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Wedding Planning Timeline: Vendors

Do you have a wedding to plan and don't know where to start? Here is a quick timeline for booking vendors that can help make the process a little less daunting and a little more manageable.

Wedding Planner (10-12 months): Even if you are only planning on hiring for day/month of planner it's still a good idea to make your Coordinator a priority. They often recommend vendors for your other wedding needs and help read over contracts with those vendors to make sure you know what you’re paying for.

Venue (10-12 months): The most popular venues are often booked over a year in advance so it's important to book your venue asap. When talking with any venue make sure to have a couple back up dates in case the date you want is already booked. Additionally, hold off on your Save the Dates until you have signed the contract for the venue. Make sure to ask all details and regulations of the venue to make sure it’s a good fit for you and your guests. Its also important to find out these details in advance because it may affect other vendor options further down the planning process. For example some venues may require you to use their in-house catering so you’ll want to take the time to check out their service and see if it is what you want.

Photographer, DJ, and Band (8-11 months): These types of vendors that can only commit to one wedding a day or even weekend if they have to travel so it is important to book them as soon as possible. When finding these vendors make sure to do your research and find past events for references. Most DJ or Band websites have clips of past performances and photographers generally have a gallery available for you to view their past work. Try to meet with them and make sure your expectations are the same.

Videographer (6-11 months): Similar to the photographer, videographers can only do one wedding at a time but their booking time frame is a little more flexible depending on their importance to you and your partner. If having quality footage is a priority, you’ll want to book them sooner rather than later because the best will be booked up quickly. If the video is less important it isn’t too difficult to find decent work for a reasonable price later in the game.

Catering (6-8 months): If your venue allows for outside catering you’ll want to start asking around and research caterers around 8 months before. Catering companies can generally service more than one wedding a day so this vendor contract is less time sensitive than the others. It is recommended to try and schedule a tasting before you make a commitment but if there are no tasting appointments available within the following month you may want to reconsider. If you have a personal referral you can trust you may want to book immediately and schedule a tasting for later.

Baker (5-6 months): Although you don’t need to book a baker right away you’ll want to leave enough time for you to exhaust all you bakery options. Make sure to taste a variety of different cakes at a variety of different bakeries. Similar to catering, bakers can usually make more than one wedding cake on any given day so the chances of the one you want being booked is less likely.

Transportation (5-6 months): Like most other vendors the longer you wait the less options you’ll have closer to your date. If you have a little more spending money for transportation, get the best and book it early. For weddings that take place between the months of April-June, one major tip to consider is prom season. This can drastically throw off planning as limo companies get booked up fast.

Florist (5-6 months): Florists can be tricky as they are less time sensitive but more dependent on the season. At the start of your planning you may want to do a little bit of research or call around to see when florists are the busiest. You can then decide when you would feel comfortable booking your florist.

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