7 rules for negotiating with wedding vendors - save thousands! (UPDATED FOR 2018)
Don't be afraid to leave
If the negotiation is not going anywhere and the vendor is not willing to come down in price, don't be afraid to leave. Quite often the vendor will stop you at the door and offer a lower price after all. This is true because the vendor feels they already invested so much time into meeting with you that unless they strike up a deal, all this time would have been a waste (just basic human nature).
In general, the more time the vendor spends negotiating with you, the more willing they will be to give you a discount. This is why if you are serious about getting a particular vendor, don't just limit your conversations to phone and email (those don't take up much time), but make sure to arrange one or more face-to-face meetings as well. At the end, if the vendor is still not willing to compromise, don't be afraid to walk out. There are PLENTY of wedding vendors out there who will offer you comparable to better quality service for less.
Division is your friend
Two ways to approach the same price - from above or from below. For example, I need a photographer for 4 hours or food for 50 people. One option is to check the price from above: for example - how much is it to get you for 4 hours / cater for 50 people? We'd get a price of $1000 dollars.
Another way is to ask for double the amount. How much for 8 hours / 100 people? Usually, you'd get a price that's about $1200-$1400, while the amount that you get doubles - that makes sense.
But if you started by asking for double the amount right away, ask now to take half off - from 8 hours or 100 people, drop a half. People naturally tend to think that for half of the services, you get half the price. The price won't drop full half, but it's more likely to drop to slightly more than that - half of $1200-1400 would go down to $800. That's much less than $1000 that you would have gotten originally.
Basically, ask for A LOT in the beginning and then take away pieces till you get to what you need - you are likely to get more and more chances for discounts by dropping slowly more and more unnecessary services that you do not need.