So you’re engaged! Feeling overwhelmed by the idea of starting to plan your wedding or elopement? All while taking a deep breath, remind yourself that 95% or greater of the population has not planned a large event in their lives, let alone had to plan and execute an event on this level with a budget.

The best advice I was given when planning our own wedding was “Ask your vendors!” – people who eat, sleep and professionally tackle large event planning. As a wedding photographer coming from a corporate role, attending large events has always been apart of my career. It still is overwhelming at times when walking through every details that couples have to consider when planning.

Here are some tips to stay out of your anxiety bubble and keeping on budget when hiring vendors for your event. 

– Have the talk with your tribe first. Who is paying for this event? Are loved ones chipping in or helping in some way? A set budget is a set budget. It’s ok to stay within your means. There is a life past this day that you still need savings for. 

– Know your style. Pinterest is a great place to start looking at different wedding esthetics. I may also point out it helps pick out current wedding industry Trends. Know that you may want to look back and have timeless photos or media that doesn’t scream 2023. Or you may really love the esthetic and think – why not!? 

– Start looking for vendors that are the best for you. A few ways to look at that:

1. The same esthetic you are going for – that may be style of venue, photography, etc.

2. Make sure you know the industry averages for cost of the service. Then go back to your budget to see what category gets what budget.

3. Start looking at venue dates and then coordinate with a wedding planner or day of coordinator. These people are worth their weight in gold and can help keep you at budget as well as help remove you from tasks that you may not enjoy or need to be apart of. example: the bride should be in hair and makeup, not putting together floral arrangements the morning of the wedding. Your planner is there to take that off your hands. 

4. With dates in mind, understand that most wedding venues and vendors book the year before. Because it’s the services industry, it does take time to build reputations and talent skill set. 

5. Hit up social media again for DIY or resources of rentals or alternatives that may help with budget. Recycling and reusing decor is a way that not only you can help budget concerns, but also, better for the planet. 

6. Because vendors fill their calendar quickly, consider looking at popular times of the year when other couples could be getting engaged. Think about how long it typically takes for them to start planning their services. Winter is a down time for most vendors in the northern United States. The wedding industry is still in full motion in the South and internationally. This may also help you with finding vendors available for bookings if struggling to find early summer or fall dates. It could also be a cost savings in some spaces.

7. Understanding your guest count and the location to where you are holding your event, know that large rooms and spaces feel like they need to be filled vs. smaller rooms with higher ceilings. Consider spaces with multiple rooms that people can flow in and out of for differences in esthetic. This also helps avoid large ball rooms that may have dark or patterned walls and carpets. From a photographer space, it’s hard to manage light and exposer for photos in the traditional hotel ballroom setting. 

8. Using outdoors for decor is an amazing idea- just have a rain day backup incase things go south. You can always plan to incorporate the plan B in your day without loosing the value. 

Vendors to consider hiring: Different roles 

– Venue (New England or Midwest based? Let’s connect on ideas! I would love to also help on destination). 

– Wedding planner (Within first month of planning)

  • day of coordinator – within 5 months before wedding date

-Photographer (Me, Silly – @mirror_image_photography_vt) (within 10 months of date)

– Videographer ( @mirror_image_photography_vt) (within 10 months of date) 

– DJ (Top hat dj out of Burlington is incredible) (within 10 months of date)

– Officiant (within 10 months of date)

– Furniture Rentals (Tables and Chairs + Other) (within 6 months of date)

– Florist (a clover and one bee, Richmond VT) (within 6 months of date)

– Professional Hair and Makeup Services (Molly Waite of Sweetface Makeup Services) (within 6 months of date)

– Dress Alteration & Tux (within 7 months of date)

– Tent rentals (within 7 months of date)

– Baker (within 5 months of date)

– Food services (within 5 months of date)

– Driving Services (within 5 months of date)

– Ice Vender (within 4 weeks of date)

– Etsy Artists can help decorate and create (within 6 months of date)


Long story short. The more time you have to plan your big day, the better. Time goes quickly. Vendors books typically have a year already in motion for the popular dates for the wedding industry. Know the worth of your vendors can help you adjust and rearrange your wedding dollars. lean on your vendors to help give advice. Our jobs are to services our clients and make sure that their experiences in our care are #1.