Lay the Groundwork for Wedding Bliss with Must-Book Vendors

Successful wedding planning needs a strong foundation. By choosing these key vendors at the beginning, you’ll have a more cohesive wedding, from design to day-of timeline. Here are the wedding pros you need to book now, along with some helpful insights.

Taking the first steps

Premier New Jersey wedding and event planner Lisa Ivler of Lisa Ivler Events works with clients in Northern NJ, CT, and NYC.  Lisa advises, “A full service wedding planner guides you through the entire process with vendor selections, planning priorities, and budget. And your planner will be there to make it all come together on the big day. Work with someone who offers creative collaboration, logistical skills and always has your best interest at heart.”

While looking for a planner, start the search for your venue. Securing your wedding location and date are necessary for hiring the next round of important vendors. “Along with a budget and guest count, you’ll need a vision for your venue,” describes Vivian Buesking, Co-Owner of Circle of Seven Ranch, a Texas rustic wedding venue located southwest of Houston. “Take time to reflect on your desired ambiance and theme. You’re looking for the ideal backdrop for your special day and a place that elevates your guest experience.”

If your wedding vision spans the weekend, Kate Stevens, Co-Owner of The Lake House Inn, a luxury wedding venue in Bucks County Pennsylvania, reminds couples not to forget guest comfort. “Explore locations that offer on-site lodging for your wedding party and special guests. Your venue manager can also direct you to other nearby accommodations and guest transportation options.” 

Continue the vision

Now that you have a venue, consider what rentals will bring it to life. “Rentals play a significant role in shaping the overall aesthetic of your wedding,” says Designer Michele Rogers, of Ace Party Rentals, a company that provides wedding rentals in Indianapolis. “Linens, serviceware, the style of a tent, specialty furniture all establish a framework for other design decisions like centerpieces and floral installations.”

“If your venue is a blank canvas, you may want to hire an event services company,” explains Yoni Yemini, Co-Founder of Chicago wedding design company Ace Chicago Events. “We work in concert with event planners, creating  the concept, designing it and then executing the vision. This often includes staging, lighting, draping, and decor installations. These services are provided in-house while other aspects are coordinated through experienced event designers like floral professionals.”

What’s next?

Next on the list is shopping for a gown. “It pays to prioritize wedding dress shopping, ” says Elicia Bonham, Owner of Country Bridals & Formal Wear, one of the top bridal salons in New Hampshire in Jaffrey. “Manufacturing, shipping, fittings, and alterations take time. Shopping early ensures you can check out your options and allow for any shipping delays and necessary adjustments.” 

Because you’re sure to want engagement photos to record this chapter of your love story, it’s also the time to book your photographer. “Your engagement session allows you and your photographer to get comfortable with one another and even practice some posing,” says Isabelle Miner of Shado of a Rose, a popular Maine wedding photographer. “Your engagement photo session helps set the tone for working together.”

Nail down the entertainment

To round out the “first things first”  is entertainment. “Fall and spring wedding dates fill up quickly,” notes Seth Michaels of Michaels Entertainment, a highly rated Detroit DJ company located in Troy, MI. “Starting the hunt early gives you time to find more available DJs that match your personalities and vision. Your wedding DJ should reflect your unique style, while keeping your guests engaged, entertained, and energized.”

Matt Kays, Owner of Mountain Event Services, a top Fort Collins Colorado wedding DJ company serving the “Front Range” of WY and CO, understands the importance of client communication. “We’re here to listen to you. Professional DJs communicate with their clients throughout the planning process, offering suggestions and solutions. Use our conversations to collaborate on ways to make your reception a personalized experience for you and your guests.”

Your DJ is also a great planning resource. “We provide musical guidance for key moments – but your DJ offers so much more,” explains Jason Strycharz, a popular Maine wedding DJ and Owner of The Music Man DJ Service in Kennebunk. “Your DJ creates the wedding reception timeline that outlines the sequence and pace of events. And your DJ works with your other vendors like your day-of or venue coordinator and photographer to keep things running smoothly.”

Wedding entertainment is more than just memory-making music. Says Cory Leonardo of Party Zone Productions, a company that provides 5-star rated wedding DJs in Louisville, “Creating a great guest experience is all about setting the tone and serving as the “voice” of the event. A skilled wedding DJ is totally comfortable with making announcements, introducing speakers, and keeping everyone informed and entertained.”

To complete your entertainment enhancements, look to your DJ. “Ask about photo booths, videography, and special effects,” advises George Wainwright, Owner of Coastal DJ and Video, a company specializing in Outer Banks wedding DJs with offices in Kill Devil Hills, Beaufort, and Wilmington. “Booking through your DJ gives you one-stop shopping, ensures seamless planning and saves you money. You’ll also find consistency in service quality.”

And don’t forget …

The last, and really the most important, wedding vendor to secure early is your officiant. Denise Drapkin of I Wed All, a wedding officiant for NYC, Long Island, and Westchester couples, as well as a custom vows writer reminds, “Couples want their ceremony to be personalized and meaningful. Booking your officiant early gives you time to collaborate. And if you are intent on writing your vows, you’ll have plenty of time to compose those thoughts. Your officiant may also offer premarital counseling, so take advantage of enriching your future marriage during this time.” 

If you opt for vendors who resonate with your vision, demonstrate eagerness to collaborate, and fit comfortably within your budget, you’re well on your way to wedding planning success.

Brian Lawrence is a wedding business marketing expert who has helped thousands of clients like Alan Berg and Joe Bunn with consulting, marketing and web design. We’ve partnered with Brian Lawrence to bring this great advice from some of his amazing clients.