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I’m Engaged! Part 2: Top 5 Vendors to Book First for My Wedding

In our last blog, we highlighted several key steps to organizing yourself to get you on the path to planning your wedding day.  Now that you have taken the first steps to planning your day, we are now going to provide you with advice on the first 5 vendors you should book for your wedding day and why.  We have listed them in sequence.

WEDDING PLANNER

Your Wedding Planner should be your first stop in the research for wedding professionals.  A qualified professional planner will be able to make recommendations on reputable vendors essential to creating your perfect wedding day.  Professional Planners have experience with a plethora of wedding vendors and can recommend those that best suit your needs and budget.  Planners have the connections you need, and the knowledge to navigate through the planning process with ease.  A Planner most importantly has the valued time to dedicate to planning your wedding.  Their professional time provides you a balanced lifestyle – so you do not have to balance between personal life, wedding planning, and working your full-time job.  The countless hours of research you may have spent on the computer analyzing various vendors, your Planner will already have the database of resources in their little black book and can cut the planning time in half.  If you are looking to hire a “Full-Service Planner”, you should book them immediately.  They are usually booked for weddings and events usually 9-12 months in advance.  If you are looking for a “Coordinator”, they are usually booked 3-6 months in advance.  Some suggested criteria to look for in a Professional Planner:

  • Experience; Number of years in Business
  • Validation that they are a registered business
  • Customer Reviews/References
  • How they continue to stay educated within their profession
  • Staffing; number of persons that will be working your event – a Professional Planner never works alone!

Perfect Planning Events Team

CEREMONY & RECEPTION VENUE

Looking for the perfect venue is synonymous to finding the perfect home.  As a Couple, you want the space to reflect your unique sense of style and personality.  And just like a home, when you walk into the space you will know that this is it!!!  This is the place where it is all going to happen with family and friends witnessing and celebrating the love you share with each other.  Venues are booked 12 to 18 months in advance with Saturday dates being the first to be contracted.  When looking for the perfect venue, be flexible with your dates if you are trying to host your wedding at a specific location.  Be flexible in the date, possibly hosting on a Friday or Sunday; or flexible in the time of day – possibly hosting a morning wedding rather than the traditional evening wedding.

Other things to consider about the venue besides décor and character is its location.  Being symbolic to looking for the perfect home, its location, location, location!  Same with finding the perfect wedding venue.  Here are some things to consider when looking for your wedding venue:

  • Will you host your ceremony & reception at the same venue?
  • Is your venue centrally located to the city or in a rural location?
  • Will your venue location be able to provide all your needs such as catering, linens, chairs, etc. or do you have to have a separate vendor for these essentials?
  • If you are going to be outdoors, does the venue offer an alternative to host your event under inclimate weather conditions.
  • Be aware of rules and regulations when it comes to the venue.
  • Will they require you and your vendors to have liability insurance?
  • Are there fees for using vendors that are not on their preferred list, etc.
  • Number of weddings they do in a day.
  • Will your space be used by another Client before or after your wedding?

Note:  If you select a venue that requires you to find your own catering services, then a Caterer would be your next vendor on your list.

Perfect Planning Events | Sequoia Georgetown | Lux Photography

PHOTOGRAPHER

Your photographer is one of the most important vendors that you will have with you on your wedding day!!  They are there to document the details, love, and romance that you will treasure for a lifetime.  Engage a photographer in the wedding planning process as soon as you book your venue.  Skilled & talented photographers are booked sometimes 12 months in advance.  The investment you make in a photographer is key and you want to always be thinking quality over monetary value when making your decision.  Your photographer should be one that is creative and can capture each unique moment with ease through a combination of candid and portrait photography.  A photographer’s work should be as unique as your personality.  When searching for the perfect photographer be sure to ask the following questions:

  • Experience; Number of years in Business
  • Customer Reviews/References
  • How do they backup their work?
  • Number of Photographers that will be at your wedding.
  • Who will be the lead photographer?
  • Be sure to view their style of work.
  • Expected post-production time to view your photographs.

Perfect Planning Events | Meridian House | Amy Deputy Photography

OFFICIANT

The person that seals the deal of the words, “I Do”!  The officiant can be a man/woman of the clergy (Priest, Rabbi, Minister), a close friend ordained by the Courts, a Judge, or Licensed Alternative Officiant (a person that is not a man/woman of the clergy).  Whomever you choose make sure they are someone that you are comfortable with to carry out such an intimate and personal moment of your day, can accommodate in performing traditions related to your culture or faith, is flexible in making your ceremony personable rather than scripted, and most importantly licensed to carry out the sacraments of marriage.  Officiants are usually secured 9 months prior to the actual wedding date and they usually perform more than one wedding a day depending on the geographical location.  In addition to some of the things we mentioned above, here are some key points to consider when hiring an officiant:

  • Experience; Number of years in Business
  • Customer Reviews/References
  • If they are Licensed to perform a wedding in your State/County
  • Will they attend the rehearsal and if there is an extra cost?
  • Will they provide a written outline of the ceremony for you to review?
  • Post Ceremony, will they be the one’s responsible sending your marriage certificate to the courts
  • Are they familiar with the customs/traditions you want to infuse into your ceremony?

Perfect Planning Events | Airlie Center | Paired Images Photography

FLORAL DESIGNER

Now comes the fun stuff – the décor!!  This can be one of those vendors that you will be in awe that you will not know where to begin or can be a fun but overwhelming experience.  First, you need to know if you are looking to hire a Florist or a Floral Designer.  A Florist is usually more traditional in style and can produce only within the scope of primarily designing floral arrangements.  A Floral Designer is usually an all-inclusive design firm that has an extensive scope of work to include their endless creativity in floral design to having the ability to custom build anything that you desire, to include an inventory of rental event furnishings.  Whether you choose a traditional Florist or Floral Designer, make sure they can create your unique style for your wedding day.  When engaging either of these two creative professionals, have a vision of what you want your day to look like, color scheme, and if you have specific flowers that are a must.  This is the time to bring your Pinterest Board and pictures of the wedding attire to the meeting.  In addition, let them know about your venue and why you chose the venue – this helps them to provide a visual insight into your day.  Based on your desires, they will be able to outline to you a myriad of design choices to include alternative flower choices based on season to work with your estimated budget. A Florist or Floral Designer is usually contracted within 9 or 6 months prior to your event date.  Here are some things to consider when finding your ideal Florist/Floral Designer:

  • Experience; Number of years in Business
  • Customer Reviews/References
  • What other décor items they can provide?
  • Will they provide an actual representation of the table centerpiece for your wedding prior to the wedding date (floral demo)?
  • Have they worked at your venue before?
  • How much time will they need for setup?
  • View photos of their work.
  • Ask about what flowers are in season during your wedding.

 Perfect Planning Events | Harbour View | DHP Photography

With all the Wedding Professionals listed above, be sure they are licensed professionals, have liability insurance, you can interview them face-to-face, read their review or referrals of previous Clients, and always compare between two no more than three professionals within each category so you can make a sound decision.

Continue to follow us for Part 3!  “How Much Will It Cost – The Venue?”

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