There are a seemingly endless number of different types of vendors to choose from for your wedding these days. From planners to caterers, photographers to videographers, DJs to lighting designers, and approximately 1,000 others, the entire wedding planning process can feel overwhelming. So, which are the most important wedding vendors to book first?
There are two schools of thought here. The first is the traditional method – the way that couples have been hiring their vendors for decades. The second school of thought is a bit more progressive, but we believe that this method will lead to a more enjoyable wedding day experience for you and your to-be.
Let’s take a look at both methods now.
BOOKING WEDDING VENDORS THE TRADITIONAL WAY
12-18 Months Before Your Wedding:
The prevailing wisdom when it comes to deciding which wedding vendors to book first is that the venue and the planner should be your first priority. If you need help choosing a venue, hire the planner first. If you already have a good idea of where you’d like to tie the knot, lock in your date with the venue first and then hire your planner.
10-12 months before your wedding:
The next vendors up are photographer, videographer, caterer and florist. These vendors’ calendars tend to fill up pretty quickly, so you’ll want to get them locked in sooner than later.
6-10 months before your wedding:
This is the time to book everything else. A cake baker, a DJ (or band), a hair and makeup artist, a lighting designer, and anything else you’d like to have for your wedding. This is also likely the time period you’ll want to find your wedding dress and decide who will be making the stationery for your invitations and all of that good stuff.
1-6 months before your wedding:
There’s always time for last-minute decisions, but most couples want the chance to relax before their wedding so that they have time to breathe and enjoy the day without scrambling to get things together in the 11th hour. A good rule of thumb is to have all the major decisions made six months before your wedding day.
BOOKING WEDDING VENDORS THE RECOMMENDED WAY!
Before you decide which wedding vendors to book first, here’s what we’d recommend: Sit down with your bride-or-groom-to-be and decide what’s most important to you as a couple. Is it the location? If so, lock in your wedding venue first. Is there a photographer whose work you’ve always loved and can’t imagine anyone else capturing your day? If so, book that photographer first.
Once you’ve locked in the single most important piece of the puzzle, move onto the second most important piece. Then the third, then the fourth, etc. This way, you’ll build your wedding day experience around what’s most meaningful to you, not what the wedding industry tells you is most important.
Also, think about how much significance the wedding date holds for you. If the answer is “a lot,” then set your date first and then start booking vendors. If the answer is “not much,” then reach out to your most coveted vendors first to check their calendars and see which dates they have available. This will give you the best chance of getting your top picks for your wedding.
Finally, don’t listen to what the wedding industry tells you about how much money to allot for each vendor. If flowers aren’t that important to you, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on flowers. If video is super important to you, don’t feel bad about splurging on a videographer and cutting your cake budget in half to help make it work. Only you can decide which vendors are most important for your wedding and how much you feel comfortable allotting for each.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
When it comes to deciding which wedding vendors to book first, only you can decide what’s most important to you as a couple. And if everything is equally as important, you can’t go wrong with the traditional method outlined above. Happy wedding planning!