Editorial Category: 
Thursday, June 6, 2019

What Order To Hire Your Wedding Vendors

Welcome to The Bride Link podcast, your home for an expert wedding planning advice!

Today we're going to talk about what order you should hire your wedding professionals in. So first, when you're just getting started, you really need to decide if you want to hire a wedding planner or not. This is something I recommend to help you get your other vendors in order. It's also recommended that you hire your wedding planner about a year in advance, if not earlier. I know some people aren't going to be working on that timeframe and your wedding might be less than a year out, and if so, that's quite okay, but even more of a reason why you would need to hire a wedding planner. If that's not in the budget, that's okay, but we do have a list for you of the vendors that you should hire in a specific order for different reasons.

The very first thing you should choose is your venue. You want to try to have your venue booked at least a year in advance if possible. If wait until later, you just won't have as many others as options because some venues will get booked up. Don't pay for anything (especially book dates with nonrefundable deposits!) with other vendors until after you've booked the venue. This is a crucial rule and is done in case the date you originally want is already booked. Now, after you've booked the venue and your date is solidified, you can place your down payment and deposits for the rest of your wedding pros.

Next, you want to hire a photographer. When hiring a photographer, it's important to ask yourself if you want a videographer, well. If you do, you might want to hire them at the same time. Now, you should also try to hire your photographer 10 to 12 months in advance if possible, but the sooner the better. There are many wedding pros that can take on multiple events in one day.

For example, a caterer might have multiple crews, a cake Baker can drop two to three cakes off in a single day, or a DJ may have other associate DJs that work under them. Photographers, however, can be only at one wedding at a time, and since photography is an art form, it's a lot harder to replace someone and keep that exact same artistic style. This is why we say you should book your photographer near the beginning after you've solidified your wedding date and your venue.

The next step is going to be your caterer. I suggest 10 or 11 months in advance but don't get stressed if you're planning your wedding with a shorter timeline. Just make sure your caterer is chosen early in the hiring process because this is a cost that can vary greatly and it's usually going to be one of your biggest expenses. We want to get this out of the way early so we can see how your menu choices will affect your budget. Caterers will first ask for an estimated headcount early on so they can give you a quote and then typically they'll get a final head count two to three weeks before the event so you know you're ordering the correct amount of food for the number of people attending.

Next is your day of coordinator, if you’ve hired one. If you decided not to hire a wedding planner, a day of coordinator can be of great assistance to you. They relieve stress during your wedding day and make sure that everything as far as small details and managing your vendors the day of your wedding is handled. You should hire this person at least three to six months out, but in all honesty, the sooner the better because they can give you really great advice and great vendor referrals. They also might have some tools you can use to help you plan even if you're on your own without a full-service wedding planner.

After that, you're gonna want to look at florists. A florist is important because they also have a cost that can highly vary depending on what you order. This should be done at least six to eight months in advance if possible so you can see how it will affect your budget.

Now, it's time to choose your entertainment or your DJ. Bands you may need to hire a little earlier because they are harder to replicate the exact same style of music and sound. Similar to why we hire a photographer early on. A DJ is a little bit easier to replicate since they're going to be playing music from a playlist that another DJ could easily handle. You'd like to hire them at least three to six months out just to make sure you still have a pick of great DJs that are available on your date. But as always, the sooner the better.

After you choose all of this, you're gonna want to choose your wedding cake bakers! Schedule tastings with you and your partner to ensure you're getting a dessert that you'll both enjoy and you'll want to make sure to do this about six months in advance.

Now, hair makeup is going to be important because people are going to be looking at your smiling face all day! You want to make sure to hire this person three to six months out and if you want to have them come on site, you might want to look closer to that six months out timeline, if not earlier, because you want to make sure that you have people that are available that travel.

Next, its time to find the wedding officiant. Of course, the ceremony is the most important part of the day so this is an important hire not to miss. We saved it for last on our list because there are several options for ordained officiants that are available in most communities. So it's going to be easy to find somebody that will marry you and you're gonna probably have no problem filling that vendor spot. It might be a little bit harder to find, let's say a wedding photographer that you love or a venue that you really want to book.

Lastly, you should hire transportation if it's needed for your venue. For an example, if you need a shuttle bus or a trolley to help get your guests from one point to another, or if you want your own personal driver, like a limo or getaway car. This should be done about three to four months in advance.

Something I didn't mention earlier, if you’re wanting to block of hotel rooms for guest accommodations, you should do that at the beginning of your booking process. Remember, hotels are will only offer $10-$20 off per room, per night. It’s not substantial savings if you decide to skip it. Three months out, you need to have all of your hotel rooms blocked off so you can notify your guests. In all honesty, though, hotels can get booked up quickly. But as always, the sooner the better!

You'll need that accommodation information when you're sending out your invitations. Invitations go out six to eight weeks prior to the event, but you're going to have to get these printed! To do that, you're going to need at least a month notice, so start designing your invites 4-5 months prior.

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