Over the years of shooting weddings and planning my own, I’ve learned so much about weddings that the normal bride-to-be may not be aware of! When it comes to wedding planning, there are some things you want to knock out first and foremost to get you started on the right foot!
1. Dream Big
The nitty-gritty is coming, but before you get into the details, give yourself some time to dream. Write down what you’d love to have at your wedding, whether it’s a barefoot ceremony in the sand or a bourbon bar at the reception, and start putting together a Pinterest board with your vision. Keep an eye out for common themes, which will help you narrow things down later and start to define your biggest priorities for the event.
2. Talk Numbers
I told you it was coming! Don’t book a single thing before you know how much you’ll have to spend on your wedding. Discuss with your fiance (or parents, in-laws or whoever may be splitting part of the bill) about what they might be comfortable contributing, and start setting aside savings if you’ll be paying for the event yourselves. Another number to consider? Your guest list! Create a draft guest list to get an idea of how many guests you’ll have, which will play a major role in how far your budget can go and which venues you can look at.
3. Pick Your Season
Before you tour venues or interview any major vendors (like your planner or photographer *cough, hiiiii, we should chat after this step!), you’ll want to have a range of dates in mind. Think about what you’re envisioning for your celebration. Is it a flower-filled wedding in the spring or a mountaintop elopement? Whenever your dream wedding seems to fall in the year, look to your calendars to see when you’re both free. Don’t forget to check in with your VIPs to make sure they’re available, too!
4. Book the Major Players
- Photographer let’s chat!!
These are the vendors who get booked 12-18 months out so they will most likely determine your DATE. If you intend on hiring a planner, he or she should be by your side from the start so book FIRST.
4 (b) DECIDE YOUR STYLE The venue and photographer will determine the ‘vibe’ and overall look and feel of the day. Do you want a modern or industrial venue? Are you looking for more of the ballroom wedding look? Do you want super light & airy photos? More true-to-life natural photos? [ i.e. yours truly ] or dark a moody? All of these factors will determine how your wedding feels to you and your guests the day of and how it is portrayed for years to come in your photos!
5. Get Organized
Now, when I say get organized. I mean GET ORGANIZED. It doesn’t even have to be pretty. Whether you want to get the Erin Condren Wedding Planner or you just grab a cheap three-ring binder from Target — you need to get ONE PLACE for all your things! The contracts, budget tracking, phone numbers, addresses everything!
Another little tip, print off a little calendar to stay on top of payment due dates! Keeping on top of the details is key. And missing a payment could result in penalties or a vendor not showing up! Grab my wedding planning checklist below complete with timing details and stick it on the front page of your binder!
Courtney is a Wedding Photographer in Indiana. Her specialty is joyful, timeless and playfully romantic wedding photography for classic and timeless couples and educating photographers on how to build a business that delivers an unforgettable client experience. Within Indiana, she serves Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Lafayette, Bloomington and South Bend. Areas in surrounding states that she serves: Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is available for destination weddings. Contact her for investment details and reserve your date.