Hello my bridal babes! I hope you’re living your best lives and feeling fab! This week’s blog post is for you. As a current bride who is also planning her wedding, I figured I would share some information on my planning process thus far. Hopefully some of what I have to share will help inspire or assist with your planning process and selection of wedding vendors.
I would highly suggest choosing your vendors based on the level of importance to you and your partner. This is even more important now than it ever was. Weddings are being planned YEARS in advance due to the effects that COVID has played on the world, and many vendors are becoming booked well ahead of time. The first thing I would suggest doing, is sitting down with your partner, and creating a tiered list of vendors- first tier being those you KNOW you can’t live without, then second tier of vendors that could be a possibility. Obviously, the importance of each vendor varies per couple. I am going to share the order in which I chose my vendors below and why I chose them! I will also tag the vendors I booked.
VENUE/CATERING: This should be every couple’s very first vendor booked! If you do not have a venue, you do not have an official wedding date. Even if you choose a date with your partner, the venue that meets your design and budget preference may not have it available. So get the location and date in line- then worry about all other vendors!
My fiance and I are planning a destination wedding in New Orleans. While we have no official ties to the city- we simply love visiting this magical city together. We chose an intimate historic venue in the heart of the Marigny, The Burgundy House. We loved the old charm of the brick walls and chandeliers in the space, and the size was perfect for our small guest count.. Our venue also doubles as a restaurant at times so food and drink was included in the package which was a major plus!
PHOTOGRAPHER: This vendor was the MOST important to us, because after the wedding day fades away, the photos will still be there for us to relive the memories for years to come. We wanted to hire a photographer who not only takes amazing photos (with a more moody aesthetic- our particular preference); but is also laid back and fun to work with as well as organized and replies to us in a timely manner. Hence why we chose Love Is Rad Co! The owner, Ollie, has been nothing short of amazing to work with thus far. I cannot wait to see what he captures on our special day!
A little shot from our engagement shoot in January 2022!
DRESS: This happened super early on in the planning process by default. I was in NYC for work during the summer of 2021. I knew hands down that Sarah Seven was going to be the line I chose my bridal dress from. I just was not sure of the style I wanted, but I had a short cocktail dress in mind. I decided since I was already in the city, I HAD to visit their flagship store. (When in Rome!) My best friend and I ventured to the showroom, and I tried on that short dress. Then for fun I tried on some more traditional dresses, and girrrrlll, that short dress went right out the window when my bestie started crying(She NEVER cries). I knew then that I had found my dress! Unfortunately, the cost of multiple alterations trips to NYC were not in the budget for this bride. I ended up finding the exact same dress at a boutique in Jacksonville, which was a much more affordable commute coming from Orlando. Love, A Bridal Boutique was amazing, informative, and so great to work with! Hands down-recommend!
PLANNER: Not every bride can handle full wedding planning from concept to day of coordination, and they require a planner from the very beginning, which is amazing to help with vendor suggestions and research! If that is in your budget, I definitely recommend it! However, as someone who works in the wedding industry, I knew I could handle the pre-planning on my own, but day of coordination is a whole different animal! Ladies, I 1000% recommend a day of coordinator. You do not want to be the point of contact on wedding day when little things begin to unravel. Trust me, there is ALWAYS something at every wedding. While it may be minor, you want to enjoy your day and not be bombarded with timeline questions, venue layout questions, or anything of the sort. Please let the pros handle this for you!
We chose Southern Approach Events for our day of wedding coordinators. They have been amazing since our first call- always answering emails and questions in a timely manner; making professional suggestions; and just being easy to work with! I cannot wait for the day to see them in action! I have no doubt they will bring their A+++ game!
FLORALS: I am not a huge fan of florals, but also know they’re necessary for decor purposes. Hence, why this was a vendor I chose much later in my planning. Crystal Vase Flowers was referred to me by a past client of mine, who also got married in New Orleans. Which is another great way to get vendor recommendations. Know a friend or acquaintance who got married in the same city or even at your same venue? Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions, because the clients are going to spill the tea on who was amazing and who wasn’t!
BAND/MUSIC: Our wedding is a little different than most. We are not having a full reception/dancing. We are hosting a ceremony followed by a seated dinner. We knew we wanted to capture that New Orleans vibe, and what better way to do that than with live jazz music? Bands are set at a higher price point than a DJ, because well, more people and efforts are involved with a band. Luckily we found a band that worked with our budget to provide ceremony and reception music, as well as a second line(A New Orleans tradition-a private parade for us and our guests led by a Grand Marshall and a brass band!) It was a win-win booking with The New Orleans Players!
RENTALS: Rentals are important in helping your full vision come to life! Bring on the velvet, the color pops, and the tablescapes! We’re here for it all!
Even though we are planning a small wedding, we knew we wanted some vintage elements to be incorporated into the design. Even though our venue offered round tables as a part of their package, we decided not to utilize them. Instead we opted for long rectangular tables, a cute couples table, and a vintage navy settee that is to die for! (I am a SUCKER for velvet). We kept the rentals minimal, but I think they will be the perfect details for our wedding day thanks to Distressed Rentals.
TRANSPORTATION: Many people do not think of transportation when wedding planning, but let me tell you it is important, especially if you expect guests at multiple events, or if your venue is in a more remote location. Many times I hear of wedding guests who have to drive over an hour to their hotel after the reception, because that is the closest option. Who wants to put their guests in danger, after a night of drinking and partying? Uber is always an option, but if they do not travel to these remote locations, you and your guests could be stranded. Trust me, I have heard the stories about this happening as well(Eek!)
We chose to chauffeur our guests in a small coach bus to 2 separate events. We are hosting a welcome dinner the day before the wedding an hour away from New Orleans, and didn’t want our guests to have to worry about renting a vehicle or traveling via Uber. Also, we decided to skip the dancing at the reception in order to fully enjoy all New Orleans has to offer! We will be shuttled to several different bars after the wedding so we can continue the celebrations. Our amazing planners recommended 2 companies, so we went with the company who actually responded to us, A Royal Coach Limousine.
I hope the reasons why I chose the vendors have been helpful to you and your wedding planning, sis! The planning process can be overwhelming, but if you put the right vendors in place, it won’t feel like that all. The process should be fun and exciting. Get those vendors booked, so they can help you create a magical and memorable day!