We Want to Get Married, But When Should We Book Our Vendors?

One of the biggest mistakes couples make when booking vendors is not planning ahead, which can lead to a lack of availability and increased costs. That’s why it’s essential to prioritise your vendor bookings and create a timeline that ensures you secure the best vendors for your big day.

As a luxury wedding and elopement photographer, I’ve had the privilege of working with many amazing couples to capture their special day. From my experience, I’ve learned that for newly engaged couples planning a wedding or elopement can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to booking the right vendors. That’s why I’ve put together this guide to help you plan your big day from a wedding photographer’s perspective.

As your partner in the planning, I’m here to guide you every step of the way

Before we dive into the timeline of who to book and when, I want to assure you that my goal is not just to capture your special day, but to help you navigate the entire planning process. I’ll be providing you with expert advice, guidance, and recommendations along the way to ensure that your wedding or elopement is truly unforgettable.

From helping you find the perfect vendors to advising on the best locations and logistics, I’ll be your trusted partner in planning. And as an added bonus, I’ll be sending you a complimentary vendor guide filled with my favourite vendors who I’ve worked with in the past. This way, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands with top-notch vendors who will help make your wedding or elopement day truly unforgettable.

24-18 Months Before the Wedding Day

  • Are you having a destination wedding or something more local?
  • Create a Pinterest board: Pinterest is a great way to collect and organize your inspiration for your wedding or elopement. Create a board and start pinning your favourite images to get a sense of what you like.
  • Book the venue: This is often the first step in planning a wedding or elopement. Beautiful and highly sought after venues can book up quickly, so it’s essential to secure your spot early. Some can even book up over 2 years ahead, so if you have your heart set on a particular time of year, or date – best to be organised and get in sooner rather then too late! Your venue will also set the tone of your wedding day, so its important to consider what you’re after right from the get go. Are you wanting elegant, modern, rustic, etc.
  • Start thinking about your style and vision: Take some time to think about what you want your wedding or elopement to look like. Do you have a favourite colour scheme, theme, or style in mind? If Pinterest feels too overwhelming. I always recommend to my couples to think of three core aspects of your day that are non negotiable to have. If you have those, everything else can be figured out and it takes the stress off trying to create your whole wedding vision at once. Remember your wedding day is about you two first.
  • Book your wedding planner / coordinator. If you are opting to have one, second to your venue this is what I would book next! This can help take the heavy lifting off your day. If you have opted for a planner, you can also plan your wedding a lot closer to the date without the stress! A lot of couples I know are happy to plan their wedding in 6-12 months with the assistance of a planner/coordinator! So if you have the budget, and don’t want to plan so far ahead this is definitely the decision for you!

18-12 Months Before the Wedding Day

  • Book your wedding photographer: As a wedding and elopement photographer, I’ll want to secure your spot early to ensure that I’m available on your special day. Always reach out, because you never know if someone has a last minute spot. But at very latest ideally you’d want to have your photographer booked in by 9 months before the date!
  • Start researching and booking wedding vendors: While you may not have all the details finalised, it’s a good idea to start researching and booking your preferred vendors. This includes videographers, florists, decor teams, and other key players. I as your photographer can also help with directing you to likeminded vendors who will take good care of you two.

12-9 Months Before the Wedding Day

  • Book your videographer: A good videographer will play a crucial role in capturing the essence of your special day and work alongside your photographer. Book them early to ensure that they’re available and can work within your budget. If you can’t afford to invest in a videographer, I as your wedding photographer also offer content creation as an add on service. While content creation isn’t a professional film and isn’t designed to replace videography, it will give you raw footage from the day with a quick turn around time for you two to look back on forever and still have some sort of video memories from the day, so you aren’t missing out.
  • Book your florist and stylist team: The florist and stylist team will help create the look and feel of your wedding or elopement. Book them early to ensure that they’re available and can work within your budget.
  • Start thinking about your wedding party attire: What style are you looking for? Do you have a favourite color scheme or theme in mind? Take some time to think about what you want your wedding party attire to look like.
  • Have your engagement session. Ideally no later then 3 months out, so you have time to get your photos back before the big day, and use them for invites, save the dates, etc!
  • Choose your dress and get your alternations booked in!
  • Allocate some money aside for your wedding album from me – your wedding photographer. If you haven’t already this is the perfect time to put aside funds for your wedding album.
  • Book things in now to enhance your special day. Are you wanting fireworks, a champagne tower, an Off the hook phone, a helicopter, fairy lights?

