Episode Show Notes

Your Wedding Vendor Checklist: What to Do After You Book Your Wedding Vendors

May 15, 2023

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Today, we're going to explore that “what's next” feeling you might be having after you finished booking your “main” wedding vendors. It's a huge accomplishment to have found and booked those vendors, and as a wedding planner, I know that it can bring a HUGE sigh of relief. However, it's important to remember that there are still a million little things to do before your wedding day. So often, couples feel like they're “done” once they've booked their vendors, but the reality is that there is still a lot of work to be done. In today's episode, we're going to dive into exactly what to do after booking your amazing wedding vendors. 

Whether you've stumbled here on a late-night Google search or are a long-time listener of our podcast, welcome! We love creating content you find helpful, but we love working with you more! If you are looking for a wedding planning team in Upstate New York, learn more about working with us here. Not ready to hire a wedding planner but still want support? You can find wedding planner quality templates here or book a clarity call to pick our brains about your wedding venue before you book!

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EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: Your Wedding Vendor Checklist: What to Do After You Book Your Wedding Vendors.

To fast-forward to a specific part of the podcast episode, check out the timestamps below:

  • Book your main vendors and create a cohesive decor plan [1:26]
  • Book secondary wedding vendors [3:05]
  • Create your wedding day timeline [4:25]
  • Create scripts and choose your wedding songs [12:53]



The first thing you want to do after booking your main vendors is create a cohesive decor plan and aesthetic

As a wedding planner, one of the first things we do with our clients after booking their main wedding vendors is to create a cohesive design and décor plan. This is because the design sets the tone for the entire wedding and helps tie everything together. When I look back on the weddings I've planned, my favorites are the ones where the design reflected the couple's personalities and tastes.

Creating a design plan starts with gathering inspiration. I always encourage my clients to use visual tools like Pinterest and wedding blogs to gather images and ideas that resonate with them. From there, we work together to distill their vision into a cohesive design, taking into consideration factors like the venue, season, and budget. We discuss normal things like color palettes and floral arrangements. I also ask them about what’s in their wardrobe, what stores they frequent when they want to decorate their home, their favorite experiences as a couple, how they vacation, and so many other things. Then I spend several weeks putting together a design plan that truly reflects their style and vision.

If you want help with this, I highly recommend heading to shop.verveeventco.com and grabbing my Wedding Mood Board template. It's great for couples trying to DIY their design! 

Find Your Perfect (Color) Match: Wedding Designs and Color Palettes- learn the top 5 tools I use to put together the wedding color palettes of a ceremony design. 

Once you have your design created, start booking secondary wedding vendors

 Now that you've booked your main wedding vendors and have a cohesive design plan in place, it's time to start hiring your “secondary vendors” which are equally important in making your wedding day truly unique and memorable. As a wedding planner, I always recommend that my clients take the time to carefully choose their secondary vendors, as they can truly enhance the overall wedding experience.

Secondary vendors could include your cake designer, a wedding stationer and/or stationery, ceremony musicians, rentals, and transportation. This is also the time of the wedding planning process when you might want to start looking for wedding favors or welcome bags, especially if you're going to try and support small local businesses or get something personalized.

Don't forget to consider other possible entertainment vendors like cigar rollers or live painters. Truly, this list could go on and on and that's why our couples hire us to be their wedding planner. Each vendor plays an important role in making your wedding day unforgettable.

Hiring secondary vendors is about more than just filling in the gaps – it's about adding elements that reflect your unique personality and style, and truly make your wedding day unforgettable.

Next, you are ready to start creating your wedding day timeline.

As a wedding planner, one of the most important tasks after booking the vendors is to create a detailed timeline of the wedding day. A timeline ensures that everything runs smoothly and ensures vendors and guests know what to expect. If you are a long-time listener, you know we're obsessed with a good timeline (listen to episode 19 for more details), but for now, here are some key elements to include in your wedding day timeline:

1 – Vendor Load-in and Load-out

This includes determining the earliest time vendors can arrive and set up or return to pick up their equipment. It's important to ensure that your venue allows vendors to work within these hours and that everything is set up according to the design plan.

