The Wedding Guild of Wales was established in 2013 by a small group of like minded wedding suppliers. The Guild has grown steadily from a handful of members to nearly 100 over the years.
There is no membership fee to join, nothing, not a penny, and there never will be. Why? Because we only recommend people and their businesses. To charge a fee, that recommendation would become an advert, and we don’t advertise fellow members, we list them free of charge on our website after being confident enough to recommend them.
There is a big difference between recommending someone though knowing them and their business, to advertising them simply for money.
We don’t send out invitations to join, suppliers come to us if they wish to come on board. Applicants must have worked alongside a current Guild member often enough for that member to be happy to recommend them for membership. We look for recommendations from past couples too, they are important. But where a couple booking a supplier for a wedding may have only seen their suppliers once or twice, fellow suppliers would have seen them at work dozens of times. This allows the member to make a decision based on consistency of service, and just as importantly, how the supplier works and interacts with others.
Respect and an understanding that a couple has booked ALL services because they wanted them, not because one is more special than another is paramount to having a good “team” around a couple on their wedding day.
So important for many of the smaller services to feel as included as the more significant services.
This is what The Wedding Guild of Wales represents. Quality, reliability and team work. Nice people as well as great services!
Of course there are 100s of absolutely fabulous suppliers in Wales that are not members for various reasons. Its like all things in life, its for some and not for others.
We welcome new applications, and we don’t want The Guild turning into another wedding directory, so we have limited spaces in each category. The availability in each category is relevant to demand - so, weddings will usually have a wedding dress, photographer, venue stylist, cake and flowers, we will have more space in these categories than we would perhaps for a caricaturist that is booked fewer weddings. We have many on our waiting list, and between us all have 100s of suppliers that we recommend to couples in addition to our friends within the Guild.
Although one of our criteria is that a supplier must have been in business for 3 years to be accepted for membership, we have on many occasions supported, guided, and kept in touch with new businesses. In fact we have several on board now that applied before that 3 year time line. They waited until they have reached that milestone, and then were accepted. We are often sent messages and emails from new business asking for guidance, and we are more than happy to spend that time with them. The wedding industry will always need new suppliers, as it does new couples. “New” is the lifeblood of any business, any industry. If you are a new business, we are happy to help in any way we can, and if we are unable to answer specific questions, we can point you in the right direction.
Why have we set 3 years as part of our criteria?
The first point is that for any of our members to recommend another business, they, as is stated above, must know you as a supplier, must have worked with you at weddings. This takes time.
Secondly, The first year of any business can on one hand be challenging; There is passion and excitement with a belief for success. We are all finding our feet in this first year, we may need to tweak certain things, and if we miss those things, it could cause issues. We need to establish quickly our target market, where we are spending our money, and what we are asking couples to pay for our services. The first year in many cases is a year of trial and error – and giving free services away just for experience! If you are a niche service, you need to shout loud about your business to get it noticed, and shout in the right places. It may take a time for that to establish itself.
On the other hand, being a new business in its 1st year, we get lots of support from family and friends. They book us wherever possible, and spread the word when they can. And this support is needed. There is often a buzz around a new business, and all this can elevate bookings.
Then comes year 2, where we may have found that we need to look at costs per booking, our working hours, the impact its having on family life etc – all this plays a part for most of us. We may need to look at our business model. Although we may have a fantastic product, we may lack sales experience, and often that doesn't become clear until the 2nd year.
Year 3 would see us more settled – although make no mistake, when you have your own business, there are always new trends, new ways of marketing, and new lessons to learn….forever!
But if you’ve got yourself fairly established, your brand known and survived or been innovative around the “feast and famine” nature of the wedding industry, you’ve pretty much built a good foundation for the future.
The Wedding Guild of Wales is much more than a list of trusted suppliers for couples. Being self employed can sometimes come with isolation. No team mates to bounce ideas off, or to ask for advice etc and we are responsible for our own actions, our own income. Here, we are all happy to support fellow suppliers.
As a team, we often ask questions of each other, as we know someone who knows the answer!
Amongst us we have the expertise in our chosen services, and talk as colleagues rather than competitors. But we also have a wealth of knowledge we can tap into such as..
Mortgage and finance advisor
Funding & Grants advisor
Risk Assessment Manager
And for the times when we feel our heads are falling off, we have a paramedic, a nurse, and a prosthetist that can build you a new head! (we wish:)
Here its about us looking after each other so that we can give our absolute best to our couples.
We are open to and welcome all new applications. We are not a closed shop – as shown by our steady growth, we love seeing new additions to our guild.
Guild members also get priority booking for My Wonderful Welsh Wedding Fayres. We NEED fabulous non members to join us to offer couples different services. We have a database of around 50 suppliers that we contact should we have spaces. It is usual for our BIG fayre at The Vale and Hensol Castle for us to have many guest exhibitors, and we LOVE
Seeing the diversity they bring to our wonderful wedding fayres!
If youd like more information on joining The Wedding Guild of Wales, or exhibiting at any of our Fayres, please email email@example.com (we will amend this when we get our new branded email address) or you can call me 07807561964.
To all Wonderful Welsh Wedding Suppliers (members or not) we wish you a wonderful wedding season, or should I say 2022!
Looking at a different point of view....