First of all - here are my top tips - they may be the ramblings of an old man but behind them is some expensive experience.
I am unable to list suppliers that you need to avoid at all costs, I’ll be in court if I do but...
Any “Preferred Supplier” or “Recommended supplier” for your venue has PAID to be on that list, for example, one of the DJ’s on Shottles list is so dreadful that he single handedly dropped the holiday inn, derby, from ~3 down to ~17 on trip advisor a few years back. He’s not improved and he even offer Videography as part of his package, he’s rubbish at both, but he has paid bespoke weddings to be in the club.
Any Photographer that quotes you the number of pictures they will supply on a disc or memory stick, aren’t even worth talking to. You don’t want 600 pictures, you want 60 really good ones and a good photographer will take 600, but will know which ones work, and which ones don’t NEVER ask to see all of them, it’s like asking to look at a builders mistakes.
WEDDING AWARDS - ignore them, most of them are bought, the IDO ones aren’t but they are corrupt, proof is that I have a few of them and I’m not even a wedding supplier.
Suppliers then.... ALWAYS get a price, wait a moment, tell them Merv said you would look after them and get a better price. If it’s good, book it, when you go back it will likely have gone up and I will tell them I’ve never heard of you.