Choosing your Wedding Suppliers

When you start to book suppliers it makes the wedding process feel incredibly real. After all it’s a hard decision making sure you hire the right suppliers. 

What Suppliers do I need?
You might want a candy floss station or a look alike singer but can you afford them? Sounds obvious but think about what suppliers you need and hire them according to importance to your wedding.

What do I mean by that?
I’ve had some clients put more importance on the cake vs their own wedding dress, for others it’s the music or perhaps the photography.

So unless you’re swimming in funds, book the important ones first. If there is money left over in the “budget” you can splurge on the more “I want” as opposed to the “I need”

Where do I find suppliers?
My advice is don’t just stick to one method when researching for suppliers. The days of booking all your supplier by visiting a wedding fair are long gone, yes you might book some, but all of them? Try the following places:

  • Recommended list via your venue
  • Local wedding magazines – especially great for local suppliers
  • Real weddings via wedding magazines
  • National and local wedding fairs
  • Wedding blogs
  • See this post for list of recommended ones
  • Word of mouth
  • Social media
  • Or hire a wedding planner who has her little black book 😉

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How do I shortlist them? 
Do you like their product or service? Do you need someone local or is it ok if they are travelling a distance? A photographer and band will generally travel across the UK, but transport companies prefer to be more local. Do they fit into your budget and style of wedding? And talking of budget remember to track everything, if you’ve splurged on the photographer for example then you need to save elsewhere, overspending in a couple of areas is ok, provided you underspend in others!

I suggest you have 3 shortlisted suppliers per category, so drop them an email (I like to have everything in writing) and check availability, price and any clauses you need to be aware of.

Ask for confirmation on public liability insurance, PAT (if electrical) and food safety & hygiene certificates

Just Compare 
When you have a shortlist of available suppliers go through all their materials one more time. Visit their social media sites, how do they interact with customers and industry peers. Does their communication match the website for example?

What do I mean by that?
Perhaps the website was elegant and streamlined but on twitter they are swearing, can you live with that? If on facebook do they have reviews you can read?

One of the key factors in being on my recommended list for example is personality, yes I check references, insurance and quality of work, but if the personality isn’t there I cant work with them. Life is too short after all. I’m not saying become drinking buddies, but you want a supplier who makes the planning process fun and enjoyable.

So take the time to get to know the supplier before confirming, if you cant do this in person you can gauge a lot via their instagram account for example.

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Confirm and Say no
Let your first choice supplier know you wish to book, and once the contract has been sent to you inform the other suppliers of your decision.

Honestly it’s ok to say no. As a fellow supplier we wont cry, I promise! What isn’t ok is to leave a supplier hanging.

Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully and keep a copy of the contract in your planning folder. Take a note of deposit and payment terms.

 Keep in Touch
Don’t be a stranger, keep your supplier informed of any major changes to the wedding. Nearer the date reconfirm all details in writing and send a copy of the schedule if needed.

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To see why I love my suppliers read this blog post.

If you need help organising a wedding or party please get in touch here.

Photography: Kerry Morgan and Mark Bothwell

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1 Comment

  1. Andrew on 8th June 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Great post….I think your point about personality is a really good one. This, in fact, works both ways as it’s really important for us as suppliers to feel that we have a connection with our clients as well. There’s nothing like working with a couple who you really get on with.

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