You’ve got your partner, you got the jewels, now what? As a former wedding planner now turned wedding photographer, I have a TON of insight on weddings, especially when to book your wedding vendors. Most all wedding vendors have a timeline themselves of when they typically book out by. The list below is created based […]
Most all wedding vendors have a timeline themselves of when they typically book out by. The list below is created based on when 2022 wedding vendors are saying they get booked. It varies with the level of experience and budget. Bigger-budget wedding vendors tend to book out a bit more in advance than low-budget vendors, so keep this in mind!
The main guys: Wedding Planner, Ceremony Venue, and Reception Venue. These are so important to get ASAP because they will be the baseline for all of your other decisions. You may think you have the best wedding date in mind that you have already envisioned being painted on a beautiful canvas in your dining room, but the second you go to that dream venue and realize your “date” is taken, everything changes. If you are doing full-service planning, book that first! They will be able to help you find the majority of your vendors and also ask each vendor questions that you never thought to ask. Think of them as a specialist. They have far more connections, and experience than your aunt does so leave it to the professionals!
The dream team: Photographers, Videographers, Caterer, and Florist. Your photo/video team will be the team that you trust to capture the day as best as possible. When it’s all said and done and you are off on your honeymoon, everything now lies in their hands to allow you to relive this day over and over again. These guys are going to book up FAST. If you are getting married in the busy season (March-November), these vendors will book up even closer to a year in advance, so be on the lookout ahead of time! Once you book your photographer you can begin planning your engagement session to have some new updated photos for your Save-the-Dates.
Don’t wait until the last minute for the Caterer and Florist. This one was a bigger change for this year. Most people put these vendors off until the last minute and realize they are having to choose between slim pickings. Do it now, trust me, and thank me later.
“DJ play my favorite song!” It’s time for the fun part! Let’s book that DJ. Guys, I cannot express how important your DJ/Band is. They truly can make or break your wedding. I always say the planner is the manager behind the scenes and that’s why they are important, but think of your DJ/Band as the MC of this event. They control the whole mood of your guest’s experience. Yes, your wedding should be 100% about you getting married, but you are paying some good money to throw a killer party, so let’s consider the guest experience when creating a dream wedding! After all, we’ve all been to those weddings where the DJ wasn’t good and that’s all you remember!
Along with your DJ, you also want to nail down your officiant. Like the DJ with the reception, the officiant carries the mood of the ceremony. You also want to find someone sooner than later so they have plenty of time for them to get to know you as a couple and take you through pre-marital counseling- I’ll do a whole other blog on this aspect one day.
SHOPPING!!! Time to do the most fun part of this whole experience, in my opinion, DRESS SHOPPING! Grab your girls, family members, and the bubbly because it’s time to try on some gowns! Eeekkk! Choose these gals wisely! You don’t want a ton of differing opinions from you, yet people that just love and support you and will help you find a dress that compliments your style, body, and personality! Make appointments a multiple different bridal shops as they tend to all carry different styles. Also, don’t limit yourself to just one or two styles! So many brides end up choosing a style they never imagined liking! You need to get this dress during this timeframe so that you have plenty of time for the designer to make it AND for your alterations. Expect alterations to take anywhere from 1-3months depending on the store and the season.
You also need to create a wedding website with hotel blocks, registry, and vital details about your wedding so that you can attach this website to your Save-the-Dates and send those out too! For a simple way to save some money- check out Etsy for invitation templates and have them printed at your local print shop. Here are some of my favorites!
Surely you’ve picked your bridal party by now, and if not- get on it! There are so many cute ways to ask your girls to stand by you! Make sure you have your set team of women and find their dresses.
It’s tradition to gather the girls and meet up at a dress shop, but let’s be real here- it’s 2022 and no one has time for that. If your bridal party is big, it will also be hard to all get together anyways on a certain day. Try taking one or two girls (preferably different sizes/shapes) to try on colors and styles for you to see, then have everyone order on their own. You could also just pick a style from an online store and have everyone order it! They typically have professional wedding photos to show what they look like on multiple different people. Trust me on this one- your girls will thank you later. Some of my favorite online shops are Lulus, Azazie, Mumu Weddings, JJ’s House, Dear Cleo, and Birdy Grey.
You will need to order your invitations and book any rentals you may have. Think linens, chargers, photo booths, napkins, table decor, furniture, etc. This will prevent you from having to pay for expedited shipping and will allow you to choose from the most inventory. You will also want to book your hair and makeup artists and start having trial runs. These vendors book up around this time!
It’s time for the Groom’s attire! This doesn’t take near as long, but do not put this off. Groomsmen need a little push when it comes to getting them into their local Men’s Warehouse to get fitted. The boys also could need some adjustments to their suits as well. While he’s out doing this, it’s your time to go searching for those accessories. You’ll need to get your ceremony shoes, reception shoes, veil, and jewelry! A fun new trend that we are seeing in the bigger cities is that Brides are hiring out a stylist to help put the whole look together. Sounds amazing to me!
After this is done, you’ll need to book transportation! Are you taking a party bus with all your girls to the venue? A classic RR to take you off to your honeymoon at the end of the night? Don’t wait until the last minute on this one! Have fun with it too! You could even have your groom do it and surprise you… takes something off your plate!
THE FINAL STRETCH!! You’re so close! Can you hear the wedding bells yet?! It’s time to get those smaller details done! Figure out what your bridesmaid’s gifts, wedding guests’ favors, and other close people that helped with your day’s gifts will be. This is the fun part because- SHOPPING!! Have some girlfriends come to help you make your favors so that you can talk through all of your excitement and have some hands to help you knock it out. Create your seating chart with an idea in mind of who you want where so that when you start getting RSVPs in, it will be easy to move things around because you already have a starting point. Order your wedding band during this time and consider it a cherry on the top of planning!
Then, sit back, relax, and have some wine because you’re about to change that last name love!