Today we have the wonderful Penny, owner of The Little Lending Co, chatting through finding and booking wedding suppliers during this time.
Penny has been super honest about the current situation and the worries that many suppliers are facing right now. However, we also know that weddings will happen again one day soon and if you have that wishlist of A-team suppliers that are yet to be booked, don’t hold off contacting or making enquiries – suppliers would LOVE to hear from you.
If you also need any advice about hiring props and décor, then Penny has written a very helpful article in our digital planning book which you can read here. Scroll through to Part Three – Your Suppliers for all the info.
Over to Penny…
It’s an incredibly surreal and uncertain time for suppliers and couples alike right now. It’s mostly the uncertainty we’re all struggling with – it’s difficult not having a time frame of when we might be able to return to weddings (as we know and love them).
As a supplier, each day brings more messages and emails asking to hold dates or to move weddings to the winter or next year. With this comes so much disappointment from both sides, lots of juggling and then checking and re-checking the diary to make sure that we can accommodate more work on the new date and still service our other weddings – potentially doubling our work load on peak dates just to not let anyone down.
We know our couples are going through a heartbreaking time and we honestly feel this, we’re with you. But on a personal level we’re also worried. We’re worried about next year and how there will be any work/life balance with the postponements and current/new bookings, we also know we’ll be working for much less money and we’re incredibly concerned about immediate cash flow for the next few months. Some suppliers will be entitled to government support but others won’t and so now more than ever new enquiries and new booking deposits are gratefully received for small businesses.
If you’re at the beginning of your planning journey, perhaps you booked your venue just before lockdown or you have a tentative booking with your chosen venue, then it’s the perfect time to reach out to new suppliers and make some initial enquiries. Weddings will still be here after this is all over and it’s the new enquiries that bring a hope – your suppliers will be even more excited to be working on your day once this has passed.
Initially your venue might have a recommended supplier list so this a good place to start – some replies from venues might be slower with skeleton staff in place right now, but do ask if they have a list you can take a look at. The suppliers on this list will know the venue space really well and they will have the ins and outs of how the venue works with access times, restrictions etc.
Search your venues social media feeds as often they’ll have shared some of their favourite suppliers work and you can see instantly how that supplier’s work/style fits within the space.
Lots of venues are also being much more social now too, going live with suppliers to give advice with Q&A sessions, re-sharing weddings from the archives and keeping us in the loop with how they are working through the current situation.
Local hashtag searches and venue specific hashtags will also bring up many more suppliers that have worked there too so its easy to start to pull together your own local little black book.
Wedding Blogs are still publishing incredible weddings, sharing their own supplier directories and advice pieces too – now more than ever the industry seems to be online providing resources for newly engaged couples. In fact, on these pages, Katrina Otter Weddings wrote a helpful article all about choosing your suppliers and there’s Emma’s personal recommendations on the Suppliers We Love page.
Suppliers have much more time at home right now of course, but it doesn’t mean replies will be fast. Postponing couples is a priority for most so don’t dismiss a supplier because you haven’t heard from them in a week, maybe a little message on social too, but please know we are excited you have contacted us. There is also so much more diary juggling than we have ever been used to and it can be we’re waiting to hear back from other couples before committing to more work on one date.
We want to help new couples plan and execute something really special for when we are able to work again and now is the time to utilise your suppliers at home – virtual conferences and meetings, sharing ideas, asking for their experienced advice and updating your favourite images on a shared Pinterest board. Many of your suppliers are creative and will love seeing ideas and newness right now, they might even be able to work on tests and trials for you, stationery samples, signage, show hair trials via Zoom etc.
Suppliers are updating their sites with more content (there isn’t always time to share normally!) so their portfolios and galleries are currently up to date. So much can be planned remotely if a physical meet up can’t happen yet and suppliers are thinking of new ways to share what they can offer you, so keep tapping into their socials, sites and pages.
I think the key message from the wedding industry is to keep enquiring and booking those suppliers you love (if you can financially commit) because their diaries will of course be much fuller for key dates but also off-peak dates in 2021.
A lot of suppliers have also opened up their 2022 and 2023 diaries earlier to take deposit bookings which will help keep things more balanced for them. Suppliers really will love hearing your ideas for your day and what you are dreaming of, after all we are all dreamers and planners in this industry and cannot wait to be creating magic again as soon as we can.
Photography Kelsie Low Photography
Styling and Prop Hire The Little Lending Company
Flowers Floral Sistas
Furniture and Tableware The Banqueting Hire Service
Cake Buns of Fun Bakery
Stationery The Luxe Paper Co.
Bar East Coast Bars
Pianist Carrie O’Donnell
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