Real Bartering: Nicole and Nick

Submitted by Heidi on Thursday - June 4, 2009


Bartering~ the age old process of trading goods or services.

Meet Nicole and Nick. Nicole is one of the sweetest and savviest brides who was so generous to share with me how she and Nick have bartered for many of their wedding expenses!

For instance~ let's talk about these fun and steamy engagement photos for a second {see more below} Nature vs. Urban... Gorgeous!  And bartered!

Nicole and Nick traded normal yard work and some painting, with Heidi Munson of Chocolate Sushi Photography for their e-session shots.  They will also receive day of ceremony photos too.

"I found that photographers, wedding planners/day-of-assistants and florists to be the most interested in bartering" said Nicole.


Other Bartered Agreements:

Flower assembly {exchanged for childcare-fulfilled}
Favor assembly {exchanged for childcare-fulfilled}
Decorations assembly {exchanged for childcare-fulfilled} ...Flowers, Favors and Dec bartering is through the same person.
DJ: steep discount {Nicole works at a printing company and will be designing & printing the DJ's business cards that he will receive at the reception.}
Day of Assistant The only non-professional Nicole has traded services with. Her D of A is another bride-to-be whom Nicole knows to be as organized and good at event planning as she is; Nicole will be help this b2b on her wedding day too.

Because of bartering and saving in other areas, Nicole and Nick will be able to have a $12,500 wedding on their $9000 budget.

Additional ways they are saving

Reception Meal: The catering was originally planned to be a trade as well.  Unfortunately, agreements could not be reached.  So~ instead of a more traditional dinner, Nicole & Nick are having a pig roast catered in with all the picnic trimmings at $10/plate.  They're also making their own potato salad and Nicole's Mom is making her famous baked beans
Wedding Dress: "off the rack" via Amazon.  The original ideas was to wear her grandmother's wedding dress {w/bartered alterations} but just wasn't feasible in the end. But~ buying "off the rack" was a 1/3 of the price for similar dresses in bridal stores.
Stationery: Nicole is designing and printing: Invites, RSVP cards and Thank You cards.
DIY: Favors, decorations and centerpieces. Nicole also makes jewelry and is making not only her own jewelry but jewelry for her BMs as well.

Definite Costs:
Ceremony Venue {park site}
Reception Venue {VFW- Nick's dad is a member so they still received a discount}

If you're a Bride & Groom-to-be who is thinking about bartering or negotiating...

READ Nicole's savvy bartering advice:

1.Treat this as a professional relationship: provide references or proof of your work, show up when you say you will, and work hard to fulfill your part of the bargain. Of course, expect the same.

2. Work with experienced vendors: just working with someone who "knows how to cook well" or can "bake a great cake" could work out but it's riskier than working with someone who already has an established reputation. This goes the other way, if you've never cared for a child before, don't offer childcare services because it might not be worth it in the end.

3. Agreements that have you working for "credit" ($X per hour) are only good when the credit is worth more than you can normally make in an hour and/or it's work that you'd want to do anyway. My friend is actually doing a work for credit arrangement with a wedding planner and this works out well for her since she's really interested in wedding planning and she's now going to receive free draping plus free items for rental (table linens, napkins, decorations, etc.) at her own wedding.

4. If you barter for objects you either create or own this gives you the advantage of being able to exchange the item on the day the other party is suppose to fulfill their end of the agreement. This gives them more incentive to follow through and if they don't you don't really lose out on anything.

5. Make sure you have the time before you commit to a barter.

Wow.  Solid advice.  Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with us Nicole.  You make it sound so easy!  

Have you or are you bartering for any of your wedding expenses?


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