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It’s one of the biggest and most time-consuming elements to wedding planning that couples agonise over….
In a bottomless pit of wonderful wedding suppliers, how on earth do you pick the right supplier?
I was presenting at a bridal workshop earlier this year and one of the brides asked me;
“How do I pick a reputable wedding supplier ? How do I know if my wedding supplier is going to do a good job on the day?”
My answer to the latter is, in all honesty, you don’t know. You don’t 100% ‘know’ how they will perform on the day. (Gasp! I know, shock horror, you should have seen the equally concerned expression on the brides face when I gave her this piece of advice)!
Let me explain a little….
Ultimately you are putting your trust in suppliers to deliver to the standard and quality that they have promised and that you have invested in. You are putting your trust in them to add to the magic of your wedding day, to turn up or deliver on time, to act with professionalism and decorum, to deliver a service.
Many of the services we book through suppliers, we can’t see a test run, you don’t see the finished product until your actual wedding day, or beyond (if it’s photography for example). No dress rehearsal, just one shot to get it right.
That’s why in my opinion, quality of the product aside, a good relationship with a wedding supplier is key and must be based on trust first and rapport second.
Absolutely yes, there is an element of the unknown, an element of uncertainty or risk when booking a supplier for your wedding. BUT there are many things you can do along the way to reduce the level of uncertainty and ensure you are confident that you will get the service you have invested in.
I say it all the time – ‘people buy people’.
Every single supplier Mr Nu Bride and I booked for our wedding, we met with them first. All of the bookings we made, were through quality of course; but what stood out for us in a never-ending pool of industry competition, was their personalities, their warmth and their interest in hubby and I and our wedding day. Not about their ego’s, awards or the high-end clients they have worked for, but about their interest and passion ‘in us’.
Couples should be made to feel special. That’s my motto anyway and if a wedding supplier can make you feel like you are their only client (even though you know you aren’t!), I am instantly sold.
So some top tippies from me to you, to help you choose a credible and the right wedding supplier.
♥ Word of mouth ♥
Word of mouth is and will always be a powerful tool in the wedding industry. Talk to other couples at family events, meet couples at wedding shows, talk to friends already married, check out magazine forums, or wedding blogs, talk to other suppliers; ask them who they would use for their wedding day.
♥ Research ♥
Make use of the internet! It is a brilliant starting point to gather information about wedding suppliers.
Established Wedding blogs are in contact with and have often met and worked with many suppliers. Ask bloggers for their opinion.
Never book a supplier without seeing examples of their work, meeting them or at the very least speaking with them first. Don’t get tempted with the ease and speed of email and booking instantly online.
Some venues may recommend their preferred wedding suppliers which may make your choice easier. But please do your research. They might be a great wedding supplier, but not necessarily right for what you want or need.
Your wedding day is a financial and more importantly emotional investment. So treat it like an investment. Some suppliers will be with you before, during and throughout your wedding day. As such, it’s important that you trust them, ‘like’ them and feel comfortable with them. If there is any doubt don’t book!
Image source: Brides.com | Funky Shack Art Studio
♥ View their work ♥
Before booking with any supplier, it’s imperative to view their work, preferably in the flesh. If you are choosing a caterer, you must sample and see the quality of their food and presentation. Can you arrange a tasting?
Is a supplier exhibiting at a wedding show or event you can attend to see them in action? Singer, DJ, band for example?
Have they recently had any work published on a blog or magazine they can send to you? Does the photographer have an album portfolio you can look at?
Does a videographer have a full sample copy of a wedding film they can send you and not just the best 2 minutes of editing in a snazzy highlight clip?
Credible suppliers who understand that couples want quality, will be more than happy to show you their work to help you make your decision. Be prepared though, cake / food samples may incur a cost. So be clever with your planning – if a supplier will be giving away free samples at an event or wedding show – good chance to check out their quality without paying!
♥ Awards ♥
Someone posed an interesting question to me recently – “Should couples only book with wedding suppliers who have won a wedding industry award of some sort?”
My answer? Absolutely not. Awards are a brilliant way for suppliers to gain recognition in their field. To perhaps aim for a benchmark.
However, there are a number of awards offered within the wedding industry, some are nominated by couples, others can self nominate – so that doesn’t stop suppliers who may not have the best reputation or offer the best service putting themselves up for an award and asking friends and family to vote for them. Of course this is not to discredit those who serve the industry beautifully and are worth every award and nomination (I received an industry nomination this year too!) . It is just something else to consider.
An award / nomination does not automatically mean they are the ‘best’ supplier in the industry or the ‘best’ supplier for you.
♥ Ditch Yellow Pages ♥
Seriously, are any of you even still using this directory? If so, please, I beg you. ditch it. I have heard way too many horror stories about couples who have booked suppliers just by looking up a service via Yellow Pages without even researching or viewing their work.
♥ Compare Compare Compare ♥
Compare suppliers for each service you require. Narrow down your top three (photographers for example) and compare their services. Look at their work, their clientele, what’s included in their packages and arrange to meet with them. You MUST make sure your comparisons are for like-for-like services, same product type, similar package, similar price. There is absolutely no benefit in comparing a photographer offering a package for £300 (be incredibly cautious if you ever see wedding photography for this price!!) and another for £2000.
♥ Take your Time ♥
Now, I am pretty sure there will be some suppliers that disagree with me on this point. (But I love a good debate!)
Don’t get seduced by ‘book now to receive your discount’ type offers.
Try not to get ‘panicked’ by suppliers who tell you to book quickly to secure your wedding date. Of course, don’t leave it until the last-minute, but if you have just started your search and want to consider other options, take your time.
The industry is saturated with suppliers, the right one for you will be available on your wedding day.
♥ Last but not least ♥
Delegation – If you are really overwhelmed with picking an endless list of suppliers – consider delegating the initial search to enthusiastic friends or family to gather a shortlist for you. They will LOVE helping!
Planner – Consider assigning and investing in a quality wedding planner to get you started. A planner will have a portfolio of credible suppliers they have worked with before who they can suggest to you. However, the same rules apply when choosing a planner. Do your research, meet at least 3-like-for-like planners, view their work and where possible consider a word of mouth referral to make your decision before booking!
Phew! These tips should you get you off on the right foot and introduce you to suppliers with experience, credibility and passion who will be honoured to share in your wedding day.
With all of these tips to researching your supplier you are bound to work with a wonderful supplier, all you have to do then is let go and put your trust in them to do the job which they are so passionate about.