As a wedding planner, I get a lot of questions. One of the most frequent questions is regarding the couple’s wedding services and how far in advance they should be booked. While there will be some unpredictable circumstances such as vendors and venues that book up years in advance, here’s a guide that works for most weddings:
Wedding Planner: This depends on whether you’re hiring a Full Service Wedding Planner or a Day-of Wedding Planner. If you’re working with a Full Service Wedding Planner, you’ll want to hire her near the onset of your planning to maximize the use of her expertise. For Day-of Wedding Planners, you can generally wait until 6-8 months before the wedding. She won’t be working very intensely with you until about one month before the wedding, but she should still be available to answer questions leading up to that time.
Photography/Videography: This will depend a bit on the popularity of your wedding date, but most photographers and videographers recommend hiring them at least 12 months before the wedding…18 months if you can manage it.
Venue: You’ll want to book the venue near the beginning of your wedding planning, at least 9-12 months before the wedding date.
Stylist: I recommend booking your hair and makeup stylist 9-12 months before the wedding. It’s a good idea to book a trial run of your hair and makeup beforehand to ensure you and the stylist are on the same page.
Officiant: If you’re not getting married in your place of worship, you’ll want to hire an independent officiant. Begin screening candidates about 9-12 months before the wedding and try to work out an in-person meeting if possible to discuss the ceremony style and vow options.
Florist: You’ll want to have at least your venue nailed down before you hire your florist so you know what kind of décor you’ll need. It’s also helpful to know the number of wedding attendants and approximate number of guests who will be attending so you have an idea of personal floral and centerpiece numbers. With this in mind, hire your florist about 8-9 months before the wedding.
Musician(s): If there’s a particular musician, DJ, or band that you want to hire, you should try to book them 9-12 months before the wedding. If you’re open to working with a DJ company, you can usually wait to about 6-9 months ahead of time.
Cake Maker: Some venues will have your wedding cake built into your catering package. If not, you’ll want to hire your cake baker about 6-9 months before the wedding and schedule a tasting if possible.
Wedding Transportation: You’ll want reliable transportation on your wedding day, so book a good service about six months ahead of time.
Wedding Stationery: You’ll want to order your wedding Invitations about six months before the wedding, depending on how long the stationer needs to print and deliver your order. Save the Dates can be ordered shortly after you book the venue and secure the time and date.
And that's it!
Are there any services I didn’t mention that you have questions about? Reach out to me in the comments!