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Planning a Wedding + Order of Booking your Vendors

photo by: Jazmin Quaynor

Okay so you're engaged, congratulations! And you're about ready to stop taking photos of your shiny ring and get to work. First things to ask yourself are this... When are you getting married? Where? How big of a wedding do you want? Is a wedding planner in the budget?

Once you nail those 3 down, it's time to search for your vendors (or plan them with your planner)

So first + foremost, you need to figure our what location you want to be married in. By the parents? By your college friends? Who's most likely to show up based on where your event is? Wedding Venues book up quick, so I recommend setting up some viewing days asap + getting that date booked as soon as you decide. Keep in mind your date may change based on your perfect venue's availability . Once you have that date, you can then find your remaining vendors to see whos available and pick from there.

Also, be sure to figure out whether your venue has vendor packages available, or if you're responsible for bringing your own vendors in. Some have packages that include decor, catering, photo, etc. And some just give you a list of their preferred vendors. Keep in mind, unless they require you can only use their preferred vendors, some of them may pay into being on that list and may not necessarily be in your style or vision that you had in mind.

If you are bringing some or all of your vendors in separately, read below.

This is a general list of the order of vendors I booked when planning my own Long Island Wedding back in 2019 (and then 2020, and then 2021), yeah that was fun.

How to find your wedding vendors

Honestly, I used instagram a lot. And the Knot. I looked up things like #longislandweddingphotographer and #liweddingvendor

For photographers, Instagram is key to see if they photograph in the style you like, same with florists in my opinion.

Once you get a list of some vendors that you really like, it's time to contact them and set up some in-person for the ones that makes sense for, or virtual meetings.

I also recommend using Pinterest as a guide to create your mood board, find the styles you like of decor/vibes/photos/stationery/etc.

Order of booking vendors (guestimate)

  1. Wedding Planner (optional)

  2. Venue

  3. Caterer

  4. Photographer / Videographer

  5. Hair & Makeup

  6. Florist

  7. Invitations/Save the Dates

  8. Florist

  9. Hotel Blocks/Transportation arrangements

  10. DJ/Musicians

  11. Cake/Favors

  12. Photo Booth, extras, etc.

How to stay sane while planning your wedding

  1. Recruit your bridal team. Sometimes you have to ask and be specific of what you need help with, otherwise they truly may not know, especially if they haven't gone through the wedding planning process before.

  2. Don't stress your partner out too much, talk to a parent, a sibling, a best friend, or even your therapist or wedding planner (which is kind of the same thing sometimes?)

  3. Have some downtime with your partner where it's not all about the wedding. Go on a date, watch a movie that has nothing to do with weddings, cook a meal together with some wine at home.

  4. Get a wedding planner book. A PHYSICAL book that you can bring with you to appointments and can tape/write in any and all details. I recommend this Wedding Planner Book from Amazon. It will help keep everything organized! Then from there you can build your excel sheets, wedding website, etc to hold those details.

  5. Remember it's all about YOU as a couple and your love celebration, everything else is just details.

Next steps

Send out bridesmaids/bridal party/groomsmen prosposals or however way you want to ask your special people to stand by you on your big day. Remember to actually ask these people if they want to be involved, because I've been on both sides of the fence and it's not always an easy task or your friend's lives may be hectic right now and they can't commit, or can't commit financially. Remember, it's not personal.

Engagement party if you prefer! This is also a great time to ask your wedding party if they'd like to be a part of it. But if there's people you feel you may be offended they weren't asked who are there, do it privately another time.

Figure out how you want to send out Save the Dates and when. (hey, I know a cool custom stationery designer)

Have your friends/bridal party help you plan a bachelorette and/or bachelor party as it gets closer, and ask them to help with any details or extra tasks you have so you don't get overwhelmed.

Remember that this is just a guide to help you get started in planning your wedding. You can do things your own way and don't listen to all the outside opinions you will get! Do what works for you as a couple, your budget, and the style of event you'd like to have. Don't forget to have fun with it and take breaks when you need it. You got this!

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