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How to Prevent Last Minute Wedding Vendor Surprises

Preventing Wedding Vendor EmergenciesThe months leading up to your wedding are a busy time–for both you and your vendors. You are not only choosing and coordinating details, but taking care of your everyday responsibilities as well. Your vendors are likely juggling several other events–all with different time frames and requirements–in addition to yours.

For these reasons, it can be relatively easy to “drop the ball,” and forget about a deposit due or have a misunderstanding about whether or not you are firmly booked for your day and time. Fortunately, there are preventive measures you can take to avoid stress and, possibly, scrambling to find last-minute replacements.

As you meet with potential vendors–the officiant or clergy, caterer, cake baker, photographer, videographer, florist, band or DJ, and miscellaneous decorative and other rentals–and ultimately choose which to book, follow these steps to keep yourself organized:

  • Take detailed notes when you first speak to each vendor. In addition to pricing, note and highlight the contract and down payment requirements as well as your deadline for making a firm commitment.
  • Attach the vendor’s business card to your notes and keep it with all of your important wedding papers.
  • Follow up in the affirmative to the vendors you ultimately choose and make sure you clearly understand what is needed for them to consider you firmly booked. If you have not paid a deposit (where required), signed a contract, or otherwise confirmed to each other in writing, your date is likely up for grabs by someone who gets his or her money in first.
  • Complete required contracts and deposits as quickly as possible. You will get busy very fast and  do not want to forget.

As the date draws closer, you will need to begin hammering out the details–whether they be the menu, cake flavors, song choices, bouquets and decor, or something else. To prevent details from “falling through the cracks,” you will want to follow up with your providers as needed.

Four to Six Months Before the Wedding

  • Confirm all vendor bookings. It is time to check in with the vendors again to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed in your agreement. If something is amiss, you still have time to set it right or go to plan B if needed.
  • Place all vendor orders for the ceremony and reception, including flowers, decorations, favors or do-it-yourself supplies, and the cake. Also, choose the reception menu. This gives both you and your vendors enough time to order in the correct products and work out logistical details.

One to Two Months Before the Wedding

  • Finalize ceremony details, including music, decorations, and wedding party flowers & bouquets.
  • Finalize reception details, including music, decorations, cake, menu, bar and beverages, favors/guest gifts, and floral arrangements.

Week of the Wedding

Review final details with all vendors, including guest count and loose ends from when you last spoke.

Day of the Wedding

Enjoy your big day!

Resource: Download our free wedding timeline and budget calculator sheet.

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