Great Wedding Planning Tips...From a wedding photographer's point of view
You're bubbling over with excitement and joy because you just got engaged! Congratulations! I'm sure you are excited to start planning your wedding day. Planning a wedding can be a fun time in your life but it can also become stressful, confusing, overwhelming, and just a PITA! At some point you might just think "I'm done, we going to elope in Mexico"! While there is nothing wrong with a quiet destination wedding on the beach (We are also destination wedding photographer wink, wink), it is possible to enjoy planning your big (or small) wedding and celebrating with all your family and friends.
Over the years, I have picked up many tips and tricks to planning a wedding. I have seen and photographed them all. Big elaborate weddings with over 300 guests in attendance down to small intimate weddings celebrated with only the closest family and friends. Here are some tips to help with stress free wedding planning.
1) Create a Wedding Mood Board
Creating a wedding mood board will help narrow down your wedding style. Are you envisioning a country, rustic, outdoor wedding, a light and breezy beach wedding, or maybe an elegant affair inside a large romantic ballroom. Creating a mood board will help define the look you are going for so you can focus on that theme and not get distracted. I suggest gettingon Pinterest, and create a board. Name it Wedding Mood Board and start pinning! Be generous with your pins and then go back later to refine it down. If 90% of your pins are outdoor, rustic, farm pins then it would be safe to toss the beachy sand in your toes wedding pins. Then share your board with your wedding photographer, me! I want to see your ideas! The more I know, the better!
2) Figure Out The Wedding Budget
Whether you have $100,000, $10,000, or $1,000 to spend on your wedding, you need to create a budget and stick to it. The cost of a wedding can easily get out of hand , so if you are armed with a budget and you know exactly what you are going to spend in each category, then you are going to be good. I've compiled a great list of websites that can help you create a wedding budget and give you and idea on how much you can expect to pay for each vendor category. You can find them at the bottom of this blog.
3) Hire Your "Must Have" Wedding Vendors Early.
Do you have your eye set on a specific wedding venue, or a photographer? Dont hesitate to book with the wedding vendors you love. When you hold off on hiring, you take the chance of loosing them. Wedding venues typically book 12-14 months out, wedding photographers 8-12 months out.
If you are going to hire a wedding planner, do it early and take advantage of their endless wedding knowledge!
4) Save Where You Can
We just talked about the wedding budget, and if you have so much money saved that a budget doesn't really apply to you, then you can skip this part and head over to the contact me page!!! But, if you are like the rest of the 99% of us, you are going to have save a little here and there, and get a little frugal in some areas. This is 100% expected and okay. The tip I will give you about being frugal is not to do it on the wedding aspects that are most important to you. What part of your wedding is the most important to you? The music, the bouquet, the cake, your photography...
I know I am biased but to me photography is the area that is most important. Besides your marriage, your wedding photos are the only thing left after the day is done. Remember, your photographer is capturing the most important day of your life. If you need to be frugal on some wedding items, think long and hard before making the wedding photographer that item.
Kiss Me Studios gives you the option to add your wedding photography to your wedding registry! Guests love the idea of gifting you something that you will cherish forever!
5) Know Your Golden Hour.
Golden Hour is the time of day when you get the perfect light from the sun. This is the hour prior to sunset or the hour after sunrise. Since wedding aren't usually happening at sunrise that leaves us with sunset. Typically, formal portrait happen just after the ceremony. Scheduling your ceremony 2 hours prior to sunset will produce perfect lighting for your outdoor ceremony and perfect lighting for your formal portraits.
6) Create A Time Line Early On
As soon as you book your venue, its a good idea to create a loose timeline. This will help when trying to figure out how long you will need your wedding vendors for. Let's say you have your reception venue till 10pm. Your ceremony is going to be at 5pm, and you know you want some getting ready photos. You now know that you will need a photographer for about 8 hours on your wedding day. See it's helpful!
7) Always Book With a Contract
This is such an important tip! Do not hire any wedding vendor with out a contract. Its there for your protection. If they do not provide you with a contract then I honestly think you should run ,because they are not a professional! Every vendor should provide one. Venue, photographer, planner, caterer, florist, DJ or musicians, hair and make up, dress shop, Cake baker... Every one!
READ your contracts! Don't just sign with out reading. The contract should lay out every expectation between you and the vendor. Kiss Me Studios has a great contract that we are happy to share with you so you can look it over. This way you will know what to expect before making the decision to book with us.
8) Ask Your Photographer For Referrals!
Yes, ask us for some vendor referrals! Think about this for a second! We are with the bride and groom from the start of the wedding day, to the end. We work with hair and make up, we work with the dress, we work with the venue, work with the planner, hear the officiant, listen to the DJ, eat the food, of course I eat some cake, and we are there with our couples right up to the very end! We keep track of all our favorites and we are happy to share them with you!
9) Trust Your Wedding Pros
If you have done your homework before hiring your wedding vendors then you should be able to trust your wedding vendors. Relax and let them do the job you hired them to do. However, don't be afraid to speak up when you are not 100% happy about something.
I am going to end with the best tip of all! Relax. Your wedding day is going to be amazing, if you are able to relax and enjoy all the hard work you (and everyone else) have put into it. Don't sweat the small stuff, or even the big stuff. If you think about it, when has worrying ever changed the outcome? It doesn't, the only thing worrying and stress does is change how you will perceive it. Here are some words of wisdom that my mother always told me "Be like a duck and let it roll off your back".
I hope you were able to take away some great wedding planning tips from this experienced wedding photographer. If you haven't hired your wedding photographer yet, what are you waiting for? Send us an email and see if we are available on your wedding day!