How to find and book your Wedding Vendors, Part 1 | wedding planning tips | indigosilver

Here at indigosilver, we’re receiving a flood of inquiries for wedding dates in Spring, Summer, and Fall of next year; and even a few last-minute bookings for weddings just around the corner!

With all the inquiries and searches and bookings going on, we thought we’d interview some local vendors and get their input on what to look for and how to find your wedding vendors this Fall. We’re asking one of each type of vendor what advice they’d give to couples planning their weddings, and sharing this sage advice with our readers over the next few weeks. This week, we talk to a wedding planner, a wedding venue, a DJ, and a gown shop. Here’s what they had to say:

Wedding Planners:

BAO Events pulls your wedding event together. 

Our Expert: Brittany Adams-O’Neil, BAO Events
When to book: As soon as you get engaged! Roughly a year to a year-and-a-half in advance is ideal. You will get the best results from your planner if s/he is a part of the planning process from the very beginning.
How to Find your Planner: Word of mouth from your friends will be your best resource. The people in your circle are the most like you, and you will likely appreciate the same qualities in vendors. Also check wedding resources such as The Knot and Wedding Wire to read reviews written by real clients. Don’t be afraid to ask your other vendors for their opinions.
What to look for: It has to feel right. Do you jive? Are they returning your phone calls and emails promptly? You absolutely must connect with your planner so that you can trust them to execute and manage your wedding day. You have a life to live that doesn’t stop simply because you get engaged.
Things to know: Know the difference between a wedding planner and a wedding designer. A wedding designer is in charge of how your wedding will look. A wedding planner is your educational resource throughout the entire process. There will be several times during your engagement that you wonder, “What do I do next? Where should my priorities be?” That’s what I help you with. I offer not only whole-wedding coordination, but my services also include day-of and month-of coordination, or I can even help you with the pre-planning if you have a trusted family member to handle day-of. Wedding planning doesn’t have to be expensive.

Wedding Day Venues:

Brooklyn Arts Center wedding has uplighting to set the stage

Our Expert: Rich Leder, Brooklyn Arts Center
When to book: The most desirable venues in the area, whether for a large or small wedding, book a year or more in advance.
How to Find your Venue: Since the venue is usually one of the first vendors a couple will book, many couples start their search online. A majority of our couples tend to find us through our website, or they have attended a friend’s wedding here in the past.
What to look for: If you find a venue that speaks to you in some way, it is important to make an appointment for a tour. First and most obviously, you’ll want to see if the venue is better or worse in person than you imagined from the website. On a deeper level, the quality of the tour will be reflective of your wedding day experience. For example, I spend a majority of the tour getting to know the couple and what their vision is for their wedding day. The tour is so much more than just showing the space. It’s also important that the venue is connected and involved in the wedding vendor community in order for everything to coalesce perfectly on the wedding day.
Things to know: Keep a clear vision for your wedding day. If the venue can’t or won’t accommodate basic requests, or charges extra for every little service, you may find yourself compromising your unique vision.


Atlantic Premiere Entertainment gets your guests on the dance floor.

Our Expert: Eric Thompson, Atlantic Premier Entertainment
When to book:  About 6 months prior to the wedding.  This gives the couple plenty of time to work out details that will be important for the DJ to know.  It also allows time for the DJ to get a feel for the couple’s tastes and preferences. 
How to Find your DJ: Ask your other vendors for recommendations. A good DJ will have experience working at your venue, and will have worked with your other vendors.
What to look for: Hands down, your DJ needs to have a great personality with which you feel comfortable. Be sure to meet your DJ months in advance, so that you have time work out any differences in personality well in advance.
Things to know: Watch out for inflexibility. I can’t think of a single wedding where I didn’t need to download at least one new song based on the couple’s request. If your DJ is not willing to work with you, this may be a sign to look for someone else. Give your DJ a list of 20-30 favorite songs from different decades to play at your wedding. From there, your DJ will get a sense of your musical style, and will blend that with the songs that get your guests out on the dance floor.

Gown shopping:

The Wedding Dress Shoppe client Chandra in her gorgeous gown!

Our Expert: Roberta Danford, The Wedding Dress Shoppe
When to shop: A minimum of 9-10 months in advance of your wedding. Many gown manufacturers take 6 months to ship your gown, then you will need 3 months for alterations. If you are having bridal portraits made, your alterations need to be finished at least a month before your wedding.
How to Find your Gown: Shop in an established storefront. Many online vendors are selling knock-offs, and you need to try your gown on before you purchase.
What to look for: We give our brides a Bridal Snapshot questionnaire to better learn their tastes. We always encourage brides to try on one of each cut (a-line, mermaid, etc.), even if they don’t think they’ll like a certain style. Probably 80% of our brides end up purchasing the unexpected gown!  Your salesperson should know their lines, designers, and fabrics! A good salesperson will recommend a fabric and cut based on your venue. For example, layered tulle dresses tend to trap bugs, and therefore are not the best choice for an outdoor wedding.
Things to know: Bridal sizes are different than your regular clothes. Don’t sweat it! If you plan to lose weight before your wedding, it’s still safest to buy your gown in your current size. If you buy too small and miss your weight loss goal, you’re sunk! On the other hand, you can lose up to roughly 25 pounds and still have your current gown altered to fit. Let your gown shop handle that stress for you.

Tune in next week as we talk to four more vendors and learn what they wish couples knew!

Know a couple planning their wedding? Share this advice with them!

We’re jeff
& Lori

Carolina-based LUXURY BOUDOIR and WEDDING photographers

Our love of photography brought us together when we met at a photography conference over a decade ago. Today, Jeff is indigosilver’s lead wedding photographer, while Lori focuses on boudoir portraiture.

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