If you've done your homework and researched the professionals you're considering, you can feel good about trusting that they only want to maintain the good reputations they've earned. So keep this in mind when they ask you what you want to spend or what you can spend. It's okay (and best) to be honest.
Here are a couple good examples of presenting your budget:
Example one: Bride "Chloe" is sitting down with floral designer "Jack". Bride says, "Jack, Here are some images I've collected that I'm really drawn to, and I'd like to do something similar. Here is the list of things I think that I need from you, and my budget is $$$$. Is this something you think we can do?"
When it comes to professionals who offer packages (such as photographers), you can do the same, but asking them to just lower a package price to fit into your budget isn't the appropriate thing to do, and quite frankly, it can be somewhat insulting. Not that anyone means to be insulting. And believe me- professionals know that is not your intention. So from the get go, be honest.
Example two" "Photographer Jack, I understand that your packages begin at $$$$. My budget is $$$$. I am flexible, and was wondering if you can offer any custom packages that might be available to me in my budget?"
Will everyone be able to say yes? No, not everyone can. However, being straight forward will help you get you where you need to go in the quickest most pleasant way possible!
*Keep in mind that vendors who can't meet your budget requirements may be able to lead you in the direction of someone who is. It doesn't hurt to ask.
fine print: My friend Jody of Good Taste events reminded me of something very important. The word budget doesn't exist in standard shopping situations. You know, in case there are grooms or husbands reading this post.