how to choose the right wedding suppliers
This week I received a phone call from a couple who had contacted me about their wedding over 18 months ago. When they had first got in touch, I was new(ish) and I was cheaper than I am now. I’d quoted them a pretty good price for a full day photography package with two photographers and an album. I didn’t hear from them again. They’d chosen to go with another photographer, one they’d found on Groupon. Someone who had quoted them half what I had if they paid the money in full upfront. What a bargain. Unfortunately that photographer then went bust. Taking with him the couples full payment and probably the payment of many other couples too. With the wedding just over a month away and all the final payments looming, the couple now have to find someone else who can photograph their day. I had already rebooked the date so I couldn’t help but when they told me the circumstances I felt desperately sorry for them. If they had booked me at the original price I had quoted (hundreds of pounds less than what I now charge) they would have had an experienced wedding photographer on their day. Now they were left with very few options and even less money because they’d been seduced by a bargain. It’s not the first time I’ve heard of horror stories such as this.
According to the website Hitched, the wedding industry in the UK is worth over £10 Billion. And there are thousands and thousands of wedding suppliers out there all trying to get a piece of that action. As the wedding industry has grown and as weddings become less traditional and more personalised, the choice of wedding suppliers has boomed. This is great news for you as couple planning your big day – there’s so much more choice, it’s increasingly possible to find the suppliers who will achieve your vision, who will work within your budget and produce exactly what you want.
On the flip side however, this boom has led to an increase in vendors whose only desire is to get a slice of that £10 Billion action, who have come into the wedding industry to make a fast buck, who thinks it’s an easy way to earn some money, who don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart.
It can be tricky to navigate this oversaturated world of wedding suppliers and find reliable wedding suppliers. Unfortunately, like most wedding suppliers I’ve heard many a horror story about couples who have been left high and dry, who have been conned out of money, or whose suppliers have let them down.
So here’s a few basic tips on how to choose your wedding suppliers to ensure you don’t find yourself in this pickle.
Yep, so not technically about suppliers but it always amazes me how few couples invest in wedding insurance. It’s ridiculously cheap – from around £40 – £100 depending on the size and budget of your wedding. Amongst other things it will cover you if the wedding has to be cancelled or rearranged, if any of your wedding gifts or items that you’ve purchased for the wedding are stolen or damaged and very importantly, if you are let down by any of your suppliers. Of course, if can’t really do anything to stop any of these happening but at least it’ll give you your money back in the event that they do.
A bargain is not always a bargain
This concept applies to a lot in life but definitely to weddings. When you are shopping for any wedding supplier and you find one who is significantly cheaper than other quotes you’ve received please ask yourself why. There might be a perfectly legit reason – maybe they are quiet in that particular month, maybe you’re getting married on an off peak date and they are offering a discount, maybe they are new to the industry and they are trying to build their portfolio. Or perhaps they aren’t running their business properly, perhaps they haven’t invested in insurance, perhaps they are using substandard products, or perhaps (worst case scenario, but unfortunately one that happens more than you would wish to think) they are scam artists and they are going to take your money and you’ll never hear from that again. There are certainly bargains to be had but please keep your eyes open and proceed with caution before handing over your hard earnt cash.
Online reviews are a great way to check out your potential suppliers. There’s probably some reviews on their website but dont forget – the suppliers themselves have added these so don’t take them as gospel. Check out the reviews on their Facebook pages, Google and other online directories for completely unbiased reviews. You can be sure that if a supplier is in the habit of providing poor service, there’ll be a review about them somewhere. There’s even a group on Facebook you can join where members post about scams or poor service. On the flipside – if you have a really good experience with a vendor – please do leave us a review. It makes our day and it makes it easier for other couples to find reputable suppliers.
Ask the right questions
A legitimate and reputable wedding vendor will not mind you asking lots of questions. Of course, they are questions we hear everyday but we appreciate that this is your first rodeo as it were so ask away. If anyone starts being evasive or tetchy about it then walk away and find someone else. You may find that some wedding vendors include a list of frequently asked questions on their website – here’s mine. Examples of what to ask – are you insured? What arrangements do you have in place in case you are sick on the day of the wedding? Will we receive a written contract or booking form? How long will it take for my products to be ready? Do you charge travelling expenses? Obviously the exact questions you ask will depend on the particular supplier you are using.
and finally…..trust your instincts
A wedding is one of the biggest financial outlays you’ll probably ever make so just use the same common sense you would in making any other big purchase. Make sure you get written quotes from your suppliers so you know exactly what you are getting for your money, check their reviews and recommendations, ask questions and don’t just assume they’ll provide exactly what you want, be clear on your date and your budget. Don’t book something because it’s the cheapest or the easiest or just because someone you know has used them. And finally, don’t be rushed into a decision – either by your own excitement or by a supplier pressuring you. Whilst it’s important to get your main suppliers booked as soon as possible – the fact that there are so many of us means you’ll find someone else if your first choice is already booked. Don’t rush into booking the first people you speak to.