I don’t know where to begin!!
So, you attended a bridal show (or two or three). You’ve talked to a gazillion vendors, tasted cake and pulled pork, looked at pictures, ran your hands across paper and fabric…and you are now faced with many decisions. But, what do I do first? How do I start booking my wedding vendors?
Where do I start?
As a vendor, I know that when I ask that all important question, “WHEN are you getting married”, I will get a variety of answers. Obviously, once he puts a ring on it, the next step is to choose a date. You may even have to choose more than one. This can be one of the hardest decisions. And, it is made even harder for the budget bride. A lot of vendors (ACCSVP included) DO offer special incentives for off-season as well as Sunday through Friday weddings.
OK, I have a date. What’s next?
What’s next? This may be even harder than the date. Set a budget. PERIOD. Deciding how much you have to spend SHOULD influence that number of guests, the number in your bridal party, type of wedding, etc. It is much easier if you know how much you have to work with. And remember, any good budgeting tool will allow for “extras”, such as taxes, tipping, etc. It all adds up.
I know when…and I know how much. What should I be booking first?
This is obvious to most, but not all. Without a venue or venues, you do not really have a date. Set up appointments and visit venues. Some venues are booking two years ahead, so once you find the one you love, be ready to put down a retainer to hold the date. If your ceremony is not in the same location as your reception, make sure that you coordinate the dates prior to making any firm commitments. Changing dates after putting down a retainer can, in some cases, result in the loss of your retainer.
We booked the church/venue. Now what?
Now it’s time to book your other vendors. Officiants, caterer, photo, video, DJ/band, ceremony musicians, stationary, florist, cake, limo, photo booth, dress, tuxes, honeymoon, etc. And, contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t wait. Here’s why. There’s only so much of a vendor to go around on a particular day. Why miss out? Waiting won’t save you money. In fact, it will probably cost you money. Prices increase year to year, a lesser-expensive vendor will book faster, proms and homecomings are vying for vendor attention, bridal show specials go away once the season starts—it just doesn’t pay to procrastinate.
OK…we have all of our vendors. Next?
First, enjoy being engaged. In the scope of your lifetime commitment, it’s a very short period of time. Second, work at the little details at a leisurely pace. All night marathon centerpiece-making the day before your wedding makes the day tense. Take your time…do it right. It doesn’t have to be stressful with a little forethought and planning.