2021 is here and, one thing is for sure, starting a search for wedding suppliers is going to be very different this year compared to previous years.
I am a firm believer in Wedding Fayres - I think they can be an invaluable source of information. Not only do you get to chat to potential suppliers, you can also pick up inspiration and top tips to help you with your wedding planning journey. I have to tell you that it feels really very strange to not be busy preparing for wedding fayres, especially as January and February tend to typically be the busiest season for them.
Why are January and February busy months for wedding fayres? Well, its the double whammy of a huge increase in engaged couples following Christmas and New Year proposals alongside the fact that January 1st brings a mild panic to other couples who start to realise "we're getting married this year - we really must get organised!". It also helps that January and February are typically quieter months for wedding suppliers allowing us the time to actually attend the fairs in the first place!
So with wedding fayres currently unable to go ahead, where should you start your search for suppliers? Here are a few ideas and pointers to get you started.
Initially I had this point listed as "search for suppliers local to you" as this makes it a lot easier to meet up in person to see if they are the right supplier for you. However, I think it is much better advice to suggest looking for suppliers that are local to your wedding venue - the chances that the supplier has already worked at your particular venue are going to be pretty high which always makes things simpler.
Also, once we are out of lockdown and weddings are able to go ahead again, the chances are that we will find ourselves once again in a tiered system. If you book suppliers that are based in the same region as your venue then you remove any issues that might be caused by your supplier having to travel between different tiers. In this current climate, it pays to keep things as simple as possible.
If your friends and relatives were impressed with the suppliers for their wedding then take that as a glowing recommendation! Also, if you attended a wedding where you really loved the cake, the DJ, the catering, don't be afraid to ask them who they used. That being said, don't fall into the trap of booking a supplier just because "my Aunt used them". Do your research and check that they are the right supplier for you - you may find they aren't quite the right fit and you are looking for something a little bit different.
Wedding directories are a great starting point to find suppliers that are based in a particular region. Some are huge and cover the entire country, some are more niche and cater towards weddings of a particular style. Find a couple of directories that seem to be speaking your language and dig for the gold! Some directories promote suppliers that pay extra fees to be featured in their banners but scratch the surface and you will find a veritable mine of suppliers at your fingertips. I would recommend The Whitewed Directory for weddings taking place in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the surrounding areas.
With many of us locked down at home, why not take some time out and purchase a wedding magazine to read over a cup of tea?! If you prefer digital content then there are lots of magazines available online and some of them have even made their content available for free for the foreseeable future. County Wedding Magazines is one such magazine which, as a bonus, publishes a multitude of regional issues.
I once had a bride that found me because she had searched for her wedding venue on Pinterest and came across some of my images. It might be worthwhile employing the same tactic and then following the trail wherever it leads... Who knows, you might find some amazing inspiration and ideas along the way!
If you are at the point of already having secured a venue then ask them who they would recommend. Many venues will provide this information at the time of booking, for others it will be listed on their website. Most venues list the suppliers who they have worked with before and can vouch for their professionalism. However, I'll leave you with a small word of warning - some venues only list suppliers that have paid to be listed (or who give the venue a cut of any booking they take). Thats not to say that the suppliers aren't worth using but just be cautious, do your research and make sure that you are booking them for the right reasons.
So there you have it, my top tips for locating wedding suppliers while wedding fayres are on pause. Are there any other places that you would recommend looking for suppliers? Let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the list.