So, you got engaged to the love of your life? Huge congratulations to you both!
Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, stressful but SO damn exciting. There are so many details to remember, and to plan out- I know this first hand as I have planned my own wedding, and have captured so many during my career as a Photographer. I thought, why not create a blog post with the tips and knowledge I have picked up along the way.
Im sure you have so many questions, like where do I hold the wedding? What is a good number of guests to invite? When should I start booking everything? Have a read to find out what I recommend.
Remember this day is only about the two of you.
Don't follow the normal idea of a wedding because you feel like you have to, plan for what makes YOU happy. It's common to try and follow current trends, but don't be afraid to step out of the "normal". Smaller, more intimate weddings are so special, and not any less then a larger wedding. Wanting a retro themed wedding? Do it! Only want 10 guests? Perfect! Whatever makes you happy, and excited to celebrate your love. I just have to start on this point, because I think its so important and it's easy to get caught up in planning for what would you think make your family and friends happy- ultimately, this day is about the both of you.
Find wedding vendors that match your personality and vision.
There are SO many amazing wedding vendors. The hard part is how to find the right one.
Don't be afraid to make posts in your local Facebook groups, searching for recommendations, ask your friends who have also experienced wedding planning who they loved. They may not be the right one for you, but you can get a great variety of different options and styles. The best way to find out if a vendor is your perfect fit, is to do a video call or a in-person meet and greet. ALWAYS check out reviews on google, these reviews are almost always honest feedback on how the service went. If you are looking for a florist for instance, let them know what you have in mimd- and check if they have done something similar previously. Ask for photos! As a Photographer, I can't post every wedding on my website- and this is the same for most vendors, so they may have more photos that they can share with you.
Set your desired budget from the beginning.
This tip is extremely important, it is most likely one of the first questions your vendor will ask you. Its so easy to get carried away, and spend more than needed. When looking for your vendors, this will also help you narrow it down to find an option that will keep you in your budget. Prices can range from hundreds, to thousands. Venues espeically. The reason being for this, is because some venues will offer everything in a bundle deal- chairs, tables, tents etc. If you go with a cheaper venue that doesn't offer these things, will you go over budget having to rent all the additional things? Having your guest count and RSVP list back as soon as possible will help you create a more accurate budget to follow as well. Creating a spreadsheet with deposit costs, dates paid and total costs is also a great thing to do.
Plan what you can, as early as you can.
Photographers, venues and catering can book up 2 years in advance. So when I say plan early, get that planner out and start as soon as soon as you can! This will reduce the stress of planning, and help you stay organized to achieve what you need to. Month-of wedding coordinators are wonderful to have, so you aren't scrambling the month before the wedding to finalize the details. If you choose not to have one, keep a notebook or spreadsheet with remaining costs and dates that you must pay your final balance. I know that this was mentioned in tip#3, but I really want to emphasize this!
Start off by having a list of preferred dates, bring these dates to the venue and see what is available. Once your date is secured with the venue- start contacting your other vendors. The most important thing, is to have a location for your wedding! It would feel so frustrating to book your vendors, only to find out that all of your venue options are booked up already.
Stay calm, and celebrate on.
Now, as much planning as you will do- things may not always go as planned. There are so many things that can fall off course during your day.. but that's okay! Don't let it stress you out, your wedding is only for a few hours and the time will FLY BY. Roll with the flow, and remember to eat, stay hydrated and to enjoy yourself. The day may start at 8am with hair and makeup, and end at 11pm- but you will be surprised with how quickly everything goes. Have that chat with Grandma, dance your heart out, and look at all of the love you are surrounded with. Seriously, take every moment In because you will only live this day once. I remember at my wedding vividly thinking, WHAT? The day is almost over? After years of planning, it goes by just like that.
Find a few helping hands.
It can feel like you're doing this all by yourselves, but don't be shy to ask for help from family, friends or your wedding planner. It's such a good idea to have a designated helper or two for the day of your wedding. Someone who will round up your family when its time for those family photos, so you aren't running around. Give them a list of who they are looking for, so they can call their names out and rally the troops. Someone who will ensure your tables are the way you had envisioned. This goes for pre-wedding as well. Maybe you are DIY-ing a lot of your decor, have a girls night and have some extra hands to help you accomplish these things.
Vendors you may consider hiring
Some vendors that will help keep the day going smoothly. You may not need/want all of these vendors, but it's great to consider and weigh out your options.
-Stationary design team
Be transparent with your Photographer/Videographer
This goes for all vendors honestly! When you choose a Photographer/Videographer, its 99% because you like their work. During your phone consultation, explain what it is that you like about their work. Don't hire a Photographer that is moody styled, and expect for light and airy photos as your gallery. Tell them why you are considering them. Photographers work hard to achieve their desired style, and every single one is different. While considering them as an option, make sure the editing, lighting and posing is what you're looking for.
Read thoroughly before signing any contracts.
I cannot stress this enough, make sure to read every word on your contact. During these tough times with restrictions, you want to make sure your covered in every way. Contracts are in place to ensure a mutual agreement towards what you are booking. If you pay. retainer, will you receive that back or receive a date change if postponed? If you are not presented with a contract for a service, I would look into the company further to ensure you are making the right choice. All in all, you just want to make sure your bases are covered.
This goes without saying, but just don't forget to enjoy yourselves. You worked so hard to plan it out, so find your love and hit the dance floor. Take a moment to yourself for some piece and quiet if needed. Your wedding should be the best day of your life!
All photos by @KelseyLageriPhotography©
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