Starting to plan your wedding can be daunting! Your to-do list is a mile long, and you know there are a bunch of wedding vendors you need to hire. But which ones should you book first? As a wedding coordinator, I’m committed to de-mystifying the wedding planning process for engaged couples and inspiring the confidence to tackle each step. This blog will cover which wedding vendors to book first to ensure you have the top talent bringing your wedding vision to life.
The very first vendor you should book is your venue. Your venue sets the stage for your wedding day and will inform many of the design choices you make. Whether you envision a summer soirée in a vineyard or a black-tie ballroom affair, you’ll want to lock down a date with your favorite venue ASAP to ensure you get your first choice.
While some venues have on-site catering, others require couples to bring in an outside caterer. We recommend booking the former, also known as an “all-inclusive” venue. A professional chef typically oversees the catering operations at these venues, so you can expect to enjoy gourmet cuisine on your wedding day. Moreover, by working with a venue’s on-site caterer (or from their list of preferred caterers), you’ll save yourself the hassle of searching high and low for a licensed caterer that meets your standards.
The next vendor you should book is your planner or coordinator. Many couples assume these roles are the same. However, they’re slightly different! Some vendors do both, while others specialize in one role or the other. JDWC is a wedding coordination business. We give you the space to plan your wedding your way, then step in a few months before to help you execute your perfectly laid plans. On the big day, we run the show while you enjoy every moment instead of worrying over what’s happening behind the scenes.
Conversely, a wedding planner will assist you from the beginning with planning every aspect of your wedding day. They’ll research and book your vendors and develop and manage your wedding budget. For this reason, a wedding planner’s services are best suited to couples who prefer to take a hands-off approach to the planning process. Talk to your partner to determine whether a wedding planner or coordinator is right for you. Then, book your chosen vendor to reserve your spot on their calendar and make the most of their services.
Next, you should book your photographer and videographer. These vendors are usually in high demand, and booking ASAP will ensure your favorites still have your wedding date available. Moreover, booking your photographer early in the planning process means they can shoot your engagement session, too. This perk ensures visual continuity between your engagement and wedding photos, which is especially nice if you plan to include a few engagement photos on your save-the-date cards.
04. FLORAL DESIGNER
Your floral designer is next on the list! Like booking your photographer, you want to reserve your date with your favorite floral designer before someone else does. Floral design is incredibly subjective, so this is especially important if you plan to make florals the focal point of your wedding day. You want to book a floral designer whose past work reflects your style preferences since they’ll understand and execute your vision better than someone with a different taste.
05. STATIONERY ARTIST
You might assume it’s safe to wait to book a stationery artist since you won’t mail your wedding invitations until six to eight weeks before the event. However, most stationers recommend booking them a year in advance, especially if you want to commission a custom suite tailored to your wedding aesthetic. More and more brides are choosing to ditch the cookie-cutter Minted templates. Instead, they’re favoring highly personalized designs created by stationery artists, who can also design their day-of paper goods for an all-over cohesive look. We’re all for it!
But the key thing to remember is your artist can’t design the invitation suite you’re dreaming of overnight. They require a full twelve months to draft your design, add embellishments, and send it to print, all while juggling that task with a dozen other commissions. So, book this vendor early to ensure they have sufficient time to bring your vision to life.
START PLANNING YOUR WEDDING
There are several wedding vendors you should book at the beginning of your planning journey, including your venue, planner or coordinator, photographer, florist, and stationery artist. However, this process doesn’t need to be overwhelming! Simply follow the order outlined in this blog post when booking your vendors, and you’ll be on your way to creating your dream wedding day. Happy planning!
The JDWC Team
Image Credit: Michelle Beller Photography