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Tips for newly engaged couples... Part 2

This blog post follows on from my last one, which featured initial tips for starting your wedding planning. What to consider when choosing your venue and time of year. This next post in the series will look at what suppliers do you need to nail down next and what processes you should go through when choosing who they should be.


But before you go any further, take out wedding insurance. I know it might feel like a waste of money, but trust me, it's not. You just don't know what might happen that could result in your day not going ahead, and having wedding insurance is that piece of mind that you won't loose thousands of pounds if the unthinkable happens!!


I'm not going to give you an exact time frame for booking suppliers, as some people give themselves 3 years to plan their weddings and others have 3 months, so just look at this as a priority list. Consider who on your supplier list can only do 1 wedding a day (realistically) and therefore most likely to have their diary fill up more quickly. Also note that even if you're getting married mid-week, suppliers such as photographers and videographers, while they might have availability on your date, are likely to have a maximum number of weddings they're prepared to do per month / per year and so getting them booked in early is still really important. If your chosen supplier isn't free, ask them for their own recommendations too.



Catherine and her Camera

The next suppliers you will need to book in...


Wedding Planner (if you're having one)

Photographer

Videographer

Caterer (if not supplied by your venue)

Venue Stylist (if you're having one)

Hair and Make-up

Band / DJ / Entertainment


It's never too early to start conversations with your suppliers. Especially if you know who you want for something. I am already talking to brides getting married in 2026. I have their date, venue and general details and will help them source their hair and make-up team as soon as I know my team have opened their diaries. This will give these brides first refusal on artists for their dates and can choose the team that will suit them best. Most suppliers will happily pencil a date for you if they're not yet opening their diaries, so don't be afraid to ask to be put on a priority list, if they have one.



Hair by Natalie S

When it comes to choosing your suppliers, I would always say personal experience / recommendation is the absolute best way to source people. Knowing you have reliable people on your bridal team, is going to reduce stress and ensure you actually enjoy your day.


When asking for recommendations, not only do you want to see that the product they deliver is of a high quality, but also that they're efficient with email responses and that they're professional in how they deliver their customer experience. This will pretty much always give you an idea of the level of service you can expect on the day.


Read reviews, and I don't mean on just on their website, head to their Facebook page and google. Most reputable suppliers will have a review option for them on Google. If they don't, then I would take this as a massive red flag. If someone has a negative review (which very occasionally happens, even for the best suppliers), be sure to read how they respond. This can often tell you a lot about how they run their business and will give you an insight into how they cope with confrontation or a challenging situation. The best ones, will come out on top, even after a negative review, which can be very upsetting.



Context Photography. Hair and Make-up by Leanne

So you've found some suppliers that you want to enquire with, now where do you go from here?


Be sure to give them as much information as you can, this will save too much tooing and froing with questions that will enable them to quote. Often their websites will give you an idea of the information they need from you.


Here are some examples of the things the above listed suppliers will need to know in order to quote you / provide availability.


Wedding Planner

Date of the wedding

Location/s of the wedding

Time of the wedding

What kind of package are you looking for? Wedding planners can often offer differing sized packages, depending on how much support you're after.

Size of your wedding


Photographer / Videographer

Date of the wedding

Location/s of the wedding

Hours you're looking to have coverage (i.e getting ready to first dance etc)

Time of the ceremony

Size of the wedding


Caterer

Date of the wedding

Location of the reception

Time of the ceremony and aspired time to eat

Numbers for both wedding breakfast and evening

If you're having a DIY wedding (i.e marquee in a field) they will need to know what facilities there are and whether you want them to do all serving, clearing etc and whether you're providing your own linen, cutlery and crockery. Often this can be included in a package, but it's an important question to ask

Aspired menu ideas (i.e 3 course sit down or buffet etc)


Venue Stylist

Date of the wedding

Location of the wedding

Access times to your venue / ceremony time

Is there a room change. i.e do you need the ceremony room switched over to be ready for the wedding breakfast etc

Your styling ideas


Hair and Make-up

Date of the wedding

Location you would need them to come to on the day

Time you need to be ready by and the time of the ceremony

Access times to bridal suite (if applicable) and will there be a move of venues mid morning

Who requires hair and make-up on the day

Who requires a trial


Band / DJ / Entertainment

Date of the wedding

Location you would need them to come to

Time you're looking for them to start / finish

An idea of what you're wanting from them




So you've gathered quotes and have narrowed down your choices, but where do you go from here. Be careful to read terms and conditions thoroughly. They're designed to protect both you and the supplier. If there's anything that doesn't make complete sense to you in the terms you're reading then ask your suppliers directly. They should respect the fact that you're doing your research. You should always know, what happens if you or they have to cancel. What are their processes for helping you find cover and what happens to money you have paid. Note you don't need to have signed a contract to agree to terms. Often terms will state that on paying the booking fee / deposit, you're agreeing to the terms and conditions of the supplier.


Ask them if they have public liability insurance. A lot of venues ask to see this these days, but if someone doesn't then I would also be careful about working with them. It should be expected of all wedding suppliers.


If you get any kind of negative response to asking these questions, then I would see this as a massive red flag too. As I mentioned above, they should respect the fact that you're not jumping in with both feet, without doing your due diligence.


Note that a supplier will only secure your date with them in their diary once a booking fee / deposit has been paid. So do this as soon as you're confident in who you want and are able to. If you can't pay for a week or so, be sure to let them know. They may be kind enough to hold it for you for a short period.




So you've now booked and paid and you're in their diary, what's next... well ask them! Each supplier will work slightly differently and depending on the time frame around when you're booking they will be able to advise what you can expect. Be sure to make a note of payment deadlines and any other things you need to consider. I.e for a photographer when should you expect to meet them / chat to them before the day, for hair and make-up, when do they like to do your trial, for a caterer, when can you expect a tasting etc. Don't leave yourself wondering. Ask these questions and then note down the answers in your calendar as prompts. Besides, you've probably not done this before and so guidance from the experts is vital to ensure you don't miss something. Lean on us and we will get you through to your big day, without a hitch.


In my next blog post we're going to talk dress shopping and how to nail down your style choice.


I hope you've found this helpful. Pop me a comment below if you have or let me know what else you would like to know about.


Thanks for reading

Emily

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