Updated: May 5, 2019
The countdown to your wedding is on. With only 10 months to go, it’s time to start booking everything from vendors to venues. Here are some important things to keep in mind when booking your venues and officiant.
Book Wedding & Reception Venues
Picture your perfect wedding day. What comes to mind? Well, it’s time to start bringing that vision to life.
The first step is deciding whether your ceremony and reception will be taking place in the same or separate locations. If you’re not finding a venue that is fitting all of your needs, two locations could be a good solution. However, it’s important to keep in mind the logistics of traveling between the two locations for the guests, especially if they are from out of town and unfamiliar with the area.
Now, it’s time to talk business.
You may have the perfect date in mind but you may need to be a little flexible in this department. Venues are in high demand especially on weekends and the busy summer months. Simply put, you may have to choose to prioritize either the date or the venue. Just don’t get jump too far ahead with planning other vendors until your venue is locked down for good!
When reserving your venue or venues, make sure you know what the deposit is going to be. There isn’t exactly and industry wide standard and if you are trying to lockdown a place as soon as possible, showing up shorthanded will put a dent in your plans. Simply call ahead and they should be able to give you the information you need.
Before you book, make sure you’ve taken into consideration any hidden costs that may put you over your budget. Some venues may charge extra for parking, using outside vendors or even for services like a cake-cutting fee. Also, be sure to ask your sales rep to calculate any service charge or sales tax, as this can make a big difference to your bottom line.
Book Your Officiant
All eyes may be on you and your partner, but all ears will be on your officiant. So, when choosing your officiant, make sure you take the time to ensure they’re the right fit. Most importantly, make sure that they are certified and can get you and your partner legally married.
When it comes to finding an officiant, you have a few options. A simple web search can bring up officiants in your area. If you’re not confident in this method, you can ask friends, family or even your wedding vendors if they know of any reputable officials. A popular choice is choosing either a friend or family member to be the officiant.
Like any person you entrust to be a part of your wedding, chemistry is important. Make sure you choose someone that you are comfortable with and trust to deliver an engaging ceremony that truly celebrates you and your partner.
Time is ticking and you’re ten months away from your wedding! You’ve checked some of the big items off of your list and now it’s time to keep building your big day. But don’t stress! You’re already doing great. Now, you can dig into planning the details of the entertainment and atmosphere.
Book Your Photographer/Videographer
Your wedding photographs and videos will be one of the most precious things from your big day. Don’t hesitate to take the time researching what you want out of both of your photographer and the photographs themselves.
Once you’ve researched styles of photography and found things you like, you can start focusing on photographers who specialize in it. Remember, there is no need to narrow down to one specific style as many photographers can do a mix of everything from portrait to black and white and documentary style shots.
Set up interviews to speak to photographers, see their work in person and learn more about their creative process and vision for your wedding. What should you bring to the meeting? Details about your venue, style and of course, your own vision and thoughts. Be sure to look at a few full wedding albums and videos the photographers and videographers have done and not just their highlights.
Bonus Tip: Create an “absolutely must have” shot list (you can work together with a photographer if you’re unsure) so you don’t miss any of the magical moments.
Book Your Band/DJ
Can’t decide if you want a band or DJ at your wedding? Here’s a few things to consider when making the decision.
First, what kind of vibe are you going for? Do you want people doing the waltz or the worm? A throwback vibe or a romantic string quartet?
Second, if you’re looking for a variety, ensure either your DJ or band plays a mix of slow and fast songs, new and old songs to ensure everyone takes a turn on the dance floor.
Third, space. Your wedding venue may not have room for a big band and some venues may have restrictions on the number of band members or amount of equipment they allow.
While either option has pros and cons, when you have some good music and some great people to dance with, you can’t go wrong.
Book Your Caterer
Establish your food and drink budget before even contacting caterers. Once you have this, caterers can tweak their proposals based on it.
Some venues may come with caterers but if not, they probably still have ones that they are familiar with and can offer you some options. Many venues also need to approve of your choice and ensure they have all the right licenses and certificates to cook on their premises.
Allow yourself to see multiple proposals from caterers before deciding which one to go with. It’s your job to decide what style of wedding you’re having and whether you want buffet, family style or fully served, but ultimately, it’s up to caterers to recommend the number of courses, appetizers, waiters and bartenders to have. This is important because something you don’t want is someone having to wait twenty minutes for a drink or a table not getting served properly.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s a good idea to have tastings with your top three choices. Keep in mind dietary restrictions of guests and ensure that there is something you think everyone will like on the menu. Then, most importantly, dig in!
Book Your Florist
Weddings and flowers have been together since the beginning of time. What started as a simple bouquet has blossomed into a central part of wedding decorations.
Whether you dream of red roses everywhere or stark white arrangements, a florist can help bring this vision to life. Consult with a few different florists to get a sense of which one can best make this happen.
Your color palette will most likely determine what kind of flowers you will have but as for the type of arrangements, the sky’s the limit. You can opt for more subtle options like flowers that run the length of a table, or you could make a big statement with vases and stems that shoot straight up.
It’s important to take into consideration your venue when planning. Round tables vs. square tables will have completely different needs. Smaller venues may feel crowded if too many flowers are placed, and large venues may need more, which will lead to a higher cost.
If you need further help staying organised, consider our Dream Wedding Planners. They cover every aspect so you won't miss a thing!
Next up is 8 Months to Go... where we'll look at ordering your wedding dress, stationery, save-the date cards and block booking hotel rooms.