Meet your winning wedding-day roster.
While your budget may prevent you from hiring every vendor under the sun, think carefully about the big picture. What is most important to you when it comes to your wedding day?
If it's the freedom to be a guest at your own wedding, then seriously consider a planner. If it's editorial photos, then hire a fantastic photographer. Phenomenal food? Then go with a five-star caterer.
The bottom line is: You're not going to get a do-over, so decide which services you absolutely can't live without and make sure you have a seasoned professional taking care of them.
Here is a list of wedding vendors that can help your dream wedding go off without a hitch.
FREE WEDDING PRINTABLE | Wedding Vendor Checklist
There's nothing quite as satisfying as putting together a drop-dead *gorgeous* wedding binder to help you plan your big day in style. Which is why we've painstakingly written and designed these equal-parts-effective-and-attractive wedding planning PDFs.
This isn’t technically a vendor, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t include the superstar of our website on this list: Your wedding venue. We’ve got lots of tips on choosing the perfect wedding venue along with a comprehensive list of wedding venues across the country.
Think of a planner as your ultimate wedding advocate—holding your hand from wedding planning start to finish. A professional planner does everything from helping set your budget and facilitating the hiring of vendors, to creating your master timeline and taking care of even the tiniest of details. This superstar vendor works tirelessly to ensure you have the most gorgeous wedding—in the least stressful fashion!
Catering | Bar Service
Think back to the best wedding you've ever attended, and we'd bet our bottom dollar that it included fantastic food. Many venues have on-site catering available, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll want to hire a separate wedding catering company. Catering can be provided as full-service or as a drop-off service. A full-service caterer may provide everything from food & beverage to staffing, chair & table set-up, and linen & equipment rentals, allowing you to knock out a bunch of wedding services in one fell swoop.
At the end of the day, all you will have left are the images—so you'll definitely want to budget for a skilled wedding photographer. First, fall in love with their portfolio and style. Do your research to find a photographer whose work speaks to you. Next, make sure you click with them on a personal level! You want a photographer that you could see yourself being friends with. The more at ease you are with them, the more natural and authentic your wedding photos will be. See how that works?
Photography is one thing, but videography captures the sights as well as the actions and sounds. Trust us, decades down the road you’re going to appreciate hearing your loved ones' voices all over again. Bonus points if your wedding photographer and videographer have a great working relationship so they can collaboratively capture the story of your day.
Wedding trends may come and go, but wedding blooms will always be in style. A talented floral designer can take your wedding vision and budget, and bring your floral fantasies to life through stylish arrangements that bolster the look and feel of your big day. This is one visual aspect of a wedding that can pack a serious aesthetic punch.
Cake Designer | Wedding Desserts
Whether you’re dreaming of a multitiered maximalist wedding cake or a sweet spread of pies and pastries, you’ll need a talented baker to ensure your wedding confectionery tastes as good as it looks. And this vendor comes with the added bonus of what’s arguably the most enjoyable part of wedding planning—the cake tasting!
Rental companies can help you achieve the wedding setup of your wildest dreams. Not only can you procure everything from tenting and furniture pieces to table linens, drapery, and décor, but some of these companies have ever-growing inventories that include things like specialty dance floors, hanging light fixtures, wedding arches, and more.
Stationery | Signage
Nothing sets the tone for your wedding like a well-designed invitation suite! Add to that complimentary programs, menu cards, place cards, and signage and your celebration will be as harmonious as it is heartfelt. Choosing the right paper goods for your wedding is like choosing the perfect accessories for your outfit. The stationery will tie the entire look together.
DJ | Music
A wedding without music is like a day without sunshine. So give your guests something to smile about with a pizazzy playlist! Whether you hire a DJ or an ensemble of talented musicians, the music will set the appropriate mood for your celebration. Plus, a skilled Master or Mistress of Ceremonies can gracefully guide your guests from one spotlight moment to another.
Regardless of what you spend, one thing's for certain – your wedding rings will be one of the most significant purchases of your life. Ask friends and family members for recommendations on reputable jewelers that they trust. If buying a diamond, finding a store that has GIA-certified gemologists on staff is ideal since they're highly trained in grading and pricing jewelry.
Totally transform your venue in the best way possible with the help of a skilled lighting designer. From pin spotting and dramatic uplighting to accent lighting and romantic washes, they'll ensure every inch of your big day is bathed in glorious light. Professional lighting design will enhance the ambiance, illuminate the evening, and make your photos pop.
Makeup & Hair
The key to glowing on your wedding day is to highlight your best features so you feel like the best version of yourself. Find a talented makeup artist and hair stylist who will make you feel confident and camera-ready. Schedule trials before booking to ensure you’re on the same page with your wedding-day look. Bring any accessories with you (veil, lashes, hairpieces) and speak up if you don't like what your stylist is doing. Take pictures once you've got your look nailed down to remember the details and see how everything looks on camera.
From limousines to party buses and even hotel shuttles, getting everyone to-and-from your wedding location safely is a top priority! Especially if you’ll be serving alcoholic beverages or your venue is in a remote location. Many hotels offer a complimentary or special rate shuttle service to your venue if you reserve a block of guest rooms.
Without an officiant, you won’t be legally married. So out of all the vendors listed, your wedding officiant just might be the MVP! Whether religious or non-denominational, spiritual or secular, traditional or nontraditional, you'll want to feel comfortable with your officiant. You'll be working closely with each other to craft a ceremony that's reflective of your unique love story, values, and beliefs.
From wedding gowns and tuxedos to reception dresses and wedding-party outfits, fashion is a big part of your big day! If you're looking to purchase a gown, check out our Wedding Dress Shopping 101 article for a few things you should know before you say YES to the dress. And be sure to purchase your wedding-day attire and accessories through reputable sources and shops. Do your research and read reviews to ensure you have the most stress-free shopping experience possible.
Check with each of your wedding vendors to ask if they’re insured and how fully they're covered. While you don’t want to double-purchase overlapping wedding insurance, you may want to fill in any lapses in coverage—especially if alcohol is being served at your wedding.
While we’ve tried to list the “main” wedding vendor categories above, there are many more specialty vendors to consider! Here’s just a sampling:
Live Wedding Painter