Post # 1
Our wedding is scheduled for October 2010, and currently we have the venue and the photographer. I’ve been hesitant to go out and find other vendors this early, but I’m beginning to worry that, when the time comes, I won’t be able to book who I want because they’ll already be booked, and there I was, three months before, twiddling my thumbs!
How early did you book your venue? Photographer? Florist? Caterer? Baker? Band/DJ?
Post # 3
We booked our venue first- about a full year before the wedding. (It happened that we were on vacation and found a winery that took our breath away and we looked at other venues that just couldn’t compare!)
The venue we chose has a list of preferred vendors. We began our search for our caterer, DJ, officiant etc based off of the list. As time alloted, if we were in the town we were getting married at, we would schedule an appointment to meet with the vendor (mainly it was the catering tastings that took some time to fit in). We booked the caterer about ten months prior to the date of our wedding.
Everything else: such as hotel, limobus, dress, just fell into place as time permitted in our life schedule.
I think for some people though, they prioritize booking based off of what is mainly important to them. So if you love a particular vendor- you might book them first and center everything around the availability of said vendor (for example my uncle is a wedding photographer, so we scheduled our wedding date around a time that both the venue and my uncle were available- AND we took into account best travel times for fam/friends we were planning on inviting.)
Post # 4
I book both venues & the photographer a year in advance and haven’t booked anyone else yet. I’m 11 months out right now.
Post # 5
We didn’t start booking until 7 months before the wedding. I think we had all of our vendors done with by January, so 5 months before our date. A lot of it will have to do with how popular your chosen vendors are and how popular your date is. You’re not in the "wedding season" (May-August), so you could probably wait a little while to start booking everything else. If you’re really worried, though, why not call around to see how far in advance your vednors will sign contracts? I know some vendors are willing to sign a year or two in advance, but some won’t do any contracts unless you’re a year out or six months out. Good luck!
Post # 6
I am getting married October 24th 2009, we just booked the venue, and are in process of booking photographer and band. Everything else is … not booked! ‘
I did hire a new wedding planner though, after easter vacation I should get most of my booking done.
Post # 7
We booked our venue and photographer 14 months out, our caterer 12 months out (because they’re associated with the venue and book quickly), and our florist about 10 months out. We booked the DJ and ceremony musicians and the baker around 7 months.
Post # 8
We booked our venue about 17 months out, just as soon as it started taking reservations for our date. But that’s because we’ve had a very long engagement and knew exactly where we wanted- and knew that the location fills fast for Saturdays in June. We booked our photographer and caterer at about a year out, our DJ & cake baker at about 10 months out, and finally our florist at about 4 months out (we’d booked a different florist earlier, but were unhappy with their pricing and service as the wedding approached). We did things in a bit of an odd order, but I was just intent on crossing things off my list whenever I found a vendor with which I was happy. I figured that I might as well take advantage of my long engagement and book things early. In some cases, it meant cheaper prices, we’ve gotten all our first-choice vendors, and it’s definitely helped my stress level to spread out the work over a longer period of time.
Post # 9
I don’t think there is anything wrong with booking your vendors early =). I got engaged last April and my wedding is this August. I booked my ceremony and venue locations first, by May. Florist by the end of May. Photographer by June. I don’t have a separate caterer (part of my reception package) but will have separate wedding cakes made and I booked that much later, in September. DOC also booked in September. Then I had a long break and started to follow up and book up the rest of my little details in Jan/Feb, like my ceremony musicians =). Anyway, my advice would just be to make it a point to touch base from time to time…update them with your plans as they may evolve and make sure you’re still on their radar!
Post # 10
i booked my photographer, venue, makeup artist, one year before the wedding
florist and invitations, 5 months before the wedding
Post # 11
We got engaged at the end of Aug 08 and had all major vendors (venue, florist, photog, decorator, wedding bands, brides dress) booked/ordered by October. We actually called the venue the day after and scheduled an appointment to go in and sign the contract. That was done in 2 weeks!! I think it’s soooo important to get the major vendors figured out right from the start. They’re a good starting point to help you plan everything else. Also it depends on when you plan on having your day. If it’s summer….book ASAP!
Post # 12
We booked the chapel at our church, photographer, & rehearsal dinner venue/restaurant a little over a year out. We also booked our honeymoon cabin (fall in the mountains-had to in order to get the cabin location we wanted during prime leaf viewing season) a couple of weeks later. Our first choice of florist was already booked and I’m glad I went ahead and set aside our hotel block at exactly a year out (they couldn’t block rooms earlier than a year-computer wouldn’t let them to that at Hampton Inn) because those things booked up QUICK! Even with this early booking, there was a double reservation problem with our rehearsal dinner, so at 6 1/2 months out, we have had to find a new restaurant/venue for our rehearsal dinner-which turned out better than the original plan.
My only warning would be to read your contracts carefully about deposits, etc. If the vendor goes out of business or declares bankruptcy-you will be stuck. Be sure you are covered there!
Let me edit and add here that we also booked around holidays, weekends and travel plans. I am a teacher, so we also planned around the school calendar. We originally wanted to get married the weekend before Thanksgiving bc as a teacher, I’m out of school from Wed on, so that would require two days off of work that I could’ve taken as personal leave. However…sitting down the manager at the Hampton Inn revealed that due to a giant car show that always happens that weekend, there are NO hotel rooms anywhere within 50 miles of where we live, restaurants are crowded, etc. PLUS, our original thinking that people are traveling anyway since it’s Thanksgiving, well, its a terrible time to be on the roads. So…consider all angles when booking your date and vendor.
Post # 13
we booked our venue/caterer 14 months in advance. the photographer, florist, and the band 10 months in advance with nobody saying they were already booked for our date. that said, we booked our officiant with 3 months before the wedding. it was soooo difficult to find someone available, someone we liked and wouldn’t charge four figures!
since october is peak season in NY/NJ, i think it wouldn’t hurt to look some time this summer.
best of luck!
Post # 14
@travelchick My thoughts exactly.. I’m so worried that everything’s going to go quick because October in New York is such a busy season! Also it’s Columbus Day weekend, so it’s a very popular Sunday wedding date.
Are you getting married in NYC? I’m a wedding officiant, and I couldn’t BELIEVE you couldn’t find someone for under $1000!!! I mean, three months in advance, we are pretty booked up, but still! That’s insane! NYC pricing, I guess?
Post # 15
Thanks for posting this! I was wondering the same thing. I am now 6months out and have only booked the venue. I think I need to get moving on this.
Post # 16
I’m not getting married until October of 2012 and we already have the reception venue, dj and florist. Partly because booking early gave us better prices, but also so we know exactly what we need to put aside for our budget.