Know your wedding budget and share it
The most important part of wedding planning is to know your budget. By that, i do not just mean your total figure. You should break down your budget into various areas so you know what you have to spend on each item e.g. catering, floristry etc. This will stop you from overspending.
When you find suppliers you like you should always share your budget as that will help them to come up with an idea or concept which fits within the parameters of what you are able to spend. If you are shopping for a handbag, for example, you would have in your head what you are comfortable spending on a bag. That would help you to determine what type of bag you were looking for and what shops to go in for it. It is exactly the same. This is most important for items like floristry where a knowledgeable florist can really help you to work within your budget. A table arrangement is never a set price because it can range so much in height, shape, composition, the quality of the flowers and the quantity. Therefore, if you are open and honest with you florist about your budget she/he can help you to get in your budget by adjusting the features of his/her design.
This leads me neatly on to how to pick who to approach. When looking for suppliers, if you know your budget and share it you do not need to price hunt for suppliers. What you should be looking for, are suppliers who naturally meet your style. In the world of social media you now have such a good opportunity to look over suppliers work. Find suppliers whose body of work matches with the style you are trying create. That is much easier than asking a supplier to fit a round peg into a square hole!
Location is important for some suppliers more than others. Some suppliers, such as photographers and wedding planners travel all over and expect to. Other suppliers, will charge delivery or travel and so it is worthwhile trying to find local suppliers to your venue. I always look for local suppliers of hair, make-up and cake, for example, unless the couple want something really specific or specialised. It is also worthwhile trying to find one supplier who can supply multiple items if they are charging delivery. For example, in an outdoor wedding, can the company supplying the crockery, cutlery, glassware etc also supply the tables and chairs or the styling items. Or, can the marquee or tipi company supply the table and chairs.
Once you have enquired and explained what you want and how much you have to spend, it is now time to talk to the supplier on the phone or meet them in person. Try and get a sense of how the person works. We are a pretty passionate bunch in the wedding industry and this should come across when you are talking to us about your ideas. How they correspond with you in these early days is also a good indicator of how they are going to be going forwards. So if you have to call them six times and they never respond to your emails that should be a red flag! It will only get worse once wedding season hits and they are really busy! Although, do check your junk mail. From my own personal experience I know that all my first emails go to my clients’ junk and so they think I haven’t replied which is dreadful!
Share your vision
If you have a vision of your day and the atmosphere or look you are trying to create, share it with all of your suppliers. This gives them such an opportunity to use their own creativity in the area of expertise. For example, at a wedding I am planning at the moment we are having a magic and cocktail hour. When the cocktail company saw that in the concept document they said that they could design cocktails which had a magical element for that hour e.g. they smoke or change colour. It is the perfect example of creative suppliers bringing their talent and creativity to the team!