The First Moves for Wedding Planning Success

While wedding planning timelines have been around for generations, the rules still apply when it comes to making those first important decisions.  Did you know most couples take 12 to 18 months to plan a wedding? Even if you don’t have that kind of time, there’s a path for choosing your vendors. Here’s who you need, along with some great planning tips.

Taking the first steps

“Never before will you spend so much money in such a concentrated period of time on something you probably have no experience doing – planning an event for 150 people,” says NJ wedding planner Lisa Ivler of Lisa Ivler Events who works with couples in North Jersey, New York City, and CT. “Start with a wedding planner who offers creative direction, expertise in logistics, and comprehensive guidance. And the time and stress you’ll save by working with an experienced planner is priceless”

Whether you go full service planning or just day-of coordination, you still need a place to celebrate. Finding your venue and securing your date sets the stage for hiring the next round of important wedding vendors. 

“Along with a budget and guest count, you’ll need a vision for your venue,” advises Vivian Buesking, Co-Owner of Circle of Seven Ranch, a Texas wedding venue located southwest of Houston  “Take time to reflect on your desired ambiance and theme and look for the ideal backdrop for your special day. And don’t forget to include factors like location, amenities, guest experience, and flexibility in accommodating your specific needs and preferences.”

If your vision expands over a weekend or you have a lot of out of towners, Kate Stevens, Co-Owner of The Lake House Inn, a premier wedding venue in Pennsylvania in Bucks County, 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. And be sure to find nearby attractions and activities to keep guests entertained when they aren’t in wedding mode.” 

Continue the vision

Now that you’ve found your venue, round out your vision. “Rentals play a significant role in shaping the overall aesthetic of your wedding,” says Designer Michele Rogers of Ace Party Rentals, a leading Indiana event rental company in Indianapolis. “Linens, serviceware, the style of a tent, specialty furniture all establish a framework for other design decisions. Use this time to explore colors, patterns, and textures to elevate your event.”

“If your venue is a blank canvas, you may want to hire an event services company ” explains Yoni Yemini, Co-Founder of Illinois wedding designers Ace Chicago Events. “An event services company works with you and your planner to create a theme, then designs and executes the vision. This often includes staging, lighting, draping, and decor installations. These services are provided in-house, while other aspects are handled through experienced event design teams, like floral professionals.”

What’s next?

Often your venue, as well as time of year, can influence your gown selection. “Wedding gown designers release new collections on a seasonal basis, with trends and styles evolving,” says Elicia Bonham, Owner of New England bridal shop Country Bridals & Formal Wear in Jaffrey. “And 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.” 

Because you’re sure to want engagement photos, this is also the time to book your photographer. “Your engagement session allows us to get comfortable with one another and even practice some posing,” says New England wedding photographer Isabelle Miner of husband/wife team Shado of a Rose. “Your engagement photo session helps set the tone for working together. And your Save Your Date will be a cherished keepsake.”

Nail down the entertainment

To round out  what you’ll need to book first is a great DJ. “There are definitely times of year and certain dates that fill up quickly,” notes Seth Michaels of popular Detroit wedding DJs Michaels Entertainment based in Troy, MI. “Starting early gives you time to find more DJs based on your vision and the type of personality you want hosting your reception. Remember, your wedding DJ should reflect your unique style, while keeping your guests engaged, entertained, and energized.”

Matt Kays, Owner of Fort Collins, CO entertainment company Mountain Event Services and a highly regarded “Front Range” Colorado/Wyoming wedding DJ, stresses 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.”

“A stellar DJ does more than just play memory-making music”, emphasizes Cory Leonardo, a well known wedding DJ in Louisville and Owner of Party Zone Productions. “Creating a great guest experience is all about setting the tone and serving as the “voice” of the event. A skilled wedding DJ knows how to make the announcements, guide guests through the reception’s activities and traditions, and keep everyone informed and entertained.”

Your DJ is also an important planning resource. “We’ll provide guidance on appropriate songs for key moments, but we can help with so much more,” says Jason Strycharz of The Music Man DJ Service, a Maine wedding DJ company in Kennebunk. “Your DJ also creates your personalized wedding reception timeline to outline the sequence of events and then works with your vendors, like your day-of or venue coordinator and photographer, to keep things running smoothly.”

And remember to speak with your DJ about enhancing your entertainment with a photo booth, special effects, or even videography. Says George Wainwright, Owner of Coastal DJ and Video, whose company provides DJs for Outer Banks NC weddings through offices in Kill Devil Hills, Beaufort, and Wilmington, “Booking multiple services through your DJ saves you time and money. It also ensures consistent quality in services and a smoother planning process.”

And don’t forget

“While you’re planning that reception, don’t forget the ceremony,” reminds Long Island officiant and vow writer for personalized wedding ceremonies Denise Drapkin of I Wed All. “Couples want ceremonies that are personalized and meaningful. And that takes time. Booking your officiant early gives you an opportunity to collaborate. And if you are intent on writing your vows, you’ll have plenty of time to work on them and even seek the help of a professional vow writer.”

No matter what stage you’re at with your wedding planning, make sure the vendors you select are aligned with your vision, eager to collaborate, and fit comfortably within 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.

Discover more from So This Is Love

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.