You’ve got the Pinterest board started, the vision locked down - your wedding is completely planned and perfect in your head. Now it’s time to pull together your wedding planning dream team to make it all a reality.
Choosing your wedding suppliers is a big task - it can be the real make or break for some parts of your wedding. You want to feel comfortable and confident with your choices. But how do you even start when there are so many options out there? Well, I’m going to guide you through it.
There are so many different ways wedding professionals are able to market themselves nowadays - wedding shows, magazines, social media. It’s hard to know where to start to find the best ones. The best place to start is recommendations. Crowdsource your suppliers by asking your married friends if they would recommend their suppliers, this will give you a good idea of what they are like and you may even remember them from your friends’ weddings. Better yet, get your recommendations from other wedding professionals like a wedding planner and their little black book or your chosen venue.
Photography by Michelle Waspe Photography
Venues have great lists of suppliers who they have worked with before and that they trust, but make sure you know whether the list they are giving you is a list of recommendations or a list of preferred suppliers. Some venues are very specific on who they will allow to work at their venue. Also ask the venue whether the suppliers are on their list because they have paid to be on the list or because the venue has experience of their work.
I’m a big advocate of finding areas of your wedding to splurge on, and then finding ways to save elsewhere. Sit down together and work out your priority areas before you approach any suppliers. Figure out if the photography or the band or the catering is the most important thing to you and focus your search there first. Knowing your priority areas will also help you figure out how much money you want to spend on each area, and will give you a budget to give to your suppliers.
Shortlisting your suppliers is the next job. After you have investigated the ones you like, now it’s time to whittle them down to your top three. Make a list of your must-haves and put them all in a spreadsheet with columns asking the questions that matter to you - are they within budget, are they available, are they local, do they charge VAT, do they offer any extras, etc. Other ways to help whittle it down to your top three is to ask for things like insurance documents, certificates, and testimonials.
Once you have all that in a spreadsheet it will be easy to spot your top three in each category. After that it becomes a case of what matters most to you, whether it’s who can give you the best price or who you feel most comfortable with. Look online and see who is talking about them, who are their friends in the industry, do you get a sense that they grasp your vision? Do you like their personality?
Photography by Ross Dean Photography
Once you have let your first choice know you would like to book them, wait until the contract has been signed and booking confirmed before you let the others know. You never know what might have happened between your enquiry and your request to book, especially if you haven’t requested that they hold your date. They may have had to take another booking (which is unusual, but not unlikely - though it’s bad form not to follow up with you when they get another enquiry for your date!) or something else might have come up that makes you reconsider. That way you still have other suppliers to fall back on if your first choice falls through.
Read all the terms and conditions carefully, and make a note of when payments are due and how.
When everything does go through and you have confirmed with your supplier, just let the others know that you have gone with someone else. Honestly, they will be fine! It’s better for them to know they don’t need to chase you and they can accept another enquiry for your date.
Photography by Christopher Terry Photography
Keep in touch with all of your suppliers throughout the planning process, especially as it gets closer to the wedding. You don’t want any nasty surprises down the line with someone not turning up at the right time or bringing the wrong colour photobooth!
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