Have you ever noticed that staring at a blank piece of paper, or a blank screen on your laptop achieves absolutely nothing, whatsoever???.
I just wanted the wedding organising fairy to emerge from a hidden location, and tell me everything I needed to know as well as organise the entire event for me. I knew I had a better chance of piloting the next rocket to the moon, but hey, it was worth really hoping for….
My fiancé and I became engaged in November and by January, I was in full-on planning mode. Anyone who knows me will agree when I say I’m thorough, anal retentive and go above and beyond when it comes to organising things. Once I had my ‘to do list’ finalised, the next step was going to market – finding recommendations/suggestions for suppliers. I went straight to FaceBook – it was my bible in terms of organising things. Be prepared though – once you place an inquiry/’looking for recommendations’ post, you will be absolutely bombarded with ideas/suggestions from others. I’m based in Canberra, however, this was not the location for our wedding, so I plugged in to a lot of other ‘outreach’ sources in order to seek information about suppliers. I joined up several groups on FaceBook, and not only were people willing to share their advice and experiences, but the members were encouraging and very supportive.
Let’s address the elephant in the room – weddings are expensive events – there’s no dodging it – everyone will tell you once you mention the ‘W’ word, suppliers will slap on an extra 50%. In the end, I blocked out these comments, because firstly, I kinda already knew that, but secondly, it just didn’t matter to me. Wedding fairs and expos are fantastic events to attend. Not only is it fun, but you’ll be really blown away by the sheer amount of suppliers out there. Ask lots of questions, take business cards/brochures with you. Something I feel is paramount is to work out what you both want for your day. Ascertain what’s important (what are the must-haves, what are the non-negotiables, what are the ‘I’m-having-this, and-that’s-all-there-is-to-it’). I found that gathering this information first was just as important, if not more important than working out a budget. An example of this, for me, was a good photographer and a good videographer. Financially, I had no problems cutting back in some areas to accommodate for this. My reasons behind a good photographer – I’m big on photos - I wanted the day captured – they say a picture speaks a thousand words, and to me, looking back at our photos, they have captured everything I wanted – the emotions, the feelings, even the colours of the day (we had a beach wedding, and I took the colours of the ocean as inspiration for our theme – think aqua, white, crisp, clean etc, etc). My reasons behind a good videographer were right up there as being more important than a good photographer. Photos capture still moments, whereas video captures movement, sound and emotion that is so much more raw and open.
So, sit down with your fiancé, and have the conversation – what’s important to you. Next – research, research, research and then research some more. I contacted brides who had used certain suppliers for their wedding, and I asked them questions about the supplier, things like:- Were they good value for money?; Do they have a website and/or a Facebook page?; Were they prompt in getting back to you? (as in, initially, but also with follow-up correspondence, especially if the bride had questions); Were they easy to contact?; Did you have the option of a face-to-face meeting before locking them in?;
Was there the option of a payment plan?; Did you sign off on any terms and conditions, and were these easy to understand?; Did you understand/did they explain any financial penalties, in the event of you cancelling your booking with them?; Were they punctual on the day?; Were they effective, in terms of their time management on the day?; Is there anything you regret by having used this supplier?; Did they manage themselves in a professional manner on the day?; Were you happy with the supplier?.
Another big pointer, from me to you is – give your suppliers plenty of notice. Suppliers in the wedding industry are professionals – they do this stuff all the time, and they’re good at it. My biggest problem was letting go, and not micro-managing every tiny aspect of the planning. It wasn’t until about a month before the day, our Functions Manager said ‘trust your suppliers, and trust the process – you have a great team of people behind you’. If you end up having face-to-face meetings with any of your suppliers, be prepared. If you have questions, write them down (and also, write down the answers your supplier provides you with!). As with any sort of event planning, communication is the key. If you’ve gone ahead and booked a supplier, but you’re not sure of something, ask them. I can guarantee you – all of the suppliers I had for our wedding would have been so relieved once our day was over!. Looking back, I asked SO many questions, but I’m glad I did.