Types of supplier – and how to deal with them

A light-hearted post to start a lovely Wednesday! I was thinking about my wedding suppliers today as I’m slowly writing all my testimonials, and it occurred to me that everyone I’ve dealt with has fallen into a category – so I thought I’d share some thoughts with you, perhaps to commiserate and laugh together, perhaps to educate you on warning signs you should watch out for! I hope you enjoy and find it helpful.

Types of supplier – and how to deal with them

The over-enthusiastic supplier

You gotta love an over-enthusiastic supplier. This is the supplier that loves what they do so much they can barely contain themselves! However, a supplier who’s almost more excited about your wedding than you are can sometimes get carried away with their own ideas. Their passion is so awesome, but you may need to be really clear about what it is that you want and don’t be afraid to say no. Chances are they’re trying to guide you and really won’t mind if you don’t like everything they have planned.

One warning sign to watch out for is if they seem to say that everything you ask is possible without even thinking about it, or they quote you something really low when they meet you that doesn’t sound quite right to you. Make sure that you get absolutely everything they say to you in writing, even take time after each meeting to confirm everything you’ve agreed, including prices.

We had one company who seemed too good to be true and quoted us seriously low prices for extra services whenever we met up. When we spoke to their office later, the price for the service we discussed was hundreds of pounds more than we’d been told and we had nothing in writing to prove otherwise. Enthusiasm is a great thing but make sure it’s genuine.

The totally absent supplier

I’m afraid that this is one supplier who should set off massive alarm bells in your head. Warning signs include never answering a work phone and no official voicemail, weeks to respond to an email, little to no interest in your wedding. We had a few suppliers like that who we replaced and the one supplier who ignored us a lot who we didn’t replace (our chair supplier) let us down with a two-line letter by second-class post the week before our wedding and refused to take our calls since.

Even if you love someone’s work, it’s not worth the stress of banging your head against a brick wall trying to get hold of them, so if you can afford to lose them, do.

Watch out for dubious hidden costs – a £100 candle-lighting fee is probably made up (NB that didn’t happen to us!) Image © Satureyes

The “that’ll just be an extra hundred quid” supplier

Most suppliers are out to provide a great service and quote accordingly. Some very naughty suppliers who give other wedding industry folks a bad name will quote you one price and then keep adding to it for ridiculous things they really oughtn’t to be charging for. “Ohhh you wanted your meal heated? That’ll be an extra £50.” “Oh you don’t want a big ugly piano with a huge dusty cover on it in the middle of your ceremony room? We can move it but you’ll have to pay a re-tuning fee!”

There are some extra costs, like dress alterations and the like, that are to be expected. There are some circumstances where things cost more than they were meant to or a genuine extra service is provided. Watch out for things that don’t sound like they would cost the supplier anything extra in time or money – chances are they’re trying their luck. I’m afraid you’ll just have to go with your gut on this one but it tends to be one supplier who does it over and over.

If you’re already contracted with said supplier, you need to be really firm. Get everything in writing and demand to know exactly what extra cost has been incurred. Don’t be aggressive but just be polite and clear about your boundaries – if you make it clear you’re not a fool they’re more likely to stop trying to walk all over you.

The “can’t do that” supplier

As I said, most wedding suppliers are wonderful. A rare few are just lazy. And when you ask them to do their job they don’t like it. If a supplier’s default answer is “no” for perfectly reasonable requests, that’s another red flag. If you’re already hooked into a contract with a “can’t do” attitude supplier, you need to delegate someone with a lot of patience and presence to deal with them, as you will get exhausted pretty quickly – and as always, get everything in writing.

And some are juuuust right

Luckily we had a lot of suppliers who had just the right amount of enthusiasm, energy and drive. The perfect supplier just gets on with it, understands a brief and delivers. We got really lucky with these, and if you have a supplier like this, hang on to them, deliver them a fantastic testimonial after the wedding and spread the word amongst fellow brides as these are the hard-working professionals who deserve to get booked over and over.

Have you had to deal with any difficult suppliers? How did you manage them? Did you have to replace any suppliers or were you let down? We’d love to hear from you!

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