Once you have your venue and date secured, it’s time to start thinking about which wedding vendors you would like to hire that will make your big day unforgettable. So how do you determine what vendors you need? Most couples will have the following “core”members in addition to their venue: Wedding Officiant – If you are not holding your wedding at a church, synagogue, or other religious institution, you will most likely need to hire an officiant to perform the actual wedding ceremony. Caterer – If your reception venue does not offer onsite catering, you will need to work with an outside catering team to provide the food and bar services. Some venues have strict requirements on who you must work with, while others give you free reign to bring in anyone you’d like Music (ceremony and reception) – Most couples go right to the question of band vs. DJwhen they think about music, but make sure you don’t forget about the ceremony and cocktail hour! Many bands and DJs can provide additional speakers and set ups for this, but it’s also a great time to add in a jazz trio or string quartet! Photographer – This one’s pretty obvious, you’re gonna want a photographer! Florist – Even if you’re not planning on having floral centerpieces, it’s always a good idea to bring in a professional florist to take care of the personal flowers (bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, etc.). If you have big dreams of doing your own fresh floral, please keep in mind that because of the nature of the living flowers, these projects can’t be done more than a day or so in advance. This is typically the time where most of our couples have family coming into town, have final beauty appointments, or are wrapping up other details. Adding in floral arranging can make those few days before the wedding unnecessarily stressful. Baker – Similar to your caterer, this might be something that your venue already handles. If not, make sure to ask if they have any required bakers that you must use, or if they must be a licensed bakery Hair & Makeup – Most brides will choose to have professionals do their hair and makeup for their wedding day. Before you can secure them, you’ll need to decide on where you will have this done (in salon vs. house/hotel), and how many in the wedding party will need either or both services. Don’t forget those outside of the wedding party that might want to participate, like moms, grandmas, or siblings. Stationer (invites and other paper products) – What’s the point of having a party if you don’t tell anyone about it, right?!? There are several other categories of vendors that many couples will also include, but are optional for others. I would highly recommend that you consider having the following wedding professionals on your team: Wedding planner – I’m obviously a bit biased here, but I truly do believe that having a profesisonal wedding planner on your team is the best sort of insurance you can have for your wedding. Having a planner involved from the beginning (before securing any venues or vendors) can ensure that you are looking at the right options for your style and budget. Many of our full service clients come to us AFTER booking their venue, and are already locked into pricing that may or may not work with their overall budget. A good planner will save you money in the long run, and will definitely save you from many stressful moments and planning headaches. If you are thinking of hiring a full service planner, they should be the very first thing that you book! ”Day Of” coordinator – While nothing beats the personal attention and help that you will get from a full service planner, I highly recommend considering a “Day Of Coordinator” at the very least. The name is quite decieving though, as no true professional can simply show up on the wedding day and be able to execute the event seemlessly. Most planners begin their Day Of services a month or two out, and will sit down with their couples a few times before the wedding date. They will be able to go through your wedding details, and suggest any adjustments or things that you may have overlooked. They will connect with all of your vendors, and make sure all of the behind the scenes details are taken care of before the wedding day. On the actual day, they will help to run the event, working with all of your vendors to bring it all together. I often refer to us as the “Team Captain” of the wedding vendors. Our role is to make sure everyone has what they need to make the day absolutely perfect!
- NOTE: Many locations have in-house coordinators, some even calling themselves Day Of Coordinators, but do not mistake this for having an outside planner involved in the wedding day. The venue coordinator is there as the point person for any venue and catering details for that day, but will most likely NOT be involved with the other vendors, wedding party, or other specific details that an outside planner would be there to cover for you. Many times they are covering other events happening at the venue that day, and will be taking other appointments and tours while they are there. Generally speaking, their focus will be divided that day, whereas an outside planner will be dedicated to your wedding alone, making sure nothing is missed!