For my third wedding planning ‘top tips’ blog post series, I thought I’d explore choosing your suppliers. I’ve touched on this subject before in a couple of previous posts, but again sometimes it’s useful to have some tips all in one place!
As a wedding planner myself, it’ll come as no surprise that I found choosing my wedding suppliers by far the easiest part of planning my own wedding. Having worked with a range of brilliant – and not so brilliant – suppliers, I know how to spot the good from the bad. But there’s also more to choosing suppliers than ‘good & bad’. There can be such a thing as a good supplier who is bad for you!
Top Tips for Choosing your Suppliers
Find or create your wedding ‘vibe’. Are you having a beachy-dream? Or vintage romance? Eclectic modern, with a hint of sparkle? You need to know what kind of wedding you want to know what suppliers are the best fit for you. If you’re not sure then don’t worry, this isn’t as complicated as it sounds. The easiest way to do this is (begrudgingly) Pinterest. Create a secret board, search for wedding inspiration, and start pinning. Anything & everything you’d love for your own wedding, and you’ll start to see a pattern emerge. Sometimes you then need to re-pin from the board you’ve created to narrow down your overall ‘look’, but either way you’ll soon get a feel for the type of wedding you want.
Take advice from other suppliers. Wedding professionals (suppliers) will almost always be familiar with other professionals in the area, and will have probably worked with them before. If a supplier you trust/respect warns you off another supplier, listen. There will always be a reason! Plus, you don’t want to have two suppliers working together on your dream wedding if they don’t see eye to eye…
Ask to see more of their work. This is especially important for photographers, but goes for most suppliers. With photographers, you always want to see at least 2 or 3 full wedding galleries. I’m talking hundreds of images, not just a few highlights. This is because you need to know that the photographer is consistent, and – more importantly – consistently good. Anyone with a camera can take a good photo every so often, but a really good photographer will have an amazing gallery full of millions of images from all their different weddings! And the same goes for other suppliers, or certainly visual ones. A cake maker may have made one outstanding cake but dozens of terrible ones. The same goes for a florist, videographer, hair stylist, and so on… And if they’re reluctant to show you more of their work, then that answers it’s own question…
Make sure they get you, and you get them. Having suppliers who understand what you want from them is essential. If you’re not vibing with them then they’re not the supplier for you. And there’s nothing wrong with that. They could be a world renowned wedding supplier, but if you’re not feeling comfortable or confident with what they can offer (or even just them as a person!) then don’t be afraid to walk away.
I could go on for hours about wedding suppliers, but I don’t think that’s overly helpful. After all, everyone is different and will have different tastes etc. But those are the 4 things that I would say are a ‘must’ for choosing your suppliers. And if you need an extra helping hand, head over to my Wedding Planning page!
In my last post, I wrote about my top tips for wedding dress shopping. Today it’s all about bridesmaid dress shopping!
If you keep up with my Instagram, you’ll have seen that in June I met up with my 3 best gals to go bridesmaid dress shopping in London. And although we haven’t quite nailed the bridesmaid dresses yet, it was such a wonderful day (which I can’t wait to do all over again!).
However, it’s not just about giggles and bubbles (I mean, it’s mostly about that, but I suppose finding dresses for the bridesmaids is sort of important too…). And going in with a rough plan, and some handy tops tips, can’t go amiss!
Bridesmaid Dress Shopping Top Tips
So here are a few top tips to get you started…
Before you go, figure out your criteria. Do you want long or short dresses? Have you got a very specific colour in mind? Are you happy to mix & match styles and/or colours? The most important thing – in my opinion – is that your bridesmaids feel comfortable with what they’re wearing, but you also have to remember that these are the dresses the girls are going to be wearing on your wedding day. If you figure out roughly what you want the dresses to look like then it gives your girls and the shop stylists a criteria to work from.
Be flexible. Having just said you need to figure out what you want… you also have to be flexible (figured!). It’s no good demanding everyone wears something super specific that they clearly hate. And equally, if you are so set on a particular dress/style you might really struggle to find one that matches exactly what you’re looking for. Basically, by not being flexible you’re making hard work for yourself!
Consider mix & match options. Whether that’s mix & match colours, necklines, shapes, or general styles, sometimes letting your bridesmaids each choose a dress they’re happy with is the best solution! A huge number of bridesmaid dress companies now create their collections with this exact idea in mind. Meaning the different dresses are designed to work together as a collection, rather than just multiples of one dress.
Have fun! The most important thing is – as always – to enjoy your appointments. I’ve said countless times before that your engagement period/wedding planning time should be filled with fun & excitement, and be all about making memories. Don’t get stressed, it’s just not worth it (take it from me!). And how many times will you be dress shopping, prosecco in hand, with your best gals all together? Exactly… Make the most of it whilst you can!
Aka the most wonderful place in all of the lands – plural. I’m not joking, The Bishop’s Palace is genuinely magical. I’m not sure if it’s the gorgeous towering medieval buildings, the incredibly beautiful gardens, the community spirit, or all 3! But I L-O-V-E it there. On one of my first days, a colleague said to me ‘it really gets in your blood’ and that has since resonated so much with me. It’s true – it honestly does get in your blood.
