You're engaged... I'm assuming. So congrats on that :) I'm also assuming that you're here because you've just squeaked past the celebratory stage and have now entered the stage that involves selecting your vendors. If this is brand new territory for your, you're not alone. I wanted to put this guide together to help you breeze through this stage with confidence.
I want to preface this post with one thing: as you move through this part of wedding planning, always trust your gut. It's easy to get caught up in someone's portfolio or their IG follower count, but if they don't give you that "feels like family" vibe and if you don't feel excited about booking them, then they might not be for you. Just like your fiancé, when you know, you know. We're not all meant for each other and that is fine!
The tips below will help you pull your wedding vendor dream team together, and combined, they'll help you to pull off the wedding experience you'd always hoped for.
Read on for my top tips below!
Have a budget
… and stay within it. I'm not saying shop around for vendors with the lowest price, but having an idea of what you'd like your total wedding budget to be sure makes vendor selection easier. If you've fallen in love with a vendor that you know is out of range, ask yourself this: is this vendor important enough for be to a) move funds from another vendors budget, or b) cut out another vendor completely? Questions like this might help bring clarity to what's really important on your wedding day, which leads me to my next point.
Know your priorities
Talk with your fiancé about where each of your priorities lie. Are flowers more important than food? Great, and make sure your vendor budgets reflect this! Typically venues are booked first, because you really should have a date and place set before you book... trust that the rest will follow. When you have a list of priorities, you can take care of everything in order of importance. Try to have the biggest things booked before you move onto the next.
BONUS TIP: Drill down an extra level and prioritize your wants and needs within each vendor category. If you know you want to spend more money on a photographer, then make that known off the hop. This means you're saving money by ensuring that you're not spending extra money on something else that might not be all that important.
Do your research
It's time to do your research! First make sure they are within your budget. Hooray if they are! You're going to want to read their reviews (emphasis on this), and stalk their Instagram. Not their feed, necessarily, but look at the comments. How do they interact with potential and past clients? What do past clients have to say about them? Do you know any of their past clients? Good – talk to them! This is where you’ll be able to get one of the most real and honest perspectives from. Good research takes time, so don't feel like you have to rush through this one.
Schedule a consult
Once you have a list of vendors, start reaching out to them to ask for more information. A lot of the time vendors will suggest a video call to connect/talk about your vision and I 100% recommend doing this. I also suggest booking your consults for each vendor within the same week or two - of course don't burden your planner, but you don't want to space it out so far as to potentially lose a vendor because you didn't move fast enough. Especially given this wedding boom!
Don't overwhelm yourself
Wedding planning comes in waves. Sometimes things are really quiet, other times you might experience the opposite. If you're feeling like things are too much, take a step back. You don't have to book everything at once. You know the saying "one day at a time"? Well, I say one vendor at a time. It'll allow you to focus on what's important and not lose track of everything. Also, don't forget to breath.
Celebrate the small victories
Some couples find wedding planning stressful, and others will say that the certainly didn't enjoy every minute of planning (myself included). I encourage you and your fiancé to create space for fun during the process. Have a celebration after you book each vendor. Share a bottle of your favorite wine, or go to that old restaurant you both love. Remember why you're celebrating in the first place: your love for each other. Don't lose track of that! Every time you check something off of your list, remember that it's a milestone.
Your vendors should make you feel like you're number one on their list, no matter how busy they are. Know that they are there for you, and if they say they will go the extra mile, they mean it, so lean on them. They should always be taking extra steps to ensure you're planning is as laidback and stress free as possible.
I do hope that these tips have helped you with where you're at in the planning process. I know first hand how exciting and overwhelming the process can be, but trust me when I say your day is going to be perfect. I'm rooting for you!
Still looking for a wedding photographer? Let's talk. I jive well with laidback, sentimental couples who enjoy the simple things in life. Take the reins and don't be afraid to make your wedding day about what matters the most: you two. Consider me the girl who will be there to document it all.