Friday, 8 June 2012

Soundtrack of a Journey into Marriage: The Kettle Boileth

This week has been an eye-opener. In both a passionate "this is our wedding taking shape" way and a "this just isn't for us" way. Nope, not a change of heart, but a meeting (or several) of suppliers.

We booked this week off work, originally just to benefit from the jubilee days off, but also to concentrate on getting a few wedding plans concreted, as we both work long hours during the week and don't get much else done. This post is about those initial supplier appointments, and all the cups of tea we have drunk along the way.

Suppliers may vary. Nothing is more evident than this after the last few days. And that's how it should be. Wedding budgets, and the personalities of the couples, vary hugely and it's good for there to be a range of real options.

So it's interesting to reflect on what made us drawn more to one than another. What made us come out of one appointment with even Alan being passionate about floral arrangements (although he did struggle with the concept of raffia, which I suppose is allowable), and yet leave other appointments with a subtle shake of the head and the word "No"? Here's some musings:

1. Florists - we appreciate you helping us with a vision - you are the expert. We've thought about bouquets but got stuck on centrepieces; can you help us tie that together? Do you get what I mean when I say "kind of like a slightly vintage-y lace effect but not so vintage that there's milk jugs"? We will be flexible with flowers, but if you don't give the impression that you know the look we are after, it's not particularly helpful.

2. Please don't talk over us, however enthusiastic you might be. This could also be rephrased as "please listen to us" (in case you weren't paying attention the first time round). If I mention that we'd quite like some flowerheads/ small flowers on the cake table, please don't insist that loose petals are really popular. Equally, if Alan has spent 5 minutes talking about a traditional, natural, garden-flower look, showing us modern cube vases and mirrors probably won't win you many brownie points.

3. Prompt email quotes/ notes are appreciated. You messing around on the computer sending us an email when we are still talking to you face-to-face is not.

4. If your showcase is on a computer - know how to work it. We don't want to waste time with you looking for a photo that may or may not be in a folder somewhere.

5. There's a difference between small talk and inane chat. It's good to get to know you and a bit about your product. We do not need to be told in detail what a DVD slideshow is. Secondly, please don't bad-mouth specific venues or other suppliers. It's unprofessional, and we've already booked our venue.

6. Please remember that we have an appointment with you. If you can also remember that we're having a church wedding that would be just lovely.

7. We appreciate being able to taste the cake. Taste is an important factor to cake - good cake is why we're here.

This may sound like one long criticism of suppliers. It's really not intended as such. The most important point we take away from this is that, like your friends and colleagues, a wedding couple will click with some suppliers and not with others. We have found that some suppliers just 'get' us and what we want, even if we haven't quite decided it ourselves. Whether that's natural or simply the result of making a professional effort, these are the people we've gone with.

And to wedding suppliers everywhere - in return, we assure you we will buy more coffee.Lots more coffee. Apparently not everyone drinks tea. Odd.

No coffee here, but here's some cakes I made for a picnic that got rained off.

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