Why do wedding suppliers go out of business?  

WedSure Team
30 June 2024

When it comes to planning a wedding, there are a few truisms we all know. *

Weddings can be stressful. Weddings can be expensive. And wedding suppliers are notoriously difficult to herd.

Unfortunately, this extends to the possibility that a wedding supplier fails to show up on the day. Your deposit is gone, along with the wedding cake, the flowers, or the entire venue.

Yes, wedding suppliers go out of business.

Knowing why, what to look for, and how to prepare for the possibility is an important part of wedding planning.

Let’s get into it.

Why do wedding suppliers fail?

Typically, wedding suppliers are small businesses. Passionate about their work, though typically small.

Statistically, in Australia, small businesses fail at the greatest rates of all businesses.

And there is your first hint.

Wedding suppliers carry the added burdens of working in a passionate industry, often with stressed clients who are worried about money and have evolving requirements.

Talk about tough!

Even the loss of a key member of staff or the bank withdrawing credit can make the house of cards tumble.

Wedding suppliers can be just too passionate.

Anyone who goes into the supply of wedding services does it because they’re passionate. Weddings are beautiful and exciting events.

The night of all nights.

Wedding suppliers can get caught up in the details, forgetting to also focus on their business and the need to maintain profitability.

Add disagreements between the supplier and the couple, variances, and evolving requirements, and you will have the perfect storm: a small, unorganised wedding supplier trying to manage a changing situation while trying to make the big day as special as possible.

Being a wedding supplier is just not that profitable.

Though wedding suppliers are not hugely profitable, you have probably already worked this out.

Not just for the reasons we outlined above. As small businesses, wedding suppliers often come in with quotes designed to win business, not put a down payment on a yacht.

This might work for you as a couple, though it can add to an already precarious position.

Don’t forget, your wedding is not the only wedding your supplier is working towards.

As food costs increase, they’re increasing across all the weddings your supplier is catering. A stretch of poor weather and cancellations can stretch any venue.

It isn’t your job to know your suppliers’ profitability, though feeling that things seem right and reading the room will help you balance things in your favour and likely help you choose suppliers who are also trying to get the balance right.

What to look for in your wedding supplier

The most obvious thing to look for in a wedding supplier is one that hears your vision and can deliver on it.

It is your day, after all.

And then ask for some references. Speak to other couples with recent experience.

From there, consider the supplier’s quote.

Does it give them a little room to move? Is it reasonable for both parties? Does it make sense based on your vision?

What are the terms? How much do you pay upfront? Are there milestone payments as you see progress? What and when is the balance paid?

Can you ensure the delivery of services in the event a supplier fails?

If a supplier were to fail close to the finish line, are there contingencies you could make?

This is likely your first – and hopefully last – wedding, so eyes wide open is critical.

It’s probably easier said than done, though be pragmatic.

Can I work with them? Are their terms reasonable to me? Does this seem too good to be true? Are they documenting my requirements and noting changes I am across and agree to?

A good working relationship with your wedding suppliers is important to help you understand how they are doing. Talk to them about other weddings in progress, ask for updates and concerns they might have, and keep building the plan until the big day.

My wedding supplier has gone out of business. Now what?

Unfortunately, this happens often, and we see it all the time.

It is one of the biggest reasons for wedding insurance claims.

If a wedding supplier goes out of business, contingency is the most important consideration. How can I get the service replaced in the timeframe I need?

This could well be stressful, expensive, and might require compromise, though ensuring your vision for the big day is as close as possible is really the most important thing to focus on.

The second most important consideration is getting deposits back or covered.

Sadly, this is where we see so many customers hit the wall.

Remember, your wedding suppliers are passionate, though small businesses. They didn’t go out of business because they had money and resources to refund.

If you have a good relationship with your suppliers, these may be hard conversations on both sides.

Worst, the conversation is often on the day or close to it.

Remember, contingency. What can I do in this situation? How can I make the situation as better as possible?

Make your big day the best possible, and worry about the rest as a secondary thought.

Why you should consider wedding insurance for wedding suppliers going out of business.

We never thought we would get here, though we suspect you have.

Wedding insurance is precisely for such a situation as a wedding supplier going out of business.

You have paid for the flowers, the food, or the venue, and now it is a no-go.

Your deposits are gone, and you now must urgently find a new wedding supplier and pay for their services.

Wedding insurance covers you to the maximum covered by your policy.

If you have your receipts and proof of the wedding supplier’s failure, the cost will no longer be out of your pocket.

Takeaways when it comes to a wedding supplier going out of business.

Wedding suppliers are almost always great, passionate businesses.

They are also almost always small businesses with risks.

Work closely with your suppliers, ensure things seem right, and have a contingency plan in case things do go pear-shaped.

And, of course, take out wedding insurance just in case.

* Weddings are almost always, always amazing. It is your big day; you’ll shine; you did it, and never forget that. Just plan it all in a way that ensures it truly is.

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