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  • Writer's pictureRachel Griffin, owner & lead wedding planner

Completing Your Vendor Team

Plan Along with Me SeriesStep 5: Hiring Your Remaining Wedding Vendors

We’ve made tons of progress planning your big day already! I’m sure that you're beginning to see that big, beautiful finish line full of guests and festivities. Now it’s time to think about completing your vendor team and getting those last few people hired for your wedding.

(Here's all the details about the First Five Vendors to Hire for your wedding. )

These remaining vendors are ones that can usually do multiple weddings a day (so locking them in isn’t super urgent) and typically won’t take up the biggest chunks of your budget.

  • Makeup & Hair

  • Cake

  • Officiant

  • Hotel Room Block

  • Miscellaneous

Your Beauty Team

When you’re considering hiring makeup artists and hair stylists for your wedding, one of my biggest tips is to find people you love that will come to you the morning of your wedding day. Lots of makeup & hair pro’s will travel to you with their equipment and setup right in your hotel room or bridal suite. It’s unbelievable how much stress this will save you the morning of your big day. Not having to coordinate salon timing, travel timing, and transportation is HUGE. Picture instead a relaxed morning, snacking on breakfast/brunch foods, while you sip mimosas in your robe and hop in and out of the chairs as needed.

Another tip is to use your engagement photos as your trial run for your wedding day hair & makeup. It’s the perfect way to see how the total look comes together, and you’ll be able to test how it looks on camera as well.

  • Most hair & makeup pros won’t need the exact count of ladies when you’re booking them, but having a general idea is helpful. You’ll want to know the final numbers for each at least a month before your date.

  • When you’re estimating timing, I typically allow an hour per girl getting hair & makeup done. This isn’t an area where you want to be cutting it close in the slightest. Estimating an hour per person, usually will give you just a bit of buffer time in case anyone is running late. Count backwards from when you need to get in your dress for photos.

Wedding Cake

“Don’t downplay the importance of your wedding cake. In my opinion, the two things guests still really look forward to when they go to a wedding are seeing the bride’s dress at the ceremony and finding the cake when they get to the reception.” - Maria Rizzo, owner of Sugar Refined Bake Shop

Maria, my FAVORITE baker here in the Gainesville area, admits she might be a BIT biased, but I actually totally agree with her! The wedding cake (or cupcakes/dessert spread) is always one of the first details I try to get a great picture of on a wedding day. They’re beautiful, fun, and always get tons of traffic on my social media pages. Guests just gravitate to them as they walk around finding their seats.

So, how do you find the best cake for your wedding? Maria had some fantastic advice to share:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions like “What would you do if...” This will help you get a feel for how experienced the baker is and how they would handle any unforeseen circumstances.

  • Make sure wedding cakes are their main focus and not just a hobby. She truly gets calls each week from couples whose baker cancelled on them for lots of different reasons, but they usually boil down to having different priorities than baking a wedding cake. (Check out my thoughts on hiring friends and family for your wedding in Deciding What to DIY)

  • Have an idea of the type of cake, or look & style, you like before you go. It helps guide the conversation and you’ll get the most accurate information from your appointment.

  • Definitely ask about pricing ahead of time! As an estimate, expect to spend between $6 - $10 per slice. Simpler designs with minimal decoration are the most cost effective, while things like sugar flowers, painting, or metallic will be on the higher end of the range. Sheet cakes in the back can save you some money when you’ve got a 150+ guest count, but you’ll still want the display cake to appear big enough to feed your guests.

  • Fake, Styrofoam cakes don’t actually save you money. The bulk of your cost is in the hours spent decorating, not in the baking of the cake itself. If the baker is still spending those hours decorating a fake cake, you’ll be paying for their time and then will also pay for the sheet cakes your guests will be eating.

  • Whipped Cream icing in Florida is a no-go. It’s just too hot, even inside, to have on display for your reception.

  • If your wedding is outside in Florida, steer away from fondant. The high humidity melts the sugar in in it and compromises your cake.

  • Watch what you plan to use as a cake stand. It needs to be very sturdy and completely level.

  • If you want to have fresh florals on your cake for decorations, you’ll order these through your florist, not your baker. Often the baker will place them on your cake though on the wedding day.

Ceremony Officiant

There’s lots of different options to consider for that special role of ceremony officiant. Whether you’re getting married by your family’s religious leader, a close friend or family member, or are looking to hire a professional wedding officiant, here are some questions that will be helpful to ask:

  • What’s included in their services? Things like a customized ceremony script may be an additional charge.

  • Will they attend your ceremony rehearsal?

  • How will they handle signing your marriage license?

  • Do they return & file your completed marriage license with the clerk of courts?

  • Can they customize the language to be religious or secular, depending on your preferences?

  • Will they perform LGBTQ ceremonies? (if applicable)

If you’re having a friend or family member, not a notary or religious professional, conduct your ceremony, you MUST make sure they have everything arranged ahead of time to ensure it’s legal. Different states have different guidelines and rules, and you’ll want to check that you are following them ALL. They will need to understand how to fill out your marriage license correctly and when it must be returned to the court by.

Hotel Room Block for Out-of-Town Guests

This isn’t something that you’ll be paying for, but something that you’ll definitely want to take the time to arrange for traveling guests. It’s essentially a partnership with a hotel for a reduced rate on a specified number of rooms. They’ll give you a custom code, or way to book, to pass along to your weddings guests, giving them a reduced rate for your wedding.

  • When arranging, make sure that you’re not liable for covering the cost of any rooms that don’t get booked in the block.

  • Have in mind a good guess at the number of guests on your list that would be taking advantage of booking a room.

  • Be sure to include this information on your wedding website and possibly on an insert in your invitations or save-the-dates.

Miscellaneous Wedding Vendors

Depending on what you’re planning for your specific event, completing your vendor team may also mean hiring some of these vendors as well.

Ceremony Musicians: If your DJ or Band is handling this as well, you’re already done! If you’re looking for separate musicians, make sure your venue has the space for the number you’d like. Also, know that cost is associated with the number of people performing. Ask to see their song list and find out if they will learn a specialty song if necessary.

Rentals: This one is pretty straight-forward. Most rental companies will give you a very detailed estimate or invoice for your event with the specifics of the items you’re renting, and the number rented for each item. Pay attention to things like delivery costs, security deposits, and setup/breakdown timing and rates when comparing between two companies.

Portable Restrooms: This is very important for private home weddings. Trust me, you don’t want to be in a situation where a septic tank has an issue, and 150 people are affected. Ask about what sizes work the best for your event, delivery timing, electric & water hookup needs, and security deposits.

Photo Booth (or other entertainment items): These are fun additions to weddings that can often double as favors or guestbooks. Make sure you pay attention to what’s included in the service collection (backdrops, props, attendants, customized prints, number of copies, etc.). Also ask about setup and breakdown fees and hours included where the booth is operational.

That’s it! You did it!

Completing your vendor team isn’t as scary as you thought, right? Now you’ve got all the big items checked off and finished for your wedding. Awesome job!

Next month we’ll get into the ins and outs of choosing and sending your Invitations! Step 6: Wedding Invitations

Until then, happy planning! - Rachel

P.S. Contact us for questions on vendor recommendations or for more information for how we can help with completing your vendor team!


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