Deciding what to book first for a wedding can feel daunting! There are so many vendors and tiny details to consider for your wedding day. My tip is to start big, and go smaller (more detailed) from there! Securing your date will really kick off the rest of your wedding planning. And securing a date relies heavily on your venue.
If you want an all-inclusive planner, who will help you book all of your vendors (and help you with all of your planning in general) this should be the first person you look for. Especially if you want them to help you find a venue.
If you’re not sure about a wedding planner, or only want to hire a day-of coordinator, I recommend booking these vendors first:
1. What to book first for a wedding: Your wedding venue
This will determine your date based on the dates they have available.
For tips on how to choose your wedding venue, click here.
They tend to book up the fastest after venues.
For tips on how to choose your photographer, click here.
3. Planner or Day of Coordinator if not booked first
If you are not booking a planner, then either DJ, caterer, or florist depending on your priorities (choose which vendor is your next highest priority, and start there!)
Use your priorities to determine the best order for you
There is no right or wrong way to start booking your wedding vendors. You can start to look for your highest priority vendors first. In general, your venue partially determines your date. Many venues book up to two years in advance. If a specific venue or type of venue is very important to you, you’ll want to stay somewhat flexible in your date, in case your desired date is already booked. Instead, if your date is a high priority, then you might have to be a little more flexible in your venue search, or look at booking it farther out.
If you’ve highly prioritized a different vendor – especially if you have a particular vendor in mind (like a photographer, a live band, or a florist), you’ll want to check with them before you even start your venue search! See what dates they have available in your timeframe. Then crosscheck those dates with the venue. Or if you’ve already looked at several venues, take their available dates, and send them to your preferred vendor (photographer, live band, florist, etc.). That could help you determine your date.
If you are cross checking dates like this, make sure you act fairly quickly, or double check that your preferred vendor will let you know if someone else inquires about your date, and ask them what kind of timeframe they give you to make a decision.
It would be disappointing to secure a date with a venue that your preferred photographer had open, only to find out they booked that date while you were booking your venue!