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!
Today I’m chatting about our suppliers; where we are up to, any problems along the way, and what’s left to do!
Our Suppliers – Where are we up to?
I’d say I’m about 50% of the way through the planning process now. And I definitely prioritised certain suppliers because I know they get booked up fast!
So what suppliers have we booked? The following have been ticked off my list…
I’m also in the process of having my wedding dress made, and about to book hair & make-up. Phew!
As I’m fortunate enough to work with an abundance of amazing suppliers, I pretty much knew who I wanted and booked the first 6 almost immediately.
Our original wedding co-ordinator fell through, and at first I was pretty cross about it. But as it turned out I’m actually so glad! I went on a little hunt for wedding planners and found a wonderful lady on Instagram. I’m thrilled she’s now our wedding co-ordinator and I can’t wait for her to be part of our day!
Our Suppliers – What’s left to do?
Sounds like I’ve got it pretty sorted, right? Oh I wish! There’s still a lot to do… (not that I’m stressing or anything…!). So, what is actually left?
Bridesmaid & flower girl dresses
Bridal accessories (shoes etc for me & the girls)
Gents outfits (Kilts for Euan & his best man, suits for the ushers, and outfits for the page boys!)
Decor, all the decor!
Tables & chairs
Linen, cutlery, crockery, glassware… etc etc
Gifts for various people
No doubt I’m forgetting some crucial things… Some of the above are urgent, others not so much. But it all still needs doing! Luckily, our church is booked. So if all else fails, at least we are actually getting married (and I’ll have a dress to wear).
Our Suppliers – Any problems?
Apart from the original wedding co-ordinator, we’ve actually had it pretty smooth-sailing so far (touch wood!). I just want to start really getting the smaller details sorted and then I’ll feel loads better. Anyone who’s previously been a bride-to-be will know those awful wedding dreams (nightmares) where everything is going wrong, or the day is happening earlier than it should, etc etc. But luckily I’ve used those nightmares as planning motivation, so whatever went wrong in the dream I’ve then sorted in real life and they seem to go away! (Until I start worrying about the next thing).
Supplier Top Tips
Okay so top tips for choosing suppliers…
Ask another supplier’s advice. Obviously this requires having actually booked a supplier, but you get to know a lot about different suppliers when you work in the industry so it’s well worth asking around for recommendations.
If you don’t know where to start but have a friend who’s been married or – even better – works in the industry, then ask their advice.
If in doubt, trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t rush into making a decision. Take your time and trust what you feel!
With photographers, make sure they send you a link to galleries of more than one full wedding. And if they don’t, just ask. It’s important that photography is consistent across not one wedding as a whole, but multiple weddings too. And if they’re reluctant to send you a gallery then that answers your question for you!
With florists, make sure their ‘style’ is in keeping with what you want from your wedding. They may be very talented, but just not your cup of tea. And you want your day to feel like yours so don’t be afraid of going for someone different who suits your style more.
Feel comfortable. With any supplier, but especially those who are going to be there on the day, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. Yes, recommendations are super important but if you don’t feel comfortable with someone who has been recommended to you, keep searching until you find someone you do feel comfortable with. This is your day.
Take a look at my previous post to find out more about our venue. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram if you don’t already!
It’s a little late, I know, but there has been so much going on recently that I’m only just sitting down to really focus on a few blog posts! As you (probably) already know, I exhibited at a couple of wedding fayres in October & November (catchup with the blog posts about them here and here), and I met some super wonderful fellow wedding suppliers. Here are a couple I wanted to talk about, and (in case you missed it!) but video summary is at the end also!
