Politics and weddings probably aren’t two topics you’d expect to see coupled together in the same sentence (unless you are considering the fallout from sitting Auntie Jean next to cousin Frank at the reception when they haven’t spoken for 15 years). However, since becoming wedding suppliers ourselves, Mr Twig and I have realised that this industry is all about politics, cliques and inner circles that are more difficult than those little single serve sauce sachets to break into (I mean, seriously, could restaurants make it more obvious they don’t want you to use the condiments?!).
But, what does this mean for you, the client? Well, ultimately, you are in danger of being hoodwinked.
The vast majority of couples getting hitched will attend at least one wedding fair (fayre?!) or event in the early stages of planning their big day. And that’s great, wedding fairs are extremely useful tools in that they provide a starting point in planning your day, with a number of elements you are likely to need all under one roof.
But have you ever wondered why the majority of wedding fairs seem to be a constant merry-go-round of the same faces? Do you come away feeling as though there must be a glitch in the matrix with a strange feeling of deja vu?
Well that’s because, in many cases, the suppliers you are being exposed to are cherry picked, with many other awesomely talented and creative businesses being consistently left out in the cold. Call me naive but, when Mr Twig and I were planning our own wedding, I assumed that if a venue still had places at its wedding fair, and a supplier was willing to pay to attend and promote their business, then they would be permitted to do so. But quite often, that’s just not how it works.
You are more often than not being presented with a carefully controlled and limited list of suppliers, meaning you may not be getting access to the full variety and wealth of local expertise and creative passion right on your doorstep.
This happens for many reasons; the venue hosting the event may have preferred suppliers whom they choose to include and promote, or there may simply be an over saturation of a specific type of supplier.
Many wedding fairs are also run by industry suppliers themselves who choose not to permit any other exhibitors of the same type at their events. So you, the client, attends and sees only A N Other Photographer. And A N Other photographer could be exactly what you are looking for, but what is missing is CHOICE.
Quite simply, your wants and needs as a client are often placed on the back-burner because someone, somewhere has decided how many different styles or choices they feel are necessary for you, the client, to make a decision.
Ultimately, if an event is fully booked, then fair enough - you snooze, you lose as the saying goes. But if there are spaces available at a wedding fair, and suppliers are ready and waiting to put in both the finances and time into showcasing what they can do, then shouldn’t ethical organisers be promoting a little healthy competition?
This isn’t PT Barnum’s circus, you aren’t paying for the pleasure of being hoodwinked. You attend these events assuming you are going to have access to a full range of suppliers offering you, the client, choice to make your own decisions.
There are so many unique, creative small businesses out there that, for one reason or another, may not be able to get their foot in the door at some of these events. Businesses that could provide exactly the service you are looking for.
So if you find yourself on the merry-go-round of wedding fairs, spotting the same faces whirling by, I guess what we are saying is why not chose to jump off the ride occassionally - you might just spot some new faces in the crowd.
There are several different ways you might be able to find your dream wedding supplier, or help someone else find theirs;
- RESEARCH - search for suppliers local to you by using Google or Facebook, read reviews and try not to get bogged down by the number of likes or followers a page has. Numbers aren’t overly important, instead, look for how the page interacts with people, are they friendly, helpful, responsive? This can tell you much more about a business than a number on a page.
- WORD OF MOUTH - ask friends and family for recommendations of suppliers they have used or come into contact with or join some wedding groups or forums online.
- FEEDBACK - if you visit a wedding fair and feel there wasn’t enough choice for you, tell the organiser. You may well be helping a unique local business get their foot in the door.
- COMMENT- if you know an amazing local wedding supplier, give them a shout out in the comments below (even if it is another photographer!). Let’s celebrate all of those amazing small, local, independent businesses out there! We'll start by crediting the amazing Flowers Bylou who created the stunning bouquets shown in our banner image.
And last, but not least, SHARE this blog with anyone you know who is getting married!
Until next time Branchettes!