Paying your wedding vendors will largely depend on your individual contracts with each vendor. Some require the full amount upfront; some allow for monthly payments. Many take a non-refundable deposit to hold your date, as they have to turn away other couples after you book them. From there, it is common to pay the remaining amount a month before the wedding date.
There are a few vendors, though, who you might pay after the event. Like bar services you pay based on the actual amount of alcohol consumed, and not on a per-person basis.
One of the major benefits of not hiring all of your wedding vendors at the same time is being able to space out when those initial deposits are due.
For a 12-month engagement, here is what your wedding payment timeline could look like.
Sample Wedding Payment Timeline
10-12 Months Out
Wedding Planner – Deposit or might pay in full
Venue – Deposit
8-10 Months Out
Photographer/Videographer – Deposit
Caterer - Deposit
Save the Date Cards – Usually pay in full at time of ordering
Dress – Usually pay in full at time of purchase
6-8 Months Out
DJ/Wedding Band – Deposit
Florist – Deposit
Bartenders – Deposit
4-6 Months Out
Invitation Suite – Usually pay in full at time of ordering
Wedding Rings – Usually pay in full at time of purchase
Dessert – Deposit
Wedding Dress Alterations – Usually pay at time of service
2-4 Months Out
Hair and Makeup – Usually have a set price due on or before wedding day
1-2 Months Out
Pay final invoices for planner, venue, photographer/videographer, DJ/band and florist.
Work with your caterer, bartenders and dessert provider if you’ll be paying per-person or per item.
Tips for necessary vendors and any final payments are due.
Can You Pay for a Wedding with Credit Cards?
This is something vendors are asked all the time. Many vendors do not accept credit cards due to large processing fees associated with them, and will request a check or cash instead, with some even accepting money from apps like Venmo or Cash App.
That said, there are a few pieces of your wedding you can usually put on a credit card. This includes your dress and other attire, wedding rings and invitations if you order them online. Larger venues will often offer credit card processing as well.
We also recommend keeping a detailed record of who you paid, how you paid them and what you paid for. Your contract should outline standard payment timelines and whether or not your deposit is refundable or not.
Be sure you understand up front how and when you will need to pay each of your wedding vendors. It might be time to dust off that checkbook!
Photo credit: Libby McGowan Photography