Written by Katie Byrne, published 30th jan 2017
#1 Work out your search radius
For example: there's very little point in booking an amazing cake-maker from Liverpool if you're preparing to say 'I do' at your dream wedding venue... In Surrey. Of course, this doesn't necessarily always apply; if you've got enough flexibility with your wedding budget to factor in covering travel expenses, go for it!
#2 Ask your venue if they have any recommendations
Some venues have a list of preferred suppliers: the brands that they know and trust to help them create couples' dream wedding visions. Some venues can be quite insistent you stick to their chosen vendors, so from a flipped perspective, you might not want to be limited to just those brands. Make sure you ask your venue so you know where you stand before you confirm!
#3 Similarly: ask your friends and family for their tips
Ask your recently married colleague/cousin/next-door-neighbour for their insights into which companies are (and aren't) worth booking for your particular wedding plans. A first-person experience can be invaluable, so make the most of the people around you to help shape your wedding plans!
#4 Visit wedding fairs
This is a great way to discover local suppliers who you might not have found otherwise; regional events are particularly handy for finding the best companies in your particular area. Also, added bonus: you might discover whole aspects for your wedding that you hadn't considered before. (Photobooth in the back of a vintage wedding car, anyone?)
#5 Search online for reviews and examples
We're talking Facebook pages, Instagram feeds, Yelp reviews... Find as much out about the supplier as you can before you book. Also, always be sure to see examples of their work when you meet them in person: pictures can be edited, so it's helps to see products in the flesh where possible.
#6 Consider your budget
There's absolutely no point in falling in love with a company and what it can offer for your plans only to realise that - boo - you can't actually afford them. Go into negotiations knowing exactly how much for have to spend on your flowers or photography and be up-front with the supplier; tell them you'd be interested in booking them and ask what they can offer for your budget. Don't be afraid to try and negotiate; you might be able to haggle better rates for a week-day or off-peak wedding.
#7 Choose a supplier you have good rapport with
This is so important - especially when it comes to more intimate details, such as choosing a seamstress or photographer. Make sure you actually like the person you're working with; there's no point in booking someone you don't feel comfortable or happy working alongside.