Wedding planning can be stressful with a capital “S”. As an engaged babe myself, I’m going through this process right along with you. But working in the wedding industry, I have a little extra insight. To help you get started, here’s my take on the question, “Which wedding vendors do I need to hire first?”
Isn’t it funny how as soon as you’re engaged the first question people ask is: so when’s the wedding?! I kid you not, I got it within 24 hours of our proposal.
Hello, we just made this official! And frankly, I’m still figuring out how to do this, Aunt Susan.
But Aunt Susan’s well-intentioned questions might have you thinking. How do you choose a date? Enter your wedding venue.
For most couples, it starts with the season you want to get married in. Once you pick a season you can either narrow it down to the date that is important to you, or reach out to your dream venues to see which dates they have available. No matter which route you go, your date isn’t set in stone until you pick your spot. That’s why the venue is usually the first vendor couples hire.
A Wedding Planner
I cannot stress this enough: a wedding planner is easily one of the best hires. Many couples choose not to have one, but the entire job of a planner is to make your life easy. (And work within your budget, not break it!)
Your wedding planner can help you to find all the other vendors you need. They have their finger on the pulse of the wedding industry and have lots of contacts across their cities. They can help you find all of the other vendors on this list, including your venue, so this one is interchangeable as the #1 spot.
Having a planner by your side means peace of mind that everything will be handled properly. You and your loved ones aren’t stuck handling the logistics of your wedding on the big day. If you think a full-fledged wedding planner isn’t in the budget or isn’t something you need, consider hiring a Day Of Coordinator. They do less planning for you, but more of the tactical stuff the day of (hence the name) to make sure your day runs smoothly.
Hire the freaking wedding planner.
The next big pick is your photographer. When I was looking into which wedding vendors I need to hire first, this was at the top of my list. I know, shocking to hear on a wedding photography blog. But even I was shocked by how many photographers were booked on my date 18+ months early.
If you have been looking at a few photographers you love, reach out as soon as you have a date. It’s pretty common for photographers to be booking weddings over a year in advance, so don’t hesitate if you have your heart set on someone in particular.
When picking a photographer, keep an eye on their editing style, the way their couples look in photos and how they communicate with you. Your photographer is the person you’ll spend more time with than almost anyone on your wedding day. So make sure you take the time to interview them well and pick someone you connect with.
If you’re looking for a photographer who will make you look (and feel!) like a natural on camera all day and capture all the sweet in-between moments, I’d love to chat. Send me a note and let’s chat about the day you’re dreaming up.
Just like photographers, film makers or videographers book up well in advance, too. If you want to relive your day and hold onto the sweet little moments through video, book this vendor sooner than later.
There’s something about being able to listen to your vows and hear those moments with your family back whenever you want to. Even if you don’t think you’ll watch your video more than once a year, I promise having the ability to go back and listen to the sweet words said to and about you on your wedding day will be 1,000% worth it.
Whoever is Most Important to You
My hope is this list helps the question, “Which wedding vendors do I need to hire first?” feel less daunting. But – and it’s a big ol’ but – it’s by no means the end all be all. If you are super passionate about getting your florals just right, getting a particular caterer or having a certain live band there on your day, then hire those vendors first! It’s your wedding, so prioritize the vendors that mean the most to you.
What did I miss? Leave a note in the comments with any other vendors you’d want to hire right away!