Wedding Vendor Checklist 2023
If you are looking for a detailed wedding vendors checklist to know when to book wedding vendors, you have come to the right place.
For most newly-engaged couples, the first part of wedding planning involves selecting your wedding vendors.
This team will help you bring your wedding vision to be.
Whether it’s the wedding venue, band or caterer, some couples wait too long to book their favourite wedding vendors and, in some cases, book too early.
Our wedding vendor timeline is designed to help you check off your list and book your vendors promptly so you are not left behind.
It can be surprising to know exactly how early you might need to start contacting and securing dates for your big day!
Did you know that some popular wedding venues can be booked up to 2 years in advance and sometimes more?
So it’s always a good idea to at least consider your options as early as possible, so you don’t miss out on some of your favourite wedding vendors.
We will go over a quick wedding vendors checklist that you can easily follow to help secure your team.
This will make it easier for you when you are finally ready to book your wedding vendors.
When you are researching the wedding vendors you want to book, you can use our vendor’s checklist printable, take notes and quickly scan them against your wedding budget to see if they work for you or not.
I suggest grabbing this epic wedding vendor appointment tracker to ensure you won’t miss anything important.
And don’t forget to grab my wedding vendors checklist printable right here:
Quick wedding vendors list
- Wedding Planner
- Book Your Wedding Venue / Ceremony location
- Caterer/wedding food details
- Wedding Photographer
- Entertainment & Music
- Hair & Makeup
This is a quick essential list of wedding vendors you will need for your wedding.
I suggest grabbing my simple wedding planning checklist today for a detailed list of everything you need to plan your wedding.
The checklists will make planning your wedding a breeze.
Our wedding printables are designed to make all your planning so much easier.
Other checklists you might need to stay organized when booking your wedding vendors are listed below:
Grab these wedding vendor list printables to simplify your wedding planning process.
They are some of the best wedding checklists and most downloaded by couples.
You will also want to read this to learn precisely the cheapest month to get married.
The article is perfect for couples that are on a tight budget.
So what vendors do i need for a wedding?
Here is exactly when to book wedding vendors…
Before we get started on your wedding vendors checklist and how to know exactly when to book your wedding vendors, we wanted you to take the time to like our Facebook Page here! We also use affiliate links in our blog posts, meaning we can make a commission if you use any of our affiliate links.
Sign up for your FREE wedding planning checklist here!
List of wedding vendors needed
Whether you have a year to plan your wedding, need a 12-month wedding checklist, or only have 6 months to plan your wedding, you need to read this post.
Use this wedding vendors checklist to prioritize the wedding suppliers you need to book for your big day.
Your vendors will be responsible for bringing your dream wedding to life as you imagined.
Your vision is the overall feel of your wedding, which is the foundation of your marriage.
This is important for every couple as you want what you envisioned to come to life as you want it.
It is, therefore, important to book trustworthy and reputable professionals who will help you bring your vision to life.
You will book some of these vendors due to referrals and some because you came across samples of their work that you loved.
Either way, booking your wedding team as early as possible is best to avoid disappointment.
But not too early, especially if you plan on having a long engagement.
Why should you book your wedding vendors in advance?
Not only will booking in advance help relieve the stress of finding a specific vendor nearer to the big day, but it will also give you the best chance at saving some money with the room to negotiate.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of vendors you should look at booking and how early in advance.
What vendors do you need for a wedding?
Book your wedding planner
If you want the best deals and are looking for the best way to save money, you must book and hire your wedding planner.
Don’t wait until after booking the venue or caterer to look at wedding planners.
Most wedding planners have deals and discounts they can pass on to you as they have worked with most wedding vendors.
They will help you find the best wedding venues and a great team and can help you during the wedding planning process.
Include a well-trusted wedding planner on your wedding vendor’s checklist!
As I mentioned, they usually come with a great list of wedding vendors they can recommend to you, which makes the wedding planning process easier and saves you money.
I suggest reading more about wedding planners to understand their role better.
Hiring a wedding planner is a big investment, but it’s also a total sanity-saver.
