The Ideal Order to Book Your Wedding Vendors

If you think about it, your wedding is like a puzzle that you need to put together piece by piece. Choosing and booking your wedding vendors is a lot of work, so it helps to know what order to book them in and why. It is a good idea to have a couple of options in mind for each type of vendor in case your first choice is already booked.

Officiant

No matter what anyone tries to tell you, your Officiant is the most important vendor you have at your wedding. Without them, you are just throwing a really expensive party! Book your Officiant first so you know that know matter what, you will be getting married that day! It is best if you are willing to be flexible with your ceremony start time as the top Officiants often have other weddings booked on the same day and to get the best one you might need to take a time slot that works for their schedule.

Protip #1 – A great question to ask Officiants is how they work with photographers to make sure you get the best photos of your ceremony!

Protip #2 – Ask officiants if they have a contract! Many just write you in their book and you are left unprotected if anything should go sideways before your ceremony!

Protip #3 – Don’t choose an Officiant on price! The $100 ones are well known to cancel when they get a better offer since they aren’t losing much if they don’t work for you. My first year as an Officiant was spent at weddings where the first Officiant cancelled and left the couples stranded. Make sure you are choosing a professional Officiant and not one who does this as a cute hobby from time to time. A professional will be well skilled and experienced in solving any issues on the spot without panicking, while making it look like part of the show.

Protip #4 – Check out their socials! Don’t see photos of them with couples? BIG RED FLAG! You want to see proof that lots of couples have hired them over the years, what they look like and how they dress for weddings, and perhaps if you think they might smell nice. Believe it or not, not all Officiants have a clue about how to present themselves at weddings, or how to bathe.

Venue

A venue should be at the top of your list because it may dictate who some of your other vendors will be. I often tell couples to book their Officiant and venue on the same day so they are coordinated. Some venues may require you to use their preferred list of suppliers, so it doesn’t make sense to start searching for other vendors until you’ve found a venue. If you can bring in your own vendors, you might want to check with your favourites for their scheduled before you lock down a date for your venue and Officiant – you will want to choose a date that your dream team is all available.

Photographer

Popular photographers are often years in advance so if you’ve had your eye on someone for a while, now would be the time to get in touch with them. Make sure you have option 2 and 3 just in case! If you will be using a videographer, look into options at the same time if your photographer doesn’t offer this as well.

Florist

This is a vendor that you will want to book at least twelve months before your wedding, particularly if the florist specializes in weddings. It also only makes sense to book your florist once you’ve booked your venue and have a better idea of what your aesthetic will be. Make sure your florist works with the size of the room, and YOUR size. We don’t want your bouquet to be out of proportion to your height and size!

Caterer

If onsite catering is not offered at your venue, you will need to find a caterer who can assist you, so do this next. If you have any special types of foods in mind, starting your search early on will reduce stress closer to your wedding day. Ask the vendors you booked first for their recommendations – your photographer has probably eaten at dozens of weddings and will know who makes the best food.

Hair and Makeup

Popular hair and makeup artists have busy schedules, so make sure that you research your options and book someone at least 12 months before your wedding. In terms of your hair and makeup trials, schedule this in one to two months before your big day and you can even coordinate your trial with your engagement photos! Make sure you schedule lots of time for hair and makeup on your wedding day as we don’t want this part to make you late for your ceremony!

Entertainment

As most musicians and DJs don’t just work at weddings, they are often also booked quite far in advance, which is why you want to look into options quite early on. Most couples suggest booking your entertainment at least eight months before your wedding – longer if you want a live band.

Cake Designer

After all the above have been booked, you can start looking at cake designers for your day. If you want to avoid any last-minute stress, secure someone at least six months before your wedding. Make sure to read their reviews and ask lots of questions about when they make your cake and delivery options.

Transportation

Consider the month that you’re getting married when deciding how far in advance you should book your transportation. If you will be competing with graduations and proms in June, you may want to book it much earlier.

Wedding Planner

Your wedding planner is there to help you with all other aspects of your wedding, which is why this should be the next vendor on your list. Many couples tend to book their planner after choosing a venue but if you are struggling to find a place to get married, a wedding planner may be able to introduce you to venues you may not have considered based on your vision for your day.

Make sure you ask for credentials! I have seen a lot of new wedding planners out there with no experience other than planning their own wedding and they have no idea what they are doing or how to work with other vendors. For example – your wedding planner should not, under any circumstances, be requesting a meeting with your Officiant to tell them how to do their job and go over your ceremony script.

If you are thinking about getting married, it’s not a bad idea to start searching for your favourite vendors and make contact with them on social media so you have those relationships before you start booking them. This will also give you a good idea of how responsive and friendly they – especially when you are not yet a paying or potential client!

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