Did you just get engaged? Congratulations! If you’re not sure where to turn or where to start when planning your dream wedding, here’s a comprehensive list of what to think about. Of course, this list is to be adapted according to your tastes and your needs; not all marriages need to be the same – and that’s good. Rather than spending hours gathering information from right to left, find all the information to know how to organize your wedding step by step, and manage the preparations as well as possible. From the choice of the date to that of the service providers, including the budget, the list of guests and the administrative procedures, launch yourself serenely into the preparation of the big day, alone or through an agency, but never without this guide!
1. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – Considering the View From a Perspective
It is not necessary to start planning a wedding the day after the engagement; it is also ok to appreciate the moment before launching. But before falling into the organizational stage, it is best to define and/or agree on the main lines, starting with:
- the number of guests – at this stage it is not an exact number that you want but simply to know if you are in the register of “your immediate family and your close friends only” (say, 20 to 50 people), “the family community and colleagues” (50 to 100 people) or “everyone you know and your parents know! (sky’s the limit, up to 300 people or more!);
- the budget – again, you don’t need an exact amount, just an understanding of what you have to spend. Do you have money to spare or can you count on gifts or other family support, for example?
- the formula – are you thinking about a church ceremony followed by a reception in a hall? Is it more of a civil ceremony, either at the courthouse or in another location (celebrants travel everywhere)? Do you want something different: a wedding on the huge lot at your parents’ house, in a cottage on the edge of a lake, on a beach somewhere?
- the date – sometimes the date is inflexible (because of a long vacation, your ability to take a vacation, or the availability of certain guests to travel) and it is the other factors (say, the location) that must conform to it. Sometimes the date can vary a little, for example depending on the availability of a place that you absolutely love and want. The idea at this stage is to know roughly when it would be, whether it is a month or a given season (example: in the fall of next year);
Note that many times people plan a wedding a year in advance, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. A memorable wedding can also be planned in a few months, probably with some compromises (i.e. your dream venue may already be booked). A “small” and simple wedding can be prepared in a few weeks.
1.1. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – Lists
Not everyone works the same way for the organization, but the important thing is to have a system to manage everything related to this project. It can be an Excel file, a binder, a folder on the computer, a Pinterest board, etc. Realistically, it will probably be a mixture of all of these! Be sure to save this list.
1.2. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Place
The place where your wedding will take place remains the centerpiece that you should reserve before anything else. The choice of location could determine other factors, such as the date, the style of reception or the number of guests (minimum or maximum). Places – reception halls, restaurants, inns, hotels – that are accustomed to hosting weddings can often recommend suppliers or have partnerships with them (for example a given caterer, DJ or pastry chef).
1.3. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Caterer
If the place doesn’t cater to food and/or drink, this is the 2nd biggest bite, pick up pretty quickly. Note that options other than a sit-down meal or even doing business with a caterer are possible:
- a buffet;
- the family prepares the food themselves;
- a “potluck” formula;
- a reception outside of mealtimes with only desserts or a candy table etc.
1.4. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Officiant
Whether it is for a religious or civil ceremony, the person who marries you is important and they should ideally have a good “fit” with you. You will need to meet her at least a few times beforehand.
1.5. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Photographer and the Videographer
It is good to reserve this (these) resource(s) quite early in the process, to ensure that people are available.
1.6. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Florist
This person can, for example, inform you about the availability of certain products according to the season and direct your vision…
1.7. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The DJ or the Band
Because music is important! Note that a super good playlist on Spotify is also possible.
1.8. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Clothes and Accessories
As these often require adjustments, it is good to give yourself time (several months) – talking as much about the clothes of the bride and groom as those of the procession and the close family.
1.9. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Baker
It’s not essential to have a traditional wedding cake (there are other options), but it’s part of what people remember! Bring pictures of what you like.
1.10. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Invitations
It is possible to have them printed, to have them calligraphy or to do it yourself! A good guide: it is usually recommended to send them 2 to 3 months in advance (not applicable in all situations). The actual number of guests will be fixed following the responses of the guests, which will notify all the suppliers for whom this number is relevant (caterer, pastry chef, rental, etc.).
1.11. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Decorations
Are there things to prepare for the room? A guest book, posters, banners, etc. Gifts for guests can also be entered in this category.
1.12. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – The Process and Logistics
How will transport work, what time the bride and groom should be ready, when the room will be available, etc. It’s time to choose “delegates”, that is to say trusted people close to the couple, who will be able to carry out various tasks: welcoming people when they arrive at the place of the ceremony, preparing the room, fetching things and bringing them to the reception venue… It is good at this stage to reconfirm this procedure (time of arrival, etc.) with all the suppliers. So far, you’ve probably given most of them deposits, but right before the wedding (or sometimes even the day of) it’s time to pay them in full.
2. Vendors Needed for a Wedding – How To Choose the Right Vendors for Your Wedding
It might be challenging to know where to begin when picking the best suppliers for your wedding. How can you be sure you can trust this supplier if you’re giving them a sizable chunk of your money? Will they deliver the service you require at the standard you anticipate? How can you be certain that your choice was the best one? These pointers can help you have faith in your wedding service provider.
The first thing to do is ask your recently married friends and loved ones for recommendations. Their experience is very useful. Also ask the vendors you book who they recommend for the different elements of your wedding. For example, photographers can often recommend videographers, hairstylists and makeup artists. Florists can usually recommend pastry chefs and decorating companies. Your place of reception can also help you by recommending some vendors to book.
Consult online the opinions of Internet users in relation to the suppliers you have chosen. Indeed, online reviews are a great way to get an idea of the quality of suppliers. Sometimes most people are only motivated to write reviews for the absolute best or worst experiences. How a vendor handles a bad review says a lot about thousands of 5-star ratings. When a good vendor receives a bad review, they always respond, apologize, identify what went wrong, and offer to fix the situation. Bad vendors make bad reviews worse by arguing with, or even worse, ignoring customers with a valid concern.
Check your potential supplier’s social media accounts to get an idea of their level of professionalism and general vibe. Do they post regularly? Reputable sellers know that the wedding industry thrives on social media. Being part of the conversation with regular posts indicates that your supplier knows the latest trends. Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words, but to get an idea of how your provider actually works, check out the comments section. Don’t just wait for a response to every comment, but keep scrolling until you find specific answers that can lead you to make a decision.
You’ve followed your potential supplier’s Instagram and Facebook accounts and they look cool. Great! Now it’s time to see their website and assure that they are legit. You are hiring wedding vendors, not web developers so you are not looking for the latest technology. Because of this, if your provider is serious about what they do, they will have a professional-looking website with information about their services. Check that your provider’s website has been updated recently with up-to-date contact information and contains useful details about their services, background and skills so you can make an informed decision.
Overall, as with everything else in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to weddings. The sellers’ costs vary based on their qualifications, the caliber of their work, and their professionalism. Avoid being tempted to choose the less expensive options if you want to have peace of mind on your wedding day; they are rarely a good deal.
Photo sources: unsplash.com