If you’re just starting wedding planning, this is a must read! Bernadette Chapman, Director UK Alliance of Wedding Planners gives top tips on how to choose reputable wedding suppliers…
“Planning a wedding can feel so pressuring, are you selecting the right suppliers? Can you trust them? Will they create what they have promised?
Despite what you might think after watching BBC 1 Rogue Traders, the majority of wedding suppliers are in this industry because they want you to have your most perfect day. They truly understand how special a wedding is and know they are playing a small part in creating ever-lasting memories.
If you haven’t started sourcing suppliers for your wedding here are some of my top tips.
Where to start
My advice is don’t just stick to one method when researching for suppliers. The days of booking all your suppliers by visiting a wedding fair are long gone, yes you might book some, but not all of them. Here are my top 7 places to find a supplier for your wedding.
- Recommended list via your venue. Do check it is a recommended list though and not one that suppliers needed to pay to be included on
- Visit the UKAWP website for suppliers that have been vetted before being approved
- National and local wedding fairs. Visit both – the national fairs are great for inspiration and especially niche suppliers. Whereas your local fairs can be great to meet more locally-based suppliers. And with suppliers like cake makers you get to taste the cake as well!
- Wedding blogs within real wedding features or their directories
- Recommendations from friends, family or other suppliers that can vouch for a particular person
- Social media, although please check the work being shown is their own. So many accounts on Instagram are regramming, so in essence it isn’t showing you what they are capable of, only what they find inspirational.
- Hire a wedding planner as they will have vetted all suppliers before working with them. In essence they’ve done the legwork already. Members of the UKAWP have been vetted and none of them will take commission ensuring their honesty can be trusted.
Questions to ask suppliers
There are certain questions you should be asking suppliers. Too many couples assume a gorgeous website means experience, whereas that often isn’t the case.
- How long have you been in business?
- Are the images on your website and social media your own work?
- Can you provide references for me to check?
- Are you insured?
- Do you belong to any industry body? (Not a deal breaker but can show they are serious about their business)
- What are your terms? (Do they have a contract for you to sign)
- Have you worked at x venue before OR have you worked in marquees before?
Confirming a supplier
When you are ready to confirm a supplier do not hand money over until everything is confirmed in writing. You need written confirmation of the following:
- Exactly what they are providing for you (vague 7 x table arrangements isn’t enough. They should detail what flowers and ideally an inspiration photo it’s based on, otherwise it’s your word vs theirs)
- Cost of the service and payment breakdown
- Time of arrival & collection if applicable
- Depending on the type of supplier you should have a contract to sign and once that has been done you can pay the deposit. Pay special attention to detail on cancellation policies and complaint procedure.
Expectation vs Reality
I wouldn’t be doing you any justice with my advice if I didn’t cover having realistic expectations. The world of Pinterest has brought with it images of elaborates displays with expectations it can be re-created for £50, whereas in reality probably cost £350.
I have seen many situations where couples do not understand how the service industry price their services.
Wedding Planners – you are not paying for the time to “plan” a wedding but more their experience, knowledge and logistical know how. See this blog post for further understanding https://www.ukawp.com/how-much-do-wedding-planners-cost/
Photographers – you are not just paying for them to snap some photos throughout the day, you’re paying for the editing, retouching and their experience at capturing fabulous photos, regardless of the venue or lighting.
Cake Makers – you are not paying for them to bake a cake, but more the time it has taken them to hone their skill, the hours and hours it takes them to create sugar craft flowers. And deliver and set up with it in one piece.
Stationery – you are not paying for them to print some words on the invites but more to create a beautiful design to suit your personality. And I don’t know about you, but that isn’t something I could do!
Musicians – you are paying for them to sound fabulous but that fee is being split amongst the band members, roadie, sound engineer and agent. Then there is the cost of the instruments. All of a sudden what seemed expensive now seems reasonable.
Of course, there are lots of categories within the wedding industry and I can’t cover them all but next time receiving quotes think about:
- The years experience, not the hours working for you
- The insurance they need to pay for
- Actual cost of the product and time making it
- Number of people involved in the service and how that money is split
- Cost of any equipment, whether instruments, cameras, tripods etc
- 25% of all bookings has to be set aside for the running costs of a business, national insurance, tax. No we can’t spend every penny of what we receive, otherwise we have no business left!
When receiving quotes it should become clear what the industry average is. If you receive a quote that is considerably cheaper, instead of thinking what a great deal, instead think about why? Are they going to fully deliver? Or will they over promise and under deliver?
If something seems too good to be true – it normally is.”