You heard, “will you marry me?” and you said “YES!” Fireworks went off, and now, wedding bells are ringing in the distance. Dry those happy tears and get ready because it’s time to plan and execute. Yes, PLAN and EXECUTE! Don’t worry, the “I do” will come — but, first, you need to find your wedding vendors!
Planning a wedding is like working on a jigsaw puzzle. Everybody has their own way of putting it together, but it involves the same pieces to achieve the same result. You must hire a team of vendors who can produce the wedding of your dreams — but how you go about that will depend on your vision!
Though, no matter how you work on that puzzle, you have to employ some type of strategy to mitigate the madness. Likewise, your wedding planning process must follow a strategy. As you research and book your wedding vendors, follow this order to keep your journey to the aisle as simple and efficient as possible.
Selecting your venue is the top priority. Some venues come with in-house services, which can influence the rest of the wedding vendors you need to hire. Plus, it can free up your wedding planning time, since you will know what is offered by booking there. #OneStopShop!
Side note: It is good to have an idea of your maximum guest count. This number can help serve as a tie-breaker if one venue can accommodate your guest better than the other contender.
Also, by choosing your venue, you are officially SETTING YOUR DATE! Once the date is set, the countdown begins. Cheers to that!
2. Wedding Planner
Although some couples choose not to hire a planner, we recommend it! Apart from taking many tasks off your plate, a wedding planner can truly help bring your dream day to life. Their years of experience and knowledge can guide you in areas where you aren’t so well-versed.
If your venue does not provide an assigned wedding planner, book one next. Remember: The clock is ticking! Hand them the pressure of lining up all your vendors, so you can sit back and approve. Talk about the good life!
3. Photographer + Videographer
Locking in your photographer and videographer is third on this list for two reasons:
- Photographers and videographers book out far in advance. You need to get on their calendar ASAP!
- You will need to do your engagement shoot months before the wedding for save-the-dates, your website, pre-wedding video shoot, etc.
You also need to make sure that you get along well with your photographer and videographer. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them on your big day! Make sure you give yourself ample time to find the right person that will see your vision and capture the perfect moment for you!
We see all those flower arrangements you’ve been pinning on your Pinterest board! Spoiler alert: You’ll need a professional to replicate those looks. Booking your florist in advance will allow them to ensure they understand your vision to design and conceptualize the wedding style you want.
You’ll also want to talk to your florist in advance to make sure the flowers you wish to have are available. Peonies are beautiful, but they don’t bloom year-round. Your florist will be able to recommend similar flowers if it comes down to it.
5. Caterer + Rentals
It’s tough to choose between hors d’oeuvres: cocktail shrimp shooters, meat skewers, or mini sliders? All of the above? If your chosen venue does not provide catering, this is next on the list. Keep in mind the time it will take to finalize your menu. You don’t want this part to slip through the cracks!
Because caterers and rental companies tend to work closely, you might be able to knock this out in one step (fingers crossed). If not, book both caters and rentals simultaneously.
Side note: Before signing anything, make sure that they can travel to your venue. And be sure to give them the proper headcount!
6. Lighting + DJ
Be sure to give yourself time to find that DJ that understands your vibe and can deliver on the dance floor. Come ready with your desired playlist (or, at least, some ideas!) and ask for suggestions. Be sure to check out our previous blog about asking your DJ the right questions!
If you are dreaming of glamorous chandeliers and elaborate gobo light washes, this is also the right time to get your lighting situated. It’s your day and you deserve perfection!
If you’re planning on booking a professional stationer for custom invitations and other paper goods, plan on getting in contact with them at least eight weeks before your save-the-dates are to be sent out. In the average planning process, this typically falls right at the halfway point.
Wedding cakes need some lead time to create something beautiful and delicious, but not quite so much as your caterer. Some bakers will only take a certain amount of clients per week, so booking them with enough time never hurts! Oh, and don’t forget to schedule your cake tasting as well — what a wedding perk!
9. Hair + Makeup
If you plan to get your hair and makeup done professionally, do not forget to book your artist(s) in advance! You will need to prepare for at least one trial run to ensure you get your desired outcome. Remember: Your time is accounted for, and like everything else, this will pull you away from other tasks. Include it in your plans!
So, let’s plan this wedding! With the right plan and strategy in place, it’s completely doable. To revisit our puzzle metaphor, just think about how satisfying it will be after you’ve put all the pieces together and can see the grand masterpiece unfold beautifully right before your eyes.