Top questions to ask your wedding suppliers

18 Oct 2017

Get answers to the most important questions from your wedding suppliers with this ultimate list of things to ask

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When you first start meeting wedding suppliers it can be overwhelming and sometimes it’s hard to find the words to ask the questions you want answered. By going into each supplier meeting with a set of questions ready to go, you will feel confident that you can find out the crucial information that will determine your final decision.

Never feel pressured into booking a supplier you meet face to face who you don’t feel is quite right for your wedding; look for someone who you instantly feel at ease with and with whom the conversation flows. When payment is discussed, ask your chosen suppliers for a contract or confirmation in writing of your booking, as well as refund/cancellation policies – and always consider wedding insurance to protect you.

Your wedding suppliers are a big part of your wedding journey and are a vital cog in the wheel of organisation on the day itself, so ensure you make the right decisions from the outset – here are a few questions to ask each of your suppliers before booking…

Bridal boutique/ wedding dressmaker

While it’s never too early to start wedding dress shopping, most brides tend to begin their search 8-12 months before the big day. Book a few appointments at a few select bridal boutiques and set aside a couple of hours for each one. Take your most trusted companions with you (a small group is sufficient) and enjoy the experience. Remember to wear suitable underwear too, such as a strapless bra. Once you’ve found ‘the one’, here are some of the most important questions to ask:

  • How long will my dress take to arrive? Clarify when you will need to book your next appointment.
  • How much are alterations? Ensure there are no hidden costs.
  • When do I pay? While you usually put down a deposit initially, the full cost tends to be payable when the dress arrives in store – be clear on when you will need the funds to pay it off.

Venue

Intrinsic to your wedding day, your venue will be the talk of all your guests. This can be one of the hardest and longest searches as you find a venue that meets all your criteria. Think about all the aspects; from pricing to health and safety procedures. Whether you’re getting married locally or further afield, the same key questions apply:

  • Are you licensed for ceremonies (if applicable)?
  • Where will the wedding ceremony and/or breakfast be held?
  • Will we have exclusive use of the venue?
  • How many guests can you accommodate?
  • Do guests pay the venue for accommodation or via us?
  • Is there enough car parking for all guests and is this secure for overnight stays?
  • Do you offer in-house catering or can I bring my caterer?
  • Is there a corkage fee?
  • What are the bar prices and can guests pay using card or is it cash only?
  • Do you have a guest book or customer reviews that I can read?
  • Do you have public liability insurance?
  • Who are your recommended suppliers?
  • What time will our reception need to finish?

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Image: Sweet Ice Cream Photography via Unsplash

Photographer/videographer

While offering different yet complementing services, the same questions can apply to your photographer and videographer. Ask to see examples of their work first and foremost to see if their style is what you’re after; while most photographers and videographers can be adaptable, they will have a signature style that they feel is true to them so it’s always best to run with their strengths – if their style suits you. Take a look at online reviews or ask your photographer/videographer for them in person (a good photographer/videographer will be keen to show you) and pose these questions:

  • How much do you charge for your package and what is included?
  • Is a pre-wedding engagement shoot included in the total price or can we have a practise run with you?
  • Do you shoot alone on the day and is there a fee for additional photographers/videographers or assistants?
  • Do you have a back-up contact if you are sick on the day?
  • Are you familiar with my venue; have you shot there before?
  • How long after the wedding can I expect to see the photos/video?
  • What is the copyright on the photos/video and can I share them online?

Florist

Find a florist who is flexible and will cater to your every need. Provide moodboards and pictures at your first consultation so they can get an idea for the colours, style and types of flowers you want – and also provide a more accurate quote. Also think about venue décor and how this will tie in with your overall wedding theme and colour scheme. You should ask them:

  • What seasonal wedding flowers would you suggest for my bouquet/décor, considering my budget?
  • How many weddings do you fulfil per day? If the florist covers multiple weddings in a day, enquire how many staff they have to cover this.
  • How many weddings have you fulfilled a year? Can I see some examples?
  • What time will you arrive on the day of the wedding to deliver the bouquet/buttonholes and is there a delivery fee?
  • When will you set up the flowers at my ceremony/reception venue?
  • Do you offer artificial flowers instead?

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Image: Luis Tosta via Unsplash

Caterer

Food can make or break a wedding, so select a caterer who has only the best customer reviews and comes recommended by your venue, another supplier, friend or family member. You will need to arrange a menu tasting session to assess the various options and make these enquiries:

  • How many weddings do you cater for a year?
  • Are you licensed with health permits and liability insurance (and alcohol licensing, if applicable)?
  • Do you offer gluten/dairy/wheat-free options for those with dietary requirements?
  • Can you cater for children?
  • Is linen, glassware, crockery and cutlery provided?
  • Are you able to tailor my wedding menu or create something bespoke that is suited to my budget?
  • What time will you arrive at the venue and will my food be prepared on-site?
  • Is there anything that you need to confirm with the venue i.e. water, electrical and equipment needs?

Cakemaker

Think about style and size before meeting a potential cakemaker. You’ll want to be clear on pricing and timings, so ensure you ask questions that welcome definitive answers.

  • What fillings and flavours do you offer? Find out the selection available and see if you can try a few samples.
  • How many wedding cakes do you work on at one time?
  • When do you start working on my cake and will you deliver it?
  • How many years have you been making cakes and can I see your portfolio? Seeing past work can be a deal sealer. Use the images to spur further questions and indicate designs you like.

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Image: Jeremy Wong via Unsplash

Transport provider

Once you have decided on a style of wedding transport, then it’s time to meet the suppliers who can make your dreams a reality. A reliable, trustworthy and attentive service is key. Find out the following: 

  • Are the vehicles insured and properly licensed?
  • What time will you turn up on the day of the wedding?
  • How many hours can we hire the vehicle/method of transport and do you charge on time or distance?
  • Are you familiar with the route to my ceremony and reception venue?
  • What is your back-up plan if the chauffeur is late or the vehicle breaks down?
  • Do you decorate the vehicle?

Stationer

Offering the very first taster of your wedding day, your stationery is so important and it is essential that you get it right. Research stationers thoroughly, read customer reviews (if available) and look at examples of past work to ascertain whether their style is right for you.

  • What types of printing and paper stocks are available to suit my budget?
  • Can you fulfil my entire suite of stationery?(save the dates, invitations, table numbers, table plan, name cards)
  • Are envelopes included for my invitations and RSVPS and can you advise on postage fees?
  • Do you charge extra for revisions, once we have seen the proofs?
  • When will I receive my stationery?

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Image: Annie Gray via Unsplash

Musical entertainment

Providing the entertainment for a wedding is no mean feat. Ensure you and your entertainment provider are crystal clear regarding your requirements with these questions:

  • What genres of music do you play and do you accept requests?
  • Can you play the music for our first dance?
  • Can I give a recommended playlist to you before the wedding that you can add to your set?
  • Do you offer DJ/MC services too?
  • How much time do you need to set up?
  • How many hours are included in the package?
  • Do we or the venue need to provide anything? 

To help you find the perfect wedding suppliers, Bride's FREE Supplier Directory does all the hard work for you - connecting you with businesses from the comfort of home.