You’ve chosen your wedding date, set your budget, booked your venue and now you need to choose your suppliers. It might seem an overwhelming and all-consuming task, but finding the right suppliers that fit your budget and wedding style is an important part of wedding planning.
Work out what you need
The type and style of wedding you are having will determine which suppliers you will need – if your venue is full service, such as a hotel or country house, the caterer and tables and chairs, for example, will likely be included in the package you book, so you may not need to find suppliers for these elements of your wedding.
If you’ve opted for a dry hire venue (such as marquees, tipis, and some indoor spaces) you will need to source suppliers for every element of your wedding, from furniture to toilets.
Make sure you check what is included in the venue hire and the facilities that are provided, so you know the suppliers that you need to book.
Do your research
Google is a great place to start searching for your wedding suppliers. Other invaluable resources are recommended suppliers that are affiliated with your venue; recommendations from friends and family; wedding directories; real weddings; editorial inspiration shoots and wedding blogs. Instagram and Pinterest are also proving popular resources for supplier searches.
When you’re doing your research, it’s important to consider if the style of the supplier complements your wedding style and taste, and suits your wedding vision. It’s also important to make sure they align with your budget. It’s really easy to get carried away and spend more than you can afford, and if you overspend on one supplier you’ll need to cut back on other areas of your wedding. Also consider where your suppliers are based, if they’re not local to the location where you are having your wedding, are they willing to travel?
Shortlist your favourites
Compile a shortlist of your favourite suppliers, follow them on social media, engage with them and find out more about them and their work. It’s a good idea to shortlist 3 of each category of supplier, such as photographer, florist and so on. You’ll then have options if any are unavailable on your wedding date. While it’s important to book your suppliers as early as possible, panic booking leads to second guessing your decisions later on in the planning process.
Ask for information
Once you’ve got a shortlist of your favourites, send enquiries giving as much detail about your wedding as you can. It’s important to include key information such as your names and contact details, your wedding date, your wedding venue/location, the service or product you are interested in, an overview of your wedding day and your wedding vision.
Make sure you ask them for their availability for your wedding date, the price of their products/services and any additional costs or optional extras, deposit and payment terms, terms and conditions and their booking procedure. This will help them to provide all the information you will need to make a decision to move forward.
It’s not just about budget
Don’t choose a supplier purely based on budget. They might be the cheapest, but if their style doesn’t suit your wedding vision you’re going to be disappointed after the event. Once you’ve had the information from your shortlisted suppliers, go through each quote in detail and check what is included for each service. It’s difficult to compare like for like, as some suppliers will provide different options but the quotes will give you an overview of price points. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have a query or are unsure of something.
Build a connection
Having a connection with your suppliers is key, you’re going to be working with them until your wedding day and it’s important you’re on the same page throughout the process. By getting to know you and what you like and dislike, they’ll work in harmony with you and your other wedding suppliers to bring your wedding vision to life.
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