First, the good news. Since you’re reading this, you’re hopefully not just getting married to unite kingdoms or only interested in organising a convention to gain allies to overthrow a king (but whatever floats your boat). And whatever negotiations fail, hurt feelings and some resentment are much more likely than a burning crown of gold or a Red Wedding.
Who do you have to negotiate with?
I know people who negotiate prices for services, venues and get special extras thrown in. For a convention, I’ll negotiate with the venue (this works great if you’re a student society or if profits go to a charity). For a Dina, negotiating means asking nicely with reasons why a discount would be nice.
For the wedding venue I shopped around. We got married at Forest Walk. They offered us a really good deal, so I said yes, thank you and left it at that.
You have to negotiate with sponsors and your partners in organising. Some people get to have an opinion, others get to have a say.
My rule of thumb: If they pay, they have a say
Everyone you tell about your geek event or wedding will have an opinion. They might not tell you what it is, but they will talk about it and gossip among their friends. Which is why I get iffy if my fellow organisers tell people how unorganised we still are. I prefer keeping things confidential. But if you do like telling people, just know that they’re off having a glorious time discussing what you’re going to do and what you haven’t done.
Dealing with sponsors
If you have a sponsor, they get to have a say. If you’re organising a geek event like a convention, they have plenty of say. You have to keep the sponsors happy, especially if you want to run your event more than once. The more money or resources they’re giving you, the more you have to meet their conditions. I haven’t had to deal with a corporate sponsor for an event. My sponsors for convention goodies and prize-giving were nice geeky people.
With a wedding, it depends on what you can wrangle with the usual sponsors, your parents. I suggest that close family gets to have an opinion; not everyone gets a say. I was lucky since I paid for a lot of stuff myself and my sponsor contributed handsomely. Also, my mom and I reached an arrangement some years ago. She’s willing to assist, but she much prefers it if I do all the admin.
The younger you are and the more your parents contribute, the more tricky this negotiation becomes. Think Lord Walder of Riverrun. If you really want to do your own thing and you realise the parentals are going to be a problem, go to home affairs, get married and either just have a holiday together (even if it’s living in a blanket fort for a weekend) or save up for a wedding.
War of the flowers
I expected trouble with my mom to come from me not wearing a white wedding dress. When I mentioned the idea, she just sagely nodded and told me white wasn’t my colour. It only sorta works when I have green hair. The trouble with mom came with the (lack of) flowers.
I discovered Offbeat Bride and had been hanging around on Pinterest for some time when my wedding came around. I enjoy a bit of DIY and crafting. I also get hay fever when the plants send out their pollen love songs. I wasn’t planning on having flowers at my wedding. I even considered making a paper, ribbon or crocheted bouquet.
The husbun felt what I held in my hands was my business and should be a surprise for him as it was part of my outfit. When I mentioned my skipping convention plans to my mother, I knew it was time to negotiate. She looked genuinely troubled. Perhaps even disappointed.
This is how it played out over multiple conversations:
I told her about the hay fever. She told me roses aren’t pollen bombs.
I said flowers are heavy. She told me that if I could wave swords around, I could handle the weight of a flower.
I pointed out that flowers are expensive. She pointed out that she would pay.
I complained that it would be a shlep. She complained that I had no confidence in her and she would handle the shlep.
If there’s time before the event, expect the same conversation over and over. If you can, don’t make it personal.
I attempted to do a living flower arrangement by growing flowers from seeds. It flopped. And then I had to consider what I was going to do with no flowers but the roses in Hardus and my crowns.
I realised that I didn’t dislike flowers. I think flowers are beautiful and expensive. I object to pollen indoors. My mom felt a wedding should have flowers and she would pay for them. So we had flowers at the chapel, which is a lapa outside. And after the ceremony, our friends moved the lanterns and their flower arrangements to the lapa. And they looked absolutely beautiful:
If you missed the first part of the negotiation series, read Deciding which ideas are worth negotiating with your partner(s) in organising