Choosing the suppliers for your wedding; a mammoth task - part two


Welcome to part two of my article about choosing the suppliers for your wedding. Today I am going to chat about some of the amazing suppliers that I have the privilege of working alongside on a wedding day.
Venues - We are extremely lucky to have so many beautiful venues in our area and it must be incredibly difficult to make a decision. Having such a huge choice also means that there will be something for everyone too. Choosing your venue really depends on what you have in mind. So the best thing to do is have a chat about what you both like, is it a grand house, a rustic barn, an intimate manor house or perhaps a marquee. Once you have decided on a list then I would throw a couple of wildcards in the mix too!
The Dress - Oh the dress; where do we start! My biggest piece of advice here is not to over shop when looking for the dress; you will wear yourself out and get bored. Decide on your budget and then try and look for the boutiques in your price range. Perhaps go to a couple out of budget to see the difference too. When I was married the dress was one of the most important elements for me. My dress was made by a designer and my consultations were with the designer rather than buying though a stockist. To be honest the price I paid was in the region of some of the ready made designer dresses that were available at the time; the big difference being that my dress was made just for me to my exact measurements. For me it was a no brainer as I would never have been able to have that experience in a normal bridal boutique.
Videographer - A videographer is a wonderfully talented person who captures the moving story of your day. A professional videographer will not just point and shoot, the skills and talents although different as are as much in abundance as my profession.
Room dressers - I have seen some rooms that have made me almost breathless with their beauty. Again it will depend on your budget but try to choose experienced companies as again this not an easy job as some would lead you to believe.
The Toastmaster - A good toastmaster is an amazing person and 80% of his job is the stuff you will not see him doing; why? Because he is good at his job! If you allocate members of the wedding party some of the jobs a toastmaster will do then you are putting them under a lot of pressure on the day. By having a toastmaster you are allowing them to enjoy your day too. Get a good toastmaster and you will have so much fun; good toastmasters are happy, humorous and lovely people.
The Cake - I have tasted a lot of cake in my time and I know good cake when I taste it. Be bowled over by the outside and go to heaven when you taste the inside. Let your cake maker set up the cake at the venue; trying to save pennies and doing it yourself could result in tears if it all goes wrong!
This post is turning into something out of war and peace so I am going to leave you today with a link that will take you to my suppliers page on my website. I love working with these people and there is a little dialogue about each one. If you click here it will take you straight there!
Have a great day folks and I have a lovely little newborn to introduce to you next week.

Claire :)

Choosing the suppliers for your wedding; a mammoth task!

Good Morning Folks,
I don't usually write posts of this nature but it is something that has been playing on my mind for quite some time now. The spring wedding fayres are in full swing and I am looking forward to my first of the season at Christ's Hospital on 17th February. The one thing that I have noticed since I was married 13 1/2 years ago is the huge rise in fayres that take place on a weekly basis and it is not unusual now to see up to 13 taking place on the same day within a short distance of each other!! This seems to have spiralled out of control over the last 6 years or so. So get to the point I hear you say...
Arranging your wedding is exciting, wonderful, daunting, stressful and requires you to be an expert in things that you never thought possible!So you are now faced with choosing the suppliers that between them will be the many parts of the whole.My first piece of advice would be to set your overall budget, so the total amount you want to spend on your wedding.Then I would decide what are the most important elements of your day; is it the dress, the photographer, venue, cake etc and I would list them in order of priority.Now here's the thing, once you have listed them in order of priority decide what you would like to spend on each one and once you decide that have a chat about the ones that feature further down the list.If you have set a low budget for these, perhaps lower than the norm really think that if the product or service was poor on the day how would you feel.Would you be extremely upset or would you say hey, ho I took a gamble it didn't pay off but it didn't ruin my day.If it is the former then reconsider the budget you have allocated.
So let's talk about photographers, I am one so it makes sense ;) Some are cheap, some are expensive. If you place importance on your photographer here are some questions to consider asking them: -
Do they have plenty of full weddings to show you?
If they are experienced there should be more than you want to see!

How much of their portfolio/website consists of real brides, and at how many were they the primary photographer?
Experienced photographers will not have models or pretend couples; don't be afraid to ask and request to see the full wedding to prove that bride and groom was real. Many photographers build a portfolio by 'second shooting' this is not an issue but being the primary photographer is completely different to shooting on the sidelines.
How much equipment do they take with them on the day?
Experienced photographers will have enough to stock a small camera shop! If they only have the one camera don't be afraid to ask what will happen if that camera fails. If they only have one camera a couple of lenses and a couple of memory cards; really folks don't be afraid to ask that question!
Are they professionally qualified?
I have a background in The City so accreditation and continuing professional development were paramount. When I started my photographic journey professional accreditations/distinctions were of the upmost importance to me and I have attained mine with the BIPP (British Institute of Professional Photography), the MPA (Master Photographers' Association) and the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers). I also have a continuing professional development path with my mentor Kevin Pengelly.
Are they insured?
Any professional photographer should have Public Liability and Professional Indemnity. I also have Employer's liability as an assistant joins me at my weddings. If they do not, don't be afraid to ask why not.
What's included in the cost of the photography?
Well there are the tangible items that will form a part of the cost; so in my case the DVD, reproduction rights images etc. The less tangible items are the equipment invested, the cost just to run their business, the extensive training undertaken and the sheer skill of that photographer to produce the imagery you see before you.
What happens if they are ill?
This is a contentious question for some photographers and often their response is what would happen if you were ill? The answer should be, I have wedding insurance. My answer to your question is I am extremely privileged and honoured to be friends with some amazing photographers who would step in to the breach to cover the wedding. I trust them to give you the day and images that I would provide. I then have further back up of the organisations and an extensive network of similarly qualified photographers would step in on my behalf.
To finish off today here is a radical statement; photography may not be the highest priority for you...sacre bleu! That's fine, if it's not, stick to your guns and book something that you would be happy with for the budget you have allocated to that service. If you take a gamble that's fine again; but be prepared for it to go wrong and if it does then that's just the way it is and it will be no great shakes.
I want to follow up this post with a chat about the other suppliers that may form part of your day. I know and work with some amazing people in this industry and I want to wax lyrical about them too. So if you are at that planning stage, check back in the next few days as it may help you to prioritise what is important for your day.