When choosing your wedding suppliers, it’s awfully tempting to rush in and let the product line be the deciding factor. However, just because an event stylist has the rose gold sequin tablecloths you like, it doesn’t mean they automatically get the job (and btw, everyone has rose gold sequin tablecloths!). And just because that cake maker has the right shade of coral, it doesn’t mean their cakes taste any better.
It’s great that you have an idea of what you want, that will steer you towards the right type of vendor for your wedding (contemporary, rustic, boho etc) but having the product line you want does not alone mean they are the best supplier for you. Let’s just back it up a minute.
Presumably (like most couples) you want the best within your budget, you want quality and you don’t want any mishaps; this means you require someone that you can trust and have absolute confidence in.
The starting point is usually recommendations from your venue (in fact, you may have been given a list of preferred suppliers shortly after booking). Don’t dismiss this! It’s a big tick if a supplier has worked at your venue before; they know what works well with the décor and the space, and they won’t burden you about set-up times and access (they will liaise with your coordinator directly).
Contrary to popular belief, venues don’t get a commission for recommendations or referrals, we do so with you in mind (and with ourselves in mind to some extent). As Wedding Coordinator of the Year (for, ahem, three years) I have very exacting standards and I like to work with vendors who uphold those standards. By now you will have a feel for your coordinator. If (like you) they are a perfectionist, then you can trust that they’ll only work with like-minded professionals, and that list has been carefully vetted through years of experience.
Now this works in our favour too. I know my preferred suppliers will deliver the best level of client care and won’t overcharge you. And because they know my venue like the back of their hands, on a wedding day I can focus on you whilst they slip in and get to work.
The suppliers I like to work with do all these things quietly and efficiently, without a grumble and without alarming anyone. Any supplier who indignantly said to me, “well the bride has miscounted, go up to her room and tell how much it’ll be for an extra button hole” would not be working at my venue again! The best vendors responded to on-the-day changes and provided extra things to surprise and delight the couple (and expected nothing in return). Wedding cakes from well-known luxury supermarket chains arrived on more than one occasion without the dowels included and I’ve had cake makers, who weren’t even part of the wedding, rush to my aid and not charge me a thing. You didn’t even know they were there! A dignified silence does not make someone a celebrated hero, but as they say, not all superheroes wear capes.
That said, it’s vitally important that you like your suppliers too. As you will be in regular contact with them, it’s important that they share your vision and you have the confidence to communicate openly. Visuals always help the start the creative process (but remember a lot of creatives won’t just replicate something you’ve seen on Pinterest; they may have their own style and interpret it their own way).
Don’t be scared to talk budget, it’s not embarrassing and it can save both of you lots of time.
If you decide against a certain supplier who has provided a quote, it’s courteous to drop them a line and let them know. You don’t have to provide feedback if you’re uncomfortable, but you can say, “thank you for our meeting, another supplier had just what I was looking for but it was great meeting you”. This saves them a lot of time chasing and wondering. Most of these companies are very small independents and they will appreciate this.
Lastly, just be yourself. Trust your suppliers. There’s no need to panic or stress, but do talk to them if you are genuinely worried about something. There’s no need to lose sleep over anything, chances are we’ve been here before and we can alleviate all your worries straight away. Little tip – suppliers will bend over backwards for their favourite couples (I mean, they’d do this for any client of course, but what’s that phrase? You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? Loosely translated, it is easier to persuade others with polite requests and a positive attitude rather than with rude demands and negativity 😉.)
Surround yourself with your dream team, trust them, talk openly and have fun! Together, you will realise your vision and more!