Top of the morning!
I am joined again by the brilliant Meghan Faye of Extraordinary Days. Read on to discover more tips and advice about working with and getting the most out of your wedding suppliers, up to, during and after your wedding day.
I think this element of the feature is probably the most important part for me; communicating efficiently, effectively and professionally with wedding suppliers.
I am often contacted by suppliers frustrated by couples who are using text message as a means of their main form of communication.
It’s impossible to keep up with important elements of planning your wedding via text message. It is informal, you are at risk of losing or missing important information and there is no paper trail. Where contracts are involved, for your own benefit too, ditch the urge to text or get your social media on and keep your communication formal: via email, post, telephone or in person.
Over to you Meghan
All images courtesy of Rabbit & Pork Photography
Communication is key. You have put the effort in to beautifully organise what is going to be an insanely fantastic day and now you’ve just got to get everyone on the same page, so they can work as part of a cohesive team.
Plus, let’s be honest, you probably have a full-time job and are spending lots of time planning too, so it’s better to communicate efficiently, right?
Here’s a few tips on working with your umpteen suppliers, so everyone is happy and ready to make your day run super-duper smoothly.
I once had a bride who emailed me 80 times in one week. (Nu Bride: Really?! How did she have the time lol!). Let’s put aside the fact it is slightly extreme and focus on the fact that it is completely inefficient and it is a very good way to make suppliers angry.
For wedding suppliers, time is precious and the pure amount of email administration that this creates is wasteful. (Nu Bride: I suspect one phone-call probably would have done the trick).
For a bride or groom, sending huge numbers of emails makes it difficult for suppliers to remember details and makes it more likely for important details to be missed.
Save up important questions and details (in Trello app!) and send them in one email at the end of the day or the week. Better yet, save them for your face-to-face meeting when possible.
(Nu Bride: Great idea Meghan, I too was guilty of emailing my coordinator in particular at the most peculiar times of the night, usually as soon as an idea popped into my head, through fear that I would forget to ask her). She was wise, she always had an auto-reply message setting boundaries of the time she would be back in the office and be able to reply.
Many wedding suppliers use their mobiles for business , especially if they need to be reachable for very important days on location (i.e. weddings!), among other reasons. However, just because a supplier’s mobile and landline is listed on a website and business card does not mean that using it at all hours is acceptable.
As a general rule of thumb, always try a landline number first where it is listed then call the mobile if it is listed. If you are working with a supplier on their wedding then ask them what their policy is on mobile use and still – if they are kind enough to say “feel free to call anytime” (as many suppliers I know are) – use your very best judgment.
Nu Bride: Again this is about boundary setting from the beginning about official ‘office hours’ and that is your suppliers responsibility to outline early on. I recognised, that most couples are planning in-between their day job and if you’re anything like me, inspiration strikes between the hours of 8pm and midnight! So Meghan’s earlier tip to jot keys things down and call the following business day are a great idea for night owls like me.
Other means of communication
It’s important for your supplier to keep all of your information filed safely and if, for example, a photographer has 30 brides & grooms whatsapping her, those details could be lost very easily.
Stick to formal means of communication; Email and the telephone. It is highly unlikely that any other means of communication is necessary (except Skype for international calls). So, unless you have specific arrangements with your supplier, there is no reason to: Facebook message, tweet, whatsapp, text, instagram, or communicate about formal details of your wedding via social media.
Treat others how you want to be treated
Finally, I would like to go back to one of my first points in part one about the pure fact that suppliers are human (!) so, how they feel on your wedding day affects how they are physically able to perform.
They go through lunch and dinner without a chance to sit down because they are setting up your beautiful tables, coordinating with your suppliers, ensuring you have your champagne on-time, and capturing all the beauty of the day in photos and video. They do not have time to, ‘pop out for a sandwich’ and I don’t think you would be happy if they did!
So, it is vital that supplier meals are provided for those working over meal times.
Usually, it is a hot dinner for photographers, wedding planners, the band, videographers, and their assistants. However, if you have anyone else who is there for a very long time and you don’t want them to be more worried about being hungry than performing to the best of their capabilities on your wedding day, it’s a good idea to supply a meal and discuss this with them beforehand. Most suppliers will also have this detailed in your contract.
As a side note, it’s also particularly nice, thoughtful, and sometimes necessary to provide drinks and light refreshments for your entertainers throughout the day (e.g., ceremony musicians, drinks reception entertainment). (Nu Bride: Yes, couldn’t agree more!)
Thank You’s and Reviews
Most wedding suppliers run (very) small businesses, often with just one person working on their own or almost always under 5 people. Working on your own, day in and day out, can be tough and there is nothing like getting a thank you from a happy couple. A thoughtful thank-you is something that is truly cherished, talked about for months and months, and can also keep them going through the hard times.
Similarly, public testimonials and reviews from satisfied couples are priceless. Small businesses don’t always have budgets for big marketing campaigns and personal testimonials are very, very valuable. So, please if you are happy with a supplier, take the time to write a review.
What a lovely note to end on. Thank you Dear Meghan, such an insightful and helpful post.
I love the idea of saying thank you, if you pick your wedding suppliers well, you will be elated and will want to thank them a hundred times. They can at times, feel like part of your family on your wedding day, and after our wedding, I missed the regular contact meeting them and sharing such a huge part of our lives with them. As a result, some of my wedding suppliers are now great friends.
If you research, take your time, and choose your suppliers well and manage your expectations from the offset, I promise you this process will be far easier than if you don’t.
Food for thought!
Have any of you had challenges or good, bad or indifferent experiences with your wedding suppliers?
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