Guest columnist: Bernadette Chapman, founder of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners on choosing suppliers wisely

Guest columnist: Bernadette Chapman, founder of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners on choosing suppliers wisely
Finding and vetting suppliers can be a worry, says Bernadette Chapman, so you need to balance head and heart when making your decisions

Couples are often concerned that they will be let down by suppliers, says Bernadette Chapman of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP). Here are her tips for ensuring your wedding day team can deliver your dream

Having worked in the wedding industry for over 17 years now, I often hear couples voice their concerns over being ‘ripped off’. How can they possibly know if the suppliers they have hired can be trusted? After all, they are, in essence, putting the biggest day of their lives into the hands of people they barely know in the hope that they can properly execute their dream.

It’s no secret that weddings are emotional. As a result, couples often make decisions using their heart not their head. While this isn’t always a bad thing, it is always worth trying to find a balance between the two. Here are my top tips for sourcing suppliers that you know you can trust.

1. Seek out recommendations

For suppliers in the wedding business, word-of-mouth recommendations can be their best form of ‘PR’. If a supplier comes highly recommended from multiple sources, then you know you are on to a winner. Speak with friends and family to find out if they have any recommendations. The chances are you may find a gem.

2. Check ‘approved’ suppliers are genuine

While recommendations from family, friends and other happy customers are always worth following up, venues may also offer enthusiastic recommendations for suppliers – often these are trusted and reputable people they have worked with over a period of time. That said, if you do seek out a recommendation from your venue, be sure to ask if suppliers have paid to go on the list. If they have paid, then this is effectively an advert rather than a genuine recommendation.

Guest columnist: Bernadette Chapman, founder of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners on choosing suppliers wisely
Word-of-mouth recommendations are invaluable, but do also ask tough questions of potential suppliers to ensure they can deliver what you want for your day

3. Ask for certification

When doing your homework and background checks, a good way to guarantee a supplier’s credibility and experience is to see if they are accepted and recognised by an industry body. All members of the UKAWP, for example, are vetted first. This means that references are checked, along with insurance and any other relevant certificates.

4. Don’t always trust social media

In the wedding industry, as with other industries, social media is now hugely important as a platform for suppliers to make themselves visible to their target audience. When reviewing a company’s social media, make sure the work they upload is their own. There are supplier feeds that feature inspirational posts, as opposed to their own work, which can be hugely misleading. Ensuring you see genuine examples of a supplier’s own work means you will be more confident that they offer a style you like and will be able to deliver what you want.

5. Look beyond the website

When booking a supplier, it can be tempting to make your mind up based on how professional the website looks. Don’t base your final decision on this. Go deeper by reaching out and asking them questions about their experience. Ask for examples of their work, and anything else that you think will help you determine their suitability. This may include asking to speak to previous clients.

6. Ask tough questions

It can be difficult when selecting suppliers to know exactly what to ask, but you are the customer and it’s important that you frame your early conversations round the questions you need answers to. These might include asking what experience they have; what insurances they have; how long they have been in business; if the images on website and social media are their own work; if they can provide references and if they can give you access to examples of their work.

” Look beyond the website and also make sure you check that images shown on social media are actually the supplier’s own work”

Choosing suppliers is never easy, especially on such a big day of your life. The important thing is not to rush it. Take your time. Listen to your heart but don’t forget to also use your head. Ask yourself: ‘do I think they can deliver?’ If there’s any hesitation, or if something seems too good to be true about the supplier or what they promise, then pause – perhaps get a second opinion – because you need to be sure that everyone you choose will actually deliver your dream.

To find out more about the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, visit


Wedding planning tips from Minnie Sibanda of St Ermin’s Hotel