Wedding Planning: A Groom’s Eye View
I photographed Adam & Jenna’s wedding way back in 2014, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. In recent years, they’ve started their own wedding business, (offering a range of fab range of luxury props and decorations for your wedding) and whilst we were chatting one day, I asked Adam if he’d be interested in putting together a guest blog. He agreed, and what he put together was a wonderful guide to any guys out there who are starting their wedding planning journey.
So without any more waffle from me, I’ll leave you in Adam’s safe hands. Chaps, grab your notepads! – Chris.
I overheard an amusing line blurted out by a chap being dragged around the shops by his wife over the weekend: “I really don’t want to be here right now”. I’m sure the poor guy didn’t realise how much additional pain his spontaneous outburst was going to introduce to his already unfavourable situation, but it made my wife and I chuckle, nonetheless. It also felt like an apt opening to this post about weddings.
When it comes to men and weddings, we generally get a bad rap. There is a lot of organising involved, there are complex (and expensive) choices to be made and various communication channels need to be opened in order to make the wedding day successful and special. I wouldn’t consider myself particularly great at any of these roles and therefore I took a back seat whilst my fiancée did most of the running around to get the job done. I suspect that most husbands-to-be adopt a similar stance.
My wife and I have been married for 6 years (in June 2020) and we also run our own business which is closely linked to the wedding industry. Our wedding day was genuinely the happiest day of our lives and I take credit for a lot of that due to my minuscule involvement in the planning…I chose the music and found the photographer! The music was easy, I have Spotify and I know what tunes get people on the dance floor. Choosing the photographer was less straightforward.
We wanted someone who would capture the day naturally, control the rowdy relatives and provide inspiration when needed. Chris Seddon ticked all those boxes and had a couple of bonus features which really made the difference on the day. Yes, he is a funny guy (funny strange and funny ha ha) but most importantly for me, he was an ever present, calming pillar to lean on throughout the day. He was like an extra best man who didn’t get smashed and chase after the bridesmaid.
So, this brings me onto the educational piece which will give you some tips when you’re browsing for wedding suppliers/services and it will hopefully encourage some less enthusiastic lads to get involved.
1. Do your research.
This sounds pretty obvious but it can easily be overlooked for the comfort of convenience. I would recommend that you learn a little bit about each element of the wedding. If one supplier is offering their service or product for a significantly higher (or lower) price than someone else, then you need to know why.
As wedding suppliers, my wife and I would much rather be told if someone had offered a better price or product than be subjected to the eerie silence that sometimes follows one of our quotations. There is nothing wrong asking a business what sets them apart from one of their competitors and what to watch out for in their industry. For example, my wife and I hire out wedding equipment, we have a food hygiene certificate, public liability insurance and we personally deliver and pick up our items. We also ask for a refundable security deposit because our stuff is expensive. If one of our competitors uses an Uber driver to deliver their stock or doesn’t care if their stuff gets smashed up, then I would politely question their service proposition and/or the quality of their gear.
You can also draw on the expertise of others in the industry, you have players like Chris who have been attending weddings for years, they have been to hundreds of venues and met thousands of wedding suppliers.
In summary, you need to break down your wedding into sections, do a little bit of research on each area, draw from experts, and challenge any uncertainties.
2. Reviews & Recommendations
The review culture has exploded over recent years and every man and his disgruntled dog have access to numerous portals to unleash harsh words towards business owners (justified or not). A statistic that I just Googled suggests that people are 20% more likely to leave a review based on a negative experience over a positive one. My point is that you should always take a pragmatic approach when you’re reading reviews and don’t completely scrap an option based on a single negative entry by ‘Angry Dave’.
Equally, I have my suspicions about the validity of certain feedback portals and how many genuinely positive reviews they have received. Overenthusiastic feedback suggests a friend or family is involved and a one-line sentence combined with 5 stars will probably be a guy sitting in his pants somewhere in Russia!
A personal recommendation is a much stronger introduction to somebody’s service or product. The recommender, you would assume, has had a positive experience with the recommendee and they are putting their own reputation on the line by offering a degree of “satisfaction guaranteed”. As already mentioned, I would encourage people to seek out personal recommendations where possible and then carry out some additional research by checking the quality of the providers’ website, social media pages and genuine-looking reviews. If the recommendation turns out to be poor, then you have the added benefit of seeking revenge with a big stick.
3. Risk Planning
It is a sad fact of life that people will let you down from time to time, sometimes due to no fault of their own and sometimes due to **expletive deleted** bad people. As wedding suppliers, we have unfortunately witnessed couples being let down at the last minute and a scrappy and stressful time ensues whilst they scratch around to find suitable alternatives. Wedding insurance should be taken out to protect you from major losses such as your venue going bust (sounds crazy but it does happen) but putting a claim in for 23 centre pieces may not be financially practical.
It is not easy to plan for these occurrences, but I would suggest that couples save the details of any suppliers that you’ve encountered, even if you’ve decided against their services. Keeping a positive relationship with suppliers could really help in these situations, especially if you need to call upon them at short notice.
Organising a wedding is the same as project planning and all projects require a risk analysis. If you approach your wedding in this manner, then a lot of stress can be avoided if last minute emergencies crop up. If the groom legs it on the wedding day however, I don’t have a solution I’m afraid.
A Final Word
It is important to find the right balance when organising your wedding. You need to have fun but remain emotionally unattached when making important decisions. Do your research and build relationships with as many experts in the industry as possible. Ask questions and identify potential shortfalls in quality – if a price seems too good to be true then it probably is! Also, try to keep back-ups in place just in case any problems occur with wedding suppliers, it will save you a lot of stress if something crops up. And finally, a message to all the grooms-to-be: get yourselves involved in the wedding lads, keep it simple to start with, nothing too taxing, maybe research chair covers or favours to build your confidence then bring out the big guns and find an awesome photographer (lust like I did!) Good luck and have a great wedding!
P.S. if you any props or equipment to make your day that little bit more special than you can find our items at www.rentforyourevent.co.uk