After suffering through the best and worst of the internet to find the information you need, you've probably got something to go off of! If you're like me, you probably had to "contact me" for no less than 5-10 vendors per item you need (venue, photography, caterer, etc). For me, I took a little over a week to wade through the murk. I was shooting off emails and contact requests left and right. Some of those were actually over email, some of them were through The Knot's "request information" thing, some were just via websites with the perfect amount of information.
I had warned Teh German when I started wedding planning that it was going to be all or nothing. I wanted to dive right in, accomplish the big pieces from the start and be done with the most stressful stuff right away and not let it take over my life for an extended period of time. I know how I am when I'm trying to make decisions and I feel stressed and it's pretty nasty, so this way of going about the process was best for me. Obviously, this method may not work for you. #differentstrokesfordifferentfolks
I am very lucky that I had a chunk of downtime at work where my projects were quiet and I didn't have much in the way of tasking. I was able to devote most of my time to wedding stuff and things. This also corresponded with when my coworkers found out we were engaged, so they were hyped and excited to help in whatever ways they could (the ladies who plan our holiday dinner every year were happy to help with food and venue suggestions).
During the wedding blitz week, we had appointments every afternoon after work except for Friday (which was just lucky and also because most vendors are already booked on Fridays with events). We met with a photographer on Monday evening, a wedding coordinator on Tuesday evening, 1 venue on Wednesday night, and another venue on Thursday night. In addition to all that, I was sending out emails back and forth with so many vendors my head was starting to spin. Also, I went to a venue alone on Thursday at lunch since I could go during the day when Teh German couldn't. It wasn't ideal, but I did actually take pictures at that one! I took Teh German by the venue I had toured during the day after our appointment at a different venue on Thursday night.
Here's the decision breakdown:
- We decided on catering the week before when I had half-jokingly suggested one of our favorite restaurants and Teh German agreed it was a good idea. When I checked the prices, they were definitely in our budget, so that was an easy yes.
- We agreed to use the coordinator on Tuesday night after we got home from meeting with her. I had spoken with one other coordinator and wasn't overly interested and 2 people in real life had highly recommended this coordinator for various reasons that directly affected us (anything she owned we could use for free (decorations/tables/etc) and she provided solid bartending servers).
- We made a venue decision Thursday night over dinner between the 3 places we had looked at that fit in our budget. One place had cowboy boots (2 boots to be exact), one place had fish on the walls (it was a boating club), and the other place was on a public park-ish area.
- Teh German put the photography decision in my hands since it was my biggest priority, and I confirmed my number 1 choice on photographer on Friday after some price negotiations. I was in contact with no less than 10 different photography vendors with vastly different price ranges. I know my photography style so that helped eliminate many of them if price hadn't already. Price was actually an eliminator for my #1 choice originally and I had selected another #1 choice within our budget. When my original #1 was willing to negotiate, I couldn't say no. Ok, I could have, but I didn't want to.
- Also on Friday, I may have found a DJ that is willing to give us a discount in exchange for website creation services. She was already willing to give us a discount because I had pointed out that her website was lacking vital information, but when I slipped in that it was easy to create a website, she offered a trade and I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
I have appointments at 3 different dress places in Charleston the weekend of Feb 19th. Teh Mom, Teh WJL, and Teh Running Bestie will all be coming to Charleston at the same time (holy moly!) and my goal is to find a dress that weekend.. in my budget.
I have started researching hair/makeup persons. It's going poorly, as I expected, because this is something I care very little about.
I'm less worried about Teh German's outfit because if all else fails, I know he has 2 suits in the closet that he can wear, even though he's already said he wants a new suit. Cool bro. I'm taking care of my wedding clothes, you can take care of yours. PS. I'm probably wearing white. Anything matches with that. You're welcome, love you, bye!
Our coordinator has said that she knows people for hair/makeup, cake, DJ, servers, bartenders, and rentals (chairs, ugh). She also informed us that she can create our bouquet/boutiners and table centerpieces with flowers. File all those things under "things I don't have to overly worry about" if I can't make a decision.
Oh yeah, and one final vendor that I almost forgot about.
I signed up for an annual membership at our city's gym. At $50 a year, it's way better than a box gym and way less busy. I'm not planning on losing a bunch of weight, but mostly maintaining where I'm at once I lose that one extra holiday cookie. This vendor is actually a 2-fer since I workout to clear my head and get some me time.
I'm feeling fairly confident that I've got all the big stuff tackled and now it's just a waiting game (as always) to get to the finish line.
How long did it take you start the R&D process?
How long did it take you to select vendors?
Tell me all the details! I'm here to make you feel less like a crazy person!