Book your key vendors – without cutting corners!

“Planning ahead allows you more room to get vendors you want for your wedding day.”Image

I’ve had so many calls lately from people who had contacted me months ago about their wedding… and then call back only to find we have that date already booked.  My heart sinks, because some of them I would so LOVE to photograph their wedding.  I kindly hand them off to other photographers that I personally recommend – but hate the deep sigh I get from them when I tell them we no longer have their date available.

 I encourage anyone having a wedding to book your key vendors ASAP… especially ones that can only do one event at a time.  Wedding planner, photographer, videographer, DJ or Band… are mostly limited to one wedding a day – so make those your priority after you have your date & venue set.   This is such an amazingly important day and getting the vendors that you love can make a huge difference in how comfortable and carefree you feel on your wedding day.  Florists, catering, On-site MUAs, Stylists and cake should be next up – because although they may be able to do more than one wedding in a day, they still have limitations on how many they can do.

The “when to book” each vendor changes from year to year in your most loved wedding magazines (it almost changes as fast as your local weather forecast) and typically their ball park timeline only works if you have multiple choices that you love for each vendor.  If you have a specific vendor you want to work with, or an amazing vendor that does limited events to give you the best service and attention then you can throw all those timelines for booking out the window.   This is your wedding day – you deserve world-class vendors, and the memories of your wedding day are world-class important.

The DRESS… yes, that beloved dress that you want… can take months to get and even more time to get altered.  Many brides don’t realize how much time that can take… so find your dress with enough time – so you’re not cutting it too close to the wedding day!

Another great reason to book ASAP… is it gives you more time for financial planning for your event.  Many vendors will work with you on payment plans so that instead of “cutting” your budget and settling, it may allow you to get the vendor you want, the packages you want to make your day over the top amazing.

So get out a pen an paper and start making your priority list for your wedding day – make a wedding top 10.  Those top 5 vendors – book as soon as possible, and the the next five as soon as you can after too.

Don’t forget to follow our BLOG to get lots of great tips for your wedding day!

So you’re planning your wedding: Tips 1

So you are engaged and starting to plan your wedding.  There are so many details to take care of and in all the fun – you may at times become overwhelmed with all of the vendors and options.  A wedding day is a huge event – even for the smallest of ceremonies and don’t feel like you are all alone when you are trying to figure out all the details.   Here are some of my tips/suggestions to make your day go smooth.

Day of coordinator or a wedding planner.  Even if you are a DIY kind of bride… on the day of your wedding, you really will want to enjoy your day.  The smallest of details can become a hassle taking you away from your time with the family & friends that want your attention.  A day of coordinator at minimum can help field those questions from vendors and sweep some of the little issues that may come up on the day of your wedding without you even knowing anything is askew.  If you have it in your budget for a good wedding planner – EVEN BETTER.  If you pick an experienced wedding advisor/planner – they have  coordinated and organized hundreds of weddings already… and a seasoned pro can actually help you save money and cut costs on some things while allowing you additional funds you need for the most important things on your wedding list.  Many times, they actually save you time and money that more than covers the fee that they charge for their services.

How do you want it to look.  Many times when shopping for a photographer/videographer bridal couples fall in love with images.   Plan your wedding time according to the images you love.  If you are looking at a videographer or photographer’s work and you find yourself loving fresh clean life-style images that are natural light based – it is a good idea to take this into consideration.  A wedding at 6 or 7pm at night may not allow you for that look in your images.   If you want a sunset…. again more of the same.  You don’t want to plan your ceremony to end as the sun dips down over the horizon line as then it is too late to get those amazing dramatic sunset images.   Be aware – hire an experienced photographer and videographer that knows how to make your day look the best that it can and help them do their job as well by planning your day around the image style you like the most!

How do YOU want to look.  Although many of us are capable of doing our own hair and make-up – it is the preference of many to have their hair and make-up done for them on the wedding day.  An experienced MUA (make-up-artist) and Hair Stylist is a miracle worker!!!  They know how to make you look like YOU only a little fresher and better.  One of the best things about a great MUA and Stylist is they also know how to make your hair stay put!  There is nothing quite like a bride that is confident because she know she looks amazing for such a special day.

Referrals.  Referrals for your bridal vendors are very important.  But, always consider the source they are coming from.  A good review is from a person or vendor that is in love with the service and quality that they have seen or experienced.  Unfortunately, many reviews are “purchased” when it comes to vendors/venues.  Always use your own feelings about a vendor as well when making decisions about any vendors.  Different personalities work better with each other and what may be good or bad for one person could be amazing or opposite for you.  Experience says a lot about any vendor and that should always be considered as well when you are making your final decisions.

Making decisions.  One of the biggest problems is the MASS amount of vendors in each category.  It can truly make you crazy trying to make the “right” decision.  Make it easier on yourself.

A. Narrow each vendor category down to 4 or 5 that you are interested in. Whether it was from photographs you’ve seen, food you’ve tasted, websites you liked, or referrals you have gotten.

B.  Make these your top questions or things to look for.

1. Years of experience.  How many years have they been in their profession? Do they have any professional affiliations, awards…etc.

2. Proof of finished product.  Taste test, view images from their previous weddings, full wedding videos.  Photographers… see ENTIRE weddings – not just a few “wall hangers” to make a decision.  And… not just one – any professional wedding vendor with experience will be able to show you numerous complete weddings they have done.

3. Meet your vendor.  From the above try to narrow your selection down to 2 or 3 then meet with them face to face.  Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions, but more importantly – notice if you “click.”   Liking your vendor can actually make a huge difference in the results too.  You smile easier, you are more relaxed and confident and you are put at ease that they will do the best job possible for your wedding day.

Jeanine Thurston Photography

This is just a list to get you started.  If you want to really get into your wedding planning there is an amazing Bridal Bootcamp coming up on April 1st, 2012 that you don’t want to miss.  Some of the top wedding vendors in Colorado are there to answer all of the tough questions!!!!

Subscribe to our blog for some more wedding photography tips to come in the next few months.