Welcome back to Let’s Cut the Cake !
This is our newest series on AJ and I planning our own wedding as a pair of wedding photographers! Over the next year, we’ll be sharing our process and inviting you in on our decision making and witnessing trial + errors! It’s called Let’s Cut the Cake because that’s what AJ and I will be doing on May 16th, 2020!! Can’t wait to have you all along on this crazy long, messy path that is actually planning a wedding.
Today we’re diving into the most essential question:
Which Wedding Vendors Should You Pick First?
When you’re finally engaged it can be so hard to know where to turn. There are a million things running through your head. Because there are a million things to do. I get it.
It may be why I took a year to actually do any real planning !
The best way to avoid any stress or getting overwhelmed with your choices (me in a nutshell) is to have an attack plan and do things one at a time!
Above everything else, you have to start with a date.
I promise you no wedding vendor is going to allow you to book without having a concrete date.
If you have absolutely no ideas (or aren’t too picky about the exact date) start with your season. Do you love the colors and blooms in spring? Definitely don’t want to be sweaty?? Start there, and be willing to be flexible depending on your next choice.
Which is…a venue!!! Picking a date and a venue go hand in hand. This is 100% the first vendor decision you should make.
Like I said, you can’t even book any other vendors until you have that date. And you can’t get a concrete date without a venue!
If you know what season of what year, your venue will then allow you to pick a date based on their availability. Easy peasy!
But here’s the catch – there are only 52 weekends a year. That means venues can only book 156 brides a year if you’re hoping for a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday wedding.
That means you gotta hop on it!
First Vendor Choice: Venue
When to book: ASAP!
(P.S. – in a few weeks I’m diving into how we chose our venue and what to look for! Stay tuned!)
Your Venue is booked, so now take a deep breath.
You have just picked the most important, (one of the) most in demand vendors of your wedding.
It’s time to knock out the next top picks!
Know Your Priorities
The most important thing you can do right now is sit down with your fiancé and make a list of all the wedding vendors you plan on having at your wedding. Here are some examples to get you started:
- DJ or Band
- Cake or Dessert Baker
- Photo Booth
- Reception Fun-tivities: (i.e. beer burros, lawn game rentals, etc.)
Know Your Must Haves
These are the vendors that might not be a necessity per say when it comes to just having a wedding. But these are things that are necessities to you!
If you have a deep rooted love for videography and have to have that highlight reel. If you know an awesome photo booth is a must. Or if you’re obsessed with animals and need to have beer burros present (me).
Make sure those are high on your priority list!
Just as important if not more so: If you have a vendor crush on a wedding planner or local caterer that you already know you want to book – book them ASAP!!!
Chances are you are not the only one with that crush, and they are in high demand! Jump on them quickly!
So even though these are not essentials in the wedding day, they are essentials to you and should be treated as such! Don’t forget that this is your wedding and you should have all the personal, special touches that you want!
And it’s just as important to plan ahead for those special vendors. You don’t want to end up waiting to book your favorite photo booth company (because they don’t book up as quickly!) and you’ve run out of your budget. Or even worse, they’re unavailable for your day!
Those vendors are the ones you should budget for and plan for in amidst to all the other necessities.
In my opinion, here are the top 4 vendors:
- Wedding Planner
- Band or DJ
Basically its – location of party, planner/coordination of the party, the actual party, and documentation of the party.
Not going to lie, writing that out and seeing myself below a DJ definitely hurts, but it’s the honest truth. I do believe your photographer is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING (and we had picked ours out before anything else!)
But, like a true millennial, our experience and our guests’ experience come above the documentation of it. I would hate to have an AMAZING photographer who then gets to photograph a pretty lame party!
Also, I have seen some DJ’s that have turned out to be a flop. Too often we’ve seen a DJ literally say the wrong names of the couples…Or have zero energy and not get people excited. They can make or break how much dancing happens. You don’t want to risk that, trust me.
Ashley our planner made a great point the other day about booking the most in demand and the vendors who can only work one job a day. For example, florists can head to many venues in one day to set up installations, or make multiple bouquets and boutonnieres the days leading up to the weekend. Hair and make up artists can often start early in the morning at one wedding, where the timeline is early, and head to a later scheduled wedding.
But vendors who need to be there in real time, like a planner, band/DJ, or photographer? They can only be in one place at one time. So when they’re booked that day for a wedding, they’re booked that day for a wedding. Especially if it’s a band who plays regular venues and not just weddings like our band. They’re in even more high demand!
Just because, here were our top 4 vendor picks:
- Photography (duh)
How soon should these top vendors be booked?
I would honestly tell you ASAP! They’re all extremely important decisions to make. So be all means, do not rush them and be totally confident in your decisions.
But once you decide do not wait. I talked a few weeks ago about how we made this work to put deposits down on our prioritized vendors. You’ve got to find a similar way to make it work, because the last thing you want is feeling good about your vendor choices and then losing them!!
Next week on Let’s Cut the Cake, I’m going to dive into how we picked our specific vendors and what we loved so much about each of them! I would say without a doubt our roles as wedding vendors ourselves influenced each decision 100%.
Now I want to hear from you! If you’re engaged or already married, which wedding vendors did you choose first? Do you agree or disagree with my top 4 picks?
Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. If you haven’t downloaded your freebie priority checklist, get started on your vendor picking right now!!!