The Word Forest Organisation
The Word Forest Organisation is something that I have never come across before, but I seriously like the idea. There are a number of ways you can use their company, but essentially the end result being you have your very own ‘wedding forest’ planted. I mean, how fab is that?! Instead of asking for wedding gifts, you can ask your guests to buy you a tree on your selected plot of land in Kenya. 100 guests = 100 trees. AmAZing! Or you could gift the trees to your guests/bridesmaids/ushers etc as wedding favours, again, brilliant idea! And the Word Forest Organisation do it all for you (no travelling to Kenya required!). I honestly think this is such a fantastic company who are doing a wonderful thing, and they are also a registered charity which is just the icing on the cake really. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but a really unique idea if it’s your kind of thing.
I’m still undecided about wedding magicians… Are they the next big thing or are they suitable for only specific types of weddings? Not sure! I’d love to hear what you think though, especially if you’ve had/are having a magician at your wedding, or you’ve been to a wedding with one.
I did, however, come across a magician who I really liked and thought had a great act. He was called Dan Brazier and he performed a card trick on me which, I have to say, was pretty impressive. I thought he was dressed suitable and was well presented which is, of course, very important as any form of entertainer!
The Illustrated Invitation
Lastly (I’m very excited about this one!) was a lady who was next to me at the Bath wedding fayre and her company was just to die for! Basically, they can sketch your wedding venue or church and then have the image printed on invitations/envelopes/save the dates, etc etc, and you can also purchase a framed illustration of your venue. I mean, wow! Not only do I love the idea, their style was gorgeous and simplistic which worked perfectly. The calligraphy is stunning across all their products and the drawings are in black and white which is all you need on stationary. I honestly love this company and I am 100% keeping them in mind for when I get married!
So there are my three favourite wedding suppliers from the two wedding fayres! Here are the links to their websites, and also the link to my video summarising them all.
Aaaand onto number two… With them being only a week apart, I was most definitely in the wedding fayre mood, and as we were having to travel up to Bath we decided to make a long weekend of it which made it even more exciting.
This wedding fayre (you’ll be pleased to hear, I’m sure) was infinitely more successful than the Exeter one, for many reasons. The first one being I was faaaaar less nervous. I knew which bits I needed to improve on, and (in the few days between them) had managed to make some important changes to my stand and my selling tactics, so I was feeling confident. Plus, having already done one those initial ‘first time’ nerves were almost completely eliminated.
I wasn’t totally cool as a cucumber though, which I think is important. A touch of adrenaline never ‘urt no-one!
Wedding Fayre #2; Bailbrook House
From the moment we arrived, it was clear this wedding venue was much more suited to brides in need of wedding planners (and we were right!). It’s a beautiful venue and the wedding fayre itself had been excellently publicised, thanks to event organisers Boodelicious Events.
Our stand was in a perfect location which was another massive bonus… We were positioned in the far right corner, and although that sounds a little ‘out of the way’ it really wasn’t. Brides & Grooms would enter and, as with the first fayre, not really know what to do or say for the first couple of stands. However, by the time they got to us they had spoken to a few people (but not so many that they were bored) and any uneasy awkwardness had diminished.
I managed to speak to pretty much every couple that went past which I was thrilled with, and had some really lengthly conversations with a few. It was an amazing confidence boost, and a few couples were genuinely interested in what I did and how I could help them. Of course, the services of a wedding planner aren’t for everyone, but I certainly met a few people who were promising clients.
I was thrilled with my stand set-up this time too (how perfectly matching was Euan?!). I had borrowed some miniature white easels from Euan’s boss, which I rested signs on, giving the table an extra dimension. And, as mentioned in the previous blog post, I printed out more ‘Lila Bailey’ postcards and gave one to each bride who went past, consequently starting a conversation with them.
The atmosphere at Bailbrook House was brilliant too; the room was beautiful and warm, and the suppliers were friendly and happy to have a chat. I thought the organisers were brilliant and would definitely work with them again! It felt much more natural, nurturing, and almost like we were all in a little wedding family (despite having never met any of them before!).
Soooo… All in all, it was a great experience and a successful one at that. Big love to all the fabulous couples and suppliers I met, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed this post!
Naturally, I vlogged the Bath wedding fayre which you can find below… Don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel, and follow my social media pages! x