The Order Matters: Exactly When to Book Each Vendor (and Why)

Check out this sample booking breakdown from start to finish, based on wedding pros' suggestions.

6. Florist
In general, couples will meet with florists anywhere from a year to six months out. "By this point, they've selected their date, venue, gown, and bridesmaid dresses, and these components can significantly influence the types of arrangements they ultimately choose," says Christi Lopez from Bergeron's Flowers. If you're having a longer engagement, she suggests consulting with florists in the same season that you're getting married in so that you can see what blooms will be available firsthand. "If brides plan their aesthetics backward, it can be a huge letdown when they find out their desired flowers aren't available, and their wedding vision doesn't align with anything else they've already invested in," says Cristina Barragan from Posh Peony.

Plus: What to Ask a Potential Florist ►

7. Videographer
"You'll want to begin exploring videography at least six months before the wedding to ensure you have a range of options available to you," says Kevin Dennis from Fantasy Sound Event Services. Since you'll have your ceremony and reception locations finalized, you can determine if your prospective videographer has worked there before. Also, your photographer and videographer will need to work together to capture all of the most joyful moments of the day, so it's ideal if they're familiar with one another, so they don't step on each other's toes. Using the same company for photography and videography can save a lot of money and hassle. 

Plus: What to Ask a Potential Videographer ►

wedding videographer
Photo Credit: Maria Angela Photography

8. Invitation Designer
The invitation design process begins anywhere from five to eight months before the couple's wedding. "Many people are overwhelmed by all of their options, and find it helpful to stop in a few different times before ordering to start to get a feel for what they like," says Heather Holub from Merrymaker Fine Paper. This allows couples to receive all their RSVPs in a timely fashion, and it gives calligraphers enough time to create the final wedding details, such as escort cards and signage. "Ideally, most calligraphers like to address the envelopes around four months before the wedding so that they're signed, sealed, and delivered eight to 12 weeks before the big day," says Eliza Gwendalyn from Eliza Gwendalyn. Also, if you're tying the knot in a destination wedding or around the holidays, then you'll want to give guests ample notice: "Send a save-the-date, which can be ordered as much as a year in advance," Holub says.

Plus: 50 Ideas for Your Wedding Invitations ►

wedding invitation
Photo Credit: Debbie Neff Photography

9. Hair and Makeup Artists
Beauty services used to be a last-minute addition to a wedding budget, but those days are long gone. "Popular artists can book up six months to a year in advance, so if you have a great recommendation or have been admiring an artist's work on social media, reach out now. There's nothing sadder than getting an 'oops, too late' request from a bride who waited and now I'm already booked on her date," says Jennifer Trotter from Lip Service Makeup. However, you don't want to schedule your beauty trials too far in advance — three months prior to the wedding date should give you plenty of time. "You want it to be a fresh look and something you and your beauty team will remember," says makeup artist Donna Kelly of Donna Kelly Makeup.

Plus: Tips for Acing Your Hair and Makeup Trials ►

makeup artist
Photo Credit: Genya + Erik Shenko Photography

10. Cake Designer
"Brides and grooms should hire their cake designer about six to three months in advance, which ensures that they have booked all the other main details and definitively gauged the vision of their big day. The cake needs to complement every other detail," says Mimi Ospina from Whipped Up by Mimi. If you envision a very detailed and extravagant confection, then you'll want to pin down a baker nine months in advance so that they can buy all of the necessary goods and start early on prepping details such as cascading sugar flowers.

Plus: 101 Amazing Wedding Cakes ►

11. Transportation
Most couples book their wedding transportation about three months from their wedding date. However, if you're getting married in May or June, then you may have to do this sooner, as you're competing with proms and graduations around that time.

Plus: 25 Wedding Transportation Ideas ►

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Comments

You left out OFFICIANT!!! You can not get married without an officiant. I am an in-demand Celebrant - I create amazing custom ceremonies and the couples who find me understand the importance of the ceremony. Too often bridal guides, websites and posts leave out or under price and under value the ceremony part... this is where you are actually GETTING MARRIED. If you booked all 11 of these steps and then couldn't find someone to perform the wedding ... how would you feel. My suggestion is - 1. date 2. venue 3. officiant ... and go from there. Even churches and other houses of worship have bookings and may not be available on the date you've already chosen.