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The Best Time to Book Your Wedding Vendors

Photo credit: John Caresselli Photography

Every couple has to start somewhere when it comes to wedding planning....

The first stop is usually creating a timeline of who and what to book and when.

1-3 years out: For most - the venue is usually the first stop. Most venues book from 1-3 years in advance pending their popularity, pricing, themes, and offerings. Most couples are engaged between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day - with couples coming in full force from March through June looking to book for the following year. By the end of summer beginning of fall couples engaged later in spring up through the July 4th start coming out and booking for 2 years out. Pending flexibility on the date you may be looking for, most venues will book the holiday weekends first, then all Saturdays, followed by Fridays and then Sundays.

18 months in advance: assembling your all star team after you have your location is the next step. If you plan to have a wedding coordinator/planner - this would be either before the venue or immediately following pending how much of your details and planning you would like them to handle for you.

12-18 months out: from the big day, the caterer and photographer would be the next to line up. For caterers or banquet facilities who only have one set of staff or reception hall, and can only handle one wedding a day- you'll certainly want to secure the date asap. Go to as many tastings as possible, and make sure your staff is fully aware of all of the details, menu offerings, serving style, and decor and design you are envisioning. The photographer should be personally met, your ideas should be discussed and timeline picked through to be sure they can offer everything you need for the day and your personalities mesh.

8-12 months out: - your dj, band, and musical ensembles, should be put in place. Be sure to have proper music for ceremony, cocktail hours and reception times. Some couples decide to have different vendors handle each as a separate event, while many have one dj cover all aspects. During this same time period - you'll also want to have desert options - be it bakery, food trucks, mobile ice cream stands, etc all put in place and contracted. Florist should also be secured to ensure your date during this period.

6-9 months out: a day of decorator, coordinator or rental company is needed this will also be in the half - one year before time frame to guarantee your items, or your staff be available on your specific date.

6 months out: the officiant, judge , reverend , ordained minister etc should be met with. Many have requirements of a specific number of meetings prior to the day pending religion - so be sure you keep this in mind so you know how far in advance to ask them to preside over your ceremony.

4-6 months out: Of course everyone wants to look their absolute best on the big day - so this is a good time to find the right salon or mobile team of hair stylists and make up artists. Book your trials in advance along with the actual wedding date itself.

3-6 months out: If transportation is needed -be it horse drawn carriages, coach buses, or shuttle services - 3-6 months is usually enough time to find suitable arrangements.

You'll find every market will vary a bit on timelines on when things should be booked by - but on average this list of times and vendors should give you a good framework to be sure you can find everything you want without missing out on any of those specific vendors you just "have to have".

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