There’s a very common question that I hear from brides when they’re starting in on their wedding planning: “How early is too early to…,” or “how late is too late to…?” In regards to booking vendors, it totally depends on the type of vendor and your location. But overall, there is pretty much an order to stick to. It’s more a matter of vendors that book up quickly and trust me- the good ones book up fast!
1. Find and book your wedding planner. ;) It doesn’t even have to be a planner for Full Planning– it’s just a good idea to meet with a planner to discuss ideas and get vendor recommendations. (At this time start looking for and researching vendors, particularly photographers)
2. Choose your date and book your venue. These two go hand-in-hand. If you have a venue that you love, but they’re not available for the day you want, you can flexible with your date. Or if you’re set on a date, you can shop for venues that are available for your wedding day.
3. As soon as you’ve booked your venue and you have your date, nail down your photographer. By now you should have a good idea of the style of photography you like (see number 1). Meet with a couple photographers, and then book your choice ASAP
4. Consider hiring an event design and decor company. It will cover a couple different vendors for you, and the majority of the time save you money (in rentals, fees, and delivery). These companies usually encompass lighting, flowers, draping, rentals and basically the all around look and decor for your wedding. They’ll handle setting everything up and tearing everything down for you too, which is a big plus. If you’re not going to use an event decor company, you’ll need to find your florist and vendors for lighting, draping, and any rentals.
5. If your venue doesn’t provide food already, find your caterer!
6. Decide if you want a live band or a DJ to handle the music for your wedding. Do your research- ask for recommendations, look on Wedding Wire- basically just follow this blog post. :)
7. Definitely consider hiring a videographer/cinematographer for your wedding day. There is nothing like actually seeing the events of the day in real ACTION.
8. Finally, there’s any other vendors that you might need- a photo booth, cigar rollers, day-of coordinator (if you didn’t already hire one for step 1), etc.
This list is based on what books up first, based on my experience. It’s very common for good vendors to be booked a year out. This is especially the case for popular wedding dates and seasons. Pretty much, it’s never too early to book your vendors- although something like 5 years is a little iffy. The earlier, the better. If you figure it all out early on, you can enjoy being engaged, planning other aspects of your wedding (like the DETAILS!), and planning on starting your life with your new husband!