Choosing a wedding supplier (Florist / Photographer / Wedding Transport / Tiara polisher) is easy right? Wrong! Chances are, as soon as you said ‘I do!’ you started flinging off emails to every Tom, Dick & Harry, now they have all sent replies back you’re suddenly overwhelmed and don’t know which ones to choose! It’s ok, take a nice deep breath, I’m here to guide you through it...
Before we start, download your free Wedding Supplier Worksheet
Most things come down to two things style and budget. We’re going to explore them both.
Start with ONE supplier category - cakes / flowers / venue etc
I know it's tempting to get it all over and done with in one go but you’ll have information overload with all that information whizzing back and forth I guarantee you’ll end up mixing up the supplier. No? How about when you researched you last mobile phone and all the deals out there for it, didn’t you swear that the package you had included phone insurance but in reality that was the offer from the first shop, not the second. Let’s not make that mistake again, stick to one supplier category at a time and cut down the choices straight away.
If you haven’t already emailed any suppliers, research local suppliers whose style you like and jot them all down at the top of the sheet. Don't list any more than 12!
We aren't going to contact everyone on this list, just the three we work out below.
You might be able to find out the basic info you need (price and availability from the suppliers websites. If not shoot off some enquiry emails asking if they are free on your date and what price their services start at. Don't get into specifics just yet, we'll do that in the next phase.
Now cross off any suppliers that weren't available, unless you are willing to change your wedding date!
How to Work out which Suppliers are your best bet...
Pick the two suppliers that you like the style of the best (your ‘dream suppliers’).
Next pick the 3 best suppliers (whose style you like best) that are within your budget.
Did any supplier end up in both picks? If yes write them in your final3!!! box and pick your favourite one or two in budget suppliers to make your choice up to three suppliers.
List them in your Final 3!!! box
Did no ‘dream supplier’ quote within your budget? If not then choose your FAVOURITE ‘dream supplier and put them in your Final 3!!! box along with your two favourite in budget suppliers.
Now email your 3 suppliers back. Ask them a few more questions that will help you make your decision. This might include the following types of questions....
If you are emailing a ‘dream supplier’ this is the time to be honest and to start an open dialogue, Don’t beg for a discount, instead explain that you love their work but your maximum budget for flowers / photography / cars is X and ask what they could supply / what you can trim from your request for that budget.... Maybe you CAN afford a bouquet from them but would have to make all the table centrepieces yourself.
If along this process they aren’t helpful, they are heavily pushing their style rather than listening to what your style is or you don’t gel with your supplier, take them off your list.
Now you’ve had these extra conversations, hopefully you’ve got to know your suppliers a bit better and one has come out into the lead? If not then it’s time for the next step.
Meet your suppliers! If you haven’t done so already, now’s a good time to plan a meeting to check any last details and see if it ‘feels right’.
Book your Supplier, once you have met them all, its time to book your favourite supplier
Don’t forget this last crucial step... Email the suppliers you have contacted but discarded and thank them for their help but tell them you have gone with another firm. If they were helpful along the way, leave them some feedback that might help future brides! e.g. ‘Jenny was incredibly helpful with all of my questions and always emailed back super quick!’
Now repeat with your next supplier category.
Hint - if you get one supplier that really gets you and what you’re trying to achieve ask them for recommendations for suppliers with a similar vibe to them.
If you're having a relaxed rustic wedding, chances are a traditional white iced fruit cake is not on your wish list. Good news is there are lots of other ways to create a stunning and tasty focal point. Rustic Wedding cakes focus on texture, natural tones and nature’s decorations - which will you choose?
No icing, no problem! Naked cakes showcase the sponges and done properly can be just as stunning as an iced caked if not more so! Personally I LOVE a naked cake and contrary to what you might think - they are incredibly versatile. To begin with you can have as many tiers as you want - pile them up high for an impressive centre piece or keep them low for understated elegance.
Next play with the shape and flavours for added drama. Sponges can be square or round and a range of natural hues. Play with the recipe and you can go from the palest vanilla sponge to a deep dark chocolate or even a red velvet cake? Decorations can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. Decorate your naked cake with flowers, fruit or a simple trail of ivy.
A hint of colour
The next step up from a bare naked cake is to introduce just the barest of colour, like this pretty pink cake above. It’s a great way to coordinate with your bridesmaids or bouquet. Don’t go over the top with colour here, the key is to keep it understated and let the cake shine through. But don’t be afraid to repeat the colour throughout your dessert table ... pale lilac frosted doughnut anyone?
Keep it Simple
If you'd like a rustic twist on a traditional white cake why not add some texture to add a relaxed vibe. This is a great way to keep the traditionalist aunties happy but reflect your own style too. And just because its a white cake on the outside doesn’t mean it has to be a heavy fruitcake underneath. Chat to your cakemaker about using your favourite type of cake instead.
Whatever type of cake you choose decorating with flowers can help give it a rustic them. Try and keep them relaxed and informal though or it will look too 'staged'. Discuss ideas with your florist or pick some from your garden to keep it rustic.
Do something different
Big fan of Brownies? how about piling them high as a centrepiece! Don't just stick to the expected - a table of homemade (or professionally 'homemade') bakes fits right in to a rustic theme.
When we got married we didn't have just one wedding cake, oh no we broke the mould and had over a dozen!
We asked every family to bring a cake for the dessert table, we ended up with the most fantastic selection & everyone got to pick their favourite or three to nibble.
Think outside the flower box....
Don't just think flowers when you are decorating your wedding cake, how about herbs? As well as a fab rustic look you'll get a great aroma to fill your venue! We love this look above where they've tucked extra sprigs of herbs into the napkins too!
There was a time you could only find a great Wedding Dress in a boutique, but more and more now we are seeing beautiful dresses from shops on the high street and the bonus is they could save you a chunk of money too. I've rounded up 6 of our favourites high street bridal collections below... just click on the name to go to their bridal collection
Monsoon have been a go to for high street brides for many years now. This season their collection of vintage glamour and bohemian spirit mix to create beautiful silhouettes.
Prices £229 - £499
Yes, I had to look twice too. Good old Dotty P's have a bridal collection! Offering both separates and dresses they are well worth a look.
Prices £50 - £225
If you can travel to London then check out Top Shop's bridal range that launched last year. Only available in the Oxford Circus or Knightsbridge store and you'll need to ring them to make an appointment first.
Vintage beading, tape work and hand embroidery work, its all in the detail at phase eight this season. Beautiful vintage inspired gowns.
Prices £275 - £595
Newly launched in February 2018, French Connections range is absolutely perfect for Boho brides with fluid floor length gowns and edgy lace separates.
Prices £65 - £295
If in doubt, head to a department store! Lots of designers all under one roof and some designs are exclusive to JL only. Don't be fooled by thinking they'll all be traditional gowns, there are some fab original designs (& colours) in the mix too!
Prices £105 - £595