Bakers, caterers, DJs, photographers, florists…planning the wedding of your dreams requires an entire army of vendors and trying to figure out where to begin can be a daunting task. Follow these five easy steps for stress-free vendor selection…
Step One: Book your venue!
Selecting a venue for the wedding ceremony and reception should be your first priority. It’s crucial to find and book a locale before hiring any other vendors as the wedding location will determine the wedding date and time. Once you’ve found the perfect place to exchange “I Do’s,” you can begin booking the men and women that will make your big day possible.
Step Two: Bring in a Pro
If you’re planning to retain the services of a wedding planner, they should be your next hire. Not only will an event coordinator help you make all of your decisions, he or she can often offer specific recommendations or help you secure discounted rates with vendors.
Step Three: Prioritize
Once you’ve secured a venue and regardless of whether or not you’ve hired a planner, there’s no absolute rule about what vendor should be hired next. The best way to decide is by determining where your priorities are. Sit down with your fiancé and discuss which aspects of the wedding are most important to you. If you’re diehard foodies, focus your early energies on selecting a caterer. If you have your heart set on a specific photographer, nail him/her down. That way, you can be sure to secure the vendors you really want and disperse the bulk of your budget to the areas that matter most.
Step Four: Nab the Hard-to-Get Guys
Certain vendors, such as photographers, DJs, and videographers, are limited to only working one wedding per day. As a result, the good ones book up fast. Begin researching and setting up appointments as early as possible to guarantee a spot with your top choice in these hard-to-book categories. Vendors such as florists, stylists, and bakers are often able to work several weddings a day, so put these on the back burner until the rest of your vendors are secure.
Step Five: Follow a Timeline
Most wedding planning binders or smart phone apps offer a general timeline of what tasks should be completed at each stage of the wedding process. Stick to the timeline to ensure that you’re giving yourself ample time for all the extra responsibilities such as hiring a designer/calligrapher for invitations, making preparations for hair and makeup, choosing a wedding cake baker, and consulting with a florist. And remember the earlier you get started, the better! The best vendors are in high demand so their calendars fill up quickly. The sooner you begin contacting and hiring vendors, the better shape you’ll be in when your wedding approaches.