How long does it take to plan a wedding? It depends on who you ask, but many experts will say that you need about a year to really pull off this kind of event, but that’s only with the expertise and help of the right wedding vendors.
As you begin selecting wedding vendors, you’ll need to carefully evaluate what services you need, and contact the vendors in the appropriate order. Luckily, with help from your number one vendor – your wedding planner – you can sort out all of the moving parts.
Pick A Planner
According to a WeddingWire survey, the average couple works with 14 vendors for their wedding. That’s a lot of vendors, and this is why having an experienced wedding planner on your side is so helpful. Wedding planners have a trusted list of vendors that they’ve worked with before, can make recommendations, and ensure that you’re sticking to the appropriate schedule based on your intended wedding day.
Book A Venue
Once you’ve chosen your wedding planner, the next item on your agenda should be your venue. Venues often book up well in advance, especially reception halls and certain high-profile churches, so you may find that your wedding date is dictated by your preferred venues. Getting married off-season can help, but if you’re “wedded” to a particular date, so to speak, you may need to book your venue more than a year out.
Your wedding photographer plays an important role, capturing your ceremony and celebration and allowing you to reflect on the event after it’s over. Spend some time talking to photographers, looking at their portfolios, and see how they approach photographing weddings.
Some photographers emphasize posed pictures, while others do more candid work. Similarly, some are more skilled at photographing certain locations or taking pictures outdoors. You might consider booking an engagement session with your photographer first, in order to build rapport in advance of your wedding.
You’ll obviously need food at your wedding, but depending on your venue, you may or may not have a choice of caterer. This is something that will be laid out in your contract. If you are able to book an outside caterer, however, this is another vendor you’ll want to book early. Set up a tasting and find a caterer whose food appeals to you. Depending on your venue, the caterer may be responsible for supplying items like plate settings and tablecloths, or they may coordinate with your venue.
While you’ll book most of your service providers before your wedding, there are some added services you likely won’t look into until after you say ‘I do.’
After your wedding, look for a service provider that can help you sell your wedding dress or a dress cleaning and preservation service if you want to keep it. Keeping your wedding dress can be cumbersome and, while it’s lovely and sentimental, you have to find a place to store or display it. If you sell your dress, though, you can still commemorate your special day through prints of your wedding photographs.
Many wedding photographers do offer their own printing services, as well as special products featuring your wedding photos, like wood prints, canvases, and products like mugs and blankets, so check with your photographer before deciding what to order. If they don’t offer this service or don’t have the products you’re looking for, you can also look for other specialty printers and artists to create what you’re looking for.
Hosting An Afterparty?
One unusual feature of recent weddings is that, because of COVID-19 restrictions, many people didn’t get to have the kind of celebration they wanted to. As a result, there’s been a move toward wedding “after-parties,” celebrations of various scales with friends and family that take place after the initial wedding. These can be as big or as small as you’d like, and often include many of the same vendors as a traditional wedding. This practice has turned much about the planning process on its head, but the basic rules still apply.
And, at the end of the day, your goal should be to celebrate your marriage in a way that makes you feel joyful and surrounded by love.