2 – Getting Ready Time

Determining the hair and makeup schedule is crucial to ensure that bridesmaids, mothers, and the bride are all ready on time. As a planner, I often schedule extra time in case of impromptu photos with the bride and the wedding party or if any last-minute touch-ups are needed. Hint: they usually are!

3 – Photography Timeline

Having a photography timeline ensures that your photographer will arrive on time and capture all of the important moments throughout the day. This includes getting ready photos, the first look with the partner and parents, and any posed or candid shots.

But listen – when it comes to creating a wedding day photography timeline, it's important to work with your wedding photographer. After all, you hired a professional to capture the memories of your special day for a reason. Don't feel like you have to create your wedding day photography timeline on your own. Your photographer has experience not only in capturing beautiful images but in knowing how much time they need to get them. Your photographer will know the best times to shoot, the right lighting, and how to capture all of the important moments.

4 – Your wedding ceremony timeline

When it comes to your wedding ceremony, creating a timeline is essential to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This includes not only planning the logistics, such as when to walk down the aisle and where to stand but also scripting the ceremony itself.

As a wedding planner, I have helped couples from all walks of life plan their wedding ceremonies, and the most memorable ones are always personalized and heartfelt. Don't be afraid to collaborate with your officiant to create a script that reflects your culture and values.

A ceremony timeline should include not only the script but also the logistics of the ceremony, such as when to cue the music for the walk down the aisle and when to exchange rings. By creating a clear timeline, you can ensure that everyone knows what to expect and that the ceremony runs smoothly.

5 – Cocktail Hour/Reception

As a wedding planner, one of the most exciting aspects of creating a wedding day timeline is ensuring that the cocktail hour and reception are perfectly timed and seamlessly executed. Your cocktail hour sets the tone for the reception and provides a perfect opportunity for your guests to mingle, enjoy hors d'oeuvres, and sip on cocktails. Here's the short version of what I recommend including in your cocktail hour and reception timeline:

Cocktail Hour

During the cocktail hour, your guests will be looking for some light entertainment and delicious appetizers. It's important to ensure that your cocktail hour is not too long or too short- one hour is usually the sweet spot. Mix and mingle music should be playing during this time to set the tone of the evening. As a wedding planner, I always recommend including a mix of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and a signature cocktail to get the party started! It's also the perfect time to have a photo booth set up for all your guests to take some fun photos together. Head to episode 65 if you want some signature cocktail ideas!


Then we have the reception! The reception is the main event and timing is everything. I recommend creating a detailed timeline to ensure that everything runs smoothly throughout the night, including speeches, cake cutting, and the first dance. The reception timeline starts with the grand entrance, followed by the first dance, dinner service, speeches, cake cutting, and then on to the dance floor to party the night away.

6 – Vendor Breakdown/Load-out

Finally, we have the end of the night. Your vendor breakdown timeline includes determining when the vendors start to begin to break down the equipment and pack up. It's important to make sure that the schedule accommodates the venue and that they have enough time to ensure everything is packed up correctly and loaded into their vehicles safely.

Creating a detailed timeline is crucial to ensuring that your wedding day runs smoothly. As a wedding planner, I have the expertise to create and manage a comprehensive timeline that will ensure that every detail of your special day is perfect. Contact me today to learn how I can help make your wedding day unforgettable! 

If this sounds familiar, it’s because I talked about this also in the previous episode, episode 97, but wanted to touch on them again as a quick review. We also talk a lot about timelines on my blog at Verve, so check out the show notes for more helpful articles regarding your timeline.


After you finish your timelines, you can create scripts and choose your wedding songs.

As a wedding planner, I know that the wedding planning process can be overwhelming and fast-paced, leaving very little “downtime.” However, this “downtime” after you hire your main wedding vendors can be used to plan some of the most important elements of your wedding.

