From Food to Photography: Top 5 Wedding Vendor Rockstars You Can’t Forget


Photo booths! Artisan cocktails! Donut walls!

These days there are so many unique and special wedding vendors for a couple to choose from that it’s easy to get lost in it all. We love photographing all of them! At the end of the day, there are essentially five major vendors that are must-haves for executing your wedding day. Once you’ve covered these five to-dos, the other details are easier to tackle. We’ve come up with some suggestions for an easy timeline for booking the five must-have vendors for your big day.

wedding ceremony set up at mission inn resort


The venue is the highest priority vendor to take care of, because you’re not able to hire most other vendors until you have a location and date nailed down. Popular venues may be booked up over a year in advance, but being flexible with your date can help you snag your dream venue. Booking a venue one year out from your desired date is a good benchmark to aim for, but if you’re able to book sooner than that don’t hesitate. With around 50% of the wedding budget going toward the venue, booking your venue sooner will allow you to divide up your remaining budget, or decide if you need to look into a personal wedding loan for the rest of your must-have vendors. Need ideas? Go check out our ultimate wedding venue guides.

ceremony with bride and groom and their closest friends at the lakeshore center in ocoee



Right after booking your wedding venue you should find and book your photographer. The photographer is one of the vendors you’ll be spending the most time with on your big day. Try to meet in person if possible and make sure they’re someone you feel comfortable around. If you have no idea where to start looking, try reading reviews on sites like Wedding Wire and scrolling through Instagram hashtags for your area. Additionally, many photographers offer a wedding package that includes engagement photos and wedding albums, find the right package for you and get the date secured.



Ten months before the wedding is a good time to hire your caterer if your venue doesn’t provide food. Ask your venue for a list of preferred caterers to start your search and don’t forget to check if the venue has any requirements for caterers before you hire one as well. The 10 month mark also gives you plenty of time to schedule a pre-wedding tasting and decide what delicious options you’ll be offering to your guests.

wedding desserts set up on a table



At around nine months pre-wedding you should nail down the type of musical entertainment you’ll be hiring for the reception. Whether you choose a band or DJ, be sure to ask for references so you can talk to other brides about how their entertainer kept up the flow of the night. Other important details to discuss with this vendor are necessary events throughout the night, such as your cake cutting, and a potential Must Play/Do Not Play song list. If you’re looking for some ideas on some killer dance moves, click here to scoot and boogie over to our blog about great dance songs to include to keep the memories going.

junction 88 production dj MJ with bride and groom


Of course, no wedding is possible without someone to do the honor of actually marrying you! Eight months out from the big day plan on hiring a professional or having a chat with a close friend or family member who will be handling the duties. An experienced professional will likely make things a little easier on you, but having someone you know perform the ceremony can be extra meaningful. If you’re going with the latter, do your research thoroughly to ensure they have all the right licenses in order before your big day.

couple with their officiant laughing at highland manor

Let’s sum this up!

The 5 essential vendors you need to secure for your wedding and suggests a timeline for booking them:

  1. Venue (highest priority): Book 1 year in advance, as popular venues fill up fast. This also helps determine your budget for other vendors.

  2. Photographer: Book right after the venue. Look for someone you connect with and consider engagement photo packages.

  3. Caterer (if venue doesn’t provide food): Book 10 months out. Ask your venue for recommendations and schedule a tasting.

  4. Entertainment (band/DJ): Book 9 months out. Ask for references and discuss key events like the cake cutting.

  5. Officiant: Book 8 months out. Consider a professional or a qualified friend/family member.

livehappystudios wedding photography in orlando
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