YAASS!!! Congratulations, you are going to marry your best friend, which means we get to celebrate! Pop that champagne, glory in your dreamy wedding vision board, and let’s get to planning! After helping over 150+ couples on their wedding planning journey, I’ve put together the essential steps that every couple needs to consider after they get engaged.
I made this my #1 because this one is just FUN. Celebrate with your favorite people and let them know that you want them to be a part of your big day! Enjoy the hell out of this time in your life, and do it with the people who matter most to you.
Here are some other reasons why this is important:
Pick a range that your family & wedding party have open, and use those to help guide you on your vendor search. Sometimes the venue or photographer of your dreams is unavailable on your single chosen date, so having a handful of dates can significantly help to book key vendors!
Tips for choosing a date:
Time to make your guest list! Make a list of all the people you’d like to invite, and be sure to include any members your family wants to invite so that there aren’t any surprises.
Tips on building your guest list:
• Expect about 50%-60% of your invitees to RSVP.
• Keep that number of potential RSVPs written down so you know how many people the venue should hold when you tour venues.
• Remember that budget you decided on? Plug in your guest list to this and do rough numbers on the cost of food, drinks, and any extra expense like rentals (linen, flatware, etc.) per guest.
Choosing a coordinator is crucial, whether that title falls on family, friends, or a professional. You will need to know who to delegate tasks to and who you can ask for help! For the purpose of this blog, I am going to focus on hiring a professional.
Three most common wedding Coordinator services:
This one is undoubtedly the highest tier and the most valuable- you’re planning a massive event with many moving parts. Who better to do that than someone who’d done it a hundred times? They know what to expect every bit of the way and how to handle it, where you and your friends may not. They also have significant connections in the industry that will prove invaluable to you.
This is generally the most cost-to-value coordination. While you still bear the load of booking vendors, planning, and communication, they will come in near the very end to finalize details with you, the vendors, and your family. They will take care of remaining contractual requirements between your vendors, help you build a schedule, and take over communications.
This one is best suited for smaller weddings & elopements. Many planners will not accommodate day-of for guest lists over 100. If you are having a small ceremony & you are confident in your planning skills leading up to the event, this is an excellent way to lessen the cost but still free up your hands on the wedding day! They will be present at the location to direct vendors, help with set up & tear down, and manage problems that arise the day-of.
This is where the first big step happens! Now that you have a budget & potential guest list, you can start looking at magical places to say your I-Dos! (This is also a task you can delegate to your wedding planner, and then they can give you a short list of qualified venues.)
Tips for choosing the perfect venue:
• Build your list of venue attributes that you’re dreaming of! Order it by importance.
• Classy castle? Hotel with a big ballroom? Rustic? Narrow down your style so that your google/social searches target the right wedding venues.
• If you’re looking for classy, check out my favorite wedding venues! View my Top 10 Elegant Dallas Wedding Venues
• Find brides who have gotten married at your favorite places. Facebook groups are great for this, and there are many for DFW + Seattle brides! Ask for honest reviews about their experience with the venue.
• Contact & tour your top picks!
After the day is over, all you have left are the photos & video. And trust me, you won’t remember much; the day goes by so quick, and there’s so much you won’t be present for that we will be capturing for you! This truly should be in your upper tier of budget so that you won’t risk the only remaining memories you will have after the wedding.
This is another excellent time to outsource! Delegate the remaining vendor searches to your wedding party & your planner. They can reach out, confirm availability, and give you a shortlist.
Psssttt…when you book, I also provide my exclusive preferred vendor list with 50+ amazing, proven people <3
Typical Vendors to Consider:
This one is heavily overlooked but possibly the most crucial: Insure your wedding so that if disaster strikes, you aren’t out of thousands of dollars. Weather, damages, unexpected vendor failure, and more, insurance will cover costs so that you aren’t out of pocket. I bet your coordinator has some great recommendations!
Why wedding insurance is excellent:
Planning a wedding is no joke. Nobody wants to invite stress into their home or relationship, but planning a wedding definitely will! That’s ok. Combat that now by promising yourself and your partner to take regular breaks! Don’t you dare skip those dates, spa treatments, good healthy dinners, or whole weekends without talking about the wedding.
Remember….this party is to celebrate your love, not become a distraction. Make time to take care of yourself, your skin, your mental energy, and your physical well-being.
As your photographer, I make it my goal to make this easier for you and completely remove the burden of worry and planning about how your wedding will be captured. I also work with you as little or as much as you’d like- we can hop on a FaceTime for literally any question or need, or I can only work through your coordinator to make sure there is less in your inbox! Your wedding journey is my highest priority, and I’ll customize my workflow to match your rhythm and take that stress away.
If you have any questions at all about the things I’ve covered, or if you feel like I should add something important, chat with me!
Happy planning and I can’t wait to meet you <3