You will want to start to put together the wording or verbiage for your ceremony, as well as the order of everyone processing in – are grandparents walking in? Who’s walking your mom down the aisle? Is your wedding party walking in together as couples or one by one? Sorting this out ahead of the ceremony rehearsal will make for a much smoother and more enjoyable ceremony rehearsal.

Similarly for the reception, you will want to put together the order of introductions for your wedding party. Are they being introduced by the DJ or emcee one by one? Also, and very importantly – how do you pronounce everyone’s names? Make sure you spell out everyone’s names and phonetic spellings or pronunciations to avoid embarrassing mispronunciations. 

One thing that can be done during the “downtime” is writing the script for your thank you toast. The thank you toast can be a beautiful moment that reflects your personality and values. I recommend taking the time to write a heartfelt and personal toast that truly reflects your love and gratitude to your family and friends.

Are you planning to write your vows? Now is a good time to get started on those as well! Writing your vows adds a personal touch to your ceremony and helps truly reflect your love story. Do not leave it until the last minute. This just makes it stressful for you and this is not something you want to rush.

Lastly, you can start choosing your wedding songs. Grab a pen – I’m going to quickly rattle off the songs you need to choose.

Ceremony Songs

  1. Prelude: These are the songs or music that guests hear as they arrive for the ceremony while they’re taking their seats.
  2. Processional: The song that will play as the bridal party and bride walk down the aisle.
  3. Bridal Processional: The song that will play as the bride walks down the aisle. If you’re a same-sex couple, some of this will change, depending on if you’re walking together, or one is walking first, but thinking through what’s playing when you’re both entering the ceremony is important.
  4. Interlude: This is the music that is played during any special moments or rituals such as the unity ceremony
  5. Recessional: The song that plays as the newlyweds and bridal party exit the ceremony area.
  6. Post-Lude: Like the prelude, but the opposite, this is the music that plays as your guests leave the ceremony. If you don’t care, then just let the musicians or DJ choose this. 

Reception Songs

  1. First Dance: The song that will play for your first dance as newlyweds.
  2. Father-Daughter Dance: The song that the bride will dance with her father.
  3. Mother-Son Dance: The song that the groom will dance with his mother.
  4. Cake cutting song: Cake by the Ocean, Maroon 5’s Sugar – your options are endless to find a song as sweet as your cake
  5. Party Music: The songs that will play during the reception to get everyone dancing and having a great time. You might also consider a “do not play” list too! And don’t forget to choose the last song of the night. As wedding planners, we’ve probably heard closing time 1000 times.

And… that's a wrap! This list of things to do in the “in-between” might seem short, but each topic has so much to unpack. We'd be here all day if I went through each step individually.

While the list of wedding to-dos could truly go on and on and on. I hope that today’s episode helped remind you of some of the key tasks that you should be tackling toward the end of your wedding planning journey!

Not ready to book your wedding planner yet? Save this for later.

If you feel overwhelmed by today’s episode, if you’re in the NY area and need additional help, we would LOVE to work with you on your wedding. We had two clients last year that had booked most of their vendors but realized they still needed a lot of help, so they hired us for full-service planning. Book a clarity call.

If you’re not local to New York, I highly recommend checking out our Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist in the Wedding Planning Template Shop at shop.verveeventco.com. I’ve gone into even greater detail about what you should be doing month by month. It also lets you organize all of your tasks both on your phone and your desktop, so you can enjoy that feeling of checking things off wherever you are. Plus, you can easily assign things to your partner, as well. It makes collaboration and sharing the responsibility of wedding planning so much easier because it’s a lot of work and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Again, you can find the Ultimate Wedding Planning checklist at shop.verveeventco.com.

If you have follow-up questions or want me to talk more in-depth about something you heard today, join me Wednesday night for a quick IG live to talk about your questions from today or anything else. You can also leave an anonymous voicemail on our wedding planning hotline at (585) 210-3467. 

Not ready to book your wedding planner yet? Save this for later.