How to Avoid Bad Wedding Suppliers…

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a recent newlywed, within which she shared with me some of the fresh memories of her wedding day.  Usually when this happens, I am left smiling as a share a sense of joy through my virtual connection with one of my blog readers.  This time was very different.  To say that I was shocked when I got to the end of the short paragraph that encapsulated so much sadness and disappointment would be an understatement.

The Bride had experienced a very poor service from one of her wedding day suppliers that sadly, will taint the memories of her wedding day for a very long time, if not, forever.

I couldn't believe what she was telling me;  The service the Bride had expected in return for the princely some of money she had paid the supplier {several thousand pounds}, had not transpired and the supplier had been arrogant and rude to the Bride and her family on the wedding day.  There is more but I'm not into the habit of slander or writing libellous content.

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Image Source Bridal Truth

Sad Bride
This was supposed to have been one of the most magical days of her life, of course. Devastatingly for the Bride too, personal circumstances {that I won't divulge in this post} meant that a great deal extra had been invested in to her day to ensure it was even more meaningful than it might have been in any 'normal' wedding day situation. The service provider knew this, and failed to take this sensitivity into account on the day.

Whilst the vast, vast majority of suppliers working in the UK wedding industry today are truly amazing and wonderful people, with a passion for delivering exceptional service levels, some suppliers, dare I say, are not.  When it comes to this other type of supplier, evidence would suggest they are driven more by ego and the desire to earn £££ and impress their peers.  Or maybe they are just sloppy and do not appreciate just how incredibly important it is that their services are delivered to the highest standard possible – every single time.

Today, I would like to examine this subject albeit briefly.  My intention is not to name and shame, or bring any aspect of the industry I love in to disrepute.  I'm actually very proud to be a part of the UK wedding industry.  Indeed, and from where I'm standing, it has a very great deal to be proud of.  I'd just like provide my readers with a sensible set of advisory measures that can be addressed during the wedding planning process in order to {a} ensure they book the very best suppliers they can afford {b} avoid suppliers with ego who are only really interested in the £££ and {c} do all they can to minimise the chances of their own wedding planning/wedding day mis-haps. 

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Image Source: Blog Wedzilla

Angry Bride
There is no governing body that monitors general standards in the wedding industry, and yet as Brides and Grooms to be, we throw literally thousands of pounds to suppliers we barely know – entrusting them to deliver the best service and experience we could hope for.   As one industry colleague recently said to me, "you wouldn't spend £1k on a mechanic or plumber that wasn't registered {to a professional body}…" but let's face it, we all go a bit bonkers when it comes to our weddings.  For the most port, things turn out just fine, we get the day of our dreams and the planning process runs smoothly.  But, I'm sorry to have to say that sh*t happens, and sometimes, suppliers turn out to be much less reliable than their fabulous website or yellow pages ad suggests they might be.

Like here for example.

And whilst that is a pretty extreme example – it still happened to a totally regular, unsuspecting couple, who had paid good money {£1,450 to be precise} in return for good quality wedding day services.

Here are some more real life examples from my readers who have been let down by suppliers:-

♥  "I had a very bad (and looking back traumatising!) experience with my photographer. The night before the wedding he called me to let me know that he couldn't make it and that he would send an assistant whose portfolio I'd never seen. I had no time to do anything about it and the result brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it." 

♥  "I've got ongoing problems with my designer and stockist regarding my wedding dress. It's being independently assessed at the moment by another designer and I'm working on papers with my lawyer.  It started off with them making  it in completely the wrong material, the train was wrong, the fit wasn't right, there was lace missing on one of the shoulders, there were pull marks on the fabric, scuffing where they'd moved the buttons, all sorts. The sorted most of it out but I was left with a dress that was the wrong material, wasn't fitted properly and really made me cross. I'd didn't leave one of my 4 fittings without being in tears and yet they seem to think there's nothing wrong with the dress!"

 "We were let down by a our wedding venue going bust and taking our deposit…"

   "The video company made a complete mess of my daughters wedding video – it was so painful and there was nothing we could do about it…"

  "My caterer tried to double the bill 1 week before my wedding, even though she confirmed the price in writing months before…" 

♥  "I went to pick my wedding cake – told me to come back in 2 hours as they hadn't finished it. Two hours later I was shown a cake that bared no resemblance to the one I ordered – It appeared that they had forgotten to make it. No apologies, no refund or anything and at the time I was far too polite for confrontation especially the day before my wedding.

