Getting married: What should you book first?

Planning a wedding is like putting a rather large, but pretty, puzzle together — with each interlocking piece, the overall vision will slowly start to appear.

Your chosen wedding suppliers are the ones that will help you bring each of the pieces to life! & whilst there are no set-in-stone rules to booking your suppliers, it does help booking suppliers in a logical manner to create a seamless planning process!

So… where do you begin?

Once you have created your overall wedding vision the next stepping stone is to evaluate what yours and your future spouse’s priorities are and plan accordingly.

This is something I will always ask each and every one of my clients before we even start booking. This is YOUR special day and therefore it should be filled with exactly what YOU want. Making a list of ‘Must haves’ & ‘Nice to haves’ is number one!

For example, it may be that you and your fiancee have a passion for food and so have been dreaming of a certain caterer or you already have a makeup artist that you just know you want to be with you on the day, so take these steps as a guide but never forget, this is YOUR special day, you deserve nothing but the best!

It’s also important to note that some suppliers have to take priority in the booking process as you can’t always move on to the next supplier without important information. There are also certain suppliers that you may want to book early if they are in high demand to ensure your chosen date is firmly in their diary.

The natural way of booking suppliers is as follows:

THE VENUE

Typically the first thing to book and also the largest portion of your overall wedding budget is your dream wedding venue.

Your wedding venue is what will help bring your overall wedding vision to life and so it is important to keep this vision in the forefront of your mind when completing your wedding venue research. The overall look and feel of the venue will be threaded into all of your additional wedding elements. So for example if you are going for an elegant aesthetic, you may want to choose a more traditional hall or manor or, on the other hand if you’re crazy for the beautiful rustic vibes, a more relaxed venue may be best!

WEDDING PLANNER/COORDINATOR

After booking your venue, it is wise to take booking a wedding planner into consideration. If this is something that you’re contemplating, having them by your side for your whole planning process will help all of your dreams come true, with less stress, time saving benefits and qualified support and guidance every step of the way.

You may of course decide that you don’t actually need a full wedding planning service, but would prefer the security of an on-the-day coordinator to finalise the details later, either way it’s advisable to do your research and get in touch with your preferred planner early on to check availability and book your chosen date in!

OFFICIANT/LEGALS

This can sometimes be a slightly tricky one, it all depends on your preferred ceremony.

If you’re going for a civil ceremony, registrars can only be booked within 12 months of the wedding date – so if you have booked your venue over a year in advance do pop a note in your diary to book your registrar as soon as you can within the 12 month window!

However if you decide a humanist ceremony is perfect for you (highly popular amongst those looking for “non-traditional” and outdoor venues where legal ceremonies aren’t possible), you can begin researching for a celebrant as early as you wish.

If it is possible, I would suggest contacting and meeting 2-3 celebrants to get a feel for the connection you have with them and to convey your ideas for your ceremony, after-all they are going to be a very special part of the day, do take this additional time into consideration too!

PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER

Again, many popular wedding photographers or videographers are booked up hugely in advance (often 1, 2 or even 3 years prior to the wedding date), so if you have your eye on a particular photographer’s style, do reach out early to make sure your selected date is firmly in their diary.

CATERING/BAR

If your food & drink isn’t already included in-house by the venue, you will need to research options for external catering. Your venue will typically have a list of recommended caterers who have worked there previously.

If you do have your heart set on a particular catering style (or a certain caterer in mind), you will need to get in contact with them to arrange tastings and confirm they are available on your date, and able to cater at your venue.

Take your time with the tastings, why not treat yourself!

CAKE

Always a good topic! & one to also enjoy a few samples of, just to make sure it’s just right for you!

If you have been eyeing up a particular designer’s Insta feed for some time, drop them a call or email to ensure they have availability to create your dream cake!

STATIONER

This does depend on your stationery requirements – you may be crafting them yourself but if you are opting to save the dates, a stationer will need to be enlisted fairly early on in the process.

If choosing formal invitations and on the day stationery only, this gives flexibility to book this in later on.

Do bear in mind your overall wedding vision/colour scheme when thinking about your wedding stationery to ensure a cohesive feel across all elements!

ENTERTAINMENT

All musical and non-musical entertainment should be given some thought. You may have previously attended a wedding that your dream DJ entertained, or perhaps the perfect photo-booth! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with these suppliers early on.

If you’re only looking to hire a few entertainment props for the cocktails however, this can be thought out a little later on in the process after the remaining budget has been allocated.

Again as always when thinking things through, remember to go back to your overall vision and make sure all the pieces are fitting together perfectly. Ensuring that the feel of the entertainment fits with the overarching theme of your day.

FLORIST

With the florals it is again advisable to ascertain your aesthetic and colours ahead of contacting your favoured florist, to give them an idea as to the look you are wanting to achieve.

HAIR & MAKE UP

It’s a good idea to start looking at hair and make up options early on, even if you have only a vague idea as to the look and style you are after!

Some of the most highly sought-after hair and MUA’s are booked up well over a year in advance, so it’s preferable to get your date booked in their diary early on and discuss specific styles.

Remember to take into consideration any trials for both yourself and your bridal party also!

RENTALS (FURNITURE, DECOR)

Particularly if opting for furniture other than that provided by your venue, or if choosing a marquee, this should be next on the list to research and book.

Again, you will need to have your overall vision in place to decide on your chosen furniture, and it is worth double-checking any decor rentals with your florist prior as they may well have certain pieces/props available to hire within their inventory to avoid hiring separately!

TRANSPORT

Typically wedding transportation is booked about six months in advance. However, if you’re getting married in peak season, you may want to do this even sooner to make sure your date doesn’t get snapped up!

For more information or to start planning your dream wedding, please complete an enquiry form or email [email protected] and we can arrange a complimentary consultation!