When to Hire Wedding Vendors (Yes, it is too Early to Pick out your Cake!!!!)

I’m engaged! Where do I start? What should I choose first? So many questions and only 12 months to plan. I want a cookie. Wait! I need to look fabulous in my wedding dress, no cookie. I should Google personal trainers…

Sound familiar? Well after you determine your budget and guest count, and finalize your venue, it is the list of vendors that need to be secured. I am going to go over which ones should be contracted first, and which ones you should leave until the last minute.

First things first… You want to start with the vendors that can only work one wedding a day. The Wedding Planner, Photographer, Videographer, Band, DJ, Makeup Artist, Hair Stylist, and Officiant can all only be at one wedding at a time, so you want to make sure you get first dibs on these. Also, this will give you plenty of time to plan through all the logistics. For example, the photographer will probably shoot an engagement session, they will need a shot list, a timeline. etc… Give yourself ample time to figure these items out and send them to the vendor.

After you have those out of the way, move to the other vendors that can do more than one wedding, but may have limited time or stock. These include furniture rental, caterers, dress shops, tuxedo rentals, limo companies, and stationers. For example, many couples dream about arriving in a vintage car. In Miami there are about 30 vintage Rolls Royce cars in the city. But let’s say you want a specific color, then you have an even more limited selection. These vendors should be booked early. Another example is the stationary store. They have plenty of invitations, but long lead times. Ample time should be given to guarantee prompt execution and delivery, (stamping, calligraphy, and mailing times are things you should consider.)

And finally, leave the more detailed and creative vendors until the end. Not too close to your wedding, but after everything else has been handled. These include the florist, decorator, ballon artist, and cake baker. The reason? If you do these items too early you will change your mind and will end up making multiple trips to the vendor to revise your plans. For example, I had a bride that chose her cake one and a half years before her wedding. It was her dream cake and she knew what she wanted. But then she decided on a nautical ballroom instead of a historic one, so she spent another hour changing the cake. After that, the bridesmaids dresses went from gold sequin to purple chiffon, so she made sure to change the cake. And after that, the lace on her gown completely changed, so she changed the cake for the fourth time. LESSON: Wait until you have all your details sorted, and then decide on items like the cake, which depend on all those other details.

Turning a Dream into a Seaside Reality

Joan Love Avatar


In December 2008, Joan Love Events was contacted by Mark Burnett Productions to produce a dream wedding for a deserving South Florida couple. We jumped at the opportunity to give back to our community and work with some of our favorite vendors. After only two short weeks, we pulled a dream team of vendors together and created a one million dollar, seaside paradise for Trine and Ryan, a couple that has endured the trials of liver transplantation. It was a pleasure to meet them and their family, and to be able to contribute some happiness to their life. Here are a couple pictures of our transformations and designs. All photos were taken by one of our fave photographers, Mr. Tony Gajate.

Before and After of Ceremony Tent: We added seagrass and plants for privacy, and a butterfly gate in the Bride’s favorite colors. The tent was then draped to add softness.



Guest seating: After grabbing their flip flops, the guests were surprised and thrilled when they saw the beautiful seating arrangement. We wanted to create a comfortable, living room feeling on the sand. Different colored couches and chairs from Bubble Miami where alternated among the rows. Some side tables were added to hold the Ceremony programs. Finally, cushions in different patterns helped tie all the elements together.




Photo Walk: We had beautiful photos of the couple and their family framed. We mounted them on lighted planters to create a photowalk. Guests walked through and enjoyed seeing the pictures on their way into the Reception tent.


Before and After of Reception Tent: It took a lot of elements to fill up this 3,000 square foot tent! We used different tables, a giant sand sculpture, and different activity stations to keep the guests entertained. But, most importantly, the great intelligent lighting system installed by Everlast Productions made the tent an ever changing spectacle.



Sand Sculpture: Why have a dripping ice sculpture on the beach when there is so much sand to spare? This beautiful and personalized, 8 ft. tall sand castle, was the focal point of the Reception.  It was sculpted for us by Mark from Team Sandtastic.


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