by: Lauren

I think hiring your wedding vendors is one of the most important and exciting steps in wedding planning. It’s definitely a process to get to that point- you have to find potential vendors, inquire with them, compare and contrast, and THEN, once you’ve done all that, you can start hiring! But once you get to the point of hiring, there are a few things that you MUST know before you pull the trigger on any hiring…



Know and respect your budget, as well as what each vendor’s expected cost might be. Knowing all of this will help you avoid sticker shock, which if experienced, could result in the booking of a vendor who is definitely not right for you. (Only a little kidding there- because this totally happened to me.) But in all seriousness, remember that even if a wedding vendor’s pricing seems like a lot of money, you usually don’t have to pay it all up front and at once- unless you’re getting married very soon after booking. Payments spread out over the duration of your planning are a wonderful thing! 


Your wedding date is going to be one of the most important pieces of information you need when it comes to booking your vendors, and it’s highly recommended that you know this before doing any hiring. It is usually the determining factor of whether or not a vendor will be able to work your wedding or not. However, in a rare occasion, you don’t always have to have a date chosen to book a vendor or two (like a wedding planner, or the venue, which could help determine your date). In this case, it’s a good idea to have a few possible dates in mind or at least know which season you would like to wed. 


Decide on your wedding’s locale. Don’t feel as though you need to have already decided on your venue (you’re likely contacting venues at this point!), but at least knowing the city where you will host your ceremony and reception is tremendously important. 


Image by Concept Photography


Envision your ideal wedding and what your expectations are. These expectations definitely don’t have to be set in stone, but it’s important to at least have an idea of the style or type of wedding you want- IE, a casual farm wedding, or an elegant ballroom wedding. I know you’ve gone on Pinterest, looked at magazines, or seen weddings on blogs (you’re here, after all). Keeping these expectations in mind can help guide your hiring decisions. Essentially, make sure to do your research firstOh, and never be afraid to ask a wedding professional for their advice! 


Keep in mind that even if you tell a vendor (verbally or written) that you want to book them, it is very likely that your date is not going to be officially reserved until you make a payment (usually referred to as a deposit). Now I’m not saying that you would have to pay right on the spot, but I have heard of several instances in which the reservation of a popular date was granted to the couple who sent their payment in first. 

Next up in this mini-series about finding & booking vendors, we’ll have some more info to walk you through the final step- hiring vendors!


Anyone have any other tidbits to add that might be helpful to know before hiring wedding vendors? We’d love to hear in the comments!


by: Lauren

Rustic details and a bit of chic and glamorous style were the perfect combination for Ciera and A.J.’s California ranch wedding. Wanting their wedding to reflect the sentiment of love and family, the couple kept things personal and simple. Olive branches used throughout the decor were reminiscent of the bride’s Italian heritage, while a beer truck from a favorite local brewery served up Ciera and A.J.’s favorites to guests. These personal details- plus a few more- are what made this day captured by Lindsey Gomes Photography absolutely spectacular, and Ciera is here today to share more about her personal and fabulous wedding!

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What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?

Our family and friends were so loving and supportive through the entire process, none of it would be possible without them, especially my parents! Besides our amazing support system, what helped us the most in planning was staying organized while still being flexible in our plans. We booked the biggest things first and worked our way through the details more slowly, keeping in mind that some things might require a new a change of plans. Staying organized took the stress out of planning for us, and allowed us to enjoy all of the little things.

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What was the most important thing to you when deciding who to work with for your wedding?

The most important thing to us when choosing vendors was meeting with them and trusting that they took the time to get to know us and understand our vision. We built relationships with each of our amazing vendors, and they completely understood our big picture – when the day finally came, I was in complete awe of the life they gave to our dreams.

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What was your inspiration for your wedding details and/or design?

