Wedding vendors can be annoying. They are cagey, they don't put their pricing on the website, and when you e-mail them, they try to suck you into a meeting so that you'll like them and book them no matter how outrageous they are.
My friend K. is getting married next year and as I like to pounce on the newly engaged, I asked her how it was going and she mentioned how frustrating it is to contact vendors, not hear back from them, and when she does hear back, can't figure out how much things cost. Yes, I know how that is. We certainly went through that, with all of the caterers, most of the DJs, and a couple florists. In fairness, some of them can't know exactly how much it costs until they actually price it out, but there is no reason they can't ballpark it.
So finally I got the hang of emailing vendors to actually get a straight answer out of them. It was easiest to start by telling them what we needed, and then see if they could give it to us. So here is my email template:
My fiance and I are getting married on 10-10-10, and we are currently looking for VENDOR. We are thinking to have [personal flowers using seasonal wildflowers/a DJ for the cocktail hour and reception/food that doesn't suck]. Our budget for this is about $500/1000/10,000. Do you think that this would be possible, and if so, can you give us more information on your services and pricing?
Ellie and Mark
I found that this worked pretty well. Some vendors got back to me and said, "that price is way too low and you are only going to find crummy quality at that price" (which turned out to be true for food; not that we went with the caterer that said that), but most got back to me and said, "that budget is definitely workable, this is what you can have for that price, if you can go up at all we can do this."