Some wedding professionals, like myself, include travel expenses in their contract price. I have different rates for the geographic areas throughout Central Florida. So knowing the location of the wedding is key if I am to provide a couple with a realistic quote. Some of your wedding professionals may be able to accommodate multiple weddings in a single day, but their availability can be affected by the distance between the weddings.
I know couples who secured other professionals before deciding where to get married, but it just makes things a bit easier for all involved if the where and when are settled early in the planning period. After that, it really does not matter much whether you book your photographer before your florist or your officiant before your caterer. I am frequently told at consultation meetings that I am the last task on the "to do" list and then all of the vendors will be booked. It's a good thing I don't have a fragile ego! One exception to this would be if you are hiring a wedding planner since that individual will help guide you through hiring the rest of your vendors.
When you book your professionals is more important than the order in which you hire them. It is entirely possible to plan a wedding in a matter of days if you are not choosy. But, the best and most popular wedding professionals are typically reserved earlier rather than later. It's not uncommon for the hottest DJ, photographer or officiant in town to be booked well over a year in advance. It's always worth giving them a call, even at the last minute, but your potential pool of professionals is likely to get smaller as your wedding date approaches.
I wish I could give you a firm guideline for when you should contact each of your wedding professionals, but this can vary greatly depending upon the circumstances of your wedding. Sunday, October 10, 2010 and Saturday, September 10, 2011 were HUGE days for weddings because of the cool dates. Couples who didn't book their vendors months and months in advance were metaphorically scraping the barrel for vendors by June of those years.
In Central Florida, spring and autumn are peak wedding seasons. Vendor availability gets tight during those months as competition for their services increases. If you are planning a spring or fall wedding around here, you want to line up your vendors early! On the other hand, a Thursday morning in the middle of January is a wedding dead zone almost anywhere you live. You might be able to hire anyone you want on 48 hours notice. Same principle applies to weekend verses week day weddings and evenings verses mornings. Peak wedding seasons, days and times impact the level of interest in a wedding professional's services. Make sure you know if your wedding is peak or off-peak. That will give you an idea of your flexibility with respect to lead time.
Bottom line though? Hiring a wedding professional is generally a first come first served proposition. If you want your first choice at your wedding, don't wait. Call now!
Photo Attribute: Cathy Heinz Photography