Timeline for When to Hire Wedding Vendors

So you are engaged, crongrats! Now that you are in wedding planning mode you probably have many questions about what vendors you need first & who do you hire? Time flies as the date approaches, you need to be aware that your main priority is to book vendors based on a timeline.

We’ve listed the most important vendors & when you should hire them

If you are planning a wedding with over 50 guests, then you will need to start planning at least 12 – 14 months before. If you are planning an intimate wedding with less guests, then chances are you can cut that time to 6 months or less. Still, popular, and experienced vendors are booked for years, so consider contacting them as soon as you have your wedding date secured.

The first step you should take is to set a budget for your wedding to know how many guests you will include in your celebration. Another important detail you must nailed down is your event date and overall style. This information will be crucial to request availability and find the right wedding venue for your event. You do not want to visit the perfect venue only to find out later it does not fit in the bigger picture what you really need from your venue.

Average Read Time: 4 minutes 45 seconds

(14-12 Months) Wedding Venue & Planner

Venue: You need to know what your venue includes and their policies regarding other vendors before hiring anyone for your catering or decoration. Some wedding venues are all included, while others have a list of preferred vendors, and some others will let you choose anyone you like. In addition, you need to have the number of guests, date, and style of your wedding before you start looking for venues. Make sure the date is available, the venue size is right, and you like the style of your banquet hall decor.

Your wedding venue should be one of your first vendors to hire.

Planner: If you are too busy to manage the vendors for your wedding, then you need to hire a planner. A wedding planner will help you from day one to find the right venue and all of your vendors without spending much time looking for them and interviewing. Consider a wedding planner as an extra cost, which means your budget must allow you to make this happen. In the long run they save time because of their experience and network of event pros.

(10 Months) Photo, Caterer, Floral Decor

Photos: Your photographer will be in charge of capturing one of the most important days of your life; that is why you must do your research and find one who fits the style you like and your budget. An experienced wedding photographer could have a full schedule for months, and they can only attend a certain number of weddings per weekend. Make it a priority to find a wedding photographer who understands your vision and makes you feel comfortable.

Caterer: When your wedding venue does not have in-house catering, you need to find one ASAP. Food and drinks are some of the most important and memorable parts of a wedding. You need to feed and hydrate your guests to keep the party going. Interview several potential vendors and schedule taste testings to make sure you choose the right menu for your wedding.

Tell vendors your other vendor’s ideas, see if they can collab & make your vision a reality

Floral Decor: Wedding decorations give your event personality! This is what makes your day unique. You can portrait your personality with details like a luxurious table setting or lush florals. When you interview a floral designer, you must have a style in mind to let them know your expectations and see if they understand them.

(9 Months) Entertainment & Rentals

Entertainment: Your wedding guests will spend most of the time on the dance floor, so you need to find the right entertainer to keep everyone out of their seats. Whether you prefer a wedding DJ or a live music band, you must take care of this early in the process because what would it be of your wedding without all-time classic and current tunes?

Your entertainment can make or break the entire evening, choose wisely & go with your gut.

Lighting: Once you know what your wedding venue & catering services includes, you need to decide which elements to rent. It could be a centerpiece couch for a sweetheart table, specialty linens, or customizable lighting.

Sometimes you need to add a special touch to your already beautiful venue, and you can achieve it with easy to setup DIY rentals. For example, if you want to make your outdoor venue look cozy and warm, you should rent string lights for wedding; it will change your atmosphere to make it more inviting.

>> Read our article on 9 must have wedding lighting rentals

Draping: For couples who want to add a space for guests to take pictures or maybe to hide a wall , DIY draping for wedding is ideal. You can rent straight pipe and drape for simple projects or hide doors and pillars with free-standing corner draping. The sky is the limit, and the best part of all is you will not spend thousands by DIY.

>> Learn more about our top 7 wedding draping kits.

(8 Months) Wedding Attire, Ceremony Officiant

Attire: Visiting a bridal shop is one of the most exciting moments during your wedding planning process. You get to try as many wedding dresses as you want, and once you find the right fit, you will check one task off your list. But do not forget wedding dress alterations take time, and if your design is made to order, it could take longer. So, schedule your visit at least eight months before your wedding, or sooner if you know you are hard to please.

DIY Tip – Tell them your wedding date is sooner than what it actually is so that you have enough time in a worse case scenario.

Officiant: Most of your decisions and energy will revolve around your reception plans. Let’s not forget your main event, your ceremony! The main reason you are planning a wedding is to well… get married 😀 The ceremony location, officiant and music must be taken care ASAP so that you can include the info on your wedding invitations. Your wedding timeline starts with your ceremony and everything adjusts from there.

(7 Months) Stationary

Invites: When we talk about stationery, it includes everything, from save the date cards to thank you cards. You should start looking for which vendor to use and possible designs 7 months before your big day. You might decide to do it yourself, use an online service or hire a local company to make your stationary. It is preferable to have all your stationery match and remember etiquette rules. Your wedding invitations should be sent at least six weeks before your celebration.

If you are planning on sending save the dates those go out 6 – 8 months prior to your wedding day.

(6 Months) Makeup, Cake

Makeup: Hiring a professional makeup artist is one of the best decisions you can make. Even if you are great at doing your everyday makeup, your wedding day will be full of hugs, kisses, tears, and sweat. Having a professional with expert techniques and products will make the difference when you see your wedding pictures. In addition, you can schedule a trial to get a real idea of how you will look once the day comes.

Cakes: At recent weddings the center of attentions has been the dessert, sweets and cake. However, if you are looking for a specific design or baker, you need to get ahead of time and schedule soon because they can only take a limited number of orders. Also remember to taste the cake and bring your fiance so they can give you their input!

- XO Team Ship

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