CONGRATULATIONS! As a wedding photographer, I am naturally SO excited for you. This is such a wonderful time! You are engaged to your best friend and before you know it, you’ll be in a white dress walking down the aisle to marry the love of your life.
But now that you’ve said “yes”, it might be difficult to know where to start! Here are the first 3 steps you need to take after you get engaged!
Step one: Decide what is important to you both.
Sit down over coffee (or a glass of wine) and write down all the things that are important to you. What you value? What have you always dreamed of? How do you want your wedding day to feel? This does 2 wonderful things:
1. It puts you and your fiance on the same page
This way you can conquer all wedding things together on the same team. Remember, you aren’t just planning for a beautiful wedding but a beautiful marriage as well. Wedding planning is a great time to practice your communication skills! Plus you never know what your guy will be particular about.
It also sets a clear vision you can hold to together. This way your husband-to-be doesn’t promise his grandma that she can make the cake when you’ve already had someone in mind for ages!
2. It helps you choose your vendors
There are SO many wedding vendors to choose from and it can be overwhelming trying to find the ones that are right for you. But if you have a clear vision for your day you can easily set aside the vendors that don’t align with it.
Bonus: If you really want to get into the vision casting, think about creating an inspiration board! It’s like a mini Pinterest board for your wedding day. It is just one page that has your colors, centerpieces, style of bridesmaids dresses, etc. It can act as a reference guide for you (and whoever else is helping you) as you make choices along the way. All you have to do is make a new Pinterest board for this purpose but try keep it under 20 pins!
Here is an example of an inspiration board made by one of my brides Ashley Mae!
Step Two: Decide the time of year + Location
The time of year and location (not just the venue) have major impacts on your wedding day.
The effects of seasons:
Fall and Winter weddings:
Are so gorgeous! However, the hard part about these wedding is the fact that the sun sets around 4 or 5 pm. This means that all of your portraits have to be done before then! It also means there is more chance of bad weather. In California, we don’t often have rain but it does happen so if you want an outdoor ceremony in one of these seasons, be sure to have a back up plan just in case!
Spring and Summer weddings:
Are amazing for weddings because there is so much light! You will for sure want to think about possibly slipping out during your ceremony for sunset photos. Even though the weather is nice, you still need to think about how it will affect your wedding. Will it be super hot? Will your ceremony be in direct sunlight in the middle of the day? If your guests are sweaty and squinty so will you be! Not only will the experience be semi-unpleasant but those things show up in your photos too! Be sure to take note of ceremony locations that are shaded!
Bonus: Be sure to take your guest into consideration. If your wedding is in the winter, will they need blankets and heat lamps? If it is the summer, try to keep them cool and in the shade.
Near or far? That is the basic question. And your answer will depend on your priorities. Do you want an intimate wedding but have a long list of people you “need” to invite? Maybe a location that is further away is better for you. Is grandma not as mobile as she used to be but having her there is really important to you? Choose a location close to home!
Step 3: Vendors
Now that you have your vision, your season, and location it is time to move on to vendors. The first three that you need are the venue, the coordinator, and the photographer. Usually, the venue is the one you would tackle first. This way you will have an official date when you talk to your other vendors.
However, if photography is one of your top priorities and you have a photographer that you are OBSESSED with, then it is totally okay to ask them first. Just email them and let them know that you don’t want to choose a date they aren’t available to shoot.
Congratulations again on your engagement! I hope this post helps put you on the right track!