Wedding venue and reception location (12 to 18 months)
The most important part of your wedding (apart from the bride and groom) is where you will say your “I Do’s.”
Not only is it essential that you need somewhere to host your wedding, but depending on costs and availability, it will determine exactly what day your wedding will take place.
Think about contacting wedding venues at least 12 to 18 months in advance so that you can be sure of securing a day and time that suits you both.
I have an extremely detailed post on our tips for choosing a wedding venue that I recommend all couples to read.
To save money on a wedding venue, I suggest looking at alternative dates such as a weekday and avoiding long weekends.
You can also look at alternative and non-traditional wedding venues.
Consider this when drafting your wedding checklist and determining your wedding to-do list.
- Ottawa Wedding Venues: Top 10 Chic wedding venues in Ottawa
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Caterer (10 months)
If your wedding venue doesn’t come with catering, you might need to hire someone to look after your food and drink needs.
What’s a wedding without some good food?
Just like with the wedding venue, if you wait too long, you will find that all the great caterers around have already been booked for other weddings or events.
It will also depend on how popular a particular wedding caterer is.
That’s why it is always a good idea to start looking for the right caterer about 12 months before the big day and book no later than ten months prior.
Most couples tend to book their wedding venue and caterer within days of booking each other.
Coordinating this booking is ideal as you will ensure both parties are available for your day.
Your wedding vendor checklist should include the caterer to be booked no more than 10 months before the big day.
With the venue already booked, you can speak to your caterer about what they can do with the space, and if you have any specific dietary requirements they need to consider.
Make sure your wedding venue can work with your caterer of choice.
And in some cases, your caterer will not only provide the food, but they may also provide your:
- Tables & chairs
- Table settings and accessories
- Bar services
- And more
For couples looking for cheap wedding reception food ideas, be sure to discuss that with your planner.
They will have unique ideas and recommendations that meet your budget and needs.
Find a wedding officiant
Unless you marry in a church or have made a prior arrangement, you can not get married without an officiant.
Most wedding officiants are in high demand and sometimes host several weddings daily.
Even churches and other houses of worship have bookings way in advance and may not be available on the date or time you’ve already chosen.
Think big cathedrals.
As soon as you have locked in your wedding venue/caterer, look into booking your wedding officiant next.
This wedding vendor should be booked within the first 10-12 months before your big day.
Hiring a wedding officiant that works well with your personality will make or break the feel of your wedding.
Here is a list of essential questions to ask your wedding officiant before booking.
Wedding Photographer (9 Months Before Wedding)
Take a close look at your wedding vendor checklist.
Do you want the best wedding photographer out there?
A great photographer will be able to take your big day and create perfect wedding pictures that you will be able to cherish forever, so it’s crucial to find the right one for you.
Many wedding photographers are out there, and they each have a unique and personal style, and finding the one that works for you best is key to getting the best pictures possible.
Start talking with photographers around 10 months before the big day and book no later than 9 months in advance to ensure you get the photographer you want.
I truly believe a wedding photographer is a vendor you should not skimp on.
Having an experienced wedding photographer puts you at ease, knowing that your memories are captured by someone who knows what they are doing.
You will have these photos for years.
Entertainment & Music (9 to 6 months) – Wedding Vendors Checklist
If your heart is set on live music for the reception, start looking for your DJ or entertainment around 9 to 6 months beforehand.
Most musicians and DJs are often booked quite far in advance!
I suggest starting your research as early as possible, around 9 to 6 months from the wedding day.
I recommend you start booking your entertainment at least six months before your wedding and if you want a live band, even sooner.
Ensure your wedding vendor timeline is well done to book your reception entertainment on time.
Don’t leave it too long, or you will find that all the good bands have been snatched up for other weddings or events.
Booking your wedding vendors in advance, especially the band, will also give the band a choice to learn any songs you specifically want if they aren’t already in their repertoire.
And speaking of songs, creating a wedding song list that you can provide to your DJ or band is a good idea.
