You're engaged! Woo Hoo! But now what?! After all the excitement and pinterest searching what do you do first? How do you actually make this wedding come to life?
Don't worry, we got you! We know how overwhelming it can be in the beginning. You have all these ideas, all this inspiration, all kinds of opinions from friends and family but what do you do with it all? While there is no right or wrong answer to exactly how you chose to plan your wedding - here is just my advice and opinion on what vendors you should start booking right away!
It's also important to note, if you just got engaged and are planning a 2021 or 2022 wedding, a lot of vendors are booking up much quicker because of so many couples moving their wedding dates because of Covid.
There are a lot of vendors that go in to your wedding day, so when starting to look and book I think it is important to make a list or at least acknowledge what is most important to you on your wedding day. If you have always dreamed of getting married at a certain place, you should start with that. If there is a photographer that you've been following and dying to have at your wedding, you'll want to start there.
Now the date is going to be what you'll need to know for each vendors availability. So, I would start with reaching out to any vendors or venues who are the most important to you and asking what their rate and availability is. Most couples will start with the venue, but again this would be whatever vendor is top to you or you want to work with them no matter what.
If you have a special date in mind you are looking to get married on, then that is a good place to start and reach out to venues to see if any of them have that date available.
Once you find some venues that you like and have some availability, I would advise going to tour them and ask questions about the venue, other vendors they use, the bar, etc. Some venues may have restrictions on what catering you use or how the bar service needs to be. If those things are very important to you or you had a catering company you wanted to use, those might be deal breakers. You'll also need to find out the cost they have for food and beverage minimums, bar services, security, and any other additional fees as these might change your original quote and may be another deal breaker.
Once you have found a venue to have your reception, I would next find where you will hold the ceremony if it is not going to be at the same place. This will be important for getting the same date and in a decent proximity to each other.
The next thing I would personally start looking for as soon as you have a date picked would be a photographer. Photographers generally book up the quickest, especially if it is a really well known and in demand company. Your photographer might also have a package that includes engagement photos, so this would be good to have early after you get engaged! You may also want to start looking for videographers at this point if that is high on your list as well.
After you have the venue and the photographer, I would just start researching what other vendors you like, when you can. To me, catering is the next big one you will want to secure for your big day. Food is a big deal and one of the most expensive parts of your wedding - so to ensure you have a vendor you love, a price that works for you, and someone who can work at your venue, this is a huge thing to cross off of your to do list! You will also want to know if they provide linens, silverware, plates, serving staff, desserts, coffee, garbages, etc. (We have another post on that coming soon!)
Now you have the venue, photographer, catering, and possibly videographer, what's next? The next vendors I would look into next are DJ's, bands, musicians, day of coordinator, hair and makeup, and officiant. Those are other big ones that will book up quickly. After that I would look at vendors who may be able to take on more than one client that day, such as florist, transportation, bar services, decor rentals, hotel accommodations, stationary, photobooths, attire, etc.
That should just about be it when it comes to booking your vendors! Remember that it is your day, so it's going to make things a lot easier for you and you'll have a more clear idea of what to do when you have that list of what is important to you. Every couple is different on those big things - some don't care about food at all, while that might be a top one or two for another. Just remember that a lot of these are big investments so knowing your budget, the payment options for the vendor, and starting early will alleviate the most stress.
Photos by Sofia Hilder Photography