bride and groom stand side by side outside estate tuscany in the hunter valley

What Vendors Do I Need to Book For My Wedding?

What Vendors Do I Need to Book For My Wedding?

Imagine this…you get engaged (yayyyy by the way!) and you don’t have top plan anything because the venue takes care of everything! This is not a dream, and this can be you. If this is what you want, I suggest you save yourself some time and stop reading this article, as this is designed for people who want full control over who they hire for their wedding. Nothing against you, you gotta do you…but I don’t want you wasting your time! “What vendors do I need to book for my wedding” is probably the most common question I get from people when they meet with me.

The long and the short of it is this…I don’t know! I don’t know what you want or need yet. Do you want a videographer? Do you want to pay for stationary? What about Wedding favours? These are all questions only you can answer with your fiance. But, I can help by giving you my list of essential vendors that I would recommend booking for your big day! If you are in a rush, skip straight to the end for the straight forward list. If you want to learn a bit and have 5 minutes, stay with me.

bride and groom walk down the road at estate tuscany.

1. Venue

This one really should not come as a surprise, and if it does, I think it is time for us to part ways! Without a doubt, you need a venue. In fact this should be the first thing you book. Why? Well booking a venue means you can now lock in a date, without which you will not be able to book in any of your other vendors.

How far in advance would I book this? Well, if it is a really popular venue, I would try for 12-18 months, more if you have it! Under 12 months and you do run the real risk of the date being booked, particularly if you are going for a Saturday wedding or a popular time of year like October.

Not sure where to start? If you are getting married in the Hunter Valley, I highly recommend both Stonehurst Cedar Creek for that more rustic, farm type feel, and Estate Tuscany for that versatile boho, rustic, or even classic feel.

booking a wedding vendor? start with venue at estate tuscany

2. Photographer/Videographer

I won’t go into this one, because obviously I am bias and have spoken in great length about this. However, I will remind you, many photographers are already booking up 2021 (it is currently June 2019), os we do tend to book out early in regards to wedding vendors. Probably a wise idea to get onto this one as soon as you book a venue to avoid disappointment. If you have a specific photographer in mind, the sooner the better, so contact me now if I am that photographer for you!

With regards to videographer, people so often see this as a luxury item, maybe they will, maybe they won’t book one. This could not be further from the truth! I have again, spoken extensively about the importance of having a professional video from your day (for more info check this out). Videographers tend to book out a bit closer than photographers, but this does not mean they are a final minute decision, unless you want someone very sub par. If you want someone who will absolutely own it, get onto them at least 9 to 12 months out!

3. Florist

Let me tell you, from a photographers standpoint, florals can make or break a day. You don’t want to be that person going to the supermarket the morning of, picking up bunches of flowers from Coles to create a bouquet and table stylings. Just don’t…trust me. When searching for the perfect wedding vendors, pay close attention to who you select as a florist. They do way more than you probably know.

A popular misconception is that florists can not be booked out, because they can always order more flowers and still do your wedding. Wrong! They only have a finite amount of time in the day and can only take on so many jobs a week. Do not leave this to the last minute. Remember florists also often double as stylists, many own styling companies, or styling arms to their business, so always enquire about this, as professional styling can lift your wedding from amateur to professional in the flick of a switch!

I recommend minimum of 9 months out to have your florist book. Not sure where to start? We work closely with and highly recommend the beautiful, rustic, organic florals of Jess from Newcastle Food and Flower Market, and Lou from Wow Flowers. Put them on your list, you won’t be dissapointed.

selecting wedding vendors - beautiful bridal bouquet

4. Hair & Makeup Artist

Now we are getting down to it! This is literally, your face, which will be in a lot of photos, and a lot of people will be seeing it. I hope that does not come as a surprise to you! I feel I don’t need to stress the importance here to most brides, but honestly, this is not the time to get your friend to do your hair or makeup because they do their own makeup well. Wedding makeup and hair is totally different to anything you have ever done. It is done with photography in mind, so that you look flawless on the day, but also in your photographs.