We recommend grabbing this easy-to-use wedding music list template from the printable wedding shop to plan your songs.
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Wedding Decorators / Designers (8-6 months)
What wedding decor vendors do you need?
When I used to plan weddings actively, most, if not all, of my couples were always excited about the decoration portion.
They always wanted to start looking up decorations as soon as they sat down to discuss booking my services.
The reason I tend to push this portion to about 8 to 6 months before is that:
- People tend to change their minds often
- New styles and looks come into season frequently
- Venues sometimes update and renovate spaces
You want your decoration to meet your style and compliment the venue.
Working with a blank canvas is always the best and most expensive option.
I suggest booking your decor and florist at the same time.
You might also like:
- DIY homemade wedding decorations
- How to get wedding decorations on a budget
- Tips for luxurious decor on a budget
- Dollar Store decoration ideas & tips
Florist (8-6 months)
A wedding planning vendor checklist like this can easily remove the stress of planning a wedding, whether big or small.
Wedding flowers are one of the essential elements of a wedding.
They can quickly make any dull banquet hall look beautiful in an instant.
So look into booking a florist as soon as you can.
The good thing is that most wedding florists can handle more than one wedding daily, so it’s not as difficult to book the vendor you want.
But, just to ensure you get the perfect florist, book no later than 6 months in advance.
This gives the florist time to arrange to stock the flowers you want, especially if they are not available for your wedding day.
A simple wedding checklist will ensure you get the best wedding flowers.
Wedding invitations (6-8 months)
You will want wedding invitations no matter how big, or small your wedding will be.
Having a great wedding vendors checklist will help keep organized.
I recommend you start planning invitations and wedding stationery at least 6-8 months before your wedding.
This is especially important if you want to send out save-the-date cards.
You must choose your stationery designer at least eight months in advance.
And for wedding invitations only, couples should look at their options closer to the six months mark as most invitations are sent out at least eight weeks before the wedding date.
With that in mind, you should book your stationery vendors at least two months before that date to have time to pick something out, do proofs, and have them printed and addressed.
Remember, invitations must be sent out 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding.
Hair & Makeup (5-6 months)
You want to ensure that your favourite hairstylists & makeup glam team are available on your big day!
Researching and finding stylists you like takes time, so you’ll want to start the process early.
Don’t forget your hair & makeup trials.
These are typically included in your costs, depending on your vendor.
But don’t be surprised if they are additional costs.
Trials should be scheduled at least one month before your wedding day.
This appointment is best planned around a wedding event or engagement photos.
Start research about 7 months in advance, and aim to book about 5-6 months out.
Cake Artist (5 months)
The wedding cake is a majorly traditional part of any wedding, and they can range in design and scale.
Brides and grooms should hire their cake designer about five to three months in advance.
This ensures that you have booked all the other main parts of your day and have figured out the right vision for your day.
With the wedding cake being an integral part of many weddings, you may find that cake artists are booked up if you leave it to the last minute.
If you want to start sampling some delicious freebies, book your cake baker no later than 5 months before your big day, and allow this in your wedding vendor checklist and timeline.
Booking Transportation For Weddings (3 Months)
We suggest booking your wedding transportation about three months from your wedding date.
This is enough time to secure good transportation for your big day.
If your wedding day falls in May or June, I suggest booking your wedding transportation much sooner, as this is typically prom and graduation time.
You might be met with fully booked fleets.
And there you have it, a complete wedding vendors Checklist!
Should You Book INEXPERIENCED Wedding Vendors?
Wedding vendor checklist printable
Now that you are well versed in what order to book wedding vendors, you can go ahead and start.
This is a “basic wedding checklist” to determine when to book your wedding vendors.
You will still need a detailed wedding to-do list.
A complete wedding planning checklist and timeline like this will ensure you are organized and on top of your wedding tasks.
As well as your FREE wedding planning checklist here, I suggest grabbing this wedding vendors checklist printable right here.
It’s perfect for the organized couple that wants to ensure they miss nothing during the wedding planning.
Go ahead and grab it right now to help simplify your wedding planning.
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