March 18, 2019

I’m engaged!! Now What? Which Wedding Vendors Do I Book First?

Posted in: Engagement

If you’re reading this and rocking a brand new, gorgeous, sparkly ring on your left hand CONGRATULATIONS, BABE!! It’s your time to celebrate and get married!!! So exciting!!


First things first, before you go gung-ho on wedding planning, after your said, “Yes,” take time to enjoy this experience! Just for a little while enjoy being present in the moment with your fiancé. Savor the love you’re feeling for one another, soak up all the excitement and just be together as a newly engaged couple. Celebrate with your family and friends, have a party, share your proposal, and show off that ring! Don’t rush into wedding planning; he’s obviously into you and not going anywhere. So go on dates, snuggle on the couch together, watch your favorite movies and admire the feeling of your new ring on your hand!

Take this advice because when you are ready to start wedding planning it’s hard to turn off the wheels spinning in your head, especially once you hit the Pintrest bug. Ideas will be flowing!

All right you’re ready to dive in and prepare to marry the love of your life! You have the ring, you’ve spread the word to family and friends, enjoyed spending quality time being engaged and set a budget, check. Now you can start planning the wedding of your dreams together. However, when you do start planning your wedding it can feel overwhelming and you may not be sure whom to hire first.

Well no worries I got you! Here are some helpful insights into which wedding vendors you should hire first and why.



If you have a general idea where you and your fiancé would like to get married (i.e. his hometown or your hometown or a fabulous destination) first start hunting for the perfect venue. Everything hinges on choosing a venue to officially set the date! If you’re set on a specific date or time of year consider booking as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss out! Whether you’re having an all in one location for your reception and ceremony or multiple locations, booking your venue(s) sooner than later will only benefit you. This will set you up for the rest of your wedding planning because you have the when and where.

Take it from a girl who had no clue what she was doing 10 plus years ago. We planned our wedding date first, ordered our save the dates and the venue we had in mind was booked on the date we wanted. Our July wedding had to wait until October. It turned out fine but all that money spent on our first save the dates was lost (palm to face). True story! Wish I had more guidance then, OYE!



Step one and two can really be flipped-flopped if you so desire because wedding planners can help recommend venues and visit sites with you to then set your date. Hiring a planner is super beneficial and will take all the stress out of wedding planning, especially if you’re a busy couple with little time on your hands. Handing your wedding vision and plans off to a professional will not only save you time and money but it will most importantly allow you to really enjoy the short time you’re engaged before getting married for the long hall.

I reached out to Jenny Richard, a well-known local New England Wedding Planning professional with All Aboard Event Planning and here’s what she had to say in terms of benefits! “Hiring a planner allows you to have a professional guide through a very expensive event. It allows you to have an advocate when working in areas that you are unfamiliar to make sure you are well protected and cared for. Additionally it allows you to get the best of the best services because we know the industry, who is in it and who you should work with! We can also save you money because we know the ins and outs of weddings and quite often can get you discounts with preferred vendors!” Thank you so much for your insight Jenny, I appreciate it!

I highly recommend hiring a wedding planner. If you decided on a full-service planner, book at least 1.5 years in advance. If you just need a day of coordination book at least 10 months – 1 year in advance. They’ll keep you organized, help you through the process and allow you to kick back, relax and enjoy being together stress-free.


An experienced wedding photographer with great quality work will generally book a year in advance. Get on that booking train, choo choo! Also you JUST GOT ENGAGED!! ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS ARE A MUST!! This is such a special era in your lives your engagement should be just as celebrated. As a New England wedding photographer myself I absolutely recommend engagement sessions for a few reasons:

  • It’s a great way to capture the feeling of this short period and document your love story
  • It’s a great way to announce your engagement to family and friends
  • It’s a great way to boost your confidence in front of the camera before the big day and get comfortable with your photographer
  • And for the bride it’s great for hair, make-up, and nail trials before the wedding. This will give you an opportunity to see what you will look like in photos and if there’s something you would like to adjust for later you can!


Additionally, booking the right wedding photographer should be an essential part of your decision-making. After you’ve said “I do,” you celebrated your new beginning with family and friends, the dress has been worn, the tux/suit is returned and your wedding is over the one thing you have left to reminisce upon for the next 50+ years are your wedding pictures. You should LOVE your wedding photos for generations to come!


Just as a wedding photographer, great videographers book a year or so in advance so if you decided this is something for you don’t wait. There are so many benefits to hiring a videographer. They’re the ones documenting everything from getting ready, to the atmosphere and the overall wedding day as it plays out. They capture the movement, the live reactions, the emotions, the party and the moments you may have missed as the day goes by so fast. This is one vendor I personally wish we had budgeted for. My father unfortunately was diagnosed with ALS and while he was at my wedding, he passed just 4 months later. Our wedding was an emotional roller coaster so many highs and some very moving moments. I would LOVE to have video of our wedding. Especially just to be able to see him, as he was alive.



Because this blog has run on longer than anticipated I’m going to combine these next vendors together! I’ll tell you why as well.

Your DJ or Band can make or break the party for you and your guests. Remember, this is your special day and everyone who attends is celebrating with you and looking to have a good time. Don’t be afraid to check out those reviews and ask to listen to their music ahead of time. Tell them what is or isn’t your style. The goal is for you and your guests to have a blast together and get out on that dance floor and DANCE!

The same is true for your caterer; they can make or break your guest’s experience. By the time the bridal prep, first look, and ceremony is over you and your guests will be hungry and looking for something good to eat! Good food also serves as a recharge to get ready for the party later. It’s essential to have a tasting before you book your caterer and again read those reviews!

Your DJ and Caterer are so important. One thing I remember my parents telling me and I’m sure you’ll hear it from someone you know while wedding planning is what your guests will remember. While you will remember special moments and of course have your wedding pictures to relive over and over, two big things your guests will remember about your wedding are the food and the dancing. People love to eat and let loose at a wedding, both must be outstanding to have your friends and family raving weeks later! Definitely plan to cross these vendors off your list at least 10 months – 1 year in advance.


Congratulations again to you and your soulmate, we couldn’t be happier for you! This is an exciting new chapter of your lives and it’s time to celebrate YOU! I hope you find these tips to be helpful and don’t hesitate to reach out to your girl with any questions.

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St. Augustine / Jacksonville / FL Wedding Photographer

Kristine DeCillis