Kickstart Your Wedding Planning with These Key Vendors

Did you know that, typically, couples invest 12 to 18 months in planning their weddings? Although it’s certainly possible to create a wonderful and meaningful wedding in a shorter time span, the planning steps remain the same.  Here are the key vendors who will kickstart your wedding planning, along with some helpful advice.

Taking the first steps

 “From budget and venue selection to seeing you through the reception, a  full service wedding planner guides you through the entire process,” says popular New Jersey wedding and event planner Lisa Ivler of Lisa Ivler Events who covers North Jersey, CT, and New York City. “Work with a planning professional who offers creative direction, expertise in logistics, comprehensive guidance and has strong relationships with other notable vendors.”

Locating a venue and securing your date sets the stage for hiring the next round of important wedding vendors. Vivian Buesking, Co-Owner of Circle of Seven Ranch, a rustic chic wedding venue in Texas located southwest of Houston, encourages merging your venue vision with practical considerations. “Take time to look for the ideal backdrop for the ambiance you desire. But don’t forget to include factors like location, amenities, and flexibility in accommodating your specific needs and preferences.”

If your vision involves a wedding weekend, Kate Stevens, Co-Owner of The Lake House Inn, a casual yet elegant Pennsylvania wedding venue in Bucks County, reminds couples to remember their guests. “Explore locations that offer on-site lodging for your wedding party and special guests. Your venue manager can also direct you to other nearby accommodations and guest transportation options.” 

Continue the vision

Your venue and vision also influence your wedding rentals, says Designer Michele Rogers, who advises wedding couples for Indianapolis tent rental company Ace Party Rentals. “Linens, serviceware, even tent style and specialty furniture all establish a framework for other design decisions like centerpieces and floral installations.”

Explains Yoni Yemini, Co-Founder of highly rated Chicago event decor company Ace Chicago Events, “If your venue is a “blank canvas,” you may want to utilize an event services company. These professionals create a concept or theme, design it and then execute the vision.”

Nail down the entertainment

Wedding entertainment is more than just memory-making music, believes Cory Leonardo, a top Louisville wedding DJ and Owner of Party Zone Productions. “Creating a great guest experience is all about setting the tone for the reception and serving as the “voice” of the event. A skilled DJ is also your MC, keeping everyone informed and entertained.”

“Popular wedding dates fill up quickly,” notes 5-star rated Metro Detroit wedding DJ Seth Michaels of Troy, MI Michaels Entertainment. “Starting the hunt early gives you time to find the best DJ for your personalities and wedding day vision. Work with a DJ who reflects your unique style and can keep your guests engaged, entertained, and energized.”

Matt Kays, Owner of Colorado/Wyoming “Front Range” entertainment company Mountain Event Services in Fort Collins and a leading Colorado wedding DJ, understands the importance of client communication – both initially and throughout the wedding planning process. “We’re here to listen to you. Professional DJs communicate with their clients throughout the planning process, offering suggestions and solutions.”

Look to your DJ for that all important reception timeline. Says Jason Strycharz, Owner of Maine DJ company The Music Man DJ Service in Kennebunk, “Along with offering musical suggestions, your DJ also creates your personalized reception timeline, keeps other vendors in the loop throughout the evening and knows how to smoothly adjust the pace if things get a bit off. That’s why you want to work with a professional.”

“DJ companies are a great place to find wedding and reception add-ons like photo booths, videography, and special effects,” offers George Wainwright, Owner of Coastal DJ and Video, a North Carolina wedding DJ company with offices in Kill Devil Hills, Beaufort, and Wilmington, “Booking multiple services saves time, ensures seamless planning, and saves you money.”

What’s next?

Get ready to go gown hunting! “It may seem early,” says Elicia Bonham, Owner of Country Bridals & Formal Wear, a favored New England bridal shop in Jeffrey, NH, “But manufacturing, shipping, fittings, and alterations take time. Shopping early allows for any shipping delays and necessary adjustments. And knowing your gown style helps with deciding on the perfect bouquet.” 

This is the time to book your photographer and set up your engagement photo session. “Your engagement session allows you and your photographer to get comfortable with one another and even practice some posing,” says Maine wedding photographer Isabelle Miner of Shado of a Rose. “Your engagement photo session helps set the tone for working together.”

And don’t forget …

Reminds Long Island officiant and custom wedding vows writer Denise Drapkin of I Wed, “Couples want their ceremony to be personalized and meaningful. Booking your officiant early gives you time to collaborate. And if you’re intent on writing your vows, you’ll want plenty of time to compose your thoughts. Your officiant may also offer premarital counseling, so take advantage of enriching your future marriage during this time.” 

Booking vendors in these categories will definitely kickstart your wedding planning process. Just make sure to prioritize vendors who understand your vision, exude enthusiasm for working with you, and fit comfortably within your budget.

Brian Lawrence is a wedding business marketing expert who has helped thousands of clients like Alan Berg and Joe Bunn with consulting, marketing and web design. We’ve partnered with Brian Lawrence to bring this great advice from some of his amazing clients.