When To Book Your Wedding Vendors
Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Like, REALLY overwhelming. There are so many moving parts, it’s no wonder why people can get stressed out and feel hopeless. Fear not, dear future bride or groom! The wedding planning process doesn’t need to be a stress fest. Just follow these simple guidelines for when you should book vendors for your wedding, and you’ll be good to go!
Of course you can adjust this timeline if you need to - just try to stick to the same order that we’ve outlined here and you should be fine.
One Year Before Your Big Day
Not everyone decides to hire a wedding planner for their big day, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have the funds available. However, if you can - definitely consider hiring someone to help you out at the very beginning of your wedding planning! This person can help with all of those little details that make planning stressful, but it’s important to book them as soon as you can.
Most of the other details of the wedding really can’t fall into place until you nail down a venue. Picking a date, choosing vendors, catering, decor, and even what you’re going to wear are all influenced by where you decide to tie the knot. This can be one of the most stressful pieces of wedding planning, so you’ll most likely feel a weight lift off of your soldiers once you have this part taken care of. That’s why it’s best to get it taken care of first!
10 Months Before Your Big Day
Many photographers are booked months ahead of time, so you’ll want to start your search early so that you can find the perfect photographer for your big day. It’s important to browse a variety of photographers so that you can determine which style best suits you, and you’ll also want to consider meeting them ahead of time so that you can be sure they’re a good personality fit. You’ll be spending lots of time with this person (or people if you have more than one), so it’s important that you get along!
Like photographers, videographers are typically booked months in advance. You’ll want to get on top of booking this piece of the wedding so that you have a good choice of vendors. Videographers create a cinematic look at your wedding day, creating a short video that captures memories from the entire day. They’re a great addition to any wedding, and Foresight Media offers a variety of packages to fit your needs!
Some people choose to buy the flowers and make arrangements themselves, but if that’s not something you feel comfortable with you should probably hire a professional!
Feed those guests! This is another essential piece that can’t be settled until you’ve booked your venue. Some venues include catering options, others require certain catering vendors, and still others might not provide anything at all. Be sure to check with your venue before making plans for food.
9 Months Before Your Big Day
Ceremony + Reception Music
Don’t let awkward cousin Jerry ruin the reception by mumbling incoherent instructions into a microphone. You’ll want to hire a professional to make sure that everything is seamless - from the music in your ceremony to the dance tunes in the reception. Many DJ’s and Wedding Bands also provide MC services, which will be a huge help to keep your wedding organized and smooth. Foresight Media provides a variety of DJ packages, and even lets you meet your DJ ahead of time so that you can be certain they’re the perfect fit for you.
8 Months Before Your Big Day
Where are all those guests going to sleep? If you’re hosting out-of-town guests, you’re going to want to contact some of the hotels in the area and see if you can get a block rate of hotel rooms. This will not only ensure that your guests have a place to stay, but it will likely help them to save a few bucks.
This might be one of the most important parts of the process. Without a licensed, professional officiant you can’t get married! You definitely want to be sure your officiant is experienced so that the ceremony is magical for you and your guests. Whether you’re going for a religious or secular ceremony, hiring a professional is a must!
There are a very, VERY small amount of people who walk into a bridal shop and actually leave with a wedding dress in their hands ready to go. Like most things in wedding planning, it’s a process. You’ll need to set aside time to go in and try your dress on, then give the vendor time to actually create a dress specifically for you. Although vendors carry dresses in their store, those typically aren’t the dresses that people purchase since so many other brides have tried on the dresses too. The vendor needs time to create a brand new dress in the style you’ve chosen, and you’ll likely want to leave some time in case alterations are needed.
If you’re planning on having a destination wedding, then you’ll need to send these out a year in advance. However, if you’re having a wedding that’s a little closer to home, 8 months should be plenty of time. This gives your guests time to mark their calendars and start thinking about travel arrangements (if necessary).
7 Months Before Your Big Day
This is arguably the sweetest piece of the wedding planning cake (pun intended). Give yourself time to explore different vendors. You’ll want to make appointments ahead of time at a variety of places so that you can try out their cakes and decide which one is perfect for you! Some cake vendors have limits on how many cakes they’ll make a week, so it’s good to plan this out ahead of time.
Although these dresses don’t take nearly as long as the bride’s dress, they can still take a month or two to arrive depending on where you’re purchasing them. Plus, you’ll usually have a bridesmaid or two that isn’t able to purchase a dress right away, so make sure you give them all plenty of time to get their dresses ordered.
Book That Honeymoon!
If you’re flying somewhere or really traveling at all, you’re going to find better deals if you book ahead. Make sure you get those things like airline tickets, rental cars, hotel rooms, and food squared away so that you don’t have to worry about anything but relaxing when the time comes!
6 Months Before Your Big Day
Although you don’t really need to send your invitations out until six to eight weeks before your wedding, you’re going to want to give yourself plenty of time to assemble them! The process takes longer than you think, especially if you’re planning on inviting a lot of guests.
Makeup Artist + Hair Stylist
Make sure you look your best on your big day! Hiring someone else to take care of your hair and makeup on your big day removes another stress factor when the day arrives. Be sure to schedule out a trial ahead of time so that you can get your style nailed down!
Not all venues include things like tables, chairs, tablecloths, flatware, etc. You’ll want to check with your venue to see what they do include so that you know exactly what you’ll need to rent for the big day.
5 Months Before Your Big Day
The guys need to dress up too! Will they be in a suit, or something more casual? Will they rent, or will they buy? What color will their shoes be? Details like this need to be ironed out ahead of time so that your groom and groomsmen have plenty of time to get their attire in order. You’ll also probably find discounts if you can purchase everything together.
Shoes, necklaces, veils, earrings, and more! What are those extra pieces to make sure you look your best on your big day? Have you bought your garter yet? Make sure you get something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue!
Will your bridesmaids and groomsmen need transportation from their hotel to the venue? Will you need transportation after the reception is over? What about from the ceremony to the reception? All of these things need to be considered ahead of time so your bridesmaids don’t end up walking three miles in heels. Trust us, they’ll be thankful.
3 Months Before Your Big Day
What will you give your guests? This is a great opportunity for the bride and groom to share their personality and style. The favors should reflect the style of the wedding itself. Make sure to check out Pinterest for ideas!
The bride likely has her ring, but does the groom have his? Will the bride be adding a wedding band to the engagement ring? Does the bride want a new ring entirely? This is the piece of jewelry you’ll be wearing for the rest of your lives so make sure you love whatever you choose!
And that pretty much covers it! Of course you don’t have to do all of the things on this list. You could choose to elope or have a smaller ceremony and do things completely differently than what we’ve outlined here. But if you’re hoping to have a more traditional ceremony and reception, we hope these guidelines will be helpful for you. To help you out further, we’ve created a wedding checklist to help you keep track of all of these items! Feel free to follow the link below to get your copy: