15 Tips for the Newly Engaged / A Wedding Photographer's Survival Guide to Planning a Wedding
But what now? You’ve been working on your Pinterest wedding board long before you met the love of your life, but now that you’re actually engaged, what do you do next?
What comes first? How do you contain the excitement?
You have found the one whom you were destined to be with! AH! Spend this time jumping around squealing and telling your friends, family, and literally everybody. Bask in the pre-wedding planning bliss and take some selfies showing off that ring!
2. Pick a date
Whether it’s a date that already has significance to you, or a new date, make sure it’s one you’ll like to celebrate your anniversary on every year! Take into consideration other holidays, birthdays, and what season it will be in case you want to celebrate with a weekend getaway to the beach! Deciding a date is crucial to picking your wedding venue. (Keep an eye out for a follow up post with a list of my favorite Memphis wedding venues!)
3. Come up with a guest list
Guest lists are crucial, because knowing a round about number of who will be attending your wedding will majorly contribute to your decision when picking your wedding venue.
Sit down with your boo and figure out who you want to invite!
Keep your wedding venue's size in mind when coming up with a guest list.
4. Decide on your budget
Whether your parent’s are funding your wedding, or you and your future spouse are, you need to decide on a (realistic) ballpark amount. Do your research on the costs of catering, wedding venues, and other expenses that you want to include in your big day.
5. Book in advance
It’s never ever ever ever too early to book your coordinator, wedding venue, photographer (wink, wink) caterer, DJ, anything! Especially if you plan on having your wedding during ‘wedding season’ (March-May/Sept-Nov). Booking in advance ensures that you will have plenty of options to chose from without stressing that everything and everyone will already be booked on your date.
6. Remember: you can’t please everyone
Yes, this day is about displaying your love to your friends and family and celebrating with them and you want them to enjoy themselves. When it boils down to it, it’s about you and the person you are marrying. This is your day, you will be the ones that remember it for the rest of your lives and hang the pictures on the wall in your house, so make sure that you are the first two people considered in your decisions.
Keep a well organized planner with deadlines on making decisions, phone numbers, vendor options, wedding-day timelines, and literally everything. Having all your wedding planning details in one place will help tremendously. Organization is key.
You can’t do everything yourself! It’s impossible. Put different people in charge of different tasks and making sure things get done.
9. Ask around
The best way to find out what works/doesn’t work, what venues include what, what florist to use, who to do your hair and make up on the big day, and every other detail is by asking around! Ask your married friends, your engaged friends, your wedding photographer (we have connections and know lots of vendors if you’re having a hard time finding what you are looking for.) and are always happy to help!
10. Have fun with it!
Don’t let the hustle and bustle of booking venues, cake tasting, and budgeting bog you down. Remember what this is all for! Enjoy all the little steps that are mile markers that are that much closer to your day.
Now that you’ve heard from me, here’s advice from a few of my past couples that survived wedding planning!
“No one will remember this day more than you do, so do what makes you happy! But if you get stuck on making a choice, having one go-to person that you can count that will actually give you an opinion instead of “it’s your wedding do what you want.” will make the process so much easier. My MOH was there to give me her honest opinion on things, help me make real decisions, and stay on me about my timeline.” -SARAH BENNETT
"Don't settle for anything! You only get married once. Enjoy your big day take everything slow so you will remember it Include both of your mothers for planning You don't have to do the traditional wedding!
It's YOUR wedding make it YOUR way!"
“The best thing I ever did was say to myself…If something goes wrong, will it really matter? For example, if the cake flops. what are you really going to do a year from now? You will laugh your tail off! No matter what, at the end of the day, you’re marrying your best friend and soul mate. After all, isn’t that what’s most important?” -ANNA BARHAM
"Do a first look. Our wedding flew by... I can't imagine having to wait/waste four hours before the ceremony now that it's over. Every second counts. Spend time with your soon to be husband as much as possible the day of your wedding, because it will be gone in a blink of an eye." -HALEY VARGO
"Splurge on a photographer. There are corners you can cut but this is not one of them. The day of your wedding will go by in such a blur that all you have to remember it is these pictures, and you will regret not making sure you booked the right photographer and that the job is done right! And I'm not saying this because I am a photographer, I am saying this as a bride. You want the memories of your day captured perfectly, in detail." -EMILY HATCH