Okay. so you've listed your priorities, resolved yourself to the amount of time it takes to plan a wedding, and you've created a realistic budget. At this point, you're ready for the next step: vendor selection.
If you’ve already created a solid plan for your wedding, your next stop will be identifying and selecting your vendors. This is typically a daunting task for most people because there are so many options, it’s hard to know where to start. As these vendors will be a part of the most important day of your life, it’s a good idea to know what to look for, how to find vendors you want to be a part of your day, and the key to getting them locked in for your date.
Defining Vendors: A wedding vendor is anyone you will be paying for goods or services for events associated with your wedding. There are a few vendors that you probably know you want (a reception venue, a photographer), but have you thought about all the categories that will need to be covered? Spend time identifying what you want for your wedding even before moving on to vendor research. Also before reaching out to any vendors, identify the style and feeling you want for your day. This doesn’t mean you have to have a finalized picture! However, it will be easier to find the right vendors if you have an idea of what that looks like. Discuss the vision with your fiance so that the vision of the day matches both of you. You may also want to discuss with your family and get feedback on the plan you've outlined. Getting to Know You: I’m of the opinion that the best way to really get to know someone is to eat with them. That’s part of why I've hosted several events: it gives you an opportunity to spend some real time with vendors that will be a part of a lifetime of memories. If you can’t attend an event with potential vendors, try to schedule an in-person meeting or a video consultation to get a better feel for style and personality. How to Book: While it may not be practical to book all your vendors in the same day, it’s still important that you book as early as possible. You’ve spent all this time researching and selecting your vendors, the last thing you want to do is miss out on their services because you waited to book. Get contracts and put in your deposits to be sure that your date is secured.
If this sounds like a lot more work than you're comfortable signing up for, then you should consider hiring a wedding planner. You'll still have to pick a vendor, but she can help you sort through the many other options and decisions that will need to be made. Of course, this assumes that you have listed saving time as one of your top priorities. We'll also talk more about the value of a wedding planner in our next post.