In-demand vendors can have their date books filled more than a year in advance, so it pays to book sooner rather than later. To show you how one couple planned their wedding, Kessa Wakefield, who married Randy Fuller at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, shares her timeline and the vendors she booked. Total planning time: 17 months.
APRIL 7, 2008: THE ENGAGEMENT
Booked: Wedding venue and caterer
Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, fourseasons.com/Atlanta - "We wanted a small, intimate wedding for our 41 guests; we also wanted the reception to feel like a romantic and sophisticated dinner party," says Kessa. "I loved that the Four Seasons had two terraces for our outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour, and a cozy area with an oversize stone fireplace and a gilded ceiling for our reception."
SimplyBloom Photography, simplybloomphotography.com
Sent: Save-the-date postcards
Le Jardin Francais, lejardinfrancais.com
Booked: Ceremony and reception musicians
Joe Gransden Quartet, joegransden.com - "The Four Seasons hosted a bridal event in January, and that's where I found my florist and musicians," says Kessa. "We liked that these vendors had a good rapport with our venue."
Booked: Trolley for wedding-party transportation
Georgia Tech Trolley, 404-894-9645 - "We rented a trolley from Georgia Tech to take the wedding party to different locations around the city for portraits," says Kessa.
Booked: Wedding coordinator
Ashley Baber Weddings, ashleybaberweddings.com
Attended: Catering and cake tasting
Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta
Jennifer Denning, weddingswithmeaning.com
Bought: Groom'zs tuxedo
Men's Wearhouse, menswearhouse.com
Bought: Wedding gown
David's Bridal, davidsbridal.com - "I visited about 10 bridal salons, and bought a gown in the fall of 2008," says Kessa. "Eight months later I spotted the David's Bridal dress in a magazine and bought it the same day. It was one-third the price of the first dress, but 100 percent better for me!"
Created and sent: Invitations
Designed by the couple; materials from Paper Source (404-575-4400) and Sam Flax (404-352-7200)
Ordered: Chair covers
Biana Chandler of B. Freestyle Beauty Lounge, befreewithstyle.com
Booked: Makeup artist
Melissa Merhar-Parker, 678-777-0255
Bought and assembled: Favors
Lottery tickets placed in glassine envelopes from Paper Source
SEPTEMBER 19, 2009: THE WEDDING____