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an algorithm for assembling your wedding team

Should I hire my wedding vendors in a certain order? Someone messaged me that last week, and I think it's a great question. The short answer is, of course, yes!


Planning a wedding takes a village, amirite? From florists to photographers, there is a thoughtful way to assemble your wedding team. No one vendor is more important than another; having that said, there are certain vendors that dictate who else (or how else) you might hire on.


For example, meeting with a florist before booking your wedding venue would be challenging, because your florist needs details of your venue to even prepare a bid, or discuss designs. Similarly, scouting out catering too early can backfire if the venue you decide on requires their clients choose food in-house.


Then there’s the concern of booking vendors too early or too late. I know its easy to succumb to the pressures of wedding planning, but you don’t have to book your wedding team all at once. Booking too early could mean missing critical details that some vendors need to finalize their service with you. Similarly, booking too late can be dreadful if you have your heart set on a particular vendor and miss them.


Chelsea Matson Photography

*Before diving into assembling your wedding team, take some time to get a few things set in your mind: vibe/aesthetic, colors and budget. The aesthetic of your wedding is important when shopping for vendors; however, your wedding budget is a monumental piece of the puzzle. Dedicate time to listing out each wedding professional you hope to hire (i.e. venue, photographer, florist, etc.) and allocate money to each service. That way, once you’re in the thick of gathering your vendors, there’s less time wasted on uncertainties or negotiating.


And now, an algorithm for assembling your wedding team! I always encourage my clients to hire wedding professionals in three waves:


Wave #1

These are the foundational vendors who will help guide the selection of the rest of your team:

  • Ceremony and reception venue(s)

  • Photographer

  • Wedding planner: yes, I’m biased. But even if you’re looking for ‘month-of’ wedding coordination, it’s smart to get shopping for a planner who can be with you from the beginning.

Wave #2

  • Florist

  • Caterer

  • Stationery: especially if you’re doing something custom, you’ll want to reach out earlier on regarding save the dates & invitations. Think about all of the proofs, and back & fourth approvals.

  • HMUA: hair and makeup professionals book up really fast, especially if you want them to set-up and service you off-site. If you know you want professional hair and makeup for your wedding, earlier is better.

Wave #3

  • DJ or band

  • Videographer

  • Bar service (if your caterer/venue doesn’t include it)

  • Officiant

  • Cake/dessert

  • Rentals (linens, furniture, ceremony arch)

Don't forget to have fun while assembling these wedding professionals! If all else fails, be honest with them and ask questions.

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