How (and why) to reject wedding vendors

Before I met my husband, I went on plenty of dates that went seemingly well, but the guy never called me back!  And then I was left wondering: Why?  What went wrong?  Should I call him?  Should I wait for him to call me?

If you can relate, then you know it’s not cool to be left in the dark like that.  

That’s the same sort of thing that vendors go through when they don’t hear back from you.  Vendors are people too and the polite thing to do is to let them know where they stand.  Below, I’ll share some easy ways to let them down gently.  

Why should you take the time to decline a vendor anyway?  

The vendors you’ve contacted had to take time to consider your request, answer your questions, and prepare a quote for you.  Some may follow-up with you to make sure you have everything you need; some may continue to check in with you until they get an answer.  The polite thing to do is to respond to vendors because ignoring them is just plain inconsiderate.

It doesn’t take much effort to be polite and let them know where they stand – whether you’ve decided to hire a competitor, whether you’re still weighing your options, or whether you’re still shopping around.  Either way, it’s nice for them to know where they stand – and a quick email is all it takes.  

And by the way, you won’t hurt their feelings if you decline their service.  In fact, you’re helping them close the loop on your request so that they can move on with their business.  

Declining a vendor could be the start of a negotiation

I’d like to share a brief story about how we sent a rejection email to a caterer for our wedding – and how we ended up hiring that caterer after all!

We requested estimates from about a dozen different caterers – using my email template for wedding vendors, of course!

We had a strong preference for buffet service (because it’s less expensive and we would eliminate the need to collect meal preferences from each guest – phew!).  One caterer actually charged more for buffet than plated service.  (That’s just weird!)

A few days later, they asked if we had made a decision yet.  We thanked them for their time and shared that we were considering other caterers who didn’t charge an extra fee for a buffet.  And guess what?  They offered to waive their additional fee for buffet service.  How cool is that!

If we had ignored their follow-up or refused to explain why we weren’t considering them, we would have never gotten this offer!  

I share this story to illustrate that in some cases, it might be beneficial to let a vendor know why you plan to decline their services – it could be the start of a negotiation.  

Word-for-word scripts to let your wedding vendors down gently

To make it a littler easier for you, here are a few word-for-word scripts that you use can use for each of the following situations:

  • If you’re still shopping around: “Thank you for the follow-up.  We’re still waiting to hear back from a few other vendors before we move forward with our decision.  We hope to update you soon.  In the meantime, please let us know if you have any additional information about your services.  Thanks again.”
  • If you’re still deciding: “Thank you so much for following up.  We’re still deciding between vendors, but we’re happy to say that you’re a top contender!  We hope to make our decision in the next several days.  We will update you soon.  Thanks.”
  • If you’ve hired another vendor: “We have decided to hire another vendor. Thank you so much for your time and attention.  All the best!”

Give it a try!  

If you’ve been avoiding vendors because you’re not sure how to let them down politely, take the next two minutes to copy and paste an appropriate response from the list above.  

And if you need help reaching out to vendors, feel free to use some of my email templates for shopping for wedding vendors.  Sign-up here to download a bundle of templates to help you shop for vendors.

Let me know if you’re interested in learning more about how to negotiate. We negotiated and saved nearly $15,000 for our wedding – I’d be happy to share how we did it.

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