Booking a professional HMUA is the most surefire way to ensure that you look brilliant on your day. And yes, they do book out well in advance…well the professionals do. I highly recommend minimum of 9 months to book your HMUA. If you are well organised, book further out! Not sure where to start, I highly recommend Loren Murnane makeup or Hannah James makeup & Hair.

5. Wedding Dress & Suit

Unless you plan on getting married naked?? Brave call, but I can dig it. For those less adventurous clothes wearing folk, you will need a dress and/or suit, depending on your personal choice! Not much to say here, but a major point to mention is that you will be in these clothes for approximately 12 hours, so I suggest not skimping out here on cheap fabrics. Not even sure what that means, hit up my friend Caitlyn at Studio C Bridal in Newcastle. She hand makes all her dresses, sometimes to the amount of 120 hours per dress.

As I am sure you now realise, these dresses can’t be made overnight, so I recommend trying to get in 9-12 months in advance as they get booked up super fast!

Brooke Brianna finishing brides makeup before wedding captured by candid hunter valley wedding photographer James White


6. Celebrant

Another of the misunderstood tribe here. Celebrants do so much more than you would ever know, and spend countless hours planning the perfect ceremony for you.  They will most likely want to meet with you a few times to get a really good sense of who you are as a couple, and will go through many forms and questionnaires with you in order to completely personalise your ceremony. As a result, you do not want to leave them to the last minute, as they won’t be able to do any of this. Plus, if they are booked out, then everything is all in vain…they are the only ones who can marry you! So you kinda need one of them there on the day, so make it the right one. I recommend 9-12 months out to book the perfect celebrant.

When booking vendors, in particular celebrants, we recommend getting to know your vendor personally before signing on the dotted line (find out why here). If you are looking for a funny, bubbly, down to earth celebrant, I recommend Sassy Celebrants.

7. Wedding Cake

Yum. One worded required…but you know me, I’ll write more anyway. There is no such thing as a wedding tax! If you tell your cake maker it is a wedding cake they won’t slap 200% increase on it…trust me. But they do put in a lot of hours to make you the perfect cake. Wedding cakes are not like birthday cakes, or any other cake for that matter. I don’t know why, I can barely bake Betty White cookies from a box, but they just are! Not sure where to start? If you are getting married in the Hunter Valley, booking a wedding cake maker is easy! I suggest starting with Hello Naomi and Bec’s Cake Creations as your first two stops on the delicious road to booking this wedding vendor!

I recommend a minimum of 6 months out for ordering your cake.

8. DJ/Band

The only way to get the dance floor kicking! The only way to end off the perfect day. Get some Guns’n’Roses and Grease pumping out, and get everyone on the floor. You will however, probably want a DJ or a Band instead of an old iPod for this. There is something about music being played live by someone that gets people wanting to move so much more.

Make sure you give your DJ or the Band some guidance on what you want played, and remember, this is a wedding, not a nightclub. You may love Rave music, or screamo, but your wedding guests probably won’t. I always suggest wedding classics (your DJ and Band will know these) to ensure you get everyone off their seats, even your nan!

I recommend booking your music 9 months in advance.

beautiful wedding cake at estate tuscany in hunter valley

In a rush? Didn’t want to read all that ugly text? Let me hit you with the list of wedding vendors you need to book.

  1. Venue
  2. Photographer/Videographer
  3. Florist
  4. HMUA
  5. Dress/Suit
  6. Celebrant
  7. Cake
  8. DJ/Band

There you go folks, in my opinion, the 8 wedding vendors you need to book for your wedding day. With a few suggestions on where to start (my favourite vendors), and how far in advance to be booking these vendors, you should be set. It can get overwhelming certainly, but if you leave enough time, and actually focus some time on doing it, it is actually a walk in the park. Use your vendors, your venue and photographer will often have lists of people they have worked with in the past and highly recommend. This can save you a lot of time, and is always a great place to start.

If you feel you are still a bit lost, or have some more questions, you can always get in touch with me, and I will help you out however I can!

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