The inspiration for our wedding was all about the sentiment of love and family, and we wanted to keep it personal. Growing up on a ranch, I dreamed of getting married in the hillsides and dancing in a barn, so the theme ‘Rustic Ranch Glamour’ was perfect – we wanted to capture the natural ruggedness of the land delicately balanced with romance and glam. More than just a theme, we wanted the day to exude a feeling of love, romance, and happiness nestled into a central idea of family comfort. Our details came from a place of sentiment, and we tried to work with our own family heritage to ensure the day was completely meaningful in every aspect. For example, my great-great grandparents emigrated here from Italy and planted an olive orchard on the family ranch. Because the trees are significant to my family and the history of the land, we asked our floral designer to incorporate olive branches into the wedding which ended up both beautiful and sentimental – I loved these types of details! Some of our other favorite details included the beer truck from our very favorite brewery, Central Coast Brewing, our wedding cake which was made by our best man’s Grandma as a gift, AJ’s uncle as our officiant, and our chance to escape to the hills for sunset photos which allowed us to reflect on the entire day and really take it all in. When it came down to it, all of these details made our day completely personal and meaningful to us, which was all we ever wanted.

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding?

*Such a hard question!!* I absolutely loved every moment of our wedding day, it was so dreamy from beginning to end. Being surrounded by everyone we love while we committed our lives to each other was the greatest feeling – the world stopped during our vows and I loved being wrapped up in that. The toasts were hilarious and tear jerking, the food amazing, the dance party was so fun and the over all vibe was awesome, but I’d have to say my favorite part was breaking away for sunset pictures with our photographer. We drove up the hills overlooking the ranch, and looking down it hit us that all of the people we loved were down there celebrating. It was a touching moment for my husband and I, and we got to take some time to soak in the entire day, just the two of us – it was perfect.

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What is your best piece of advice for other brides?

If I could offer any advice, it would be to focus on what’s most important to you (as a couple!) and choose vendors who take the time to get to know you. Lean on your family and friends for support when you need it, but don’t be consumed by trying to please them. And of course, don’t lose sight of what you are celebrating – a marriage, a commitment, love to last through all of the ages! Have fun and enjoy the entire process!

Wow, that is some AMAZING advice! I love everything about this wedding, especially how Ciera and A.J. focused on their family and their love. I’m not going to lie- reading Ciera’s description of what inspired them for their wedding design and details made me tear up!

So what are your thoughts on using your family heritage as a bit of inspiration for your wedding? Would you do it? If so, what would you do?


Vendors who made it all happen…

Photographer:  lindsey gomes PHOTOGRAPHY//Caterer: Central Coast Brewing//Event Planner: Danae Grace Events//Equipment Rentals: Embellish Vintage Rentals//Floral Designer: Festive Designs//DJ: Kramer Events//Event Venue:La Cuesta Ranch//Linens and Coverings: La Tavola Fine Linen//Cake Designer:Madonna Inn//Caterer:Old San Luis BBQ Co.//Hair Stylist:Strawberry Blonde//Equipment Rentals: Unlimited Events Inc.

by: Lauren

When you combine an eclectic style with a little bit of rock and roll and some fabulous details, you get some pretty amazing rocker chic wedding ideas- as evidenced in today’s inspiration from Cat Pennenga Photography and Kelly Hancock Events! A gorgeous color palette of deep red with touches of kelly green are the perfect accents for the rustic industrial brewery location, all exuding the casual atmosphere of a backyard wedding but with a fun twist!

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From Kelly Hancock Events:

For this shoot, I wanted to create something really fun, colorful, and eclectic. I wanted a twist on the typical backyard wedding. I think we came up with something that was the perfect mix of relaxed and gorgeous all while infusing a whole mess of fun and personality! We chose a local brewery for the venue location and included unique elements such as a temporary tattoo bar, custom coasters, and hanging gold records.

I have a soft spot in my heart for breweries- especially when they’re in my old stomping grounds of St. Pete- so I’m of course loving this inspiration! I particularly love the personal, unique details- like the tattoo station, the unique feather ceremony backdrop, and the escort cards attached to glasses!

Such awesome ideas in this inspiration drawn from the brewery venue and an eclectic boho style! What kind of unique details will you be having for your own wedding? Where are you getting your inspiration from?


