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  • Lauren O MUA

How To Find The Right Vendors for your big day



So you’ve said yes, you’ve chosen your wedding date – but how on earth do you go about picking the vendors for your big day?! There are so many wonderful wedding vendors out there, how do you even know where to start? Read on for some handy tips to take the mystery out of finding the right suppliers for your wedding


 


When picking a vendor, a lot of people start with simple, black-and-white, yes-or-no questions to help narrow down your search – the main two being: are they available? And are they in your budget? These are probably the easiest two to answer, but maybe not always the ones you should start with.

By all means, do your research into the prices of the people you have your eye on to sit if they fit within what you want to spend on your day. I don’t like using the terms like ‘reasonable’, ‘cheap’ or ‘expensive’ when talking about wedding vendors as everyone and every wedding is different. Each vendor has an idea of what their service is worth, and each customer has an idea of what they want to pay – make a decision on what *you* want to allocate to a certain service depending on its importance to you, and choose vendors that fit within your budget. But once you know what you are and aren’t prepared to pay, don’t just email every vendor in your price range to find out if they’re free.


Whilst sending out loads of enquiries may feel like you’re giving yourself the most options to choose from, what you’re actually doing is overloading yourself with way too much information, and it might not even be information that stays current for long. Peak dates in particular can get booked so quickly that even if a vendor is available when you make your initial enquiry, if you are just ‘casting your net’ and not planning on following up for a while, you might find that by the time you make your second contact, that date is already gone.


Instead what I’d recommend doing is listing the things you want to book for your wedding, be it your photographer, florist, makeup artist, or musician, in order of importance to your day (which will also help refine your budget for each), and work through finding each one in that order. If you’ll be heartbroken to not get the photographer of your dreams, make them your priority to research and book first, whereas if you’re on the fence if you even want a pick n mix cart, leave them til later down the list – that way you might not be so disappointed if you can’t find one to meet your needs.



Once you’ve got your list, start doing your research – there are so many places to look, from specific wedding sites like Hitched and Bridebook, to local Facebook groups, social media searches, and personal recommendations, it can seems a little overwhelming, but go in with a few key things to look at and you’ll soon narrow it down. Here are *my* most important things to look for:


Do You Like Their Style?

This is my personal number one, and it kind of goes without saying – does your vendor create work that suits what you want for your day? Look through their portfolio, be it social media, a website, or their brochure, and make sure you get a good idea of their work. Can you picture them creating your day? This is really key particularly for any kind of visual elements to your day, whether that be your photographer, florist, or hair stylist.


Do They Specialise In What You Want?

Kind of ‘Do You Like Their Style’ part two! Regardless of whether they’re on budget and available, you’re not going to hire a caterer who is hog roast specialist if you really want a traditional afternoon tea! Even if you like their work as a whole, make sure your vendor can really create what you want for your day. This will not only put your mind at ease but it’s also going to help your vendor too. Want a super glam look for your wedding makeup? Don’t just choose a good makeup artist, choose an artist whose portfolio shows examples of the kind of style you want. Want loads of candid shots from your wedding reception? Pick a photographer who showcases that kind of work. Many of us are natural people pleasers and will always say yes to creating what you want as long as it’s in our skill set, but the best vendor/customer relationships happen when your vision for the day is something that both sides are super passionate about. Likewise, if there are standards that are very important to you, like a makeup artist only using cruelty free products, a decorator using sustainable materials, or a caterer who can specialise in gluten free food, make sure you take those into account and you’ll feel much more confident with who you choose.


Have They Worked At Your Venue Before?

This isn’t always relevant for all your vendors, but photographers, decorators and florists who have worked at your venue before will already have an insight into how to get the best from your location! Whether it’s knowing the best spot for a golden hour bridal portrait, or how many floral arrangements you *really* need to go down that aisle, a bit of insider knowledge goes a long way.


Do You Like THEM?

This might be the hardest to gauge, but for me is just as important as liking their work. For people who will be with you on the day, like your photographer, makeup artist, or MC, you have to be sure that you are going to be comfortable being around them at what will undoubtedly be the most exciting but potentially also a stressful time. There’s no point having an amazing hair style if you step out of the chair feeling frustrated because you just wanted to relax and your hairdresser was talking a mile a minute through the whole thing. Sometimes you can get a sense of what someone is like through their social media posts, website, or Facebook interactions, but if they’ve ticked your other boxes already, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask some questions or arrange a call to get to know them better.


Once you’ve shortlisted a few vendors for each service you’re looking for, then is the time to reach out - as long as you have your date and venue in the bag, it’s never too early to make your enquiries. Dates can get booked anything from 6 months to 18 months in advance so if you know you like the look of someone, don’t wait.

Start with three vendors for each service you’re looking for, and find out if they are available! This will make it much easier to keep on top of responses. Rank your vendors by favourites, and move down the list only if your first choices aren’t available. This is why I’d also start with your most important services first, in case you decide to adjust your budget as you go down your list.



Once you know your favourite suppliers are free, make sure you go with your gut. If you think you’ve found your dream vendor and they are available, imagine how you’d feel if you went to book and the date was gone. Gutted? Get your booking confirmed ASAP! Just as happy to go with vendor number 2 or 3? By all means wait for a few replies, but don’t leave it too long. It’s easy to get a ‘would the grass be greener’ mentality, but as long as you’ve done your research right, you can rest assured that you’ve just booked the right vendor for your big day.

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