Hi there - getting married in September and we cannot get a single vendor to quote us anything close to our budget. I'm doing my best to be clear and direct (telling a florist up front our budget is $3000), but folks are coming back with "can you be flexible on that?" (florist quoted me $4000) or in the case of catering, it's just an estimate that's literally twice more than the range I gave them. Then when I say that won't work for us, they ask, "well what's your max budget?" as if I hadn't already given them numbers. It feels like I'm being gaslit left and right. I'm reckoning with the fact that it's just an expensive time to get married and we'll likely have to be flexible in some areas, but in many cases we can't afford to go any more over budget than we already have.
Are there secret phrases people use to get lower quotes? Any haggling tips to get vendors to cut costs? I'm not asking for ways to save money per se (our venue requires us to use one of their catering partners, so we can't throw a barbeque), but how to communicate more clearly with vendors to get the responses I need. Also let me know if others are in the same boat because I feel insane.