When you’re spending months painstakingly planning every tiny detail of your wedding you cross your fingers that it’s all going to go to plan and look perfect. Oh, and you’re assuming that your day actually does go ahead because your venue hasn’t double-booked your wedding with another event, the wedding planner hasn’t fled to America with all the things you need to make your day look so pretty and the wedding co-ordinator isn’t calling you “Bridezilla” all over Facebook! Yip, it’s not your guests you need to watch out for, it’s your wedding suppliers and I’ve seen it all over the past few years as a wedding photographer in Angus, Dundee and Perth. You don’t want to be the victim of the next wedding disaster and have your story plastered all over the news so I’m going to share with you 5 top tips for choosing wedding suppliers that won’t let you down so you can plan your wedding with a little less to worry about.
5 top tips for choosing wedding suppliers that won’t let you down
Ok, so you might have to think carefully about your seating plan because Auntie May had an argument with a cousin that you never see 10 years ago and they still don’t speak but to keep the peace on all sides you’ll invite them anyway and keep them apart. What you don’t expect is to be let down by your wedding suppliers but sadly this does happen from time to time and I’ve seen some horror stories in wedding Facebook groups and in the news.
In April 2016 it was reported that the then events planner at Balgonie Castle was at the centre of a social media storm after allegedly divulging the details of a bride’s wedding package which many considered to be private on Facebook. In her remarks she stated she “did not have the patience to deal with Bridezillas” which sparked a campaign to boycott the venue.
Then in June 2016 Glasgow wedding decorating firm Happy Talk Events sent brides and grooms into a panic after shutting down their website and Facebook page overnight with the owners allegedly fleeing to America leaving couples out of pocket with nothing to show for it.
Most recently Guthrie Castle in Angus hit the headlines over claims their former wedding planner allegedly stole thousands of pounds of deposits before wiping the booking system clean, leaving couples with no idea if their weddings are actually going to take place. Meanwhile Guthrie Castle staff are left to pick up the pieces and are appealing for people that have booked weddings and events to come forward.
That sounds like a whole lot of stress which you don’t want to have to deal with. Incidents like this are very much in the minority but you don’t want to be the next victim so here’s 5 top tips for avoiding the next wedding disaster.
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1. Take the time to research your wedding suppliers
When you’re looking for the perfect wedding venue, photographer, humanist celebrant, cake maker, transport, florist, wedding dress, band or videographer what’s the first thing you should do? Much like when you’re on the hunt for a new car you’ll fire up Google, start hunting around for the “best wedding photographers” and see what pops up.
Then you’ll be asking your friends that are already married which suppliers they loved and you’ll most likely join wedding groups on Facebook like Blushing Brides Scotland. But don’t just book the first supplier you stumble upon that you like the look of. Make sure you check out as many websites as possible and make a short-list of all the suppliers that really stand out that you want to talk to. It’s your special day. It’s not a case of “you’ll do”. You want the best suppliers that will go the extra mile for you.
2. Look for recent reviews and testimonials
While you’re doing all your research you really want to pay attention to reviews and testimonials. Sure, you may like a wedding photographer’s work but does she have testimonials to back up what she’s telling you on her website and are they recent or were they written 3 years ago?
On Facebook you should be looking for consistent 5 star reviews. Check out what clients are saying in their reviews and also check the “Visitors posts” section too incase there’s anything negative been written that you should be aware of. Some suppliers don’t have reviews enabled on their Facebook pages. Either they’re technophobes and don’t know how to do it or perhaps there’s a reason they don’t want people writing reviews? Be alert to this and make your own mind up.
3. Meet potential wedding suppliers face-to-face
Once you have your short list of suppliers with glowing reviews and testimonials you want to set up a few meetings before you make any decisions. This is your opportunity to check out sample wedding photography albums, make sure the cake tastes as good as it looks and get a trial run of your hair and make-up. You will have to pay for hair and make-up trials but with everyone looking at you on your big day, you want to look good, right?
When you meet a person in real life you’ll get a good feel for whether they’re the right for you. If it doesn’t feel right, that’s completely ok. Don’t ever feel the pressure to book right there and then. Yes, many suppliers will need you to pay a booking fee or deposit to secure your date but if you’re in any doubt at all, walk away and take the time you need to think about it.
4. Make sure you sign on the dotted line
Any professional wedding supplier will ask you to sign a contract and discuss it with you in detail before you sign on the dotted line. Alarm bells should be ringing if you’re not given a contract. What kind of shoddy operation is this that takes your cash and doesn’t give you a contract? Doesn’t sound very professional to me.
A contract will set out the terms and conditions and what’s expected both of you and your supplier so that there’s no nasty surprises. I have heard of cases where brides have booked wedding venues, paid a deposit and then had thousands added to their bill weeks before their wedding because the venue put their prices up. Take the time to read the small print to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you.
5. Keep in touch with your wedding suppliers
Most reputable wedding suppliers will make the effort to keep in touch with their clients but it does work both ways. Yes, you have lots of different suppliers to manage but you should expect to hear from all of your suppliers as your big day approaches.
If you’ve been in regular contact with a supplier that suddenly goes cold on you and stops returning emails and calls, take a step back before you go into panic mode. Could it be that your supplier is running a small business and has gone on holiday for a couple of weeks and forgotten to turn on their out-of-office? Yes, it’s not ideal but mistakes do happen. Or is it a bigger company that has maybe had a change of staff? Phone and seek assurances from someone else and take it higher up the chain if you’ve got a bad feeling. If there is going to be a nasty shock the sooner you know about it and can deal with it the better.
What else can you do to prevent a wedding disaster?
You would hope that any of the situations I’ve told you about will not happen to you but if you follow the steps above hopefully you should have your wits about you and be aware of the potential pitfalls and dodgy wedding suppliers.
For an extra added measure of protection, do consider wedding insurance which may cover you for cancellation, failure of suppliers, wedding gifts, wedding transport, photographs and video. Again, it’s worthwhile checking the policy terms in fine detail. Should a supplier unexpectedly let you down on your big day it could be just the saving grace you need.
Are you planning your wedding right now? Has this blog helped you pick out the awesome wedding suppliers? Jump into the comments and let me know. I’d love to hear from you and I always reply.