Planning Your Wedding

Wedding Planning Cornwall

Wedding Planning Cornwall

Picking your wedding suppliers

Planning a wedding involves dealing with lots of suppliers, so how do you get the best out of them to work together to create your perfect day?

When it comes to wedding suppliers, we want the best from those we've chosen. But do we know how to get it? The ideal wedding planner, florist, caterer, hairdresser, band, cake maker, venue, stylist, jeweller, or stationer usually exhibits the following qualities:
-    They care the job is done right, and will deliver on what they promise.
-    They respond to your enquiries in a timely, courteous and professional manner.
-    They provide clear quotes.
-    They communicate well throughout the process, and specify what they can and cannot do.
-    They're experienced specialists, which means your guests will get exactly what you paid for, not an approximation of what you paid for.
-    They really do want the best for your wedding!

So what's the secret for getting this kind of service? As creative director at Cornwall-based cake design studio, Peboryon (, I've got some of the inside knowledge on how suppliers work, and top tips on how you can best collaborate to get the most out of your wedding experience...

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The Artful Event Co (Keith Riley Photography)

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The Artful Event Co (Keith Riley Photography)

Hire the right supplier
There's really one big secret to nailing the supplier-customer experience, and that's to choose the right supplier. But how do you do that? Word of mouth, recommendation from another trusted supplier, and being observant at other weddings you attend, are all great means of finding the right supplier for you. Genuine testimonials and reviews are also helpful as they are clear indicators of other satisfied customers.
Top tip: Don't just email. If you can, phone the supplier. Talking human to human is the very best way to get a genuine feel for the kind of company they are, and the kind of service they'll offer you during the preparation for your wedding and on the day itself.
Inside scoop: For almost all professionals, those who do a great job are less likely to be available at short notice. Plan in advance to secure the suppliers you want. In the world of weddings in the south-west, bank holidays and Saturdays are first to be booked, followed by an extended summer season that lasts from early May to late September. There is usually a flurry of weddings in mid-December to New Year's Eve, though many suppliers take their main holidays over the festive season due to the seasonality of the industry.

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A Thing Like That

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Peboryan (Toby Lowe Photography)

Do your homework
Reading your potential supplier's website is a must. After just five minutes, you'll be much more aware of the specific options you have when it comes to hiring them. Also, you'll have the answers to most of the questions you had about their product. This means you'll be able to fast-track your enquiry past those who've not done their homework, and save yourself emails and waiting time.
Top tip: A knowledgeable enquiry has the wonderful side effect of letting the supplier know your interest is serious and that you value what they do. Do not underestimate the power that has over people who have to daily answer emails like "how much for flowers?" and "how many people can I fit into the function room?".
Inside scoop: You can often find out which south-west suppliers work well together by looking at real wedding features and styled shoots. When you see pairings and teams repeating, you can infer that they like working together. It's a great way to identify your dream team of wedding suppliers!

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Peboryan (Toby Lowe Photography)

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Peboryan (Toby Lowe Photography)

Be kind, be polite, be courteous
Politeness pays. Seriously, the most powerful words you can use with your suppliers are still 'please' and 'thank you'. Naturally, you would always behave respectfully, and this is the easiest way to encourage people to give you their best.
Top tip: Show your supplier that you value them, their time, their skill, and (this a big one) value their days off. They will genuinely appreciate that you see them as another human being, not simply a dispenser of wedding wares. It will encourage them to treat you accordingly!
Inside scoop: A colleague completed a call with a bride today and went straight into another call. The first bride called back (about something she'd forgotten to ask), not once, but eight times in a row. Many wedding professionals have shared getting texts that just said "???", or "Did you not get my Facebook message? I sent it at 8.23."... at 9pm on a Sunday night! Love and respect your supplier and they will love and respect you back.

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Keith Riley Photography

World Inspired Tents (Enchanted Brides Photography)

Provide the vital information
Many website contact pages are set up to ask you the specific questions that the supplier needs to know in order to give you a quote. They won't change their prices on the basis of your postcode, but they may need the location to quote turning up and delivering what you want! So don't skip the questions and you'll get your answers much more quickly. Custom quotes take time to work out, so do be patient, especially during busy seasons.
Top tip: If you have set aside a specific budget for a service, it's perfectly acceptable to let your supplier know what that is. You should have an idea of costing from the information they have already given you. However, knowing your expected budget will help determine if they are the right fit, and if what you want and what they provide are compatible.
Inside scoop: When it comes to costs, it is good to remember that you're not always comparing like for like. Experience, style and service will differ between suppliers. Two caterers may have a different offering. Apart from the food, one may include tableware, waiting staff and linen, for example, while the other may cite these as extras.

The Round Kitchen (Rachel Kevern Photography)

Beetham Food (Rachel Kevern Photography)

Communication is key
Your wedding supplier wants to give you what you need. Sometimes that means they might need some details, samples or swatches from you. In order to get the best out of them, sending them the information (in a timely way) will mean they can get ahead with ordering, arranging and creating the wedding you want. Any changes, (and there will be changes along the way), will need to be passed on to your supplier in good time as they will be completing tasks well in advance of your wedding day. If in doubt about timings, check your suppliers' terms and conditions - or just ask them!
Top tip: Planning a wedding is often like stepping into a different world, and there are so many decisions to agree on. When you are unable to decide something, feel free to ask your expert for their opinion. They'll have experience of a huge number of wedding options, and will be able to advise, perhaps suggesting something you hadn't considered.
Inside scoop: If you've made enquiries with a few suppliers, once you've decided who to go with, simply let the others know. A quick email saying "Thank you for you time but we've decided to use someone else" will help free up their diary and release that date to another bride.

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Blue Fizz Events (Verity Westcott Photography)

words Christine Jensen
main image World Inspired Tents (Nick Walker Photography)

Copyright Wed magazine 2018

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