Which Wedding Vendors Should You Book First?

Wedding planning can be overwhelming. With so many pieces to fit into your budget and many vendors booking far in advance, it can be hard to know which wedding vendors to book first. Based on our experience and hearing from other couples, we recommend starting with these steps as your top priorities:

BOOK YOUR VENUE AND SECURE YOUR DATE

which vendors to book first venue terracotta fall wedding - 48 Fields Wedding Barn | Leesburg VA

Your venue’s vibe and the season of your wedding will impact every other choice you make in the wedding planning process, so we recommend doing this first. You’re also going to need your date set before you start reaching out to other vendors, since that will be the first question they ask you to make sure they are available. Venues can also book up more than a year in advance, depending on the season, so another reason to start there first. To help you choose, here is our list of questions to ask when choosing a wedding venue.

HIRE A PLANNER OR COORDINATOR

If you would like to have the help of a wedding planner or coordinator, do this next. Your wedding planner can help you find vendors and allocate your budget, so it’s beneficial to have them on board from the start. A wedding coordinator typically gets involved later in the process to manage your vendors, timeline, and other details in the final months and weeks leading up to your wedding day. On a side note, a venue coordinator is not the same as a wedding coordinator, and you can learn more about those differences here. We also have tips on choosing a wedding planner, with advice from local Northern Virginia planners.

CHOOSE YOUR CATERER

which vendors to book first caterer terracotta fall wedding - 48 Fields Wedding Barn | Leesburg VA

A caterer will likely take up one of the biggest portions of your budget. It would be wise to line up catering to know how your overall budget will be impacted before booking other vendors. Some couples may be surprised to see how much catering can run, depending on your menu selections, but keep in mind that a professional, full-service caterer will include your food, their event staff, and the serving equipment such as plates, glassware, utensils, etc. throughout the day.

RESERVE HOTEL BLOCKS

Believe it or not, hotel blocks book up very quickly in our part of Loudoun! We suggest reaching out to Dana Henry at Visit Loudoun. She offers free assistance to couples interested in booking hotel room blocks in the area.

BOOK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

which vendors to book first photographer olive green fall wedding - 48 Fields Wedding Barn | Leesburg VA

Because photographers can only book one wedding in a day (sometimes only one per weekend), they should also be higher on your list to line up early in your planning. We highly encourage you to book a photographer who specializes in weddings. Someone may be a skilled photographer of families or food or sports, but weddings require a very unique skill set to be done efficiently and to create beautiful photos in a variety of lighting conditions. Believe us when we say you don’t want their steep learning curve to be happening on your one and only wedding day! Read more tips for choosing your wedding photographer.

FIND AN OFFICIANT

While you may not need to book your officiant right away, put them sooner rather than later in your planning. Officiants book up earlier than you might think. Virginia has strict rules about who can legally marry people, so you will need a licensed officiant.

Essentially, anything that is a “big ticket” item or a vendor that can only do one event per day or weekend (like photographer, some DJs, some hair and makeup stylists) should be priorities on your list. Whereas vendors that can do multiple events (like a florist, bakery, etc.) can come a little later.

We hope this list helps guide you in which wedding vendors to book first. Next, read our advice on how to budget for a Northern Virginia wedding.

Photos by Bakerture and Hannah Smith Photography

48 Fields Farm is a Leesburg VA barn wedding venue for celebrations of all sizes.
Our countryside barn and vast fields are peacefully set in the heart of Northern Virginia wine country.

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