Why support local wedding suppliers and tips on how to book them

15 Feb 2017

Safe-guarding the integrity of the excellent and experienced wedding suppliers in the industry, the National Association of Wedding Professionals offers benefits for both businesses and brides- and grooms-to-be

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Launched in 2013, The National Association of Wedding Professionals (NAWP) was founded by Amanda Sherlock, Lester Gethings and Siobhan Craven-Robins (pictured) to promote professionalism and integrity within the UK wedding industry. Here, the founders detail the aims of the NAWP, while advising how this work will not only benefit its members but also the couples who are planning their big day.

What is the NAWP?

An association for like-minded wedding professionals, the aim of NAWP is to promote professional standards and ethics within the UK wedding industry in order that a consistency is maintained to meet the expectations of our wedding clientele.

The NAWP logo is synonymous with excellence. Clients know on seeing the logo that they are booking a vendor of professional and ethical calibre, whose work has been recognised and acknowledged through stringent joining criteria.

Why does the industry require regulation?

Weddings are an emotive occasion and much time, effort, and money is invested in this one day. While the internet has given us all the opportunity to market ourselves to a wider audience and display all we want to about our businesses and work, it has also allowed unscrupulous and unprofessional suppliers to market themselves as something that they are not. How do couples know that the supplier they are booking has longevity and professionalism? How do they know they are reliable and will deliver what they promise? The truth is, unless you can go on recommendation, it’s a gamble. The NAWP aims to remove that gamble from the decision.

Reputable suppliers can often find themselves vying for jobs with vendors of a supposed comparable service but at half the price. The client thinks they are comparing like for like and is tempted by the bargain. This undercutting does nothing to support our industry. Like anything in life, you get what you pay for and clients need to be made aware of this.

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How will the work of the NAWP raise standards within the industry?

There is no governing body for our industry, therefore no badge that denotes a business that is professional, ethical and has longevity, until the NAWP. As such, our members look to the NAWP to support and fly the flag for our industry.

The NAWP is an association that actively promotes and supports its members, as well as recognising the talent and innovativeness that exists within our industry. We are all entrepreneurs that have harnessed our creative flair to start a business and sustain a livelihood. The industry also has its fair share of unscrupulous suppliers and bad practice. We recognise that as business owners it can be frustrating to find yourself in the same marketplace as these businesses and competing for the same clients. There is only one way to change this, and that is to join forces with like-minded professionals and create one, strong voice.

What do NAWP members receive?

Opportunities include and are not limited to:

  • Three networking events a year and two business mentoring meetings
  • Use of the NAWP logo
  • Social media support and collaboration
  • Listing on website directory
  • Access to Members’ Forum on NAWP website
  • Publicity and promotion of members’ businesses
  • Business support and advice

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Why will the NAWP benefit brides- and grooms-to-be?

As wedding planners with a collective 40 years of industry experience, Amanda, Lester and Siobhan all know how valuable a portfolio of professional, trusted and ethical wedding suppliers is to their clients. Finding the right suppliers for your wedding allows you to feel confident in your choices. An association where suppliers have been approved for their product and service will save you time and provide some much-needed reassurance. All NAWP members have to meet strict criteria to join the association. In booking a NAWP member you can feel confident you have chosen a supplier of professional standing, who charges ethically, and offers exceptional customer service.

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Six tips to booking your wedding suppliers from the NAWP:

1. Prioritise

The perfect place to start is booking your venue. If you have a particular venue in mind, it is best once you have had your site visit to confirm it as soon as possible. Remember, dates for popular venues often get booked up quickly. Likewise, with your dream suppliers, such as photographers and florists.

2. Do your research

Once you have found potential suppliers, check their websites and social media accounts. See what they are up to professionally, and check any reviews to see how they have handled any negative issues. Ensure that photographs on their websites are genuine, and that they are showcasing their actual work.

3. References

All reputable suppliers should be able to supply references from past clients. Do follow up references where possible and read the testimonials on their websites.

4. Meet face to face

Where possible, meeting your suppliers is vital, as it will give you insight into how they work, how they present themselves and their service and/or product. Meeting suppliers face to face will enable you to ask questions about their work, how many weddings they have done, and hopefully build a rapport with them.

5. The contract

All suppliers should have a contract or T&Cs setting out details of how they work. If they don’t, take this as a warning sign. Ensure you read contracts thoroughly so you know what the business is and isn’t accountable for. If there is anything you are not sure about, ask in an email, so that you have it in black and white.

6. Peace of mind

Taking out wedding insurance is so important to ensure you are covered for every eventuality. As with all insurance, check the level of cover, check what your excess is and read through the policy - particularly the small print. It’s also advisable to shop around as policies do vary in cost and level of cover.

www.nawp.com