Congratulations on your engagement! If you are a newly engaged bride planning a spring or early summer wedding, I'll be honest you have a lot to accomplish in the next few weeks. If you have been engaged for a while and have been looking but haven't made any commitments, it's time to lock in your date with vendors. Forty percent of engagements happen this time of year, so all of the sudden there is another whole group of brides competing for the same vendors you have been talking with. Some of them will be looking toward 2014, but some will be looking at dates only 5, 6, and 7 months away.
So where to start . . . it kind of depends on what is more important to you, the date or the venue. Some venues like Ashley Inn, Talon Winery, and Buffalo Trace Distillery fill up fast. If you fall in love with any of these picturesque locations, at this point in the year you will probably end up with what they have available, and that may mean considering a Friday or a Sunday - the advantage to these non-traditional days is they may come at a reduced rental rate. And as the weeks pass, the same will be true for more and more venues. If you decide you want to get married Memorial Day weekend, you probably should have been booking 8 months ago. This doesn't mean there aren't any venues available, but the picking is getting slimmer every day.
(Top Left: Ashley Inn, Lancaster, KY; Top Right: The Ca"barn"et Barrel Barn at Talon Winery, Lexington, KY; Bottom: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY. All photos courtesy Danelle Alexis Photography - www.danellealexis.com)
So once you have your date and a venue, what's next - probably your photographer. Most photographers with a few exceptions, do only one wedding a day. That means once they are booked, they are off the market for that date.
Next comes the caterer (and rentals), the florist, and the cake. The numbers vary, we'll do two (occasionally three) weddings on a single day. Some florists will do two or three, some more, the same with cakes. But all of this depends on how big and elaborate your wedding is, and how big and elaborate the other weddings we have scheduled on that date might be. And as far as rentals, if you need a tent, or tables and chairs, and china and glassware, we need to get that reserved so that you have the most options available. Right now I can still pick any china pattern, but if I want a specialty table or a specific size of tent, those two are starting to be unavailable for certain weekends.
Beyond vendors, your other major to do it your dress. Some dresses can take three to six months to come in, and bridesmaids dresses will also need to be picked out, especially since you may have to figure the logistics of out-of-town attendants and their fittings.
For all the other pieces, you have some time, not a lot, but a little time to catch your breath. It will be crazy, but before you know it your wedding day your will be here.
Good Luck and Happy Planning,