What should you book first for a wedding?

Mar 15, 2022 | Planning

You're engaged! Yay! After the celebrations have quietened down, it's time to start wedding planning. But where, quite literally, do you start? What should you book for first for a wedding? With so many vendors to research, it can feel incredibly overwhelming, so we asked California wedding planner and Fine Art Curation member, Lea Stafford Events, to share her valuable insight.

"To start with, we'll assume you are seeking a full-service wedding planner that offers both planning and design," explains Lea. "This creates a more streamline process and generates far less admin and communication on your part as the couple." Let's see what to do next...

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1. Book your planner first

We highly encourage you to begin your planning process by hiring a planner first, at least a year ahead of your ideal date. You may be itching to secure your date or perhaps hire that one vendor you’ve been following for so long, but just hold off for a moment. While there are exceptions to this rule, we highly recommend that you do your research and seek out a planner that aligns with your personality, has similar interests and a similar aesthetic.

Planning a wedding typically takes a year or more, so it makes send to work with a team who will make it a fun and enjoyable experience. You'll be communicating most with your planner so choosing someone who you connect with on a personal level is a no brainer. Sharing a dream that doesn’t have to be over-explained because your interests, style, and desired experience is their 'language' makes the decision making process that much easier.

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2. Book your venue next

You may be wondering why not begin with the venue, especially if it's somewhere you've been dreaming about for months. A planner has the ability to capture the soul of your event and implement that from the ground up. They not only offer a creative lens, they also offer a realist’s perspective coming from experience so it makes sense to tap into this knowledge before committing to a venue.

We consider the guest’s arrival (and departure) location; accommodations; transportation route; venue arrival experience and first encounter; how the crowd travels from one moment to another; where they go for an after party and of course, any auxiliary events. This all starts with the ideal location and environment.

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3. Next up, your photographer

Like venues and planners, photographers have limited availability due to only being able to service one wedding each day, or each weekend in some cases. Whether you reach out yourself or through your planner, don't delay in checking availability of photographers you'd like to work with. Of course you need to factor in cost and travel, and again whether you have a good rapport that will help you to feel at ease in front of their lens.

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4. Followed by the rest of your vendors

Once you have the first big three sorted, you can relax a little and start thinking about how the day will look and feel. A great planner will take care of much of the rest, such as florist, stationer, entertainment, giving recommendations for vendors and a timeline of meetings and payment deadlines running up to the big day. At Lea Stafford Events, we tap into the psyche and the priorities of our clients in order to build a desired blueprint for the event's success.

We wear many hats and being your agent through this process is one of them. From a logistical standpoint, reading through your contracts and understanding language from an industry perspective that we are the experts in will save you many headaches down the road for fine print you may not have been aware of, or questions you didn’t know to ask.

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About Lea Stafford Events

Lea Stafford Events is a full-service wedding planning and design company positioned in San Francisco/Bay Area, California, available for beautiful events worldwide. Our philosophy and approach are simple, we want to get to know you. By diving deep into the true intention and purpose behind each wedding, we can create an authentic and exceptional experience.

LSE focuses on the discerning client who appreciates understated luxury and enjoys travel to culturally rich destinations. Lea's interior design background in the San Francisco luxury market lends itself well to the modern and intentional event design aesthetic she practices today.

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Photographer: Mashaida Co. | Planning and design: Lea Stafford Events | Floral Designer: Nancy Liu Chin | Dress Designer: Alyssa Kristin | Rentals: Copper Rose, Theoni, La Tavola//BBJ and Borrowed Blu | Accessories: Luna and Stone Bridal Accessories | Venue: Private Estate | Cake Designer: Danielle Estrella | Make-up Artist: Make-up by Payna | Hair: Good Body | Paper Goods: Bourne Paper Co.


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