From the Professionals...If you love us book us!

31 / 12 / 19

Whitewed Directory from the professionals booking advice

Booking a wedding supplier can seem very similar to the early dating days.
You see them out and about (at a wedding show, not a wine bar)
You like them
You start to watch them on social media
You feel you’d be a good match

But

They don’t know you
They don’t know you like them
What if someone gets in there before you?

So

You make the first move
You slide into their DM’s
You ask if they’re free
Then the worst happens
They reply
Someone got there first.

There are many planning guides out there advising timelines of what to book and when, and whilst these are great as a guide of what to look for, we disagree with the timings. You see, not everybody is engaged for the same amount of time, the average couple is engaged for 20 months, but there are many planning their wedding for longer, or a lot less than this. Some couples have lots of time to think about what they want and will spread out the booking of their suppliers but not everyone follows the guides and therefore, you'll get couples snapping up their "must haves" way before they are due to, meaning that those who wait may not get their first choice when they come round to booking them when the guides suggest to.

So, first bit of advice is to use those guides as a tick list but not a diary system.

We asked a wedding venue and two wedding suppliers for their opinions on when to book, why not to wait and how to avoid a panic about shelling out loads of money in one go.

So, what should you book first? Where do you begin?

The venue! It will set the date and everything else can then start to fall into place. Before you pay any deposit make sure the church or registrar are available on the same date!

We asked Ed from award winning Whitewed Approved Wedding Venue Wellington Barn what their booking terms are.

How far in advance do couples generally book you?

On average our bride and grooms book around 18 months in advance. The key dates in the summer (Fridays and Saturdays between May-September) go really fast so it is worth setting a date early to avoid waiting over 2 years for a summer wedding.

Do you do offers for late availability

We judge this at the beginning of the calendar year and if it is worth doing/if there are available dates to fill. This is an incentive for us to fill any remaining dates but very unlikely for a bride to find a weekend date in there.

Do couples need to confirm everything when they book you?

The date is the only thing that is set in stone when a couple book. Everything else can change around as much as necessary until the perfect plan is in place. We recommend booking the caterers and registrars ASAP to avoid disappointment. Then we are on hand to advice over the planning stages.

What is the minimum amount of detail a couple need to book you, when is everything else finalised?

All we need on booking is the couples full names, the date they wish to book and whether they are going for our package option or bespoke option.

We then get involved as much as they want us to, sometimes the couple crack on with everything on their own and send updates, whereas other times we guide them through everything.

We have a catch up meeting with the couple 6 months before which is a chance to really start piecing things together. This gives us a good idea of their plans and sends them away for the last few things to think about.

Finally, we have our final meeting around 3 weeks before the big day. This is our last chance to go through every single detail and make sure we have an exact plan to what the couple have asked for.

How do you think a couples should feel when they’ve found their ideal venue or supplier?

Looking around venues can be very overwhelming! They should feel relaxed in the company of the supplier and feel comfortable to ask as many questions as they wish. We quite often see the look of amazement as they walk through the doors, and we know every viewing we do goes away with all the information they need to make a decision. We offer a 2 week provisional holding period to give couples the chance to go home, look through the brochure and ask any questions they come up with following their visit.

They will know if it is the right venue/supplier for them!

Any top tips?

Trust your supplier. Listen to the advice they are offering and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you think of!

Next up is Nicole of The Floral Studio

How far in advance do couples generally book you?

Most of our clients book us years in advance to avoid disappointment. Our goal for each of our clients is for you to enjoy your engagement, and not stress out about every little detail. My team knows what we are doing. We are really good at what we do. My guess is that you want a gorgeous wedding, one that isn’t like everyone else’s but one that no one has ever seen before. Only problem is you don’t really have the time to make all these detailed decisions. We do. We make those decisions every single day for our clients. The visual outcome of our work speaks for itself.

Our advice would be, as soon as you have booked your ceremony | venue and your wedding date, Say Hello! We would love to hear from you!

Do couples need to confirm everything when they book you? (can they add things/change things once the deposit is paid)

A £250 deposit is required to secure your wedding date. We have an on-line enquiry form on our website www.useaflorist.co.uk Filling out this form is the first step in our "getting to know you" process! In order for us to review your vision, look at your inspiration images and put together a beautiful storyboard for you! We will meet you at your venue and together we discuss your floral designs in detail, during this meeting you can add | change | tweak your order! Eight weeks prior to your wedding day, we finalise the details to ensure everything is perfect for your special day!

How do you think couples should feel when they’ve found their ideal venue or supplier?

Enjoy your engagement, let the professionals look after the details!

Any top tips?

