Planning a wedding and choosing which wedding supplier to go with is a big task, with finances often being a big issue to consider. The cheapest option may sometimes end up costing you the most in the long run. If it looks too good to be true, it quite possibly is!
I often see posts on Facebook wedding groups from engaged couples who have been ‘scammed’ or let down by wedding suppliers either close to or even hours before their special day. I’ve read stories of suppliers that haven’t delivered what was promised, leaving a wedding in ruins. When a company has let down a significant number of brides and grooms, it can even make the news causing panic, anguish and unnecessary stress during the wedding planning process. This is a bride and grooms’ worst nightmare!
The majority of suppliers do not come under the ‘scamming umbrella’. They are extremely hardworking businesses that go above and beyond for every single bride they work with, treating each job as if it were their own wedding.
So how do engaged couples tell the difference between the good and the bad? We have put together some top tips to help you safely book suppliers, identify the wedding suppliers that are going to help make your day magical and those that should be approached with caution.
- Do your research! Once you have found a potential supplier you would like to work with, make sure you google them at the very least. Have they got a website? Have they got social media? Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram? Are their Facebook reviews switched on? If yes, make sure you actually read them. If Facebook reviews have been turned off, you may need to question why. A reputable business should address any negative reviews or comments on their Facebook wall, not hide them. Do they have reviews online? Is there social media active?
- Meet the suppliers face to face. Where possible, we thoroughly recommend meeting suppliers face to face. Have they got an office where you can meet them? Lots of small businesses won’t have as they work from home but meeting at your own home is still beneficial as it will give you an idea of the sort of supplier you are working with. This is vital when booking suppliers such as photographers where it is so important to have a rapport/ connection.
- Ask suppliers for references. All suppliers should be able to provide you with references or testimonials from previous work they have done. Even brand new businesses should be able to provide references from jobs they have assisted on or work they have completed during their training. Follow up references where possible.
- Always get a contract drawn up. This is vital! If the supplier doesn’t have a contract, it’s probably a warning sign. Make sure you thoroughly read through your contract so you know what the business is and isn’t accountable for should something go wrong. Have a second person look over it for you. Make sure you raise any questions in writing direct to the business if there is anything you are not clear on. Make sure you keep all the paperwork safe.
- How do they want you to pay? If a supplier is insisting that you can only pay via cash or bank transfer, it should ring alarm bells. PayPal is perfect for paying your deposit and remaining balance as you can raise a dispute if a problem arises. However, bear in mind that PayPal has time limits for this so if you are booking suppliers far in advance, wedding, steps 4 and 6 will be crucial. In addition, make sure you make a business payment for goods and services not a personal payment through friends and family. You are not covered with the latter through PayPal. I have heard stories from brides that have been pushed by businesses to pay via friends and family so the business doesn’t incur PayPal fees, only to find weeks down the line that the supplier has done a runner and the bride can’t make a claim. Any reputable business should incorporate the PayPal fees into their pricing structure. Always, get a receipt.
- Wedding insurance. This is so important to ensure that you are covered for all eventualities. As with any other insurance, make sure you check your level of cover, check what your excess is and read through the policy small print. Wedding insurance will give you piece of mind. Ensure you shop around as there is a huge variation in costing and level of cover between different insurers.
- Ask questions! Reputable suppliers should run their business legally at the very least and will always be open to answering any questions you have. Ask if the supplier is registered with HMRC, ask if the supplier is insured, ask for additional contact details, (business address and telephone number), How long have they been trading, how many weddings have they done, what training have they done to make them an expert in their industry. Ask anything you need to know. After all, it is your wedding and you need to feel as relaxed as possible on your big day.
- Look carefully at the suppliers Images. Are they using stock photos they have pulled off the internet or are they showcasing their actual work? If they are using stock photos, ask to see examples of their actual work.
Of course nobody can predict the future and even the most reputable companies sometimes face issues beyond their control. However, these companies will go to the ends of the earth to ensure your big day is not disrupted. By following the above steps, we hope that any risk is minimised drastically so that your big day can run as smoothly and stress free as possible.