Tag Archives: wedding vendors

The Perfect Order to Book Wedding Vendors

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!

wedding vendors

Credit: Jasmine Lee Photography | Venue: Casa Real | Floral Design: Nicole Ha Design

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.

1. Venue

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:

  1.  Photographers and videographers book out far in advance. You need to get on their calendar ASAP!
  2. 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!

wedding vendors

Credit: Jasmine Lee Photography | Venue: Casa Real | Floral Design: Nicole Ha Design

4. Florist

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!

Credit: Jasmine Lee Photography | Venue: Casa Real | Floral Design: Nicole Ha Design

7. Stationer

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.


8. Baker

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. 

How To: Select the Right Vendors

When it comes to your wedding, it’s really the vendors who can make or break the Big Day. With your inspiration and direction, your vendors will take your ideas and design the wedding of your dreams, so it’s important to pick out the best of the best! In a world where Google knows all, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the multitude of options out there. One way to pick out some solid vendors is to ask for referrals from your venue or planner if you’ve already selected them. Usually, they have a list of vendors that they regularly work with and can vouch for their performance (and have an ongoing rapport)! Read on for some considerations while choosing the best vendors for you and yours.

The website
While we don’t normally contend “judging a book by its cover,” oftentimes a website can speak volumes to the company it represents. Be sure to check for a gallery page or a portfolio that will show their work in real events – a picture’s worth a thousand words, right? (OK, we’re done with the overused expressions!) It’s also prudent to check out the About section, which can generally offer a glimpse at the personality behind the page. If you like what you see, be sure to fill out the contact form with all of your event information!

The communication
You loved their site and you eagerly filled out a contact form, hoping to hear from them as soon as you click submit. The problem is, you don’t hear from them for close to a week – maybe even more. If that’s the case, you can most likely cross them off the list unless they have a great excuse (i.e. “Our website was under construction and the emails weren’t coming through” or “Space aliens hacked our email accounts and we couldn’t respond.”) Consider their initial communication with you as a first impression and assume that it will continue to be the same throughout the planning process.

The people
So, you heard back the following day and have a consultation meeting on the books – great! Now is the time to really get down to business and get to know your potential vendor. Come to the meeting prepared with questions and be ready to get to know them as if they were applying to become your best friend. Asking how long they’ve been in the business is a must, but other questions you may want to ask include “What inspired you to be in the wedding industry?” and “What can you offer me that other [photographers/florists/DJs/planners/etc] can’t?”

Sometimes, a couple and a vendor simply connect, which is ideal. Even if you don’t “connect” per se, don’t count them out if you still think they can do a great job on your wedding and will respect your decisions along the way. However, if you’re sitting in a meeting with a prospective vendor and things just don’t seem to be going in the right direction (“is she really filing her nails in our meeting?”), do not be afraid to tell them it’s not the right fit and walk away. There’s just no need to waste your time on something that won’t work.

The price
Unfortunately, cost plays a big role in planning weddings and sometimes the perfect vendor is a bit out of reach. If you have your heart set on a certain vendor that may not fit into the budget, feel free to reach out to them to see what deal they may be willing to make with you. Generally, vendors won’t change their price per service for anyone, but they may be willing to create a custom package for you or cut some of the unnecessary parts of their service to give you a better deal – just be sure to ask! They should want to work with you as much as you want to work with them, so it’s a win-win situation if you can get together to make it happen. If it doesn’t fall into place, there’s no need to fret – there are so many awesome vendors out there who would be honored to be a part of your special day!

When it comes down to it, your vendors (or your “wedding team”) should be enthusiastic and excited to work on your wedding. It is an honor, for sure! While it doesn’t need to be a match made in heaven (that’s what your partner is for!), you’ll want to be sure their personality fits yours and that they are timely and responsible. If so, you’re in luck! Enjoy the planning process with your expertly-curated wedding team and have the best darn wedding possible.

Proudly serving Bay Area Weddings for over twenty years, Fantasy Sound aims to be engaged couples’ first stop- offering Disc Jockey, Videography, Event Lighting Décor and Wedding Planning services. They are fueled by great ideas paired with strong coffee, and will never turn down a piece of red velvet wedding cake.