What wedding vendors do I need to book? And when?

Yay, you’re engaged! So what now? Planning a wedding can be daunting and as a couple, one of the first questions you might ask yourself, is: What wedding vendors to I need to book? And when? It’s completely normal to feel a little overwhelmed at the start. You’re most likely doing this for the first and, hopefully, last time. As a wedding photographer, I have plenty of expertise when it comes to timelines and required vendors for your big or small celebration. Here’s how to book your dream team of vendors and make wedding planning an absolute breeze.

A 12 month checklist for elopements and weddings alike

Please note, you might not need or want all vendors listed in this post. It is a guide for big weddings and small elopements alike and simply lists all possible help in realising the vision of your day. As far as the timeline goes, for the planning purpose I have assumed a period of 12 months between the engagement/ start of the planning process and your wedding day. You are obviously not bound by those timelines, and you might plan your wedding or elopement in 2 years or 2 months. They are simply here to help break the process down in chunks and allow you to focus on certain aspects one by one, rather than having to do it all at once. It’s all advice though and I highly recommend to book in the vendors that are most important to you straight away.

We are also facing a very out-of-the-norm situation in the wedding industry at the moment. We’ve emerged from 2 years of constant lockdowns and reschedules in Australia, so if you are looking to tie the knot in 2022 and have some favourite vendors in mind, contact them sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment later on.

The ‘asap’-list. Timeline: >10-12 months before

You’re getting hitched! Once you have set a rough date, it’s time to enquire with your first vendors straightaway. Get these ones ticked off your list:

  • wedding venue
  • wedding planner
  • photographer
  • videographer
  • celebrant/ minister of religion

Ask yourself: Who or what can we not picture our wedding day without? Lock those vendors in first! You might have to do some date-shuffling to get them all on board.

The ‘essentials’-list. Timeline: >8-10 months before

Next on your list should be the vendors that make your wedding come to life. Lock these bad boys in to make it a day to remember for you and your guests alike:

  • florist
  • event hire
  • stylist
  • catering
  • band/ DJ/ musician
  • (guest) accommodation

The latter is often forgotten about but absolutely crucial to organise for bigger guest lists and popular dates such as public holidays. Even if you don’t book your guests’ accommodation yourself, you want to make sure that there is enough places around to avoid late drives home.

The ‘last but not least’-list. Timeline: >6-8 months before

Let’s add the finishing touches. Here are the last vendors to tick off your list:

  • wedding dress
  • bridesmaids dresses
  • groom’s outfit
  • groomsmen outfits
  • stationery designer (book asap if you plan on sending out save-the-dates)
  • cake maker
  • hair- & make up artist
  • wedding rings
  • transport

Again, organise your own transport from the getting ready spot to the ceremony and reception location, but also think of your guests.

Helpful tips and tricks

Based on the above suggestions, I have created a vendor checklist that contains all vendors, budget per vendor, timelines, and tracking of deposits and final payments due. You can download this freebie by clicking here.

A wedding planner usually organises most of your day for you. If you’re doing all the organising yourself, I recommend you get yourself a wedding planner booklet such as the Complete Wedding Planner. This helps structuring all parts of the planning process in a more detailed way. If you are looking for amazing vendors in the Bendigo region, check out our local directory Culture Hitch or get in touch with me for some recommendations.

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