Opinion: Stalling on Suppliers

fire ringPerhaps wedding planners and designers can weigh in on this, too: The tendency for some engaged couples to contact a vendor, possibly even going so far as to meet with them, and then stall on the actual hiring and agreement signing.Why You WaitI'm sure there are quite a few reasons, the most influential of which is likely cost.  When a supplier slaps down a multi-thousand dollar estimate I'm sure quite a few couples balk until they can carve out a more definitive budget so they'll better understand what they can and cannot afford.  Secondarily, finding time to sit and talk seriously with your fiancée about wedding decisions is far more difficult than most people think, and often months may pass before the couple is in agreement about whom to hire and how much to spend.  I know some brides also take a few weeks to contact several similar vendors and compare them based on information that's given.Why You Shouldn't Wait...Too LongIt's important to understand the amount of time in advance you should be commissioning suppliers; most photographers in my area are usually booked 6 months to 1 year in advance. Waiting too long to book a supplier for your wedding date could result in the vendor you had your eye on from the beginning being snatched from under your nose by a quicker couple, especially if your wedding is during the "high" season (March through November here in Southern California).  If you procrastinate on hiring vendors until your wedding is almost upon you then you also run the risk of finding all the "choice" suppliers in your area have been taken ahead of you, and all who are left are less talented or less experienced than what you had in mind!The Best Solution...Is a "Priority List."  As soon as you are engaged, sit down and create a list of all the expenses you expect from your wedding, and then arrange it so that the most important expenses are at the top.  Then over the following months as you continue your planning, just work your way down!  For example, if you deign the wedding dress, the venue, and the photography to be the three most important aspects of your wedding, then acquire them in that order.  That way, if your budget should unexpectedly dwindle as you near the end of your list, it doesn't matter so much because what is at the bottom was not the most important to begin with!  Booking your most important suppliers early on also ensures that YOU get them, because you were faster and had your priorities straight!