Imagine the scenario: You have spent days, weeks, months, maybe even years planning your dream wedding. You have just a few months to go and one of your major suppliers cancels on you. You scream, you shout, you cry, you throw yourself on the ground and curl up in a ball like an injured animal. Why is this happening to you? What will you do now without a photographer/caterer/entertainment…..?
Generally, suppliers are reliable as there reputation is on the line if they cancel. But there is always the chance that some sort of emergency will arise that will lead you to be missing a photographer/caterer/entertainment or another major wedding supplier. Even with the most meticulous planning in the world things happen! It is therefore important when planning your wedding to recognise this in advance. By accepting that things can go wrong you are able to plan in advance how to minimise the impact.
If you take heed of the following 5 pieces of advice you may save your self major headache in the long run!
- Wedding Insurance
Even if you are planning a low cost wedding, chances are you will still spend quite a lot of time and effort coordinating your dream day. If something goes wrong you should be compensated in the same way that you would be if your car broke down or something went wrong with your house. Wedding insurance is available for this very reason. There are a variety of providers offering packages at varying costs. Make sure you read the small print and familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions. You wont get your time back but it may soften the blow if you are financially compensated. The finance may also help you hire a new supplier in the event of the original supplier withholding finance or cover price increases incurred because of late bookings.
Make sure anything or anyone you book for the wedding provides you with a signed contract and terms of agreement. Again, make sure you read all of the small print and are clear on cancellation policies. It may also be worth having a word with the supplier upon signing a contract just to be clear on what would happen if they needed to cancel. This can avoid you being misled further down the line if they did need to cancel. Contracts do not guarantee that your supplier wont mess you about but it provides you with evidence of what has been agreed which you can use for any insurance or legal claims further down the line. Also when contracts are in place the formality often encourages professionalism.
- Ask for references
For any service you hire, make sure you obtain references from previous clients. At a minimum, ask for details of three former customers and drop them an email. Or if you can, give them a call and ask for details of the service they received. The supplier is always going to give you details of the best customers so it is unlikely that you will receive any negative feedback from a reference but asking a few questions can uncover interesting information about your supplier. Also if they are unwilling to provide you with references, this could be a red flag. To be extra careful, also do a Google search for any bad reviews of the service. If any of your friends or colleagues have got married recently ask for recommendations of who they used. If you can hire a supplier that someone you trust has received a good and reliable service from, the risk of you receiving poor service is greatly reduced.
- Hold off payments
Where possible try not to pay for any service in full prior to your wedding. This gives you leverage if you are unhappy with anything provided. This is often difficult however, as many suppliers require 100% payment upfront. If you are unable to negotiate this, ensure that there are clauses in the contract that enables you to get a full or partial refund should the service not be up to standard. Make sure both parties are clear on what dissatisfaction looks like as once payment has been made it is easy for a supplier to put your unhappiness down to a difference of opinion. Having clarity on this included in your contract can save this issue arising if you are unhappy.
- Use a wedding planner
As obvious as it seems, it is a wedding planners job to plan weddings. As such they deal with suppliers everyday and often have long standing relationships with a variety of different service providers. They therefore can hire trusted and reliable suppliers for your wedding. Also in the case of them using a supplier that they do not know they are well versed in what questions to ask, negotiating terms and how to spot a dodgy supplier.
Have you had any nightmare experiences with suppliers? Let us know your stories.