Sunday, March 21, 2010

When Do I Book My Vendors? Pt1

   I had the pleasure of a surprise visit this past weekend from some out-of-town friends.  And was delighted to hear that they have become engaged!  And being only engaged for a few days, they are truly at the beginning stage of their wedding day.  After chatting for some time, we came around to the topic of when should to book the vendors.  And then I thought - What a great topic for the blog!!  So many brides-to-be have no idea where to begin. This will after all be one of the biggest events you will ever plan. But not to worry! It's important to stay organized.  If you are not the 'organized type', do not fret! Thats why the Artful Bride is here!  Below is generally the order you should be prepared to book vendors and complete the tasks of planning. 

1.  Start with your budget! Decide how much is within your means.( For more info read here). Who is helping you with the bills? And by what means are they contributing? (financially, with their time and/or expertise)
2.  How much time do you have?  Do you want a short or long engagement? (Read more about the pros and cons to length of engagement here).
3.  How elaborate an event do you want? (guest number, attire style etc)

Ok so once the 3 big questions have been answered, you are ready to move on the the task of planning out your calendar. I am going to assume for all intents and purposes that you are planning with 16 months ahead of you. (Shorter engagements will obviously require condensing this time frame.)

Sixteen to Nine Months
* Start an inspiration binder! In hear you will place you tear outs of inspirations, whether it be color schemes, flowers, dress ideas, decorations, magazines and food.
* Work out the budget. Determine what you need, then what you want. Determine the amount of time it will take to achieve these details.
* Your guest list. This is a good time to write up a list with columns  that include name, contact info, rsvp, gift and anything else that is important.  And remember cutting down on your guest list will help you save the most money.
* Book your venue! This is when you will need to decide if your ceremony & reception will be in the same location.  Your schedule for the day needs to take into consideration the travel time between the locations. (remember if you are planning a city wedding to account for daily traffic.)
* This is also a great time to hire a planner.
* Choose your wedding party.
* Book your officiant
* Begin your research on photographers, bands, florists, and your caterer. (add these names to a vendor contact list once you begin to narrow them down)
* Throw your engagement party!

Eight Months
* Book your photographer & videographer.
* Book the entertainment
* Start meeting caterers if your location does not provide one. You will need to book this month or early next month. This is very important!
* Dress shopping! This way you have time for alterations & custom gown orders. (3 fittings is normal)
* Book hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Choose 3 different hotels so guests have a choice of price point.
* Start your wedding website!  You can create your site for free using the Wedding Channel.

Ok so now you can begin your planning.  I will continue posting your monthly schedule information over a series this week so as not to overwhelm you. Links will be available below as they are posted.

And Congrats again to Matt & Emily!!

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