Congrats on your engagement! Whether you’re just engaged or basking in your 10th month of engagement bliss, you’re here because it’s time to get down to business and plan the perfect wedding for you. We wish we could say the only ingredient to a wonderful wedding is true love—don’t get us wrong, that’s the glue that holds it all together—but when it comes down to it, a wedding is an event, which means you need some seasoned pros on board to help bring it to life. It’s overwhelming at first to think about finding every single wedding vendor, but we’ve got everything you need to assemble the ultimate dream team in your wedding location.
Establish Your Budget
Not only do you need to know your general budget for this occasion, but start thinking about the most important details to you and on which vendors you want to spend the most money. It’s smart to understand a typical wedding budget breakdown to see how other couples usually allot expenses on each service. For example, you can expect your venue to account for about 50 percent of your budget, while flowers will typically be about 9 percent. Also keep in mind that prices will vary based on where you’re tying the knot, so local vendors in Iowa will charge something very different than those in New York. (Check out our most recent average budget breakdown from The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study.)
Define Your Style
If the word “define” sounds a little, well, definitive, don’t let it throw you. We just mean you should have, at the very least, a basic understanding of your own tastes and expectations when it comes to your wedding. (By the way, we mean the plural of “your” in “your wedding”—make sure you’re on the same page with your partner!) Whether you want it to be the event of the season ( a glamorous, 300-guest black-tie wedding) or a quaint gathering (an effortless country celebration in your childhood backyard), know your wedding vision before searching for vendors.
To start, take our fun Style Quiz to weed out what you don’t like and pinpoint your have-to-have elements. Once you finish the quiz, we’ll create your Wedding Vision for you and use it to craft a list of local vendor suggestions we think you’ll love (you’re welcome). For more inspiration, you can also check out hundreds of Real Wedding albums to see how couples in your area chose to celebrate.
Get a Lay of the Land
Your next to-do is to tap into all those resources you didn’t even know you had. Ask your recently married friends or family for vendor referrals. Can’t stop thinking about that dreamy raspberry compote in your best friend’s wedding cake last year? Ask them for their cake baker’s info. But if you don’t have a specific friend or detail in mind, your best bet is to scroll through The Knot Marketplace for tons of vendors in your wedding location in every category—calligraphers, photo booth rentals and everything in between. Browse by category, compare prices, check out portfolios and read real couples’ reviews to see if they’re a possible fit. Then feel free to request a quote or contact them straight from their page on The Knot.
Check With Your Existing Vendors
If you’ve already booked a few pros and now just need to fill in the gaps, your existing team can often be super helpful recommending other local vendors. Unless it’s their first wedding (which we’re guessing it’s not), they’ve likely worked with amazing people at previous events. Your photographer probably knows a fabulous videographer they love working with, for example. Your venue—especially sought-after sites like hotels, country clubs and banquet halls—might have a handy list of preferred vendors, or even in-house vendors, which will make finding a caterer, entertainment, rentals and more that much easier.
We mentioned this above, but reading real reviews under local vendor listings on The Knot will be a great source of info. Apart from word-of-mouth assurance from trusted acquaintances, reviews are one of the best ways to wade through the river of options. Seeing what newlyweds thought of their vendor team can truly help make or break your decision to book them. (And don’t forget to pay it forward—leave reviews after you say “I do” to help future brides and grooms find talent in their area.)
Make Sure It’s the Right Fit
Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you’ve done all your homework. Try to talk to each pro over the phone, video conference or in person to ensure your personalities mesh and that you’ve asked all the right questions. See, hear or experience their work: Take a venue site tour, stalk planners’ and photographers’ Instagrams, and check out your potential band’s live performance. Taking time to know you’re sure is always worth it.
Ready to find your local wedding vendors? Head over to The Knot Marketplace to get started.
Source: The Knot