to make a reservation. Make sure they charge you after the actual wait times and transit costs are known, not before.

ADD THIS CLAUSE
Make sure the vehicles you’re using aren’t double-booked and that there’s a backup method of transportation should one of them break down. Specify the start time for all events and exactly where drivers should be waiting at appointed times. E-mail explicit directions a few weeks before so there’s no chance of lost drivers.

TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP
Tip $20 to $30 per driver.


PHOTOGRAPHY

WHAT TO SAVE WITHOUT DRIVING VENDORS BONKERS
Schedule the engagement shoot for a weekday. It’s likely they’ll do it for a discounted rate. Make sure that the album included in the package meets your standards. If it doesn’t, don’t order one, and bring the package cost down. If it does, then request smaller ‘clone’ albums, which make perfect gifts for family members. Determine whether you prefer digital or film, as it will affect the processing and developing costs. Film tends to be more expensive, and many photographers base their business model on charging reprint costs. Ask for unmarked proofs of your photos and a copy of the digital prints on CD.


NECESSARY COSTS
Remember that your wedding day goes by in a blur, but you’ll have your pictures for the rest of your lives. Hire a talented photographer even if that means paying a premium and don’t micromanage them.

HIDDEN FEES TO AVOID
Don’t over-hire photographers. Taking photos of the groom getting ready may not require hiring another photographer for an entire day but rather a second shooter for just an hour, says Spencer Lum of 5 West Studios.

ADD THIS CLAUSE
Most brides want “getting ready” pre-ceremony shots, so if that’s more than eight hours away from the end of the night, add some additional time. They’ll usually agree to an extra hour at least, usually at a rate of $200 an hour. Request a few extra hours gratis.

TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP
$150 plus tips to the assistants.

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