Once you have your venue and date secured, it’s time to start thinking about the rest of the team. So how do you determine what wedding vendors you need?
Most couples will have the following “core”members in addition to their venue:
Wedding Vendors You Need
A very important vendor, especially if your ceremony is NOT going to be at a religious institution. Some couples opt to have family or friends take on this role, but it is also a professional position.
If your venue does not offer catering, you will need to hire an off-site catering company for food beverage services. Some venues have strict requirements on who you can hire, others don’t have any restrictions.
Music (ceremony and reception)
Most couples go right to the question of band vs. DJ when they think about music, but don’t forget the ceremony and cocktail hour! Many bands and DJs can provide this service, but it’s also a great time to add in a jazz trio or string quartet!
This one’s pretty obvious, you’re gonna want a photographer!
If you are doing your own flowers, please remember these projects can’t be done more than a day or so in advance. This is already a busy time with final appointments and wrapping up other details. Adding in floral arranging can make those few days before the wedding unnecessarily stressful.
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 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 go (in salon vs. house/hotel), and how many in the wedding party will need 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?!?
What Wedding Vendors are “Optional”
I’m obviously a bit biased here, but I truly believe that having a professional 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 hire us AFTER booking their venue, and are locked into pricing that may work with their overall budget. A good planner will save you money in the long run, and will 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 that you get from a full service planner, I highly recommend you have at least a “Day Of Coordinator”. The name is deceiving though, as no professional can simply show up on the wedding day and be able to execute things seemlessly.
Most planners begin their Day Of services a month or two before the wedding. They will go through the 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 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 on Venue Coordinators-
Many locations have in-house coordinators, some even calling themselves Day Of Coordinators. 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. They 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!
I often hear that couples would love to have a videographer, but it’s just not in the budget. While I totally understand this, there’s nothing like hearing your vows, or relive your first dance on your anniversary. Hiring a professional videographer is an investment, but please do give it some consideration.
This is typically pretty cut and dry, and very dependant on the venues you’ve booked. If everything is in one location, you’re lucky enough to skip this category! Many times, however, the ceremony and reception are in different locations, or maybe you want to take photos at on offsite location. In this case, you will most likely have to arrange for a limo or shuttle for at least the wedding party. Additionally, if you have a significant number of guests that live out of town, it’s often a nice consideration to arrange for them to get from the hotel to the venue locations, as they are most likely not familiar with the area.
This is another category that is dependant on the venue that you’ve booked with. Most will have what we refer to as “house” items, meaning the tables, chairs, and linens that come with the space. If you’re at a more bare bones venue, you might be required to rent all of these items. Alternatively, some couples simply don’t like the house options, and will choose to rent items that fit their design or look better.
Outside of the necessary tables, chairs, and linens, so other common items that couples will rent are charger plates, lounge furniture, dance floors, and draping. These are all optional, but can really change the overall feel of the event. Many rental companies will offer special rates if things are booked together, or at the very least, you’ll save on delivery/set up costs if you book rental items together.
If you’d really like to transform the look of your space, lighting can make a huge difference. Dance floor lighting and uplights are the most common, butchat with your lighting company about additional options. Bistro lights, pinspotting, truss lighting, and stage lighting are not as common, but can also make a huge impact on the event design.
While the traditional booths are still popular, there are now many other alternatives to consider. This includes “open” concepts, live streaming, or other fun twists on the initial concept that include posting to social media. Another fun throwback that’s been trending recently is a “DIY” photo station with poloroid cameras. This allows your guests to take their own photos anywhere at the event, and they can incorporate these into a keepsake guest book.
Now that we’ve discussed WHAT wedding vendors you need, take a look at this post to learn more about how to hire your wedding vendors!
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