The Bishop’s Palace is run by a trust, meaning it’s a non-profit organisation. Any money they do make goes straight back into the trust to preserve the buildings & gardens and make it increasingly desirable and accessible to be enjoyed by all. And it’s so amazing to work for a company who runs on that basis. Plus, I have a huge number of amazing colleagues across many different departments, and we’re all left to get on with our work to the best of our abilities. No micro-management or lack of belief in our abilities (which, as you may know, is something I have had the displeasure of experiencing previously).
Obviously, people have to make money. But I feel that when making money out of people’s weddings becomes the focus of the business you may as well be working for an enormous corporate chain. Turning every wedding into a business development opportunity, for me, loses all meaning of what the wedding industry is about. And, as a bride-to-be I have actually rejected suppliers for my own wedding on that basis. Anyway, slightly off topic there. But my point is that at The Bishop’s Palace, your wedding is contributing to the preservation of an 800 year-old site, and I think it’s magical!
What I do
Now onto the fun stuff, what do I do all day? Well, as the Wedding & Venue Manager, I’m the face of the wedding and private hire department at The Bishop’s Palace. I deal with all incoming enquiries, and have a system in place for following up with enquiries and generating show-rounds. I’m also the person who conducts all of the show-rounds and (hopefully!) turns them into bookings.
A lot of my time is spent on the business development side of things. My first couple of months were spent focussing on a small re-brand of the wedding department to bring it up to a higher standard. I’ve also been accumulating previous wedding images, and over the next few weeks I’ll be submitting those to various blogs & magazines to get featured. I’ve created a specific ‘wedding’ Instagram for The Bishop’s Palace (@bishopspalaceweddings – go & give it a follow!) to keep the wedding department separate from the huge amounts of other things that go on at the Palace.
As the manager, I’m also responsible for all wedding & events staff. Making sure they’re working the hours they need to, approving holiday, managing office hours vs function hours, and keeping everyone happy! We have a weekly team meeting in which I have to give a brief overview of private events that are happening at the Palace, and once a month we have a management & trustee meeting for which I have to prepare a management report and be present at and contribute to the meeting (which usually lasts most of the morning).
Alongside all of that, there are various meetings with other team members (chefs for example) and meeting with local suppliers to build professional relationships. The list goes on! But that’s the bulk of it. And I couldn’t be anymore thrilled that this is my life!
I’ve had a lot of questions about how I’m finding the travelling, how long does it take, etc. To be honest, it’s really not that bad. It takes me 2 hours almost on the dot and it’s a really easy & pleasant drive. I’m only there 2 days a week (usually Mondays & Thursdays), so only doing the journey twice which makes it very do-able. I think if it was 3 days or more I would definitely struggle, but it’s not, so, yay!
During the drive I mostly listen to podcasts which is actually a wonderful use of my time. The times of day that I’m travelling are also, in my opinion, ‘lost’ times of day anyway. In the morning, I would just be in bed for a bit longer and have more time to get ready. And between 5pm-7pm all I’d do is probably cook dinner and maybe do some chores or go to the gym. Euan has dinner covered on those evenings and chores & gym can be done on another day!
And that, is that!
So, there you have it! That’s what I get up to on most Mondays & Thursdays. If you want to know anything else, just drop me a line. And please do consider The Bishop’s Palace as your wedding venue if you’re getting married!
Florals with a fabulous edge… Well, as you may have noticed, I co-ordinated a fabby floral photoshoot recently at the amazing wedding venue, Ever After, where I have been working a lot recently. The setting was just perfect and the photos… wow!
The sun was shining but there was just enough cloud for Charlotte to get perfect lighting on her wonderful shots… It’s always worth remembering that sometimes a little cloud on your wedding day is actually preferable to harsh beaming sunshine. Just ask any photographer, they’ll be sure to tell you!
Ever After has the most magical floral feel. It is so idillic and peaceful, and the gardens are just breathtaking. I don’t know about you but I’ve never been anywhere quite like it! Perfect for a stunning garden wedding, and they also do intimate winter elopements too!
Fabulously floral Katherine Milligan from Millifleur provided an array of to-die-for flowers, capturing the natural feel of the venue with a sneaky hint of modern. She is definitely the go-to florist for your wedding… Have a cheeky peak at her website! Possibly the nicest lady around, and I can’t wait to work with her again!
Need a photographer? Thankfully you are in the right place. Charlotte from Charlotte Dart Photography and Film took some incredible shots (well, you can see that for yourself!) and she was a darling to work with. She was quick off the mark at editing and getting them back to us, and I loved them so much I had to totally update my website to do them justice!
Now, you probably don’t need a model for your wedding, but just in case here is Alice, our gorgeous model who very kindly agreed to help us out last minute and doesn’t she just look wonderful?! She was natural and easy and made the photoshoot work like a dream. We abso-fabso-lutely couldn’t have done it without you Alice, so thank you a million!
Styled right? I sure hope so!
Feeling inspired? Your wedding could look just like this! Find out more about how we can help you create this amazing floral affair by visiting our weddings page…