Rapid City, SD
Wedding Planning Timeline: When To Book a Wedding DJ, Photographer & More

Wedding Planning Timeline: When To Book a Wedding DJ, Photographer & More


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. The average engagement length is 15 months. We would like to offer you following guidelines 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 “something borrowed, 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. Most other couples are reserving photographers and videographers early on. You want to make sure you book your photographer and videographer at least a year in advance to get the best ones.

When to Book Wedding DJ

Every reception needs a Master of Ceremonies, aka a wedding DJ. So 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. DJs are one of the most highly sought-after wedding services, in line with photographers and videographers. They bring your party to life! DJs don’t just play music, they also host your night and take the stress away from you.

When to Schedule Engagement Photo Shoot

This one may seem like a no-brainer: 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 that newly engaged feeling before you begin wedding planning. You want to do your engagement photoshoot 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 your wedding photographer.

When To Order & Send Invites

Your guests’ location is the most important thing to keep in mind when mailing your invitations and save the dates. Two to three months out is a safe bet for sending invites, if your guests live in the same country. 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 in advance. This would 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. 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 if you’re not doing online RSVPs.

When to Reserve Catering

Many venues require on-site catering. In this case, you can rest a bit knowing that the caterer already has your date saved when you reserve your reception space. You still need to pick out your menu, but this doesn’t have to happen until three to four weeks before the event.

You’ll want to book your catering six to eight months before your wedding day, if you have multiple choices. Typically, caterers have multiple menu options (some dozens!), so you would have plenty of time to select the actual meal you’re providing for guests.

When to Reserve a Hotel Block

It’s a good idea to ask the manager for suggestions on nearby hotels when touring and booking your wedding venue (unless your venue is a hotel). You’d want to reserve your hotel block right after reserving your wedding venue or at least one year before the big day.

This twelve-month guideline is especially true if your venue is in a popular location or a part of the town that draws in tourists. You may have more flexibility and availability with nearby lodging otherwise. However, 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.

Complete Weddings + Events Rapid City

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!

Complete Weddings + Events, Rapid City’s leading provider of event and wedding photography, videography, lighting, coordination, DJ services & photo booth rental.

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