Supplier searching is a minefield, really time consuming, and filled with thoughts like “can they tell I’ve never planned a wedding before” and “wtf is a drugget?”…so what should you check before you hire a supplier? It’s essential you at least do a few spot checks before you send that deposit over!
I know navigating your way through quotes from suppliers is arduous and tedious, that’s why I obvs recommend a professional (hiiiiiii) do this for you. I know the jargon, how to compare the quotes, and deliver the top line information you need to know. But it’s not just the quotes that are addled; I mean, if you’ve gotten that far you’re a hero because there are SO MANY suppliers to choose from. Who is the best (ahem, I know them), how far do they travel (yoohoo, I know…), where do I find them (in my little black book btw), and what else have you got to think about? Here are some of the first things I recommend you look into before exploring a vendor a little further:
- Reviews. Google, Facebook, Yelp (still a thing…?) Anyway, look at reviews, I can’t say it enough. Bear in mind though that a lot of folks go online to moan because, y’know, keyboard warriors (a cold caller recently gave me a 1-star review because I told him I didn’t need his sh***y services!), BUT, 99.9% of wedding couples are absolute babes so they’re likely to leave nice reviews. If you can’t be bothered to trawl through reviews, ask your planner for their recommendations.
- Insurance. All vendors will have insurance in some capacity if they’re legit: health & safety, public liability, PAT tested equipment, etc. If you don’t have a planner and are working from a venue’s preferred suppliers list, chances are, the venue has a copy of the supplier’s insurance on file, but always check to be sure before signing on the dotted line.
- Socials. Even if you don’t spend hours mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (kudos to you), be sure to see if the supplier you like is on social media. Are their pictures up to date? Do they post photos of real events or styled shoots (if only styled shoots/looking too good to be true, I’d be wary)? Most will have the link to their website on their social page and a link to social on their website, so, indulge in the sloth life and spend an afternoon on Instagram. If anything, it will reassure you that you’ve picked a top-notch supplier.
- Your planner hasn’t heard of them… not the be all and end all (I’m not the wedding worlds Dumbledore…!), there are a lot of young companies out there but definitely lean on your planner here. Planners know the best in the biz and most of us don’t take commission from suppliers so that we can assure our couples we’re recommending them because they’re amazing at their job AND a good fit – not because they give us the moolah.
- The small print. Lots and lots of suppliers, from all sectors don’t include VAT in their pricing, it depends if they go above the VAT threshold or have physical premises. But worth bearing in mind for your budget. If you’ve got a quote, you’ll see the VAT is likely broken down at the bottom of the quote. It also helps to be wary of things such as:
• “staff taxi’s home at the end of the night”, we’re all for this but definitely ask for a rough estimate
• Subject to seasonal changes – usually this is to do with food and drink, and you of course want this to be seasonal, but ask if this includes any pricing amendments. Going from beef to lamb for example, can be a little expensive. Flowers can also change cost dramatically seasonally… and politically, depending on where they’re coming from.
• Delivery and collection charges. We know these seem pricey but that’s probably going to cover drivers, petrol, parking and toll charges etc. If you can get multiple items from one supplier, this is a great way to cut down on costs. For example, if you’re having a marquee wedding, the marquee company can probably provide the furniture – meaning you won’t need to hire this separately.
So there you have it, a few top tips on what to check before you hire anything. Which will hopefully save you some worry and some money.
Now go plan your epic wedding!
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