The wedding industry is a beautiful place. Filled with endless bounds of ‘the pretty’, it can appear as a wonderland to the uninitiated. And for the first few weeks after becoming engaged, who wouldn’t like to ride the merry-go-round of gorgeous blooms, or jump aboard the rollercoaster of lace and tulle dresses? And did we mention the big dipper of Pinterest, and the ferris wheel of Instagram, where you can scroll endlessly through the tablescapes and stationery choices of other brides and grooms?
However, once you have done a tour of the park and it is time to get down to the business of planning your wedding, it can become quickly apparent that there is little signage or guidance in this fun fair. Where are all the creators of the stunning floristry you found on your midnight social media voyage? Why are the names of the wedding suppliers unrecognisable to you? And how did everyone else source the right businesses for their day?
To help you navigate the park we have created a list of five dos and don’ts for finding the wedding suppliers who suit you best and make it easy for you to say ‘I do’ to their services, products and solutions:
DO look at wedding directories (but be specific about the ones you look at)
The main question to ask here is this: who is this directory targeting? Is it simply any newly-engaged person? If so, it might not be niche enough for you. When choosing which directories to read, ask yourself what ‘qualifies’ the businesses to be in the directory. The videographer section may contain screeds of businesses, but is it full of wedding suppliers who inspire and delight you, or is it just a list of names of people who happen to be in that field? In short, have they paid the piper to bring you to their door, or is the directory a hand-selected, well-curated smorgasbord of creatives who fit the particular niche you are interested in?
DON’T join a local wedding Facebook group
Oooh, controversial, we know. But hear us out. The main problem with these groups is that any recommendations you ask for are only as valuable as the person giving them out. In short, if you don’t know the bride or groom making the recommendation, how do you know that their recommended wedding supplier will suit your style? Even worse, the main participants in these groups can often be suppliers themselves, and that’s a hard sell nobody wants to be on the end of. There’s a wide world of supplier goodness out there and we don’t want you to narrow it down in the name of geography.
* As an additional point, anyone with an OCD tendency (erm, right here) will be driven mad by the sheer volume of notifications that appear following a request for recommendations. If the sight of the red unread notification bubble on your phone makes your eye twitch, it’s just another reason to avoid these kinds of groups.
Instagram is a social media platform, whilst Pinterest is essentially one big search engine full of beautiful, BUT both of them work very well in their own ways for wedding supplier research. Due to the rise in the standard of the quality of images online (everyone can take almost-professional photos with a decent smartphone), the need to upload only their very best work, or share only the most on-brand images, has become the norm for wedding suppliers. Competition for your attention has become HOT. As such, if you find an image that gives you all the feels, it’s worth having a scroll through the rest of a supplier’s feed and seeing what else they are up to. This is essentially their portfolio. Even when they share other supplier’s work, this is just a double-indicator that they have an impeccable taste that suits your own: winner!
DON’T ignore the blogosphere
There are so many wedding blogs out there, and the great news is that there is something to inspire everyone: from lovers of fine art weddings, to those couples who are forgoing a large wedding for an elopement. Nearly all of them feature both real weddings and styled shoots, which are usually a collaboration between suppliers in the industry who are looking to provide inspiration and showcase their talents. In both cases, the blog will list all the professionals used by a ‘real couple’ or featured in the shoot. This makes sourcing wedding suppliers who are rocking your style super duper easy. Need some blog suggestions? Head across to our post on seven wedding blogs for the modern bride.
DO attend at least one wedding fair (but make it niche)
Whilst some of the larger wedding fairs can be a tad overwhelming (and should really come with a highly detailed map and complimentary snacks in case you can’t find the exit), they can be a really quick and easy way to collect samples of suppliers’ work and provisional quotes for the services you need. However, it is best to research the fairs you want to attend to avoid a) fair fatigue, and b) feeling like you are on the receiving end of a thousand sales pitches. Find niche ones that cater for certain styles, like The Wedding Collective’s wedding markets, or A Most Curious Wedding Fair, both of which cater for alternative, style-conscious couples. Or opt for an open day at the venue you have chosen to see who they would recommend as suppliers.
Wedding planning can be a rollercoaster ride. Make life that little bit easier for yourself and use these tips to find the kind of suppliers who will make the ride a fun one.
Click here if you would like to tick one wedding supplier off your to-do list today.