♥  "Our wedding venue {pub} closed down two months before the wedding, and we only realised when strolling past one evening on a romantic walk.So you see, not-so-good stuff does really happen, but I want to help you minimise the chances of anything unsavoury happening to you."

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Now please don't let this send you into a wedding planning nervous breakdown.  I said I only want to examine this briefly today, and I mean to stick to my word.  What I have done to reassure you thought is share with you some really useful words of advice that I have compiled based on feedback from many of my readers.

Let's see what they had to say…

 Some Top Tips for finding the best wedding suppliers…

The advice is a mix of my own, and that of my readers, who responded to a call out I recently put on my Facebook page – thank you to all those who replied.

You might want to print this one off 😉

{1} When it comes to finding suppliers, word of mouth is one of the most reliable sources of recommendation. If you don’t have friends who can recommend, then trawl popular wedding blogs.  Bloggers will generally only publish the work of suppliers who enjoy a good reputation in the industry.  Use Twitter and Facebook to engage with other Brides to obtain feedback and recommendations.  Also make time to examine sites like the 2012 Wedding Industry Awards – these awards are new to the UK wedding industry but they are already making a mark for the fair and transparent voting system.

The 2012 Wedding Industry Awards

{2} Be as thorough as possible with your questions to your suppliers, particularly the venue and the wedding photographer as these tend to be the most expensive items on your wedding day shopping list.  Be very precise with your explanation of what you are looking for (reportage, traditional, intimate photos etc)  Ask the photographer if they have an assistant and ask to see his/her portfolio.  What would they do if they were ill on the day?  Be absolutely sure that your photographer is comfortable taking the kind of pictures you would like for your wedding.

{3} Hire a planner if you can. Not all planners are a luxury, and many offer stand-alone services like 'suppliers search' or 'on the day coordination' {how reassuring to have someone there on the day to ensure everything runs perfectly}, which is a lot cheaper than full-coordination and will give you complete peace of mind.  A great place to start looking for a Wedding Planner if you are UK based is the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners {though I know some fantastic planners who operate independently} alternatively again, use the online social networking sites to ask for recommendations…


UK Alliance of Wedding Planners


{4} Always, always take time to read carefully through any contracts and question anything you are unsure about.  If a supplier doesn't have a contract – think again. They should have one – to cover their back and yours.  It's a business no-brainer for anyone working in the wedding industry.

{5} Take out wedding day insurance, but always read the small print before you sign up/hand over any money, to make sure you are getting the cover you think you might need.  I took out wedding insurance for my own wedding day to cover damage to my dress. I automatically assumed this cover would be included.  It wasn't.  Total waste of £50.

{6} When booking with a venue – make sure you are free to bring in independent suppliers and are not obliged to have to use suppliers that the venue recommends, as this cautionary tale explains. As one of my readers said "An interesting point to note is that many bridal shops give out lists of recommended suppliers to their customers, not because these suppliers offer great service but because they pay to be on the list. I'm sure many people are not aware of this fact."

{7}  Ask what the suppliers background is (how long have they been established, where have they worked, what is there experience) and from there you can then ask to see testimonials/references from past clients etc.

{8} Reassess how you are spending your budget.  Sometimes its worth paying a little extra for the reassurance that a job is done professionally and that supplier comes vetted with so many years of experience. It is worth looking at a supplier as a package, not solely focused on how cheaply you can cut a deal.

{9} Stay in touch with your suppliers – keep in regular contact with them in the run up to your wedding.

{10} And finally, follow your gut instinct {I have found mine to pretty much always be right}.  If you have even the slightest inkling the supplier you are considering might quite be right – seek to obtain reassurance from them. And if that reassurance doesn't arrive, don't put down that deposit.  Look for someone else.


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I'd love to receive your feedback on this post.

Have you had a wedding supplier nightmares and how did you go about resolving the issues?  Also, what did you learn from the experience that you could pass on to other couples?

If you are an industry supplier, what questions would you encourage Brides to ask their own suppliers?

Let's get some healthy discussion going my friends. 

Much love all,

Annabel xXx


P.S.  Did you know you can engage with more discussion posts and view more 'How To…' posts on Love My Dress?

Reader Warning: This is intended to be a useful advice post for all and anyone planning a wedding.  I encourage positive discussion and look forward to your replies, however, this is NOT an opportunity to 'name and shame' and any comments referring to any supplier/brand by name shall be promptly removed.  Thank you.


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.