Hooray!! Engagement season has officially begun, so HUGE congratulations if you’ve recently checked into ‘camp bride/groom-to-be’. As you’re probably aware, it’s a very exciting camp to be in, but when the champers has been quaffed and you’ve showed off your new blingy best friend to everyone you pass in the street, ‘camp bride/groom-to-be’ can suddenly become a very daunting place.
Planning a wedding, even if it’s a tiny elopement for two, takes a massive amount of skill, time and effort, and one of the trickiest things to do is work out which order to book suppliers. If your budget allows for a wedding planner, we would 100% recommend starting (and ending) the process right here, as a planner will take all the weight off your shoulders leaving you to enjoy the period of engagement to the max! If, however, your budget isn’t going to stretch to a wedding planner or you want to get wholeheartedly stuck into the wedding planning process yourself, we’re here to help you get your head around what can be a really confusing quandary – which order to book suppliers!
While every wedding is different and there’s not an exact formula to stick to, it definitely helps to engage some logic. For example, it can be incredibly frustrating to book your hair, makeup and caterers, to discover that your dream photographer, the one you’ve followed on Instagram for two years, is booked!
Note that this list is not in any order of importance as we all know that EVERY supplier plays an equally important role on a wedding day and if, for instance, your day won’t be the same without that amazing makeup artist you’ve been obsessed with since the beginning of time, then absolutely book that MUA, but if that’s not the case, then here’s our guide to the order in which you should consider booking your suppliers:
The perfect venue is without question the foundation on which every other aspect of your wedding day can be built upon. Venues get booked up years in advance (particularly on Saturdays) and this can become even more complicated if you are booking one venue for the ceremony and another for the reception. Deciding on a venue and getting it locked down is the first thing couples should be focusing on.
We’re not being biased, but it really is super important to book your Celebrant as soon as possible. Like venues, Celebrant’s diaries fill up very quickly. Not only will there be no wedding at all without a Celebrant, in order to enjoy the best wedding ceremony possible, it is imperative that the couple and their chosen Celebrant are on the same wavelength to enable the creation of a ceremony that perfectly reflects the couple. Also, the majority of Celebrants have seen it ALL so they’re the perfect person to glean a little wedding planning inspiration and advice.
Once the wedding day is over, aside from the magical memories, all a couple will have left is photographs. Again, a popular photographer’s diary will be filled up on key dates, sometimes years in advance; therefore, we’d advise that if you have a particular photographic style that you swoon over (candid, traditional, documentary etc) then you will need to get your date in their diary in super quick time.
4) Food & Drink
Many venues will have their own team of in-house caterers, so if this is you, then you can move onto the next stage of the planning process; however, if your venue doesn’t offer this then we would advise that the next step is to book your caterer/bar as soon as possible. In recent years we’ve noticed that weddings have become reflections of a couple’s personality, style and TASTE so more and more couples are sourcing external caterers and bars to feed and quench the thirst of their guests, which means one thing, they get booked up fast.
You might think that booking your florist can come way down the list, but we’d actually advise booking your florist as early as possible for two reasons: firstly, a good florist will book up quicker than you can say daffodil, and secondly, more often than not, wedding flowers hold the key to the entire look, style and theme of a wedding. Once you’ve picked your wedding colours, a florist will be able to build on your colour choice with a gloriously corresponding colour palette, which can inspire everything from bridesmaid colours and decor to wedding invitations and cake design.
6) Wedding Cake
Speaking of wedding cakes, now that you’ve got your catering and wedding colours down, you can start thinking about what kind of cake will match your palette. Think about how gorgeous a big naked wedding cake looks in a rustic barn venue or how perfect a foliage & flower covered creation looks in an outdoor/marquee wedding? The majority of wedding cake makers are independent, small business owners so during the busiest wedding months, space and time constraints mean they book up VERY quickly.
7) Hair & Makeup
We recommend putting the feelers out for hair and MUAs as soon as you can as there is A LOT of choice and the process can be incredibly overwhelming. Choosing your venue, flowers and theme should hopefully combine to help you pinpoint the look that you’ll sport on the big day! Some of the most popular hair and MUAs are booked up years in advance, so we recommend sealing the deal asap and then embracing your trial.
When it comes to wedding music, there’s lots more to consider than simply booking the wedding band. Couples need to have a think about music for assembling, the grand entrance, post ceremony, the reception and what happens when the wedding band retires and your guests want to party on! If, like lots of couples, you’re happy to embrace a Spotify playlist for assembling, entrance, post-ceremony and after hours, then booking a wedding band and/or DJ ought to be one of your first priorities to ensure you get who you want. If, however, you want a harpist for assembling and a piper for coming down the aisle, then you’ll need to secure these guys as soon as possible too.
The trend for “blank canvas” wedding venues is set to get even bigger in 2020, so if this is something you’re thinking about, you need to get your styling skates on! Once you have chosen your venue and flowers, you’ll have a good idea of the look you’re trying to achieve (vintage, traditional, bohemian, rustic etc) so when you get to that stage, couples need to pull their look together with styling, so the perfect furniture, props, crockery etc will need to sourced and reserved to avoid disappointment.
While videography is not quite at the stage where it’s considered a wedding “essential”, the changes in video technology over the past ten years has made videography one of the newest kids on the block at weddings and they’re becoming more and more popular! We are pretty confident that videographers will soon become as commonplace as photographers, so if you’re planning your wedding and you want to capture your big day on film, we highly recommend hitting Instagram and securing your favourite film-maker asap!
We would say that entertainment in the form of photobooths, games, magicians etc should be one of the final “luxuries” if your budget allows. Guests aren’t going to expect these fun extras, but they’ll certainly appreciate them, so if you have a little room for leeway in your budget then go forth and book your favourite entertainment as these are increasing in popularity and therefore book up quickly.