Booking Vendors: A Wedding Planning Timeline

Photo by Malorie Kerouac at Woodland Meadow Farms in Snohomish, a wedding venue near Seattle, WA. | My Snohomish Wedding | Snohomish Wedding Planning |

If you’re in the throws of wedding planning, it may feel like a big undertaking. It certainly has the potential for that, but have no fear! With a little organization, planning your dream day can be as easy as (wedding) cake! Check out the following guide with timelines for hiring your vendors, AKA wedding planning powerhouses!

On average, couples spend a little over a year planning their wedding, so this guide is organized around that time frame. If you have less than that, your dream wedding is still totally doable! Simply condense this guide to fit your planning schedule.

12 Months Before Your Wedding

Wedding Planner: Wedding planners have such a wealth of knowledge and serve as your right-hand person before AND during your big day. If you have the budget for one, hiring an experienced planner is money well spent. Some couples hire planners to help with the entire process, including venue selection, but many also book their planner after selecting their venue. For a list of our wedding planners, including day-of coordination, click HERE. Wedding Venue: Okay, trust us on this one. Booking your wedding venue well in advance is a big deal. Open dates can fill quickly and until your venue is booked, you won’t have an official wedding date—which impacts the hiring of your other vendors, as many will gauge their availability off this date. Some venues also require specific caterers, bartenders, etc., and some include rentals. This is great information to know before you get too deep into planning. For a list of our wedding venues, click HERE.

10 Months Before Your Wedding

Photographer: Years from now, you’ll be grateful for beautiful pictures of your wedding. The day can end in a flash, but your photos will serve as a lasting reminder. Be sure to give yourself enough time to choose a photographer--you’ll want to consider their style and cost, and you’ll also want to ensure your personalities mesh. You’ll be together quite a bit on your big day! For a list of our photographers, click HERE.

Videographer: If capturing video of your wedding is important to you, you’ll want to book your videographer early as well—their availability tends to also fill quickly. We have some great videographers; for a list of our members, click HERE.

Florist: Floral arrangements can bring such vibrancy and life to your celebration. If you have a theme and color scheme, your floral arrangements will also tie these things together. Find a florist that best fits your wedding style, vision, and budget HERE. Catering: Most couples spend a good portion of their wedding budget on catering. Your caterer will help you decide on your reception’s serving style, whether it’s plated, family-style, buffet, etc. They’ll also provide a pre-wedding tasting to help you narrow down your menu. For a diverse list of our caterers, click HERE.

9 Months Before Your Wedding

Music/ DJ: Following your ceremony and reception, there is nothing more fun than dancing the night away with your loved ones. After all, weddings ARE celebrations, right? We have a great list of experienced DJs who know just how to set the mood. Click HERE for our list. Accommodations: If you’re hosting a lot of out-of-town guests, we recommend reserving a block of rooms at a hotel near your wedding venue. Many of our couples also reserve rooms for themselves at our B&Bs, especially if they also live out-of-town. For a list of our accommodations, click HERE. Officiant: Your wedding vendor timeline should also include a licensed, professional officiant. Without one, you won’t actually be married! Whether you are marrying in a religious or secular ceremony, it pays to hire an experienced, professional officiant. They’ll help you craft a meaningful ceremony that’s unique to you. Our officiants can be found HERE.

Wedding Dress: Sometimes it just takes one glance to know which wedding dress is the “one.” Sometimes, it takes a bit more searching! Either way, it takes time to find it, order it, make alterations, and have it delivered. For the Luv of Bridal by Lainee Meg is in downtown Snohomish and offers a wonderful selection of wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, and accessories, including a new private label brand. Make a day of your visit and have lunch afterwards. Some of our wedding caterers also have restaurants within downtown Snohomish! Our attire vendors can be found HERE.

Hair, Makeup & Health & Beauty: These professionals are there to make sure you look the best on your wedding day—both in person and in pictures! Especially for hair and makeup, it’s a good idea to schedule a trial run so you have an idea of what to expect on your big day. Click HERE to see our fabulous hair, makeup, and health & beauty vendors.

Save-the-Dates: Wedding stationery is something we’re sentimental about! Aside from junk and bills, who receives meaningful mail anymore? Because it takes time to produce, address, and send each invitation, we recommend ordering these about 8 months out, if possible. For a link to stationery listing, click HERE.

7 Months Before Your Wedding

Desserts & Sweets: Your dessert vendor will create a wedding cake and/ or other desserts that are gorgeous AND delicious. Because most only take a certain number of orders per week, it’s best to book far in advance if possible. They’ll work with your needs and budget and then provide a tasting to pick flavors—how deliciously fun! For a list of our wonderful dessert vendors, click HERE.

Beverages: Another thing to trust us on—you’ll want a licensed bartender at your wedding if you plan on serving alcohol. Because of the liability involved, don’t delegate this job to a friend if they’re unlicensed. Many venues require licensure anyway. If your wedding is dry, bartenders can still create some pretty amazing mocktails that’ll delight your guests! For a list of our bartenders, click HERE. Bridesmaid Dresses: Ordering bridesmaids dresses doesn’t require the same time frame as wedding dresses, but it’s still a good idea to start the process months in advance. It can take some time to find a style each bridesmaid is happy with, and alterations take time. For a list of our attire vendors, click HERE.

Honeymoon Travel Consultant: The possibilities are so fun, and a great travel agent will hand-tailor a trip that’s unique to you! White sand beaches, hikes in distant lands, all-inclusive resorts and cruises—check out our list of travel consultants HERE.

6 Months Before Your Wedding

Rentals & Decor: Whether it’s renting tables, chairs, linens, tableware, décor, or a mobile barn (yes, there is such a thing with Tentwood Events!), give yourself enough space to work these into your timeline. It’s a good idea to coordinate with your caterer, venue, and florist to see what items you’ll need. If you have a planner, they may coordinate these things on your behalf. For a list of our rentals and décor vendors, click HERE.

Photo Booths: Photo booths are such a fun way to engage your guests during your wedding! From back drops and silly props, to traditional booths, to old school VW buses, there are lots of options in creating instant mementos! To see what options we offer, click HERE.

5 Months Before Your Wedding

Men’s Attire: Suit or tux? By now, you’ll have an idea of your wedding’s style and how formal it will be. To find a look that’s sharp, click HERE to see our vendors in this category.

Fun & Activities: If you’re looking for more ways to engage your guests (and have fun yourself!), hiring vendors in this category is a great way to round out your wedding. To see what we offer, click HERE.

We hope this guide has given you a framework to work from. To see our full vendor directory, click HERE.

Thanks for the opportunity to be a wedding planning resource to you, and best wishes on your big day!

Cover Photo: Florals by Pollen in Love at Woodland Meadow Farms, picture by Malorie Kerouac Photography

Top Left: Otto-Matic Mobile Music at Olympic View Estates, picture by MyStache Photography

Top Middle: Alexa's Catering at Swan's Trail Farms, picture by Evergreen Photography

Top Right: Grain Artisan Bakery at Maroni Meadows, picture by Breanna Marie Photography

Bottom Left: Floral installation by Paeonia Pines at Twin Willows, picture by Joanna Monger Photography

Bottom Middle: Off the Block Games at The Lookout Lodge, picture by GSquared Weddings

Bottom Right: Shutter Bus Co. photo booth at Jardin del Sol, picture by Jennifer Tai Photo Artistry

My Snohomish Wedding is a publication of the Snohomish Wedding Guild, a network of wedding venues and professionals serving the Snohomish community.

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