The key to a successful wedding planning timeline is the application of a wedding vendors checklist. Which all sounds very formal!
Essentially, we’re saying you need to have a comprehensive list written down, highlighting each of the vendors you need, and want, to hire for your dream wedding. Along with a rough schedule of when you need to book each one.
Creating a well-thought-out list of wedding vendors will not only help you plan the best day ever! But it’ll also aid you in keeping it within budget. But who should be on that wedding vendors checklist? And how many professionals do you actually need to hire for your ceremony and reception?
Today, we’ll answer all of your burning questions, and guide you through which vendors to book for your wedding day. Take a deep breath, it’s time to plan your wedding!
Wedding Vendors Checklist
Timing is vital when hiring vendors for your wedding. Book things in the wrong order, and at some stage or another, you’ll start to run into problems.
However, today we’re just sharing the professionals you need to hire, without laying them out chronologically. If you want to find out when you should be booking each vendor, go check out our wedding timeline template after reading this post.
The booking of your wedding venue should be your number 1 priority when you start wedding planning. If you begin hiring musicians, caterers, stylists, etc before knowing exactly where you’re tying the knot, there will be issues. And not just boring logistical ones. It will affect how your day will look as well.
The theme of your celebration will be greatly influenced by your wedding venue backdrop, often changing the whole of your decor, type of dress, and style of stationery – to name but a few. Plus, there will be certain vendors who simply can’t work at some venues, or will work better at others.
Think about the perfect location you want to marry in and celebrate at. Then consider what type of venue you’ve been dreaming of. That should help in narrowing things down.
Hiring a wedding planner would/could potentially come before booking your wedding venue, as they should be able to help you find the perfect place. However, not all couples work this way.
Each planner will offer a different level of service to their clients, depending on the wedding budget and requirements.
You may want someone to come in and plan everything for you from day one. A full-service wedding planner. Or, on the flip side, you may prefer a more hands-on approach and simply want someone to coordinate on the day.
Whichever level of service you choose, your wedding planning journey will certainly run a lot smoother by hiring professional event planning.
A wedding photographer is the one vendor you’ll book for your big day that can be considered an investment. Sure, you can freeze a piece of wedding cake, or pass down your bridal gown to the next generation.
But your photographer is capturing the memories of your wedding day. Be it a super grand celebration in a castle, or an elopement on the beach, those moments should be savored.
Besides, you spent months and months planning this whole thing, so you should have something to show for all your hard work!
Don’t delay in searching and selecting your wedding photographer, as the best ones can get booked up years in advance for peak wedding season.
Assuming this is your first time tying the knot, you may be surprised at how long the wedding dress process takes. Unless you’re buying off-the-rack, you could be looking at a timeline of over 6 months.
Which will include waiting for the dress to be made, delivered, altered, and prepared for your big day. This period needs to be factored in, as does the time it can take to find ‘the one’ in the first place!
Some brides find the perfect dress in the first boutique they visit, and others tour around for weeks searching for that special something. Give yourself plenty of time, and don’t rush what should be a hugely pleasurable process.
Wedding Attire (Bridesmaids & Groomsmen)
Bridesmaids’ dresses, groomsmen’s suits, and wedding party attire does not take as long to order as bridal does. But, their timeline should also be considered.
Even if you’re hiring suits and picking up cheap bridesmaid dresses from ASOS – they will possibly still need to be altered. Especially a groom suit.
Professional Wedding Hair & Makeup
Having professional hair and makeup done on your wedding day is almost a must for us. You deserve to look and feel your best on the big day, and with the right team behind you, you’ll feel like a million dollars when walking down the aisle.
Before picking your artist, please do some research. If you have friends or family who have tied the knot in the area you’re getting married in, hit them up for recommendations, as their honest insight will be invaluable. Failing that, check out real reviews on Facebook, highlighting ones that reference their personality.
Pro-tip, when arranging an engagement shoot with your photographer, time it to coincide with your hair and makeup trial. That way you get to see if they’re right for you, and you get a professional look for your engagement photos!
Flowers are an integral part of wedding decor, often prominent throughout a celebration. From buttonholes and bouquets to centerpieces and ceremony arch decoration, floral arrangements are another must for us.
