If you’re recently engaged, it can seem almost overwhelming with the options you have. Who should you book for your venue, your photographer, your DJ? How far out should you book them? What all does it entail to book a vendor?
I recently received an inquiry from a bride for the month of October, this year. She inquired about a date that I do happen to still have available and also wanter to know just how long she has to look around for photographers before they’re all booked up. I don’t think a lot of newly engaged couples realize just how quickly a vendor can be booked up. Especially one that isn’t able to do multiple weddings in the same day. A florist is going to be able to take on a few weddings on the same day whereas a photographer can only take one.
So what exactly should you do? You don’t want to book a vendor just because they’re the only ones available. You want to book a vendor because you fell in love with their work and personality but how can you ensure this?
Last night, I sat down with my inquiry list & contract list to bring you a few tips based off of my last three years in bookings.
Tip 1) If your wedding is in high wedding season (April-November), your date is going to book faster than weddings that take place between December – March.
May and June 2018 have been booked up completely since May 2017. Two of my 2018 dates in those months were booked back in fall of 2016. Over 18 months in advance. September has been booked up since August 2017. 14 weddings booked over a year in advance with me. I only shoot 30 weddings each year so nearly half of my brides book me that far in advance. The rest of my brides book 8-12 months in advance.
Tip 2) Don’t be afraid to ask your bridesmaids for help.
Your friends love and support you. If your fiance can’t make a vendor meeting, bring your MOH to step in and help you remember all the questions you wanted to ask. Make a girls’ night in of you guys researching venues, photographers or even decor ideas while running movies in the background and drinking mimosas. If any of them are married, ask for advice. If they aren’t married yet, they’ll have a blast seeing who’s out there and may even start making future plans themselves!
Tip 3) The rule of thumb is the higher in demand the vendor is, the faster you want to lock down your date with them.
There are going to be vendors with a more flexible calendar because they aren’t as high in demand. A photographer that just started out has to make a name for themselves and it will be easier to book them closer to a wedding date than somebody who’s established. This is because before a bride gets engaged, she already is starting to think about her wedding. She starts reading wedding magazines, following photographers she may like and even contacting a few vendors she is in love with to start a relationship before the question has even been popped. For example, right now, I have three lovely ladies who have let me know that I will be the first person they contact as soon as he proposes. One of them has already contacted venues and has worked out which package she is going to choose with me. Because of social media, brides have the best way to plan their wedding right at their fingertips and the first step to an awesome wedding is having an awesome relationship with your vendors. Being able to build your trust in someone before you even met them is an advantage that brides even just a decade ago didn’t have as a luxury. If you have your eyes set on a vendor, ask them what dates they have open and be flexible to choosing a date that seems unconventional like a Friday if a venue or other vendor is already spoken for the day you are inquiring about.
Bonus, most event venues offer a weekday special price! 🙂
Tip 4) Make contact with vendors within a month of getting engaged–especially if you are proposed to during holiday season.
November & December couples all around are getting proposed to and then again in February for Valentine’s Day and May after college graduation. So there are months where vendors are bombarded with inquiries and those months are the ones where dates really start booking up. January is the most popular month to book a photographer followed by June, July & December. In January, fall weddings finish up booking. August-November will quickly fill Saturdays that were open before the New Year as newly engaged brides dream of having their wedding as soon as possible with still enough time to get everything done. Brides that are proposed to over Valentine’s & springtime/graduation are more likely to book out a year or so in advance because they know they can’t pull off a fall wedding in that short amount of time.
According to The Knot magazine, couples spend an average of 14.5 months planning their wedding. That seems like a long engagement but it helps give you plenty of time to book your favorite vendors, make all of your plans and also pay vendors off in increments instead of all at once.
If you have any questions, they’re always welcomed! I will be hosting a FB LIVE! Q & A this Sunday, January 7th at 3pm CST for brides to ask anything wedding or engagement related with my event planner co-host, Kristen. Hope to see you there!
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