Good, experienced wedding vendors are reliable, and once you have a contract and pay a deposit, you have nothing to worry about. They've blocked your wedding date on their calendars, and they'll be sure to confirm the times with you closer to the date if you haven't already gotten in touch.
Unfortunately, not every wedding vendor is as experienced and reliable as the next, and you have to stay on top of things to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks for your big day, especially if you're planning your own wedding.
If you have a wedding planner, that's the person responsible for keeping in touch with your vendors and making sure they've got everything ready to go for your big day. You should review the schedule with your planner—in detail—but it's likely the coordinator's job to contact each vendor and confirm.
DIY brides and grooms, on the other hand, must take responsibility for every little detail of their weddings, and that includes making sure the vendors know what's going on. It's very easy to start contacting everybody about a slight change in time, for example, and forget to tell somebody important about the switch if you're not using a checklist and taking notes. Telling the minister and the violins you're going to start 30 minutes early doesn't help if you forget to notify the florist. On the wedding day, it's too late to fix the mistake. To be safe, confirm all of your vendors four times using the following schedule:
1. Once you've paid a deposit and received a signed contract back from the vendors, send a confirmation. Just a quick note to acknowledge that everything is in place, confirm the date and time, and let them know you'll be in touch again.
2. However far out you're planning, make a note on your calendar to touch base with all of your vendors at the halfway mark—especially if you're planning a year or more ahead and haven't talked to that vendor in several months. A quick note to let them know you're still getting married, and looking forward to their services, is sufficient. Ask them to confirm that all is well on their end, too.
3. Try to have your vendor schedule written a month prior to your wedding date. You may still have some details to fill in, but the bulk of the decision-making should be finished and all of your vendors should be under contract. Send them the schedule you've written and ask every vendor to reply to acknowledge the receipt, and to tell you if they have any changes or questions.
4. The Monday before your wedding (assuming you're getting married on a weekend), send an email with the final wedding schedule attached and make sure you get a confirmation response within 24 hours. Call anybody you haven't heard from the next day so you can check them off the list and breathe a little easier.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.