"Enter marriage with a clear mind and a full heart, remember it is about the two of you!" Create your dream wedding, celebrate with family, friends and loved ones!

Finally, Kate from Copper and Blossom was the person who inspired this blog, all because she really doesn’t like saying no to coupes and wrote a lovely post on her grid about this very subject.

I definitely agree that if couples find a supplier they love, they should at least enquire with them asap! If they are able to pay a deposit to secure the date then all the better and often this isn’t a huge amount (Cakes by Mrs F is a perfect example - she is starting to take bookings for 2022 but only asks for £20 I think!!!).

If I know a couple are particularly interested, I offer a first refusal system for dates. Therefore, if anyone else comes to me enquiring for the same date, I will always go back to the first couple to see if they want to pay their deposit to secure that date. Their date wan’t get swiped by someone else just because they are taking a couple of weeks to decide (or are waiting for pay day etc…).

I find that couples often do wait until pay day before they enquire so that they have money for a deposit if required. BUT, by waiting a few weeks they could miss out. They should get in touch and enquire and then discuss payment options - most suppliers will give at least a couple of weeks to receive a deposit.

How far in advance do couples generally book you?

For 2020 weddings, the average is 431 days in advance (just over 14 months). For peak dates (Summer as well as school holidays from Easter onwards!) it can be much further in advance - for certain dates I have already turned away 2 or 3 couples because I am already booked!

Do you do offers for late availability?

Although it is best to enquire with suppliers asap, there is no reason why couples shouldn’t enquire to see if there is any availability for last-minute bookings. This year, I received a booking just 21 days before the day itself! Because I offer bespoke packages, I am happy to provide smaller amounts of coverage or discuss smaller packages for late availability weddings.

Do couples need to confirm everything when they book you?

Because couples are booking so far in advance I understand that things can change. If couples are a little unsure what package to go for, I always advise them to book the minimum that they think they will need and then add to it later if required. Books and albums can even be purchased after the wedding.

What is the minimum amount of detail a couple need to book you, when is everything else finalised?

There are two key pieces of information I need when a couple book. 1) the date of the wedding to ensure I am available and 2) the venue just in case travel charges apply (they hardly ever do!). Everything else can be finalised closer to the date of the wedding. I ask for as much information as possible at the time of booking but I always double check everything 8 weeks before the wedding so that I know all of the final timings for the day. The final balance for their photography package is due 28 days before the wedding so by this point, their photography package needs to be confirmed with regard to the amount of coverage/second photographer etc… (i.e. everything except additional products that they may like to purchase at a later date).

How do you think a couples should feel when they’ve found their ideal venue or supplier?

Couples should feel excited when they have found their ideal venue/supplier. If they don’t feel excited (or at least happy to have ticked something off of their planning list) then they need to ask themselves why! Perhaps it isn’t quite the right fit or they feel an obligation to book a certain supplier. I would much rather couples book me because they are excited about having me there to capture their wedding rather than book me because “the price fits the budget”.

Any top tips?

Book local suppliers! Not only will this will reduce the carbon footprint of the wedding but local wedding suppliers know the local industry. For example, being a part of Whitewed is fantastic because if I am already booked I can reach out to other local photographers and get back to the couple with a list of other people that are available! I know that if I am replying to a couple telling them that I am already booked, the likelihood is that they are receiving similar emails from other suppliers which can be hugely stressful. If I can help reduce that stress by taking just a couple of extra minutes to ask around the Whitewed network and get back to them with some positive leads then I am happy to do so.

So, the vibe we get from a lot of suppliers we know and of course, our fabulous contributors above, is that if you like what you see, you feel happy and relaxed, then book them.

If you don’t have the deposit ready, be honest and tell them, Like Kate and Ed said, they can hold date (although the sooner you pay the better to have them totally secured). Some might also offer a payment plan to spread the cost (we know of suppliers receiving monthly instalments from couples who wanted to budget that way instead of paying everything nearer the wedding date so it’s worth asking!)

You need to know exactly what you want when you book suppliers, and don’t panic if you change your colour scheme or theme nearer the time. As Nicole said, you only need to secure her time, and the final styles are decided from 8 weeks before your wedding. Cake designers just need a rough idea of what you want so they know how much time to book out of their diary. When you save the date with a suppler you are

If there is one thing we want this blog to teach you, it’s this-

Treat booking a supplier like finding “the one” If you love someone don’t let them go!

So, get on and look for that dream dress, the cake designer you've been following and the florist you've been pinning, but don't just look-BOOK! Check out some fab suppliers HERE

Happy planning

Love team Whitewed

xxx