You are engaged! The moment has come for you to plan your dream wedding. Something that beautifully represents you and your fiance as individuals but also as a couple. It can be a LOT to think about. Having been involved in a quite a few weddings myself, I thought I would break down some key FIRST steps after you get engaged.
Enjoy being engaged! Pop the champagne. Phone friends and family. Just bask in being engaged for 5 seconds before going nuts wedding planning. Being engaged is not just for the big day but a season of life that should be celebrated!
Choose a budget and stick with it. You do not want to start your marriage in a pile of debt. Ain't nobody got time for extra stress! Ask yourself what is realistic for you and your fiance, not necessarily what all the wedding blogs are telling you but what is worth it for you and your future spouse!
Once you have a number in mind, prioritize what you want to spend money on. Personally, I would say that a photographer should be way up there! The photos you take on your wedding day are one of the only things you keep with you after the big day. I would also prioritize the venue because the setting of your day can either add pressure or make you feel more relaxed and at home.
3. Have a vision.
When I started planning my own wedding, I did not have the pressure or choice from Pinterest.. I wish! I know you have a board on there, secret or not, that is giving you a MILLION ideas. The board is full of little details that you think or cute or trending. Instead of looking at each pin, maybe look at the entire board and see what the general feel is from it. Have a vision for the big picture.
Maybe you don't care for Pinterest. You can start by writing down 5 adjectives or descriptors that you want your wedding to feel like. To describe my wedding, I would say joyful, romantic, relaxed, family orientated, and personal.
From there, I would look at theme. I felt that having a theme gave me focus. Do you want a classic wedding theme like rustic and modern lines OR colour based OR maybe something much more out there like a shared interest between your fiance and yourself? The options are really endless but I think that narrowing them down with what fits your fiance and you is of course going to be the best fit.
No pressure but this is an important step and goes hand in hand with booking a venue because of the capacity of the venue you choose. This is also one of the hardest things to plan. Your guest list will determine a lot of other things that will aid in the planning process like food, favors, decor, rentals etc. Can I give you a suggestion? Do not let anyone pressure you into inviting certain people. I know the feeling but really, this is your day and your budget. More guests means more moola.
In my humble opinion, your guest list should include people who would promise to walk along side you when you have things to celebrate and things to mourn. They are the people who will be there in hard times and times of great joy. Another rule of thumb is that if they do not know you as a couple, maybe think twice about putting them on your list. Everyone does this a little differently but really, I would stand firm on your guest list decisions.
5. Nab your preferred vendors. Before someone else does.
Wedding vendors get picked up REALLY fast. Assuming you have chosen a date, grab your venue and photographer quickly! These are the fastest to be picked up.
You got this.
These are only the first steps of the planning process BUT I think having these nailed down in your first month or two of being engaged will really simplify and focus your efforts for the rest of your planning. Don't get discouraged my friend and don't let the pressure get to you. Take it all one step at a time! You are going to have the best day!
If you ever have any questions, let me know and I will give you my best advice!
WHAT WE WANT YOU TO KNOW BEFORE YOU HIRE ANYONE:
1. You need to actually like us.
First off, I really hope you choose me to be your photographer because you like to be around me. I hope you saw someone that you could imagine sharing your wedding day with. That you could see me as a friend who spends more time with you than anyone else on the most important day of your life. See what I mean? It is a BIG deal. We are all spilling just a little bit of ourselves into our social media, platforms and websites, hoping you see the people we are. That our character will be a deciding factor for you.
2. Please. Please. Please don't let the dollar amount make your decision for you.
Your wedding day comes once in a lifetime. It is a beautiful, emotional, AMAZING day that you will spend hours pouring your heart and soul into. Your photographs are the only remaining part of that day for you to hold onto (besides your spouse). Trust me when I say, it is worth investing in. Be reasonable if you have a smaller budget BUT do not choose based on price alone.
My suggestion is to make your photographer one of the top priorities when are you setting your budget. Choose a day, book your dream venue and then grab the photographer! Work around those three factors.
3. Consider stylistic choices!
I do not mind getting suggestions for posing or props, I really don't. We will totally shoot something that might be important to you (that is the job!) BUT please consider the overall vibe of the photos that your photographer is trying to put out there. That part will not be easily swayed, even when you give your suggestions. After all, it is not only our business but our art.
For instance, I am not a very 'pose-y' photographer. I love candids, putting you in situations that evoke real emotion and that are usually a little more light-hearted, giving you a chance to showcase yourselves as a couple. I do allow for some posed photos for your wedding day but I do not micro-manage. If you are wanting more posed, editorial shots I may not be the best fit for you. And that is A-OK!
Also, consider the type of light they like to work with, the themes or styles of weddings they typically shoot and have as part of their portfolio. Typically, those are the types of weddings they want to shoot again. There is a reason they have those shots on their websites. They are trying to draw those cliental.
WHAT WE WANT YOU TO KNOW AFTER YOU HIRE US:
1. We are more than your typical wedding vendor.
I can not speak for every wedding vendor or even every wedding photographer, but I think I can safely say this. Your wedding photographer is going to be with you throughout your wedding planning, working on details with you that will give you AMAZING results. Do not hesitate to ask your wedding photographer any questions. We want to help! And may just have some great insight.
I repeat, you are NEVER a burden. Asking questions helps us both prepare for the day!
2. Engagement photos are a must!
I suggest to all of my wedding couples that engagement photos should not be skipped. These photos give you a chance to see us in action, to get you comfortable in front of the camera (it is a little awkward at first and no, you aren't the only one who feels this way) and we can get to know each other better! It is also great for us because we want to get to know you! I want to know what you are going to be like on camera, how I can better prep for the wedding day and I just LOVE getting to know my couples. They are all rocking awesome.
WHAT WE WANT YOU TO KNOW AFTER THE WEDDING DAY:
1. Share. Like. Post. Follow.
Social media is a wedding photographer's best friend and worst enemy. It is time consuming and stressful. However, it is free marketing and showcases our hard work. It really is the best of both worlds. BUT, it really helps us out when you share our photos, tag us and follow our accounts. This honestly honours us so much and helps spread the word about our business, allowing us to keep doing what we love. I won't out right ask you to post but it is always, always, always appreciated. We love to know that the time that has been put in has paid off!
2. You have a friend for life.
I can't say this for everyone but literally, I love all of my clients. You probably chose me because you could see us being friends, enough to spend many hours with me planning and preparing for your big day. Meaning, of course I love hanging with you too!
I am here for you if you need any professional services (duh) and we do have to have a professional relationship when it comes to logistics but hit me up with any questions, concerns or prayer requests. Do not be a stranger or consider yourself "just another client." I have built a relationship with you that I intend to keep just because you are out-of-this-world fantastic.
Photographers, feel free to leave your two cents in the comments below! If we don't agree on all of this, that is totally OK! Or if I missed anything, let the people know.