• Claire

The BEST Order to Hire Your Wedding Vendors

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

I’m such a fan of Pinterest. Even when life feels a little chaotic (hello, global pandemic) if my Pinterest boards look nice, I feel like I can accomplish, probably, anything. (Find said Pinterest boards here) I mean the colors, creative ideas, aesthetically therapeutic photos? HERE. FOR. IT.

What I’ve realized though is that like all things, Pinterest has a not-so-good side. 

If you’re a bride and you’ve spent a second or longer on Pinterest, you’re probably going to be overwhelmed at the sheer amount of to-do lists + tasks for your wedding. I mean, you just got engaged yesterday and already are late on 7 items and should’ve booked your venue 18 months ago? (Which for the record - was before you even started dating your fiance.)  

Oh gosh - how is that even possible? (Or helpful, let’s be real.) I’ll bet the to-do list makers mean well + are doing all they can to help you but, sometimes all that advice is just too much! 

So, from me to you - I want to give you clear, easy guidance that you can literally apply TODAY. To hopefully take wedding planning from feeling like a completely wild task to manageable! 


1. Set your budget before you book anyone or anything. 

Wedding planning can go from seemingly affordable to wildly expensive in no time flat. One of the main reasons that that can happen is that planning starts without a budget or guideline for what you are willing to do and wanting to spend. (More on those specifics coming soon!) 

2. Start wedding planning on a macro and then, move to a micro level.

Photo: Kami Zoller Creative

Wedding planning on a macro level means all the “big” bookings that (most of the time) you can’t have a traditional wedding without. 

Think: Your vendors. 

This might be an economics reference, but don’t let that fool you - I should and will always stick to wedding planning before I should even engage in the slightest in anything economics related. I leave that to the experts, which is good for everyone. 

Photo: McKenna Mansfield Photography | mckmansfield.com

The vendors that are most commonly hired include:

*For reference -  !!! = very, very commonly hired !! = commonly hired, but not always ! = hired by some, but more rare

  1. Photographer (!!!)

  2. Videographer (!!) 

  3. Planner (!!!) 

  4. DJ (!!!) 

  5. Photo Booth (!) 

  6. Venue (!!!) 

  7. Staple rentals (i.e. tables, chairs, linens, etc.)  (!!!) 

  8. Decorative rentals (i.e. rugs, lounge area, unique flatware, etc.) (!) 

  9. Florist (!!!) 

  10. Baker (!!) 

  11. Catering (!!!)

So, now that we’ve addressed all the people that can be hired for your wedding, let’s talk about why hiring them in a certain order is worth considering. 

NOTE: This is based entirely on my own personal experience as a wedding planner California. If you live in another state, another area or otherwise, there may be some differences for you! At the end of the day, this is intended to be helpful guidance however, making choices that are best for you should be the priority.

FIRST UP - (After choosing your venue + date) Hire the vendors who are one-man shows. 

These people often include: Photographer, Planner, Florist, Videographer and sometimes, DJ or baker.

Prioritize the vendors who are one-man shows + that you personally value most. 

Imagine this: You’re on the ‘gram, scrolling through your friends wedding photos and you are just dying over the way the photographer captured their wedding day.

McKenna Mansfield Photography | mckmansfield.com

I mean, they got all the angles and edited it light and airy (just how you like it!). You glance down at your own sparkling left hand and think,

“ I wonder if that photographer could be a good fit for me?” 

Fast forward 2 days - You’ve talked on the phone with the photographer, they’re within your budget (or maybe they’re stretching it by a wee bit, but it’s worth it because of the ease and calm that they will bring you knowing that you’re getting some gloriously magical wedding photos) and you’re pretty sure that you’re just a minute away from being wedding BFF’s. 

What you might not know is that your photographer is getting multiple inquiries for the same season you’re getting married in + they have a capacity for weddings per year. Which means that if someone bites the bullet before you do, you’ll miss out on your newfound wedding BFF. 

AND WHO WANTS THAT? Probably not you. (And I don’t want that for you!) 

When you fall in love with a vendor and you want them to be there for your wedding, if they get booked they can’t duplicate themselves. (Unfortunate, but true.) 

SECONDLY , hire the vendors that are most in demand. 

McKenna Mansfield Photography | mckmansfield.com

I.e. Catering, photo booth, unique rentals. 

If you are looking into a catering company or rental business, who has more capacity than a one woman/ man show, but is wildly popular, they’re definitely worth talking to next on your list. 

LASTLY, hire the larger companies who have the most capacity.

I.e. Staple rentals.

Knock on wood but, never have I ever run into a situation where a company couldn’t meet our rental needs for a wedding. Something to consider about this is that depending on your need for tables, chairs, linens this can be one of the most expensive components of your wedding budget. (Think: For about 120 people, somewhere between $3,000 - $4,000 for tables, chairs, linens, flatware, glassware, etc.) 

Photo: Emily Magers Photography | Venue: The Casino in San Clemente

At the end of the day, take this with a grain of salt because your day is YOUR DAY. You should always feel the freedom to make the decisions that are best for YOU! (Not for everyone else or even, what our beloved Pinterest says is best.) 

From my experience with our couples, this has been one of the best ways to go about planning and ensuring that you are able to hire the vendors you are MOST excited about. I wish you a whole lot of peace + availability with your vendors and that you are nothing but THRILLED about all your people who get the privilege of being part of your day! 

Lots of hugs, grit and grace to you - always,  


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