IYN isn’t just a team of entertainment professionals; we experience every aspect of the wedding day and build friendships throughout the wedding industry with hundreds of vendors! Because of that, we know that there are 5 vendors that will make or break your event, and if you don’t book these 5 first, you’ll likely be forced to settle on a plan that will cause you to stress and maybe even lose some sleep at night! So if this is your first time planning a wedding, allow us to share an industry secret that will keep you and your vendors happy.
Here are the 5 vendors you should prioritize and why:
1) The Wedding Planner
Right out of the gate, as soon as your boo puts a ring on your finger… book. your. planner. Okay, maybe that’s a tad soon, but the first thing you should lock down is your wedding planner because they are in charge of everything.
We can almost guarantee that you had a busy schedule before adding an entire multi-vendor event to your plate. Whether you’re a details person or not, planning your own wedding should not make you want to pull your hair out. Those are the months you should be exploring the life you’re going to have with your future spouse — not spent wondering why the florist won’t communicate with your cake company to organize the cake decoration, but wait, you haven’t even asked your rental company for a table for the cake in the first place! (See?)
A planner can give you invaluable information, especially the more experienced they are. Look at their portfolio! Check out what they’ve done and ask questions. Wedding planners are there to make your life easier by keeping you on budget, giving advice and sharing inspiration, connecting you with preferred vendors that they trust, keeping you on schedule, and (honestly) saving the day!
2) The Venue
We once heard a venue owner say that a woman booked a venue without a prospect of anyone to marry — just because she wanted the venue so badly! We’re definitely not suggesting you do that, but we are saying that the old adage “build it and they will come” is true.
Venues are built with different styles, just like your own home! They can offer special features, multiple spots for reception and ceremony locations, and so many options that may (or may not) echo the flow of your event. We suggest touring venues when you’re able, and discussing the pros and cons of venues with your wedding planner.
Always consult your budget, your future spouse, and revisit the type of experience you want to give your guests. Many venues even have amenities included that might save you some pennies! A lot of times, nailing your venue means you don’t have to spend as much on decorations, unless they are wow-factor pieces. Most importantly, let this location reflect who you are as a couple! There are so many beautiful venues to choose from so let the venue availability determine your date (if able!) in order to be happy with your choice.
3) The Photographer & Videographer
Right after your engagement, you’ll want to take professional pictures to announce it, right? This is why your photographer and/or videographer should be near the top of your list as one of the very first vendors you select.
Something that no one tells you: Shop around for your photographer. Just because your dog walker’s aunt is a photographer does not mean that she will give you the photos you want. But be quick in your selection because everyone else needs to book a photographer too! Also, what we think looks good and what you think looks good might not be the same thing.
Our biggest tip would be to decide what style fits you and your fiancé. What kind of lighting do you like in your photos? Do you prefer a certain feature, landscape, or activity that you want to capture? Do they over edit, limit your digitals, or refuse to do something that you would want? Make a list of questions and ask away!
Your photographer and videographer will capture one of the biggest moments of your life. There are no redos of the ceremony. You can’t uncut a cake or catch a first look twice. Book your photographer and videographer ASAP so that you don’t settle for subpar pictures of your wedding.
4) The Entertainment
Your entertainment should absolutely be one of your top 5 vendors that you plan and reserve first. Don’t let your wedding feel like an awkward middle school dance with lame, cookie-cutter playlists.
It’s Your Night offers DJ/MC services & live music, often packaged together for the ultimate experience! Think about the style of music offered in your ceremony versus the style or additions to your reception and first dances. Trust that your DJ can “read the room” to create a memorable dance floor — one where they have to close down the place and kick everyone out! That’s how you know it’s a party!
Entertainment companies, whether it’s a DJ or live band, often book gigs months in advance so you’ll want to be on top of that as quickly as possible so that you’re not shopping around last minute. Quality is king!
5) The Caterer
Food, glorious food! Have you ever left a fancy restaurant so unfulfilled that you had to stop at Whataburger on the way home? (Same.) Don’t let that be your wedding guests.
Choosing your food should mirror your likes as a couple and they can include some of the most fun memories that your guests will talk about the rest of their lives. A bar that features specialty food or drink options like pizza or s’mores will give your guests freedom to choose what they want, but if your budget doesn’t allow options, make sure to choose a broad favorite!
Always check your caterer’s ability with the number of guests planning to attend, and read the reviews of the caterer you go with! People are honest on social media and on Google reviews, so use the experience of others as a factor in your decision. You also want to double and triple check what your venue can offer to keep food warm, if they have a kitchen, do they have proper permits and licenses, etc.
Some of the most extraordinary, impressive details of weddings include the display and array of food & drink items!
Your top 5 vendors have the potential to make or break your wedding — that is where you spend your money! Along with experience with many, many weddings, we also have a list of preferred vendors in every area that we trust and enjoy working with. If you are stuck, reach out to us! We’d love to hear your questions and point you in the right direction.
Remember that you don’t get do-overs! It’s Your Night — make it count!