Vendors who made it all happen…

Photographer: Cat Pennenga Photography / Coordination & Design: Kelly Hancock Event Planning / Floral Design: Carrollwood Florist / Reception Venue: GreenBench Brewing Company / Invitations & Stationery: The Creative Porcupine / Hair & Makeup: Lasting Luxe Hair & Makeup Artistry / Bridal Salon: Malindy Elene Bridal / Rental Furniture: The Reserve Vintage Rentals / Vintage Dishes & Glassware: Treasury Rentals / Signs/Calligraphy: McKenzie Fussel Calligraphy

Exclusive ELD Vendors

Like the post above? Here are the Every Last Detail vendors that participated making this post beautiful! Featured vendors are hand picked and approved by Lauren. Get more information by clicking on them below:

by: Lauren

What do you do when you live in Hawaii and want a destination wedding? Have a rustic chic purple and yellow wedding in Tennessee of course! Kyleen and Matt’s lovely wedding is filled with rustic details, bright and bold colors, and amazing images captured by JoPhoto. Kyleen is here with us today to share more insight into her wedding planning experience…

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What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?

As far as planning went, honestly JoPhoto (Kathleen) really helped me the most. Finding them was the tricky part seeing as I was planning a Tennessee wedding from Hawaii. I relied heavily on reading online reviews for everything ( and were my two go-to websites). But after talking with Kathleen and booking JoPhoto, they recommended vendors to me that were absolutely fabulous.

As far as the day of, our venue (The RT lodge) had excellent staff and they really helped make the day run as smooth as could be. Our coordinator Ellis was excellent. Everyone always says, don’t worry about the small stuff and something is inevitably going to go wrong but just enjoy the day. Well, literally NOTHING went wrong at our wedding…. I guess you could say we had a slight delay due to some rain? But even that wasn’t much. A quick thunderstorm passed through about an hour before the ceremony was scheduled to begin and I think maybe delayed us 5 mins? We had a great team of people working for us that day.

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What was the most important thing to you when deciding who to work with for your wedding?

The most important thing we wanted was to work with people who we were comfortable with, especially the photographers. I would consider my husband and I to be pretty easy going people and the most important thing to us was for everyone to have a good time. The photos from that day are what you are going to have forever, and good photographers are able to capture the essence and mood of the day in every picture they take. Also when taking so many photos in a row for such a long time, people can start to lose interest. But good photographers (like JoPhoto!) and when you have personalities that mesh well, they are able to make the 5000 photo look just as relaxed and happy as the 10.

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What was your inspiration for your wedding details and/or design?

We wanted an outdoor/woodsy wedding weekend. This was an unusual “destination” wedding, as we were coming from Hawaii to Tennessee, and we wanted a weekend getaway with all our family and friends. I fell in love with the outdoor tent for the reception with the twinkle lights during the planning phase, and that was my only requirement for the wedding. The rest of the details we could sort out as we went, but I wanted the outdoor tent. My husband grew up in Maryville, TN and when we looked into the RT Lodge, it just felt perfect.

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding?

It is almost impossible to pick just one thing…everything?! It was truly everything we wanted. Having the lodge as the location for the wedding as well as where the guests were staying was ideal. Everyone was in one place, all together. The band we chose (The Nick Carter Band) made the reception quite the party, everyone was dancing until the very end of the night. My husband even went crowd surfing at one point!

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What is your best piece of advice for other brides?

My best advice pre-wedding: Don’t let the planning become stressful. It’s YOUR wedding. Everything should be fun and exciting. If picking colors or vendors is becoming overwhelming- take some time off and come back to it! Also surround yourself with supportive people, get your family involved and your friends, definitely don’t forget about the groom! It is your big day together.

Wedding day: This was advice given to me and I’m so grateful for it. At one point, during the ceremony and/or during the reception, stop and take 10 seconds to yourself and look around at your new husband and all your guests and remember they are all here for you. Take it all in. These are the people you love most in your life and they are here to celebrate with you.

I for one absolutely love this bright, spring color palette! You don’t see too many purple and yellow weddings, and this is just gorgeous!

So tell me- what’s your favorite spring color palette? Are any of you going to be incorporating purple or yellow into your own weddings?


Vendors who made it all happen…

Photographer:  JoPhoto//Event Planner: Alexandra Hansen//Cake Designer: Art of Cakes//Officiant: Chaplain Patterson//Floral Designer: Lisa Foster Floral Design Studio//Caterer: RT Lodge//Reception Venue: RT Lodge//Hair Stylist:Tony Williams II