In 2010, Book Your Vendors Early!

Posted by ereitmeyer on Jan 08, 2010

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The new year is upon us, and with it a wave of newly engaged couples just starting to plan their 2010 and 2011 weddings.  Wedding vendors everywhere are getting ready for the inevitable rush of inquiries that happens every January, February, and March — it may seem like any other year.  It definitely isn’t.

Topping my wedding trend watch for 2010 is the phrase “everyone I contact is already booked on my date.”  Here’s why: 2009 was a tough economic year.  Any wedding professional will tell you that the (usually predictable) cycle of wedding bookings has been thrown completely out of whack since September 2008 when the financial crisis first started.  In 2009, we saw more cancellations, wedding dates pushed back, and last-minute bookings than at any point in at least the last 20 years.  People didn’t know if they would have enough money for a wedding, so they decided to put it off — to 2010.

That’s great news for the wedding industry this year, but not necessarily great news for brides and grooms.  If you’re planning a wedding in 2010 or 2011, take the standard wedding planning timeline and throw it out.  You’re in a bar fight with other couples for the top vendors in your area, and you need to seek out and hire your vendors as soon as possible.

At my company, our numbers are through the roof for 2010 and we’re already getting inquiries for Fall 2011.  Two photographer friends of mine have already reached their wedding booking goals for 2010 and are considering whether to even take any more bookings.  There is already a high level of demand for the top vendors, and the earlier you do your research and put down a deposit, the better.

Here’s the best advice I can offer you: Book your ceremony site, reception venue, and major vendors as quickly as you can.  It may not be a bad idea to come up with a “short list” of vendors you like, and then check your potential wedding date with them before you sign a contract with your ceremony and reception locations.  If you can get a date, but all of the good vendors in your area are already sold out, you may change your mind and pick a later date.  Book anything that requires a specific person — your ceremony officiant, photographer, videographer, wedding DJ, etc. — as soon as you set your wedding date.  Any vendor who can provide goods for multiple weddings on one day (florist, cake baker, etc.) can probably wait a little while if needed.  Be sure to check with them, though, because every business has a maximum number of weddings they can handle and you may need to put down a deposit just to secure the date.

Not sure where to start?  Here’s a shameless plug for WeddingWire — use it.  There is no better way to research the quality and consistency of a vendor than by reading reviews by their former clients.  I tell every single couple I meet with to use WeddingWire to perform a “background check” on any vendor they are considering.  Happy new year, and best of luck in your planning – it’s time to get started!