How to Find Amazing Suppliers
Well hello! I hope you've been having a wonderful week so far. Here it's been a roller coaster of glorious spring sunshine and the most dismal greyness! I've been spending some time shaking things up behind the scenes; planning new projects and devising a new working routine to get the most out of my time.
This week I wanted to talk about finding wedding suppliers.
I'm sure you've been told over and over how important it is to find a team of suppliers who fit your style and who you trust. (Incidentally, there's a great piece on the Coco Wedding Blog about what to ask potential suppliers, which I would urge you to read.)
So, your mission is to put together a crack team of creative wedding professionals. These people need to understand and be excited by your wedding vision, and able to offer practical suggestions on how to make it a reality. Not only that, they need to be within budget and available for your wedding date. The really big question is: Where on earth do I find these people?
As a supplier, I have to confess I'm not a huge fan of wedding shows. I've exhibited at a variety over the years many of which have been unimaginative and poorly attended.
A good wedding show can be really useful: you'll be able to talk to a range of different suppliers about your plans and get a really good feel for their work. You can smell the flowers, touch the fabrics and taste the cake. You may also be treated to music from a mediocre wedding band at full volume, so choose wisely! Amongst all the run-of-the-mill wedding "Fayres", there are a few really carefully curated events about, showcasing brilliant, creative suppliers. Unfortunately, these are still very much the exception, so if you find an event that suits your style, don't miss it!
Word of Mouth
Chances are you've been to a couple of weddings recently. Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations if they had an amazing vintage DJ, or the cake was to die for. Find out what they were like to work with, and make sure to ask about any suppliers to avoid as well!
Wedding Blogs and Magazines
The beautiful real weddings and styled shoots featured in wedding blogs and magazines are an absolute treasure trove of brilliant suppliers. Blogs make life particularly easy, linking you directly to the people who made the gorgeousness happen.
Many blogs now have their own online supplier directories, the best of these are fabulous resources. Wedding Sparrow's Fine Art Curation, The Love My Dress Little Book for Brides and Rock My Wedding's Love Lust List are allwell-curated, beautifully presented directories with plenty of high quality images that give you a real flavour for what's on offer.
Particularly if you're looking for small, independent suppliers, social media can be really useful. Instagram is my favourite, its visual nature allows you to connect with people very much on your wavelength. Instagram's strong community side means that once you've found a couple of promising suppliers, they will lead you to a whole host of others sharing a similar aesthetic.
Going the Distance
Don't be afraid to look at options out of your immediate area. Your perfect florist might be a little bit further away, but she may well be happy to travel for projects like yours that really fit her style. Most of my clients I've never met in person: a combination of email, Skype and Pinterest makes working long-distance incredibly easy.
I'd love to hear your wedding supplier stories: I found our photographer selling him photo albums whilst working in Paperchase, but the one to beat is a couple of friends who found their brilliant folk band through Freecycle!