How soon should I book vendors for my wedding?
The moment you get engaged, the clock starts ticking. You want to enjoy your engagement, but the need to set a date and book all the details starts almost immediately. Even if you’re wanting to get married ‘next year’, the laws of Supply and Demand dictate the urgency for many vendors. Keep in mind, popular weddings dates are booked further in advance! Venues, photographers, videographers, and even DJs need around a year’s worth of notice depending upon their popularity.
The average wedding in Kansas City runs around $25,000. When your venue is approximately $3,000, food $3,000, alcohol $3,000, photography $2k, etc you can imagine how it begins to add up. Thankfully, 99% of vendors take deposits. For me, it’s 50% up front and the final balance is due by the date of the event. Be prepared to hear ‘non-refundable’. In the wedding industry, when a vendor marks a day reserved to a client they turn away other clients. If you get put money down on a vendor and decide later that you want to change vendors or drop that service, be prepared to say goodbye to the deposit. The bright side of putting a deposit down is making payments up ‘til the wedding day for services. You don’t have to pay the entire cost of a wedding up-front. Starting early enough, you’re able to chip away at that chunk of a budget.
I know, now you’re thinking that’s a lot of money! Absolutely, it is! Imagine you’re putting on a production for 150 of your closest friends and family from vows to photographic mementos to food, drink, dance, and dessert! I caution those attempting to thin the budget. I hear horror stories of people whose photographer returns images of poor quality, several months later than agreed on, the photographer leaves early, doesn’t show up, etc…
1 Year - Venue ( will the ceremony and reception be at the same location? )
1 Year - Officiant ( expect upwards of $200) MORE INFO
9 to 12 months - Photographer ( I’ve seen everything from hiring me one month to over one year out, but the sooner the better )
9 to 12 months - Videographer ( a highlight video will run at least $1,000 for a seasoned professional )
9 to 12 months - DJ/Music ( do they play during the ceremony, too? )
9 to 12 months - Planner/Coordinator ( someone to pull all the tiny details together or work with what you’ve orchestrated? )
6 to 12 months - Transportation ( want a particular vehicle or a popular wedding date? book a year out! $500-$1,000 )
6 to 9 Months - Plan Honeymoon ( passports take 4 to 6 weeks and runs $145 and you can do it at most post offices )
6 to 9 Months - Reserve a block of rooms in a hotel for out-of-town guests if necessary ( expect a deposit )
9 Months - Wedding gown - Bridesmaid dresses ( for alteration purposes. some shops need time to order and alter )
6 Months - Rent Tuxedos/Suits ( some are just as expensive as buying it outright )
6 Months - Book Hair and Makeup ( expect $150-300 for bridal hair and makeup )
6 Months - Caterer ( expect to shell out at least $3,000 to feed 150 guests buffet-style )
6 to 10 Months - Florist ( bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, flower girl, centerpieces, altar piece )
6 to 8 Months - Cake ( $200 - $1,000 given $5/slice on average )
6 Months - Tent/Table/Chair/Linen/Design rentals ( if not included at venue )
4 to 6 Months - Save-The-Dates ( $50 on Vistaprint for 80 , do you want ceremony programs? name cards? dinner menus? )
3 Months - Invitations ( Invite + RSVP + stamps = $150ish , doing any cards hand written yourself will take several hours )
1 Month - Missouri marriage license applications are valid for 30 days, have no waiting period, but must be returned to issuer within 15 days)