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The Wedding Vendor Checklist Timeline: When to Book Your Dream Team

Your dream wedding day is just around the corner, and the journey to your perfect day is about to begin! As you step into the madness of wedding planning, one of the most important aspects to consider is gathering your team of talented and reliable vendors who will bring your vision to life. From the florals to the cake, each vendor plays a role in the day! "The Ultimate Wedding Vendor Checklist Timeline" is a comprehensive guide that will navigate you through the process of selecting and coordinating with the right vendors at the ideal times!

12 - 18 Months Before the Wedding: The Foundation

The initial phase of wedding planning sets the tone. During this time, you'll want to nail down your foundational vendors that will lay the groundwork!. Here are the key vendors that should be booked during this period:

Bride and Groom on boat

Venue - One of the first decisions to make is where your wedding will take place. Consider factors like location, capacity, style, and availability. Whether you envision a big sky barn, a ballroom, or a beach setting, always make sure the venue aligns with your vision and accommodates your guest list!

Tips for Choosing a Venue:

  • Start your search early, as popular venues tend to get booked quickly.

  • Consider your budget and the inclusiveness of the venue's packages.

  • Visit potential venues in person to get a feel for the space and its amenities.

Wedding Planner - A wedding planner will be your guru throughout the entire planning process! They offer expertise, creativity, and industry connections that can turn your vision into reality. While deciding between a wedding coordinator vs wedding planner, just know both will alleviate stress and ensure every detail is handled seamlessly!

Tips for Choosing a Wedding Planner:

  • Research local wedding planners and read reviews from previous clients.

  • Schedule interviews to gauge their communication style and compatibility.

  • Inquire about their experience with your preferred wedding style or theme.

  • Discuss your budget openly to ensure their services align with your financial plan.

As you begin booking these foundational vendors, remember that open communication, a clear understanding of your vision, and a well-defined budget should always be at the forefront of the decisions! These vendors will set the stage for the rest of your wedding planning process, ensuring that your special day is a reflection of your love and personal style.

8 - 12 Months Before The Wedding: Building the Dream Team

As you move closer to your big day this phase involves selecting vendors who will infuse your celebration with creativity! Here are the vendors you should focus on booking during this period:

Caterer - The culinary experience at your wedding is a chance to showcase you and your partner's favorite flavors. Research and choose a caterer who can craft a menu that reflects your preferences, whether you're envisioning a plated dinner or a fun food station setup.

Tips for Choosing Caterers:

  • Attend tasting sessions to sample their offerings and assess their quality.

  • Discuss dietary restrictions and any special menu requests you have.

  • Inquire about their experience catering weddings of similar size and style.

  • Understand their pricing structure, including any additional fees for staffing and equipment.

Florists - Flowers and decor play a HUGE role in setting the ambiance of your wedding! A talented florist can transform your venue into a whole new space that showcases your color palette.

Colorful wedding flowers with disco balls

Tips for Choosing a Florist:

  • Review their portfolio to see their range of floral designs and arrangements.

  • Discuss your vision and preferred flowers, considering seasonal availability.

  • Ask about their expertise in venue decoration and their proposed design concepts.

  • Inquire about any rental items they offer, such as vases, arches, or other decor elements.

Musicians/DJs - Entertainment is key in keeping the celebration alive and the dance floor packed. Decide whether you prefer a live band or a DJ who can curate a playlist that keeps the energy levels high!

Tips for Choosing Musicians/DJs:

  • Attend live performances or request sample mixes to gauge their style.

  • Discuss your musical preferences and any specific songs you want played during key moments.

  • Inquire about their equipment and backup plans in case of technical issues.

  • Clarify the extent of their services, including background music during cocktails and dinner.

During this phase of wedding planning, you must, must, must keep effective communication. Clearly convey your expectations, preferences, and any unique elements that you want to incorporate into your wedding!

6 - 10 Months Before the Wedding: Capturing the Moments

bride and groom

Photographer/Videographer: Capturing the moments that matter most is essential! Your wedding photos and videos will be keepsakes for years to come, so investing in a skilled photographer and/or videographer is huge. Look for professionals who have a style that resonates with your aesthetic.

Tips for Choosing a Photographer/Videographer:

  • Review portfolios to understand their creative style and storytelling approach.

  • Check for consistent quality across different weddings they've covered.

  • Inquire about packages, including the number of hours of coverage and the delivery timeline for photos and videos.

  • Ask about their experience working in various lighting and weather conditions.

Your wedding day is such a mix of emotions, the nervous excitement before the ceremony to the party on the dance floor! When capturing these moments photographers take on their own unique approach by utilizing their creativity and technical expertise to turn your wedding day into a work of art. Be sure to research the various photography styles and really consider which one best fits your vision.

