As a photographer, the number 1 thing I get asked is when couples should book vendors. The general answer is "the sooner the better" but I know some rather have a timeline instead. Below is a timeline of when to book each vendor. Keep in mind that this is not set in stone, it is just a guide to help navigate you. I know that some engagements are short and others are long. I hope that whatever stage you are in this guide will help you.
1. Venue 18-24 Months
The first thing you should secure is your venue. You don't want to be planning one venue and realize it's not available and have to completely change your date, vendors, and detail. It seems crazy that venues can book 2 years out, some venues are already seeing dates for 2025!! Don't wait to book your venue!
2. Planner 18-24 months
If you plan to hire a planner, you should do so as soon as your venue is secured or before to help search for venues for you.
3. Photographer& videographer 12- 18 months
The photographer on your wedding date is going to be one of the top vendors on your wedding date. At the end of the day, your cake will be eaten, the flowers will die but the photos and video are what you will have left to last a lifetime. Last year I was booking 12 months out and this year were already seeing dates 20 months out!!!
4. Florist 12 months
Any good florist will book up fast. I think that if you plan to do real floral, it should not be skimped on. Your florist can help fulfill your vision.
5. Catering 12 month
If your venue doesn't offer in-house catering and you have to bring in a caterer, this is something that you need to schedule early. This doesn't mean though that if your wedding is in 6 months you won't be able to find anything, but the sooner you book the higher chance you will get to work with your dream company.
6. DJ/ Live Band 12 months
Another important vendor as the set the tone at your reception and help the reception flow.
7. Invitations 8- 12 months
There are 2 types of invites, store-bought or custom. If you plan to create custom invitations with a stationary specialist, I highly recommend reaching out as soon as possible. Some of the work that these vendors create is breathtaking! If you plan to just purchase store-bought save-the-dates off vista print or other sites, you can typically order them pretty quickly.
8. Rentals 10 months.
If you are planning to rent decor for your wedding I recommend doing it 10 months out so you can reserve your count.
9. Hair& Make-up 10-12 months
The answer to this is different for everyone. I recommend that if you have someone that you really want to work with or is in high demand you book them as soon as possible.
10. Dress&Tux 10-12 months
yay dress shopping, the fun part! You should be looking for a wedding dress at least 12 months out to give them time to order and do alterations to the dress.
11. Cake 9 months
mm, Cake tasting! Bakers are recommending contacting them and setting up your tasting no later than 9 months before your wedding date. They fill up fast and only take a maximum number of cakes per weekend. So be sure to reach out and get those tastings scheduled!
12. Officiant 9 months
Sometimes it can be hard to find an officiant, so if you don't have a church or someone in your life that would marry you. Your best luck is to search for one in a local wedding group
There are lots of things to consider when planning a wedding, also things as transportation, hotel, and favors but I kept the little things out to now overwhelm you. Let me know if you want me to see a preferred vendor list to give you options for booking vendors. Feel free to screenshot or come back to this info whenever you need it. I am always here if you have questions!