Photo: Amy Kolo Photo
When you book your wedding, vendors can influence several factors, such as cost, availability, and response times. We asked several top wedding pros from a variety of specialties for the best time of year to book each vendor category. Here’s what they had to say:
The Best Time of Year to Book a Wedding Planner
"Booking a planner is more about what you need from them versus the time of year. If you are looking for a wedding planner to help you from start to finish, you need to book them at least a year out, if not a year and a half out from the wedding date. The planner is going to need to help you find a venue, and that takes most of the time to do. With site visits, contract negotiations, and such, this process can take upwards of three months. Less if the couple really knows what they are looking for and has a flexible schedule for site visits.
If you are looking for a planner to help with everything but the venue, then the couple has a little bit more flexibility, but at a minimum, six months out. For a ‘day-of’ planner, most planners will have a policy of only taking couples whose date is less than six months out. This is so that the couples needing a more involved planner would be booking more than six months out." —Keith Willard, Keith Willard Events
The Best Time of Year to Book Wedding Photography & Cinematography
"October through December can be a busy time for photographers and videographers. They are not only serving couples on their wedding day, but they are also deep into family sessions for the holidays. The peak time for family photo sessions is October through early December. If you begin contact with photographers during this time, you may experience delayed response time as their workload has increased.
For photography and videography, we do not open our books further than 18 months in advance. We find the sweet spot to be 9 to 12 months in advance — this is because the couples will likely have their first choice for their ideal photographer and videographer. Another advantage is by booking early, you can also lock in the current pricing.” - Mary Angelini, Key Moment Films
The Best Time of Year to Book a Wedding Venue
"Your wedding date can depend on the venue you choose! If you have a favorite venue, you might have to go with whatever dates are not already booked. Keep that in mind as soon as you start calling and doing tours." —Jen Sulak, Weirdo Weddings
The Best Time of Year to Book a Wedding Florist
"For the florist, couples should seek to book their vendor 9 to 12 months before their big day. Therefore, for summer weddings, booking in the early fall is ideal. Because of the boom in engagements during the holiday season, ensuring a couple has their preferred vendor is easier accomplished by hiring the professional before peak engagement season in the winter and early spring months. Although couples only meet with the planner 4 to 6 months before their wedding date, the vendor should be booked 9 to 12 months before the big day." —Sarah Anderson, Twickenham House and Hall
The Best Time of Year to Book a Wedding Baker
"A baker does not need to be confirmed as early on in the process. However, consider holidays when booking a baker. A bakery will always be busier during the holidays, so catch this vendor before or after their busy season. They should be booked between 4 to 6 months in advance, but feel free to schedule tastings around 6 months before your wedding day." —Katy Padilla, Scarlet Rose Events
The Best Time of Year to Book Wedding Hair & Makeup
"There isn't a best time of the year to book a wedding hairstylist or makeup artist. If you want someone who is in high demand and who does a phenomenal job, you have to hire them as soon as possible. If you are getting married and taking a year to plan and pay for your wedding, hire your glam squad at least 6 to 9 months before your big day. The artists that are highly sought after are going to be booked if you wait until the last minute." —Alicia Igess Jones, Alicia Igess Wedding & Urban Tangles Textured Hair Extensions
The Best Time of Year to Book a Wedding Officiant
"The best time to book them is as soon as you know your date. It doesn’t matter what season so much as you know this person makes it binding and legal where you are located. Without an officiant, you are just proclaiming your love without the paperwork. Make this a top priority in your planning!" —Jen Sulak, Weirdo Weddings
While best vendor booking times can vary across categories, one thing holds true for every type of wedding vendor: book sooner rather than later for the best results. With careful research and planning, you’ll be able to assemble the dream team to work on your wedding — within a scope that works for you.