The ABC's of Wedding Planning :: B is for Bridal Bartering

Bartering is something that we as a civilization are very familiar with. Caveman says, "Ugh. My meat for you wheel. Ugh". (bad impersonation) So, when brides and grooms think about bartering for their wedding services, the talent can be so natural. Don't get me wrong, I am not calling them cavemen (or women) but we all can get pretty unruly when we really want something and most times, especially during wedding planning, will do whatever it takes to get it.
 
I did some research online and found websites like :: BarterQuest.com, Barter.net and Tradeaway.com which included wedding services to barter such as DJ services, bridal gowns, photography services, and wedding rings.
 
I came across another website, BigDayBarter.com that states, "You bought the garter, now it's time to barter". They have forums available for brides to barter their services and vendors to grab them. It's quite a neat switch-a-roo and I was interested to see how it worked. Seeing that I live in Arizona I checked out a link that led to a bride in Phoenix and she wrote, "Our wedding date is September 5, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. We will have 175 guests with our ceremony is at our church. We would like to barter for a photographer- documentary style and a videographer too. My fiancé does construction and can do almost any kind of home improvement project and he builds beautiful decks. We would love to barter for these services and look forward to hearing from local photographers and videographers." I actually thought her post was quite smart and economically savvy. Why not get creative with your expenditures and ask yourself, what can I (in her case her fiancé) give someone that might be of service to the vendor?
 
I can see if the opportunity might be lopsided so here are a few suggestions for both the bride and the vendor.
 
1. Experience :: Make sure the service has experience. Anyone can say they are a DJ, but if they show up with an IPOD, you are in trouble.
2. Check References :: Get past clients contact information and ask for the latest clients and not necessarily the best. This will give you a fresh and honest answer.
3. Don't be afraid to say no thank you :: If you have any thoughts that it's not a good match, then don't agree to it. You will be more disappointed and full of heartache if you chose to move forward and it doesn't work out.
4. Make it binding :: Put an agreement together and have both parties signed. Think about deadlines, expectations and make sure all communication is clearly understood and document. No surprises.
 
I would love to hear any feedback from brides and grooms or vendors that bartered their services. How did it turn out?
 
With all that Life has to offer,
 
Cicely