Sourcing suppliers for a wedding can be a lot more work than you might think. Some people may just pick via referral and trust the person who recommended the supplier, while others do intensive research in hopes of finding the ideal ones.
Here are some tips on how to source the right suppliers for your wedding that I learned through planning my own wedding and for others as well. Hope this helps those out there still planning their weddings!
1. Stick to your budget!
As per my Wedding Planning 101 article, make sure you have a budget in mind and stick to it! Nothing worse than being completely upsold by your suppliers. Trust me when I say that most suppliers will try to upsell you! It’s their business to. Unless you have extra money you can splurge on a specific item, keep in mind you don’t want get married to debt and credit card interest!
2. Source marriage commissioner by personality and promptness!
For those picking the government listed marriage commissioner, make sure to interview them on their experience and make sure they are good through communications via phone and/or email. Also ensure they have the right date and time! My marriage commissioner was late because he had our time wrong even though we communicated it multiple times. Also make sure he/she has a cell phone. Some we interviewed didn’t so the question about how to reach him/her if they didn’t show up meant we didn’t select them based on not having a cell. If you can even request an in-person interview, that would be best.
3. Source caterer by taste and service quality, as well as budget!
Some caterers will charge for a tasting evening, while some smaller companies may come to your house for a free tasting evening. Whatever it is, make sure to do that and be happy with your caterer’s tasting before booking them. Request for them to send you a full quote that includes cutlery, china, linens, transportation fees, etc. Those are hidden costs some caterers don’t include in their menu costs which add up. Other questions to ask them include their quality of service – how many servers and chefs are included for the event? how many hours do you require for setup? code of conduct of servers i.e. dress code? How many events do they cater per day? Note, a buffet requires less servers whereas plated meals will require more servers and chefs. This might affect your costs depending on caterer.
4. Source photographer based on personality and quality of service.
Photographers can range in costs from < $1000 to 8000+. Again, what’s your budget? However don’t pick a photographer solely on cost. The main thing is to find the right personality. Your photographer will be with you throughout your wedding capturing your special moments. You will spend more time with your photographer than with your family that day! Therefore, pick someone who you can get along with, has mutual respect, treats you as a friend vs just as a client, and can easily talk to and discuss ideas of what you want from him/her. Ask both fun and serious questions, review their portfolio and see if it matches the style you want. Most importantly if you feel their quality of service is exceptional/friendly/personable. I picked my photographer based on all that and negotiated so that she was available for my budget.
5. Think of your suppliers as your partners.
Don’t think of your suppliers as just another business transaction. They are there to work with you to ensure your day goes as you want it to be. Work with them in advance to ensure that the week of the big day, you are all on the same page. Communications is key – however be patient and don’t keep changing your mind the closer to the wedding day. It will drive your suppliers mad considering you are not their only client either! Make sure to have mutual respect for your suppliers and treat them as equals. If you aren’t satisfied with them before the big day, request a meeting and sit down to discuss your concerns to rectify the situation before the big da.
On the day of the wedding, hire someone or ask a friend/family member to help coordinate and check up on your suppliers. You should not have to do that yourself. Whatever happens the day of, have fun but have someone take notes for you. After the wedding send a follow-up or phone to discuss the goods/bads/areas to improve so that your suppliers have your feedback to improve. Great suppliers will take the feedback and keep improving!