The whole “first comes love, then comes marriage” statement is missing quite a few steps if you’re wanting to host a wedding to celebrate that marriage! Choosing your venue and selecting vendors doesn’t happen all in a day! (The average couple hires 15 wedding vendors!) There is no exact timing to planning a wedding. However, we have guidelines here based on the average engagement length of 15 months to help decide when to book wedding vendors!
When to Book Wedding Photographer & Videographer
What’s a once-in-a-lifetime event without being able to look back on it and share it for future generations?! While some couples forgo a traditional wedding cake or wear something blue, we don’t suggest skipping out on hiring stellar cinematographers for your big day. You definitely don’t want to leave this to-do unchecked for too long, as many other couples are reserving photographers and videographers early on as well. For that reason, you want to make sure you book your photographer and videographer at least a year in advance.
When to Book Wedding DJ
Since every reception needs one, don’t sleep on reserving this key ingredient to getting the party started! Book your wedding DJ at least nine to ten months out from your wedding day. Same as photographers and videographers, DJs are also one of the most highly sought-after wedding services. They bring your party to life! DJs don’t just play music, but will also be the host of your night to take the stress away from you.
When to Schedule Engagement Photo Shoot
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but booking your engagement photoshoot as soon as you’re engaged is a great idea! Well, maybe not right away. Enjoy at least a week or two of being in that newly engaged feeling before you begin wedding planning. The engagement photo shoot is one you want to do in the early stages of planning because you want to capture those raw emotions at their peak! Bonus, your engagement photo shoot can be a great way to get to know a possible wedding photographer.
When To Order & Send Invites
When choosing to send your invitations and save the dates, the most important thing to keep in mind is where your guests live. If your guests live in the same country, two to three months out is a safe bet for sending invites. Save the dates are best to send six months out for these guests as well.
Now, it’s much different if your guests live internationally. You want to send save the dates to international guests as soon as you know your wedding date. Yes, that means a year or more out. This ensures that you give your guests plenty of time to save up money and look for plane tickets.
That goes along with invitations. If you have international guests, your timeline speeds up and you’ll also want to send those six months out. This gives plenty of time for them to receive the invite in the mail and for you to receive their RSVP back to you if you’re not doing online RSVPs.
When to Buy Your Wedding Dress
The dress. This is one of the topmost important parts of the wedding day that you’ll absolutely need. No matter what type of dress style you’re going for, you’ll want to buy a wedding dress ahead of time. If you have the privilege of being engaged more than a year from your wedding date, start researching what kind of style you’d like. Then go ahead and book appointments for the first fittings. Once you’ve decided, you want to actually buy the dress at least a year ahead of your wedding.
With lots of variables of what could keep your dress from arriving on time, including the pandemic, this will give you plenty of time. Once the dress arrives, you’ll also have to make time for alterations (possibly multiple rounds) if need be. To avoid the stress of rush orders, ahead of time is the name of the game!
When to Reserve a Hotel Block
When touring and booking your wedding vendor, it’s good to first ask the venue manager for their suggestion on nearby hotel options (if your venue isn’t already a hotel). You’ll want to then reserve your hotel block right after reserving your wedding venue or at least a year before the big day.
This twelve-month guideline is especially true if your venue is in a popular location or part of town that draws in tourists. If you have more flexibility and availability with nearby lodging, you’ll still want the hotel block booked at least seven months ahead of time to be able to share the information with your save the dates and wedding website.
When to Reserve Catering
If your venue has one required catering option, you can rest a bit knowing that the caterer already has your date saved when you reserve your reception space. You do still need to pick out your menu, but this can happen in the final three to four weeks before the event.
If you have multiple options for catering, you’ll want to finalize your choice six to eight months before your wedding day. Typically caterers have multiple menu options (some dozens!), so you then still have plenty of time to select the actual meal you’re providing for guests.
Complete Weddings + Events Raleigh, North Carolina
Complete Weddings + Events offers multiple services to make it easy to reserve your wedding date for the vendors you still need! Contact Complete for availability on needs for your wedding day!