You’ve got engaged - yay! First up, to Pinterest to make a kick ass wedding planning board… and now what!?

You’ve probably picked your venue and now to decide who your epic wedding supplier squad will be! First up, get a piece of paper (or if you’re really fancy and good at Excel, which I definitely am not, make a spreadsheet) and decide what you want at your wedding, from flowers to cake, styling to bars. Get an idea of the suppliers you need and focus on one at a time so you don’t get super overwhelmed. If you start enquiring with several different suppliers for each category your invoice will not only be mega full, but you’ll probably start to get pretty bored of repeating yourself. So my main piece advice would be to pick one area, eg Florists and focus on that for the week/weekend.

Suppliers: Furniture -   Brown Birds   // Flowers -   The Country Garden Flower Company

Suppliers: Furniture - Brown Birds // Flowers - The Country Garden Flower Company

Supplier:   The Gin Caddy

Supplier: The Gin Caddy

If you have your ‘key’ suppliers booked, generally speaking this is venue, photographer and caterer it’s always worth sending them an email first and asking if they have anyone they can recommend that they have worked with, know well or know that the style would suit. Most industry suppliers generally network quite a bit so will have a few options to recommend to suit your wedding aesthetic/vibe. I personally LOVE being asked for supplier recommendations because it means not only can I support my fellow industry friends, but I know they will do an awesome job for you and I know we’ll get on and work well (especially on the day suppliers such as videographers, bar companies, bands etc)

Supplier:   Gather & Feast

Supplier: Gather & Feast

Supplier:   Oops a Doodle

Supplier: Oops a Doodle

I also think when picking your suppliers, even if you have some recommendations, check them out - stalk their instagrams/Facebook pages and really get a feel for what it is they do, how they would suit your wedding and fit in and a big, BIG, factor for me is personality and how well you get on with someone. It’s pointless picking someone if they don’t listen to your plans and ideas because ultimately you’re going to get frustrated and start to resent your choices. Likewise I know that price is obviously something to take into serious consideration when booking. But my top tip is if you see a price on a website it’s still worth enquiring, it may be that they are prices based on certain packages but if you email and tell them what you are looking for, or what your budget it (i’m thinking more florist and cake makers here) they can educate you on what you can do to make the most of your budget. I think it’s important to remember that even if someone is cheap, it doesn’t mean they are good! After all, whats the point in booking someone on price alone if you’re having a colourful non traditional wedding, and they specialise in plain white cakes, or white roses and gypsophelia…

Supplier:   Gaye Drummond

Supplier: Gaye Drummond

Supplier:   Amelia & Alice

Supplier: Amelia & Alice

And finally wedding fairs, I have a really mixed opinion on wedding fairs as a supplier, most of the fairs I’ve done in the past have been small and niche so have suited couples that want what I do, but I’ve also attended other fairs to get an idea of what they’re like and found there is SO much going on, especially the national wedding shows that it’s hard to determine what it is you want/don’t want. It’s equally as off putting when you’re trying to have a relaxed wonder and have someone shoving a flyer in your face every 2 minutes!
I now pretty much only do the Events Under Canvas showcases - Unlike a wedding fair, they are more of an open day for you to check out their tipis and sailcloth tents and see suppliers that fit in with those weddings in a really relaxed environment that are their to help and assist rather than sell, sell, sell. Going to a fair that is in keeping with your wedding vibe means you are more likely to find the suppliers that fit what you want.
I’ll be at the next Events Under Canvas showcase on the 27th & 28th April so pop down and have a look and say hello!

Supplier:   Sash & Veil

Supplier: Sash & Veil

Choosing Your Alternative Wedding Suppliers Essex Wedding Fair

I am always happy to recommend some known and trusted wedding suppliers, over the coming months I’ll be asking some of my favourite suppliers to guest blog and tell you what it is they do, but in the mean time you can always pop me an email if you need a supplier recommendation!