Much like the vendors above in our wedding planning checklist, florists also need to be hired well in advance of your celebration. If you’re to achieve the look you’ve been dreaming of, 9-10 months should be about right.
Seems like a long time, but their schedules are often busy and sometimes certain blooms must be specially ordered for your big day.
It may well be that your wedding venue insists on supplying the catering. Or they could be more open to outside vendors.
Whichever option is available to you, it’s important to remember how greatly the food and drink that your guests consume will affect the enjoyment of the day/evening. So, if you can, choose catering companies that’ll gift your guests a really exciting experience.
Without wedding stationery, your loved ones won’t know where your wedding location is, when it is or what style of celebration it will be. Wedding invitations and save-the-date cards are vital in providing guests with the information they need.
The timing of your wedding invitations being sent out is critical. Too early, and everyone’s forgotten or lost the invite. Too late, and guests have already made plans.
There are a number of other stationery items that also need to be printed for your reception. Such as menu cards, ceremony programs, a seating chart, and escort cards.
You may feel like you want to create some of these things yourself, but remember, if you’re timing is poor, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Seek wedding professionals when you need someone else to take the strain.
Even the keenest baker will usually order a wedding cake for their reception, with good reason. It’s typically the centerpiece of the action, and the ceremony of cutting it is often a lot of fun.
When it comes to weddings, it’s not just the dance floor that requires a soundtrack – it’s the whole day. Your walk down the aisle, cocktail hour, reception entrances, and the first dance all benefit from having a professional provide the music. Be that live, or via a DJ.
It’s tempting to Spotify the night, and do it all on the cheap. But trust us, if your budget can stretch to it, having a pro looking after the tunes is always worth it. They’ll create the buzz, orchestrate the crowd, and leave you with one less thing to worry about.
Without an officiant, you’re just two people promising each other stuff, without anything legal to back it up! Meaning, when it comes to the list of wedding vendors, your officiant should be fairly high up on the hiring list.
Not only are they necessary, but a good officiant will also set the tone of the wedding ceremony. Often customizing it to your taste and personality. So do your research, and find an individual you feel truly comfortable looking after your ceremony arrangements.
Wedding rings are a physical representation of your marriage and should reflect your personal taste. A reputable jeweler will assist you in finding, or creating, the perfect bands for you both.
It may well be that your wedding venue can provide the majority of your rental items (chairs and tables etc), and all you have to do is decorate. However, there will usually be some elements at least that need to be hired, especially if you’re not keen on what the venue can provide.
For outdoor weddings, you may also have to rent a tent to house the reception, or just to provide some cover from the elements.
Whether you choose to arrive at your ceremony via horse-drawn carriage, or white limousine, you’ll typically need to hire a wedding transport company to get you and your bridal party “to the church” on time.
This may not be essential, but it’ll certainly make the day feel even more special. Depending on the parking situation at your wedding venue, you may also have to look into valet parking.
How Many Wedding Vendors Do You Actually Need?
According to The Knot’s real wedding survey back in 2019, the average number of vendors hired is 14. Which sounds about right to us. However, the amount of wedding professionals you take on for your celebration really comes down to you, and the style of the occasion.
At one end of the scale, you could be eloping to a beach in California. And for that, you’ll really only need to hire a wedding photographer and an officiant, if your photographer doesn’t do both.
On the other hand, if your wedding style is opulent, with a large guest list and countless little details. Then the sky really is the limit when it comes to vendors.
Do the Vendors Count as Wedding Guests?
The long and the short of it is, yes. Your DJ, photographer, wedding band, entertainment, and wedding coordinator (if not provided), will all need to be fed at some point.
So, when it comes to the catering side of things, yes, they are guests. However, it’s unlikely that your vendors are going to sit down with your friends and family, so there’s no necessity to include them in the seating plan.
You should certainly inform your wedding venue of how many outside vendors you’ll have with you on the day, as a matter of health and security.
When it comes to accommodation, you may well have hotel room blocks booked for your guest list, but does that include vendors? Some will require overnight accommodation. If you don’t already know whether they do when booking the rooms, block out a couple of extra ones, just in case.