Are you recently engaged? Did the love of your life propose to you and place a beautiful ring upon your finger? What about a friend? Do you know someone who was recently engaged? Christmas through Valentine’s Day seems to be the time of year when engagements are popping up everywhere. My inbox is already exploding with inquiries, and I LOVE IT! But some newly engaged brides may have no idea where to start when planning a wedding. So I wanted to share a few pointers and give you a few things to consider! So if you are beginning to plan your own wedding, or if you know someone who was recently engaged, I hope these tips will help!
You are engaged! Now what?!
First I would like to congratulate you on your engagement! This is a very exciting time in your life, and I am sure that you want it to be perfect! But where should you start? Sometimes planning a wedding can seem a bit overwhelming, but I am here to tell you that it does not have to be.
Once you have that beautiful ring on your finger, there are four things you should start considering.
1. Your wedding budget
2. Your wedding venue
3. Your wedding date
4. Your wedding photography
Your wedding venue and your wedding photographer should be the first two vendors that you hire. And the sooner you do this the better off you will be. Most brides are encouraged to book their venue and their photographer at least one year in advance. There are several benefits to doing this early. One benefit is that you can be sure to secure a date that works for you at the venue you can’t live without. Same thing goes for hiring your photographer! If you do not book early enough, you may be running the risk of that photographer already being booked on the date you prefer! Keep in mind that most brides are planning their wedding at least a year in advance, so venues and photographers are filling up their schedules early as well! Another benefit to booking your venue and photographer early is that most are willing to set up some pretty amazing payment plans! I know I do.And the more time you give yourself to plan, the more payments you will be able to break your fees into.
Choosing A Venue:
Choosing a venue can be daunting on its own. There are so many things to consider. But it should be the very first vendor that you book!
1. How many guests can the venue accommodate?
2. Will you have to book a separate location for the wedding reception? (Not necessarily a bad thing)
3. Is your date available?
4. Does the venue or venues allow alcoholic beverages?
5. Does the venue provide you with a room to get ready in before your wedding? Or will you have to have an alternate location for that?
6. How much time does the venue allow the use of the facility before the ceremony time begins? (This could effect the amount of time allowed for photography)
7. Will the venue require you to use their caterer, or will you be allowed to bring in your own?
8. What percentage of your wedding budget will your venue(s) cost you? Will the venue(s) work with you on payment plans?
9. Does the venue allow outside decorations? Or will it even NEED outside decorations?
I’m sure there are so many more things to consider, and each scenario will be different. But this at least gives you a starting point.
Choosing your photographer is not as easy as it sounds. Nor should it be. When you are searching through Facebook searches, Google searches, bridal shows, and recommendations from friends, be sure you are looking for the particular STYLE of photography that you can’t live without. Many brides will focus on the cost first. This should not be your first concern. I understand that money and your budget is important. But if you end up settling for a lower priced photographer, your wedding images could suffer that decision. And face it… once the wedding day is over, all that is left is your photos. Besides most wedding photographers are willing to negotiate things in order to help you stay as close to your budget as possible considering that you are anywhere in the same ballpark. And if for some reason they are unable to meet your budget, they SHOULD be willing to help you by recommending others who may be able to meet your budget while still ensuring that you are hiring a professional. Just to be real, your wedding photographer will probably be one of the most expensive wedding vendors you will hire. But they will also be the ONE VENDOR that you will work with the closest throughout your wedding planning stages! If I can lend you ONE PIECE of advice it is this: There are too many people out there who own fancy cameras and a fancy website, and call themselves a professional. DO YOUR RESEARCH. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Choosing Your Photographer:
1. Do your research. Look for the STYLE of photography in which you want your own wedding to be shot. Style should always be the FIRST thing you consider. Do you prefer candids? Traditional? What about post processing? What you see on a photographer’s website SHOULD be what you can depend on getting back from them yourself!
2. Follow a few photographers on Facebook, and get a handle on their personality. You definitely want to hire a photographer that you can see yourself being friends with, because you will be working very closely and very intimately with your photographer during your wedding planning stages as well as on your wedding day.
3. How important are digital files from your wedding? How does that photographer deliver your digital files?
4. How important to you and your parents are wedding albums?
5. Ask to see complete weddings. All photographers can have a few great shots on their website. But it is important to see a complete collection of wedding photos so that you can get a better idea of what your complete collection will be like as well.
6. Does that photographer have a backup plan in case of emergency or illness?
7. Is everything covered in the contract?
8. If you find a photographer that you absolutely cannot live without, do whatever it takes to book them! Negotiate! Are you willing to change your wedding date if the date is what is standing in the way? Are you willing to consider saving money on flowers or catering in order to add money to your photography budget?
9. What do you see that photographer doing for his or her current and previous brides? Watch for this on blogs and Facebook!
10. What about engagement photos?
I hope that you find this information useful. Planning a wedding is such an exciting thing to do. THIS is the day you have been dreaming of your entire life! This day will only happen once! And I want to see you have the most amazing day of your life. Better yet… I want to be a part of it! I seriously love love love my job! I love being a wedding photographer! I love building friendships with my clients! I love capturing the emotions from a wedding! And as cliche’ as this may sound… I LOVE LOVE!
Contact me about your upcoming wedding! And be on the lookout for a guest blog post from one of my favorite wedding coordinators coming soon. Vickie Stanton of Bella Weddings is going to share a few more tips to planning your wedding! I can’t wait to share that with you! She is amazing and will rock your world!
Until next time my lovelies!
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