9-6 Months Before the Wedding Day

  • Book your hair and makeup artist: The hair and makeup artist will help you look your best on your special day. Book them early to ensure that they’re available and can work within your budget.
  • Book the entertainment: If you’re planning a full-service wedding or elopement with music, a live band, or entertainment, now is the time to book it. If youre venue has a noise limit at a certain hour, this is important to factor in too.
  • Confirm vendor details: Take this opportunity to confirm all vendor details, including dates, times, and contact information. If you have a planner/coordinator, make sure to pass this information off to him/her.
  • Book your celebrant in. Ideally you don’t want to book in your celebrant no later then a month out from the day due to the paperwork that needs to be done. But celebrants like everyone else get booked out quickly especially in peak wedding season (In Australia thats Sept-April!)
  • Choose your suit and get your alterations booked in!
  • Send out your invitations!
  • If you’re travelling for your wedding, 9 months out is the perfect time to book your travel and organise accomodation.
  • Book in your photographer for pre/post wedding coverage, and a honeymoon session. If this is something you want!

3-6 Months Before the Wedding Day

  • Finalise vendor retainers: Make sure that all vendor contracts are signed and returned.
  • Plan for logistics: Confirm transportation, accommodations, and other logistical details for out-of-town vendors. Remember to make sure you know a way to get home after the wedding has finished, you don’t want to be left stranded after all your guests have left!
  • Review timelines: Review all vendor timelines to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  • Book in your wedding pet assistant. If you are thinking of bringing your furry friend along to your special day then make sure you’ve hired someone there to help you so you two can relax and enjoy the party.

1-3 Months Before the Wedding Day

  • Finalise wedding party details: Confirm all wedding party details, including attire, hairstyles, and makeup.
  • Choose/finalise your wedding rings.
  • Order your confetti, pyjamas, sparklers, bubbles, and any extras like that 3 months out!
  • Review vendor schedules: Review all vendor schedules one last time to ensure that everyone knows what they’re doing.
  • Consider whether you both want to do a first look. You still have time to pencil this in your timeline so if you’re going to do it, let’s get this locked in now.
  • Have your final vendor calls. This is a biggie, make sure all your questionnaires are complete and schedule in a lot of time here to have your final calls with all your vendors. This is usually done around a month out!
  • Prepare for the big day: Make sure that all necessary supplies are in place.
  • Give your celebrant all the paperwork they need.

The Week of the Wedding Day

  • Confirm final details: Confirm all final details with vendors, including timing, location, and contact information.
  • Get your run sheet from your venue.
  • Have your pre wedding coverage. Whether its a family lunch, relaxing by the pool and a party, or a rehearsal dinner having this documented can make for some beautiful photos.
  • Get your final timeline from your photographer and make sure all your vendors know where they need to be and when.
  • Drink lots of fluids, your makeup artist will thank you for this so your skin can be perfection for the big day.
  • Factor in the weather, while you can still get incredible photos in rain or shine. If it looks like it may rain, bring clear umbrellas. However, if it looks like its going to be a heatwave, consider other things to help you both manage the heat.
  • Relax knowing at this point everything is done, focus on eating well, and lots of sleep and soaking in this time before an epic celebration.
  • Bring a good attitude, things may pop up that you didn’t expect and this can break a wedding day and the experience of it if you can’t take it with stride, but with an incredible experienced team around you who shares a like minded vision – this investment will mean that no matter what happens your vendors can adjust and assist you both every step of the way. So if things don’t go exactly to plan, remember the best photos and experience for you two is a good attitude.
  • Get ready for an amazing day! Relax, dance, and have the best day ever!
  • Have your post wedding breakfast covered, or a honeymoon session. Sometimes my couples just want to soak in the day with their family and friends and that is totally okay there’s only so many hours in a day and in this case post wedding coverage is a intimate way to get all the emotions captured from your family and a honeymoon session is a chance to explore new portrait locations you wouldn’t have time to get to on your wedding day and get back into your wedding attire if you so choose or some formal wear for some gorgeous portraits of you two!

I’m here to help you every step of the way. That’s why I offer a complimentary vendor guide to all couples who book me. This guide includes a list of my favourite vendors who I’ve worked with in the past, along with their contact information in my wedding and elopement guides. This way, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands with top-notch vendors who will help make your wedding or elopement day truly unforgettable.

Your day is your own, so when all is said and done there is no right or wrong. You don’t have to follow traditional norms, your day should be unique to you two and your love story. I’m all for throwing the rule book out the window and creating a special day that just revolves around you two, but as you start this process let this blog act as a loose guide incase you’re worried on when to book things. Remember if you have your heart set on a particular vendor, reach out out to them as soon as possible even if it feels too soon. Best to get who you want locked in early, then to wait and miss out!

So what are you waiting for? I’ll travel worldwide to photograph your love story. Contact me today to book your wedding or elopement photography services and start planning your dream day!