Essential Steps to Wedding Day Success

There’s a reason those timelines are still an integral part of wedding planning. Selecting the right vendors at the right time makes the planning process more cohesive – and certainly less stressful. Here are the vendors you need to book first, along with helpful advice from the pros.

Taking the first steps

“A full service wedding planner is there with you through the entire process, offering creative direction, expertise in logistics, and comprehensive guidance.” says Lisa Ivler of Lisa Ivler Events, a New Jersey wedding and event planner serving Northern NJ, New York City, and CT. “And you’ll find the vendor coordination by your planner priceless.”

While you consider the benefits of a planner, take on finding a place to celebrate. Securing your date at the ideal location sets the stage for hiring the next round of important wedding vendors. 

“Take time to reflect on your desired ambiance and theme,” advises Vivian Buesking, Co-Owner of Circle of Seven Ranch, a Texas ranch wedding venue located southwest of Houston. “You’re looking for the ideal backdrop as well as a place that elevates your guest experience. But don’t forget to include factors like location, amenities, and flexibility in accommodating your specific needs and preferences.”

If your vision includes a wedding weekend, Kate Stevens, Co-Owner of The Lake House Inn, an elegant Bucks County PA waterfront wedding venue, reminds couples to also focus on guest comfort. “Explore locations that offer on-site lodging for your wedding party and special guests. Your venue manager can also direct you to other nearby accommodations and guest transportation options.” 

Continue the vision

“Rentals play a significant role in shaping the overall aesthetic of your wedding,” advises Designer Michele Rogers of  Ace Party Rentals, an Indianapolis tent rental company. “Linens, serviceware, the style of a tent, and specialty furniture all establish a framework for other design decisions like floral decor.”

Rentals also go hand-in-hand with event design services. Explains Yoni Yemini, Co-Founder of Illinois event decorators Ace Chicago Events, “Unlike event planners who primarily focus on logistics and planning, an event services company creates a concept or theme, designs it and then executes the vision. This often includes staging, lighting, draping, and decor installations provided in-house while other aspects are coordinated through outside experienced event design teams.”

What’s next?

Says Elicia Bonham, Owner of one of the top bridal salons in New England, Country Bridals & Formal Wear in Jaffrey, “Manufacturing, shipping, fittings, and alterations take time. Shopping early ensures you can check out your options and allow for any shipping delays and necessary adjustments. And knowing your gown style helps with deciding on the perfect bouquet.” 

This is also the time to book your photographer and set up an engagement session. “This time allows you and your photographer to get comfortable with one another and even practice some posing,” says Isabelle Miner, a well regarded Portland ME wedding photographer and part of husband and wife duo Shado of a Rose. “Your engagement photo session helps set the tone for working together. And you’ll also have beautiful photos for your Save the Date.”

Nail down the entertainment

To round out this first group of vendors is a great DJ. “Certain wedding dates, especially in the spring and fall, fill up quickly,” notes Seth Michaels of popular Detroit DJs Michaels Entertainment in Troy, MI. “Starting early gives you time to find more available DJs who get your personalities. After all, your wedding entertainment should reflect your unique style.”

Matt Kays, a popular Colorado wedding DJ and Owner of Fort Collins Mountain Event Services, serving the “Front Range” of WY and CO, understands the importance of client communication. “We’re here to listen to you. Professional DJs communicate with their clients throughout the planning process, offering suggestions and solutions. Use our conversations to collaborate on ways to make your reception a personalized experience for you and your guests.”

Wedding entertainment is more than just memory-making music, believes renowned Louisville wedding DJ Cory Leonardo of Party Zone Productions. “Creating a great guest experience is all about setting the tone reception and serving as the “voice” of the event. A skilled DJ is also a Master of Ceremonies, making announcements, introducing speakers or performers, guiding guests through the reception’s activities and traditions, and keeping everyone informed and entertained.”

Jason Strycharz, Owner of premier Maine wedding DJs The Music Man DJ Service in Kennebunk, says “While we provide guidance on appropriate songs for key moments, your DJ is more than that. We create your custom reception timeline, keep your key vendors in the loop throughout the evening, and ensure everything runs smoothly, knowing where to pick up the pace or let things play out in the moment.”

And DJ companies are a great place to check out entertainment add-ons. “We have services like photo booths, videography, and special effects, offered either a la carte or packaged with a DJ,” says George Wainwright, Owner of Coastal DJ and Video, a highly rated NC entertainment company of wedding DJs in the Outer Banks with offices in Kill Devil Hills, Beaufort, and Wilmington. “Booking multiple services through your DJ saves you time and money and takes some of the stress out of planning. You’ll also find consistent quality when you book under one umbrella.”

And don’t forget …

While you’re planning that reception, don’t forget the ceremony! “Couples want their ceremony to be personalized and meaningful,” reminds custom wedding vows writer and experienced New York marriage officiant Denise Drapkin of I Wed Al. “Booking your officiant early gives you time to collaborate. And if you are intent on writing your vows, you’ll have plenty of time to compose them.”

By booking these vendors, you’re taking the first steps to wedding success. Trust your day to professionals who get your vision, enjoy collaborating with you and work comfortably into your budget.

Brian Lawrence is a wedding business marketing expert who has helped thousands of clients like Alan Berg and Joe Bunn with consulting, marketing and web design. We’ve partnered with Brian Lawrence to bring this great advice from some of his amazing clients.