Once you’ve decided to take the plunge and started to plan your New England Wedding, what’s the best order to tackle your wedding vendors? Here at Ryan Richardson Photography, we have some general guidelines to help you prioritize how you might go about selecting your vendors.
Tier 1: Connections
Venue: Barring exceptional circumstances, the first thing most couples need to secure should be their wedding venue. This will help you lay down your New England wedding location and date, which is pretty vital when it comes to booking the remainder of your vendors. Venues can also be a great source of referrals for other vendors (whether it’s a preferred list or just people that have worked there successfully in the past)
Planner: If you’re thinking of working with a wedding planner or coordinator, getting them integrated into the process earlier is better. As with venues, planners can also provide access to networks of referrals that can take a lot of pressure off you to scour every inch of the web and every bridal magazine to leave no stone unturned.
Tier 2: Creatives
Creatives are vendors where a singular style or vision will have a big impact on the wedding, so picking a particular vendor matters a lot more (especially with vendors that only service one event at a time).
Photographer/Videographer: Well, you’re already in the right place to find the best Boston Wedding Photographer (and I always recommend booking me sooner, rather than later). There are a lot of different ways to approach wedding photography from personality to post-processing and wedding photographers often book out well in advance, so it’s good to book early.
DJ: This applies more to sole-operators than established entertainment companies - but a DJ is going to help keep your event running smoothly (especially if you don’t have a coordinator) and set the pace of the party. A good DJ will work with you ahead of time to make playlists and help to make sure the right mood is set for your reception.
Tier 3: Timeliness
Some vendors and items for your Boston wedding aren’t necessarily unique, but there’s an element of timeliness to the purchase. Your wedding won’t be measurably different if you drag your heels a bit, but there’s some element that means you have to book them well ahead of time.
Wedding Dress: While wedding fashion is very important to the look and feel of a wedding, it’s a little lower on the list because there are often several suppliers that offer the same product and even if they don’t have an item in the shop, they’re generally able to order it (unless the design is discontinued). However, many items of wedding fashion are made to order or require tailoring/alterations so you’ll need to order them well ahead of time to be sure they’re read for the wedding day.
Caterers, Cakes and Florists: While one caterer or baker is not necessarily the same as another, they generally can service multiple events on a given day. Both bakers and caterers will generally require a little more groundwork than just buying something off the shelf between consultations and tasting menus.
Officiants: This is a little different if you’re planning on a religious ceremony, but for secular ceremonies, your officiant plays an important role but forms a relatively small part of the whole day.
Hotel Blocks: How soon you’ll need to book a hotel block will depend on a few details of your wedding, such as how popular your date and destination might be as well as the local inventory. But if guests will need to travel for the wedding those are often arrangements they’ll want to make well ahead of time and you’ll want to have any blocks organized before
Tier 4: Commodities
The last tier are items that are commonly available and don’t necessarily require a lot of preparation unless you’re looking for something particular. For these services like transportation, stationary, websites, favors and some rentals, the focus is often on comparing prices between multiple vendors since most of the time a black car is a black car.
What are your wedding planning priorities? What’s your plan for making sure all your vendors are booked? Is there anything we missed?
Ryan Richardson is a wedding and engagement photographer serving Boston and beyond; including Cape Cod Weddings, New England Weddings, Massachusetts Weddings and Rhode Island Weddings.