A helping hand from the experts
24 Jun 2011
A helping hand from the experts
Planning a wedding is a complicated task. There are so many elements that need to come together to make your special day perfect – but there are people who can make it easier.
Whether it’s a florist who knows what flowers are in season or a cake maker who understands how to complement a contemporary theme, help is available at every stage of the wedding process. We asked some of these experts to give us insider knowledge on the questions you should be asking – including some that you probably never would have thought of.
Do you have a list of references with contact info?
We are rarely asked this question but it is very effective. If you go for a job interview you must provide two references, so why not ask the photographer for details of one or two couples they have worked with, as they will give objective and often valuable information.
What happens if the photographer is ill?
You should have assurances by the photographer in writing (terms and conditions) that if the photographer is ill, a substitute professional photographer of equal competence will be provided.
Do you have insurance?
This is a question that couples never ask but, in our opinion, it is one of the most important. Chances are you will never have to worry about insurance coverage but accidents can happen, such as a guest tripping over a tripod. It is essential to find out if the photographer has professional indemnity and public liability.
Suggested by Tim Doyle and James Kilcoin from DK Photography
07803 611459 / 07855 962635 / www.dkweddingphotography.co.uk
How long has your business been trading?
You want to be assured that the florist is established and has the experience and connections to handle your order successfully. There is enough hassle in organising a wedding, the last thing you want is for the shop to close before you get your flowers.
How many members of staff do you employ?
Floristry is a labour-intensive industry and the shop will have normal orders as well as your wedding. Most flower shops have designated wedding consultants, in a smaller business with fewer employees, a designer off with illness, childcare or holiday can make a real dent in the workforce.
Have you had any recognition for your work?
Good design has rules. Structural design is all about technique, manipulation to create new form and structure. You can bend the rules but never break them, and awards such as Teleflorist of the Year, Interflora Florist of the Year, The Society of Floristry Florist of the Year, Flower council of Holland and Investors in People, reward best practice.
Suggested by Tara Fielding from Petals Florists
Dereham Road, Norwich 01603 613141 / Silver Road, Norwich 01603 622301 / Norwich Road, Wroxham 01603 783319 / www.petalsflorists.co.uk
How much should we put on the list?
You can usually pick whatever you like – from functional to fun items, include the things you want, as well as the things you need. Don’t underestimate the generosity of your friends and family; they’ll like to have a good range of gifts to choose from.
What are the delivery options?
You’ll want to know when all your gifts are going to be delivered, and most gift list services will arrange this with you before the wedding. If you have items that you want to take away on honeymoon, ask if the company can do an early delivery on these items.
Are there any alternative options to the traditional gift list?
Many gift list providers will also offer services for your guests to give money towards a honeymoon, or to a charity of your choice. Also enquire if they can help with other items such as wedding insurance, stationery, beauty treatments, flowers, wine, party food and celebration cakes.
Suggested by Tammy Copsey at John Lewis Gift List
01603 677836 / SM_GiftList_Norwich@johnlewis.co.uk
Do you make gluten-free cakes?
More and more people ask cake designers for gluten-free cakes for people with wheat allergies. There are some wonderfully tasty recipes, and most guests won’t know the difference unless you tell them. A nice compromise is to make the top tier gluten free or, if you have a cupcake tower, have a small selection of gluten-free cakes exclusively for you.
Is it OK to use my wedding cake as the desert?
So many brides tell me they end up with lots of left over wedding cake, so this is an ideal way to save money and waste. There should be no problem with this from your cake designer, but you’ll need to ask the venue if they mind.
Is it possible to have more than one flavour?
Not everyone’s tastes are the same, and most cake makers will offer to make the tiers in different flavours. Cupcakes are also extremely versatile, they can be all uniform or you can have a sweetshop of different colours, decorations and flavours.
Suggested by Helen Burgess from Pat-a-cake Bakery
07881 523032 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.patacakebakery.co.uk
What makes of products do you use?
Most make-up artists will have particular ranges that they use, for example we use Dermalogica skin care and MAC make-up, which is exclusive to Jarrold in this area. Look for familiar brand names, especially if you know they suit your skin. If you have particularly sensitive skin, it’s also worth discussing this with your make-up artist.
Do you come to where I am getting ready on the day?
It’s a busy day for the bride, which is made a lot easier if the make-up artist comes to her. Ask about any extra travel costs that this may incur.
Is your charge a fixed fee or do you charge by the hour?
This is important to know as not everything runs to time on the day and extra charges may be incurred if the make up artist’s prices are by the hour.
Suggested by Lisa Wilson make-up artist
01603 865968 / 07876 616341 / www.lisa-wilson.co.uk
Can we have landing permission for a helicopter?
Transport to and from your ceremony is no longer limited to cars. Transfers by helicopter are an exciting option for the couple and can really add a “wow” factor to the photos, but you’ll need to check with the venue if you can have landing permission, as they’ll need to have staff on duty to ensure health and safety is met and the helipad is marked out.
If you hold a license for civil ceremonies, what authority do you come under and can you supply names and contact details for the registrar?
If you are not from Norfolk, you can still have a civil ceremony at your chosen venue. The location of the office changes depending on the location of your venue. Your chosen venue will be able to provide you with the correct contact details.
What will happen if we begin to run late?
Most venues that offer full package weddings will have staff on hand to help keep things on time during the day. If you do fall behind, they can usually offer some proven options such as serving the coffee with the dessert.
Suggested by Samantha Murfitt from Dunston Hall
01508 473809 / www.devere-hotels.co.uk
How eco friendly will the wedding transport be?
It is important to ask this because there are so many different types of transport, all of which look wonderful on your wedding day but most of them are not eco friendly at all. Do your homework first and ask what CO2 emissions are given off by the vehicles – you don’t want your guests waving you off while being choked by fumes!
Will the wedding car stay around after the ceremony?
Some transport companies have other weddings booked on the same day, while others are dedicated to the wedding party for up to four hours. Usually, the vehicle will stay for photographs and then leave, but sometimes they will stay longer so guests can admire the car.
What is included in the package?
From time to time, couples will book a car and then find out later that something they thought was included in the package is actually not. Find out exactly what you are getting before you pay a deposit and, once it is booked, get it in writing from the company.
Suggested by Ella Slater from Hybrid Chauffeurs
01603 251789 / www.hybrid-chauffeurs.co.uk