When you begin to start meeting and talking to wedding suppliers it can be difficult to know what questions you should be asking.
When you meet with wedding suppliers, never feel pressured into booking with a supplier that you do not feel is quite right. You should book with people that you feel at ease with, who can demonstrate a passion for weddings, and particularly, your wedding, and whose portfolio, reviews or reputation gives you the confidence to book them for your special day.
All wedding suppliers will provide you with some form of contract, whether this is a printed document, an electronic document that you complete and send back, or even an online form. This should include their terms and conditions. Read these carefully as there may be things you wish to query, or that you need further clarification on before you sign.
Make sure to check the policy for cancellations, and consider wedding insurance should the worst happen. All wedding suppliers will have some form of insurance. Some, particularly newer wedding industry professionals, proudly boost on social media that they are “fully insured”.
Well, yes I would hope they are insured: it shouldn’t be a selling feature of their business, rather a necessity for anyone undertaking a professional business. Do not forget that any business insurance is primarily designed to protect the business, and not you as a consumer.
You should always seek to take out your own insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances. Your wedding suppliers are a crucial part of your day, and many will have a big impact over the look, feel and smooth running of your day, not least your choice of venue.
In this blog we look at the top questions to ask some of your key suppliers.
When I meet with couples at wedding fayres who are at their early stages of their wedding planning and looking at venues, I always ask them a few basic questions. “What sorts of venue do you both like?”, “Do you like different types of venue?”, “Do you want to have the ceremony at the venue?” and “How many guests might you want to invite?”
Armed with answers to these key questions I can then make suggestions about venues that fit some, if not all of their criteria.
Common questions to ask venues would include:
• Are you licensed for ceremonies? (If applicable)
• Where will the ceremony tale place? Inside or outside?
• Will we have exclusive use of the venue?
• Do you offer off-peak or weekday packages?
• How many guests can you accommodate?
• Do you offer in-house catering or can we arrange our own?
• Who are your recommended suppliers?
• What time will our reception need to finish? (Owing to licensing, neighbour complaints, etc)
2. Photographer and Videographer
When considering, talking to or meeting photographers and videographers there are some questions, which you should ask to help inform your decisions. Fundamentally, ask to see some examples of their work. If they have photos or videos from your chosen venue then that can really help to envisage how your day could look, and you get a feel for what they have done at the venue before.
The recommended supplier list provided by the venue is normally a good starting point. When choosing a photographer or videographer pay close attention to the style of their work. Do they take natural candid photos or videos, do they prefer dramatic posed shorts or do they do a mix of the necessary formal photographs and more journalistic photography throughout the rest of the day?
Pick your photographer or videographer based on their style. If you were to ask a photographer or videographer to emulate the style of a different, and sometimes much more expensive photographer or videographer, you run the risk of getting off on the wrong foot with them as this may offend some professionals. If I am ever asked to emulate someone else, I refer him or her to my portfolio of videos, and suggest if they really like the other videographer that they really should go with them.
When looking for your photographer or videographer it is worth checking their online reviews. Do they have Google reviews, Facebook reviews, etc that validate everything they have told you?
When talking to or meeting photographers or videographers, these are some key questions to ask:
• Are you available on my date? – A lot of people enquire about price and ask lots of other questions, but for a photographer and videographer, this is your first question.
• If not readily available on their website – How much do you charge for your package or packages and what options are there?
• For photography, is a pre-wedding shoot included?
• Do you shoot alone on the day or is there an optional/additional fee for secondary photographers or videographers for additional coverage?
• Do you have a backup colleague or contact if you cannot attend for any reason?
• Have you shot at my venue before? (From a supplier point of view this often isn’t an issue as we get to be creative at venues, whether we have shot or not there before)
• How long after the wedding will we receive the photos or video and in what formats? E.g: USB, album, DVD for the wedding film, online version, etc.
• Can I share my photos/videos online?
For advice on the cost of a videographer, please check my blog post ‘How much does a videographer cost?
3. Bridal Boutique and Wedding Dressmaker
It is never too early to start looking at dresses. Book a few different appointments at a few selected bridal boutiques and set aside a few hours for each of these appointments. A smaller group can be easier to manage for your appointments, although I appreciate the politics of things like this within families!
Once you have found ‘your dress’, these are some important questions to ask:
• How long will my dress take to arrive?
• How much are alterations?
• When do I pay? Most bridal boutiques will ask for a deposit and then payment is made when the garment arrives at the boutique.
When you speak to florists, it is always a good idea to ask for their advise. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge and can advise on things to give your wedding the wow factor and perhaps some things you had not even considered.
Having a discussion or consultation with your florist about the colours, style and types of flowers that you would like at your wedding will help them to give you a more accurate quote. They can also advise about any seasonality in terms of what flowers will be available at your time of the year.
When talking to florists, these are some of the questions you could ask:
• Are you available on my date?
• What seasonal flowers would you recommend for my bouquet/decor, with budget considered?
• How many weddings do you fulfill per year?
• Can I see some example weddings?
• Do you have any example weddings from my venue?
• Do you also offer artificial flowers?
• What time will you arrive on the day of the wedding to deliver the bouquet/buttonholes and is there a delivery fee?
The food served at your wedding will be one of the main memories or takeaways of many of the guests. I must admit as a videographer, if I am lucky enough to eat what the guests are eating, it is one of the things I remember and can even be quite influential when I recommend wedding venues to couples, so venues take note!
When researching caterers, you should ideally look for reviews or recommendations from friends and family for companies that they have used.
You will ideally need to arrange a menu tasting session to assess the various options and make your enquiries:
• Are you available on my date?
• How many weddings do you generally cater for each year?
• What is your food hygiene rating? (This may be displayed on their promotional material or website, and you can also check with the local authority online)
• Do you offer gluten/dairy/wheat free options for those with dietary requirements?
• Can you provide catering for children or smaller portions?
• Are linen, glassware, crockery and cutlery included?
• Will the food be prepared on site?
• Do you need to check any requirements with the venue? Do we ned to ask the venue anything or will you take care of this?
6. Cake maker
Again, as with other wedding suppliers, look for reviews and recommendations for your cake maker.
These are some of the questions you could ask your cake maker:
• Are you available on my date?
• How many wedding cakes will you take on per week/weekend?
• Do you deliver the cake to the venue or do I need to collect it prior to the wedding? Is there an additional charge for delivery and setup?
• Do you have a portfolio of cakes and different styles I can see?
7. Wedding Transport
A reliable, attention service is key when looking for wedding transport. Again, look for reviews and ask for recommendations to help make your decision that little bit easier.
When you talk to your wedding transport provider, here are a few questions to ask:
• Are the vehicles insured and properly licensed?
• What time will you arrive on the day?
• Do you have a backup plan if the chauffeur is late or there is a vehicle breakdown?
• Do you decorate the vehicle?
• What will my driver wear on the day?
• Do you include a bottle of bubbly or a soft drink for the journey?
• Are you familiar with the route you will be travelling?
• Where are you based in relation to our wedding venue?
I hope you have found this helpful. For more wedding insights and advice, please visit our website www.wedding-reel.co.uk/insights.
About the author
James Garrett, a wedding videogapher and editor of some 16 years, founded Wedding Reel. Jame filmed his first professional wedding in 2004 and has filmed hundreds of weddings since.
Our founding principal is our desire to help and advise you to ensure you have the best wedding day possible. With extensive industry experience, we can offer reassurance that you are in the capable hands of a team with a huge amount of experience.