4-8 Months Before the Wedding: Finishing Touches

As your wedding day approaches, it’s time to add the final touches! During this time securing vendors for cake, stationery/printing, and hair and makeup is essential. These details will elevate your wedding to the level of personalization and beauty that you’ve been envisioning! Here’s what you need to know about booking these vendors:

dinasour wedding cake

Cake - Wedding cakes can be so fun in their designs and can reflect your style and theme. From classic tiers, to florals, to modern and artistic, a talented cake designer will bring your vision to life.

Tips for Choosing a Cake Designer:

  • Research and view portfolios to find a designer whose style aligns with your vision.

  • Attend cake tastings to ensure they can achieve your optimal flavor(s).

  • Discuss dietary restrictions and options for alternative desserts if needed.

  • Clarify delivery details and inquire about any setup fees.

Stationery/Printing - Your wedding stationery sets the tone for your event. From save-the-dates to invitations and place cards, these pieces offer guests a glimpse of the experience they can expect! Finding a stationery vendor who understands your aesthetic is crucial.

Tips for Choosing a Stationery/Printing Vendor:

  • Review their portfolio to see if their designs match your desired theme.

  • Discuss customization options and the availability of coordinating pieces (menus, programs, etc.).

  • Inquire about the timeline for design, printing, and delivery to ensure everything is ready on time.

  • Ask about any additional services, such as addressing envelopes or assembling invitations.

Hair and Makeup Artist - On your wedding day you want to look and feel your absolute best. A skilled hair and makeup artist can enhance your natural beauty and create a look that compliments your dress and overall style!

Tips for Choosing a Hair and Makeup Artist:

  • View portfolios to see if their style aligns with your preferred look.

  • Schedule a trial session to test different styles and ensure they understand your preferences.

  • Discuss the timeline for getting ready on the wedding day and whether they can accommodate your bridal party.

  • Clarify pricing, including any additional charges for travel or touch-up services.

When choosing these finishing touch vendors, remember that clear communication is key. Provide them with as much detail as possible about your vision, preferences, and any specific requirements. By focusing on these details you’ll ensure that every aspect of your special day is a true testament to your meticulous planning!

2 - 6 Months Before the Wedding: Fine Tuning the Details

As your wedding gets closer it’s time to nail down the final details! During this period, you need to focus on finalizing vendors such as transportation, rentals, and officiants. These essential elements will ensure that your wedding day flows smoothly. Here’s what you need to know about booking these vendors and perfecting the final touches.

Transportation - This might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s vital to ensure that you and your guests arrive at the venue comfortably and on time. Whether you choose a limousine for the bridal party or shuttle services for your guests, transportation vendors play a crucial role in creating a memorable experience.

Tips for Choosing Transportation Vendors:

  • Determine the size and type of transportation that suits your needs.

  • Inquire about availability and whether they can accommodate your specific schedule.

  • Ask about the condition of their vehicles and the amenities they offer.

  • Discuss the route, any potential stops, and any additional charges for extended hours.

Tripical wedding inspiration

Rentals - This encompasses a wide range of items from chairs and tables, to chargers and flatware, to linens and decor. Depending on your venue and theme, rentals can significantly enhance your event!

Tips for Choosing Rental Vendors:

  • Make a list of the items you need and ensure the vendors can provide them.

  • Discuss the setup and breakdown process to ensure a smooth transition.

  • Inquire about the condition of their rental items and any backup plans in case of shortages or damages.

  • Clarify the delivery and pickup logistics, including the timing of these services.

Officiant - This is the person who will guide you through your vows and officially pronounce you as a married couple! Whether you opt for the religious route, a close friend, or a professional officiant, their role is crucial in creating a meaningful ceremony.

Tips for Choosing an Officiant:

  • Discuss your preferences for the ceremony style, tone, and any religious or cultural elements.

  • Schedule a meeting to ensure a personal connection and compatibility with their approach.

  • Inquire about their experience, any required pre-marital counseling, and the process for customizing the ceremony.

  • Ensure they are legally authorized to officiate weddings in your location.

While we know this process is overwhelming, as long as you maintain open communication and choose trustworthy vendors it will all come together in the end! Stay up-to-date on confirming details, timings, and expectations to avoid any last-minute surprises! These vendors will ensure a smooth execution of your wedding day, ensuring that you and your guests can enjoy the day!

If you want an even smoother process with tackling this wedding vendor checklist then we HIGHLY recommend getting a wedding planner early on in this process. A planner is going to guide you in selecting the vendors that best fit you while also managing your budget. At the end of the day, don’t forget to embrace the experience. Savor every instance and cherish the memories you’re about to create. Most importantly, cheers to your extraordinary wedding day!


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