Wedding Vendors, here we go!
Perhaps the hardest part of the entire wedding process is figuring out when to book everything. There are so many different parts that need to come together perfectly (and on time!) for your big day to run smoothly, and for you and your bridal party to remember it fondly as one of the best days ever and not one of the most stressful. Well, we’re here to help you do just that! With the help of WeddingWire, we’ve put together a vendors booking timeline that will take all the thinking and all the stress out of planning your wedding. Think of this as your ideal timeline guide, complete with everything you’ll need for planning a wonderfully smooth and seamless event. And you can even use their Wedding Checklist to keep yourself on track!
Twelve months before your wedding
Okay, you’ve got a whole year so start by breathing. It’s gonna be okay. The twelve-month mark is the perfect place to cement all the big things that can potentially make or break your big day so you’ve got plenty of time to book your vendors.
Wedding planner: Unless you plan events for a living we seriously urge you to get one. They’ve done this countless times, and while that might make you feel less special, what it actually means is they’ve seen it all. They know exactly what to do and even more importantly, what not to do! They’ll remember all the things that you wouldn’t even think to think about. Do your research, and find someone whose personality works well with yours. It will make things run so much smoother, and smooth is the goal.
Ceremony venue: This is the time to narrow your list of dream venues down from ten to one. We know, it’s hard, but it’s necessary. Once you choose the venue, you can start to focus on making it the best possible venue. Popular venues tend to book very fast, so depending on where you want to get married, you may have to secure this one even before the twelve-month mark. Preparation is key here, so please do your research. You don’t want to miss out on your ideal venue because you were careless, do you? Call that venue and secure your date!
Reception venue: Same as above…if you’re having your reception at the same place as your ceremony then you have nothing to worry about. If the two are going to be separate and the two venues are under different management, then secure both. Now.
Makeup artist/ Hair stylist: Don’t worry if it seems ridiculous to book so early in advance, just do it. In season, make-up artists and hair stylists are always fully booked and you don’t want to have to take up your cousin on her offer to ‘do your face.’ It’s not that kind of party. It’s your wedding, and you want to be the picture of professional perfection. Book.
Photographer: Okay, repeat after me: Book. Your. Photographer. Yes, I know your iPhone takes amazing photos, and all your Instagram followers think you have a great ‘eye’. But I also know that all your perfect Instagram photos take at least twenty attempts each, with all the time in the world and zero pressure. I know that on your wedding you will want to be present for every moment. Not worrying about the lighting, or setting up the shot, or clearing up the background. Yes, we’ve all learned so much about photography as a result of our love affair with social media, the most important being that it’s harder than it looks and it’s a lot of work. The kind of work that you don’t want to do on your big.
Leave it to a professional you trust, so you can spend your time genuinely enjoying every second of your wedding. And having the confidence that as you enjoy your big day, they are capturing perfectly every sacred moment. The smiles, the tears, the first time you held hands as a married couple. Those moments go so fast because they are real, and because they are real, they are beautiful. Book somebody who knows how to capture it beautifully. For inspiration, look through our gallery. You’ll fall in love.
Videographer: This is optional, some people like to have a video of their wedding as a reminder of their wonderful day or to keep for their children, and some people don’t. If you do, this is the time to book one.
Florist: Whether you know exactly what you want, and it’s just a matter of bringing your vision to life or you have no clue what makes a bouquet good or bad, book a florist. Have a chat and tell them what you like, what your tastes are and by the time you leave you will have a vision. That’s what they do, they take spaces and make them into magic. Book your florist.
Caterer: Bad food can ruin a wedding. You know, you’ve been to one. This is worth doing early so you can be as accommodating as possible. Find out if your guests have allergies or special dietary needs and see how you can address that. Go for tastings! All the brochures say the food is great, but you need to know. Pair food and wine, take your bestie and your mom, make a day of it. All your guests will thank you later for choosing the right vendors.
Band/Dj: I cannot stress how important this is to do. If you don’t book your band or DJ in advance you will end up having to ask that guy on your Facebook who always sends mass invites to his ‘sessions.’ The invites you ignore. You don’t want that guy at your wedding, so please don’t do that to yourself. Book the band.
Ceremony music: What will you walk to? Will everyone get the same music? CD? Piano? You want to spend some time on this, don’t skimp on it. Actually practice walking to it, see if the pace of the music creates a natural walking pace or if you’re practically running down the aisle. If so, change the music.
Officiant: Decide on who you want to marry you, and then ask them if they can. If they don’t know you well, this is a good time to meet with them and share more of your love story and of yourselves. That little effort will create comfort and a closeness during the ceremony that will truly make it special.
Guest Accommodations: If you book in bulk and in advance you can save a ton of money. You don’t want your guests to have to worry about getting back home, so take the thinking out of the situation.
Wedding dress: *happy dance* This is a clear sign that things are going to plan and nothing says wedding quite like the wedding dress. Finalize your style or any little details and either buy it or get a seamstress to make your vision a reality, and enjoy every moment.
Save the dates: Send them out! Send them out!
Cake Baker: Five tier? Three tier? Cupcake stand? Lemon? Chocolate? Do you want petals on the top? This stage is so much fun, and so important. Like with the caterer, take a few people with you and taste away. Then finalize your thoughts and book your cake.
Bridesmaids dresses: It’s your big day, but if you choose to have bridesmaids then it’s their big day too. Not like it’s your big day, but a little bit. Talk to them! Find out what they like and what they feel comfortable in because they have to wear it. Aim for something you all love, and most importantly something that’s flattering for everybody. Different styles in the same fabric work great, and your bridesmaids will love you. Get those measurements, and get that order in!
Honeymoon travel consultant: Yay, fun stuff! This is a great time to talk to your consultant and find out what’s a great place to go for the time of year. Share your interests, so they can share their knowledge. Do you like museums and places of historic significance? Do you love the wilderness? Are you a beach bum? Options are endless, so start exploring and book the perfect honeymoon for the two of you.
It’s okay to freak out a little, and then take a deep breath and remember you’ve got this because we’ve got you.
Invitations: Send them out! Send them out!
Rentals: Have your vision in mind or go to your Pinterest board and print it out, we know you have one. And now, bring it to life! Choose all the pieces that create your perfect space, a tent, dance floor, chairs, tables, cutlery, glassware etc. If your venue comes fully equipped, great, just look at it one more time to see if there’s anything you want to swap out for a more you decor. This is the time.
Men’s attire: Don’t neglect the hubby, it’s his big day too. Let him and his groomsmen make a day of getting fitted and feeling spoiled as well. Finalize colors, shoes, belts, everything.
Accessories: Same goes for you, what color hair bands are you allowing? Shoes, is jewelry allowed? Don’t go crazy, but do think about it. Make sure you have all the things you need, for every person in your party.
Transportation: Hire that limo, or arrange for your horse-drawn carriage, or simply just hire a driver. Is everything in one venue and is everyone arriving the day before so you can all just walk everywhere? Great!
Three Months, aka deep breaths, deep breaths…
Favors: Organize your ‘thank-you’ notes, and pour a celebratory glass of something because you basically just organized a whole entire wedding.
Wedding rings: The final touch, the part of your wedding that you’ll carry forever. Make sure you have the rings or have clearly communicated when you will get them if perhaps you’re having your own made or if you’re lucky enough to be getting a family heirloom passed down.
You did it! Now just watch your preparation pay off, and give yourself a cheat day off your wedding diet as you count down to the big day. You deserve it.