Booking your wedding vendors is arguably the most important (and the most difficult) part of your entire wedding day. Forget the decor, having bad wedding vendors will make for a negative wedding experience regardless of how beautiful your chargers are. That’s why at SOE, we put all of our attention into booking our dream team FIRST, before we even dive into the wedding design process. (Read more about our Phase-Based Planning System HERE.)
But, if you are just getting started with wedding planning (and haven’t hired our A+ planning team yet, do that first), you might be a little overwhelmed at just the sheer number of vendors you have to book. How do you figure out who to book first? Follow this quick and easy guide to make booking your vendors easy peasy lemon squeezy:
Wedding Venue: Your venue should be the first vendor that you book (unless you are hiring a full service wedding planner) because your venue determines your wedding date. It also limits other vendors based on availability.
Wedding Planner: If hiring a full service planner (highly recommended), book your planner first. SOE offers venue matching as part of our full service package, so you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity! Otherwise, having your planner second will make the rest of vendor bookings so much easier!
Photographer/Videographer: Your photo/video team is imperative and should be next on the list! This duo is the ONLY way you will have any tangible memories from your big day, so make sure they are absolutely fantastic.
Caterer/Bar: Locking in your caterer will take up a good chunk of your budget. I often find that couples do not budget enough for their catering team. Go ahead and book them quickly, so you know what rentals and other equipment you will need!
Hair & Makeup Artist: I am finding more and more that the best hair and makeup teams are booked well over a year in advance. I recommend booking your dream team sooner rather than later to make sure you look and feel your best.
Band/DJ: Consider what your favorite music style is. Then, choose a band or DJ that will keep the party alive during your reception. It is SO important to have a professional here, DJs are the unsung heroes of wedding days – trust me.
Wedding Gown/Other Attire: A typical wedding gown can take up to 6 months for order. Then, an additional 6-8 weeks for alterations and cleaning. Go ahead and have the rest of your bridal party choose their attire at this point too.
Officiant: You can’t get married without them, so choose and book them early!
Florist: A great florist is in high demand! So, finding one you trust and has an outstanding portfolio is a sign that you should book them fast! Make sure you have an idea of what you want before booking, so they can give you an accurate quote.
Stationery Designer: I am a BIG fan of hiring a custom stationery designer to handle all of your wedding details. Booking them early allows them to create your Save The Dates as well!
Hotel Room Block: If you have several guests coming in from out of town, blocking off rooms for them is a sweet way to show you care. It also makes it easy for them to attend your wedding.
Rentals: Create a list of all of the items you need and head to your favorite rental company. These items could be linens, flatware, dinnerware, tables, chairs, lounge furniture and other accessories you want for your wedding day.
Transportation: If you are having your ceremony and reception at different locations you will need to provide transportation. This also will ensure safety of your guests after a fun night of partying and a quick and efficient timeline.
Providing actionable steps to book each vendor on your list and the exact questions you should be asking to save you the most time, money and sanity as you choose your vendors for your wedding day. Get rid of the FOMO when choosing from a sea of vendors and make sure you love your vendor team. Get the guide today 100% FREE.
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