Here is an introduction / tips on how to plan your wedding from a photographer’s point of view. Hope you find this helpful!
12 months to go
2. Wedding date – make sure you have several dates available in mind when looking for a venue. Not all venues will be available on the date you want to get married.
3. Wedding planner – decide if you need one. If you consider using a wedding planner, this would be the time to contact one and discuss if you want them to plan your whole wedding, month of or day of the wedding.
4. Make a guest list – create a list of the number of guests you want to attend your wedding. At this point a rough estimate will be good.
5. Bridesmaids / Groomsmen – sit down as a couple and decide who you would like to have in your wedding party; include maid of honor and best man.
Tip 1: A balanced number of groomsmen and bridesmaids alway look good in photography.
11/10 months to go
6. Start saving – weddings can start around $25,000 – $35,000 and go up from there. It is a good time to open a bank account and start depositing money into that account.
Tip 2: A good savings account with an interest rate (Ally Bank gives you 0.87%) where you can earn at least some interest while its sitting there. In addition, have a direct deposit going into that account.
7. Venue – have your venue and ceremony location booked by now. If the venue does not offer food, make sure to interview catering companies that can work with your venue. Also set up time tasting and make sure the food is to your liking!
8. Wedding dress – at this time you should come up with a vision of what you want your wedding dress to look like. Start looking for stores that carry your prefect dress. This would also be a perfect time to figure out what you want your bridesmaids to wear.
9. Interview photographers, videographers, photo booth and DJs – make sure to look at photo booth, videographer and a DJ‘s work. Ask if you can come to one of the weddings they are working at and view them in action from a distance. This way you are not disruptive to the wedding.
10. Book a hotel – for the guests that are arriving from out of town. It is always a good idea to look at a couple of hotels and book a bulk of rooms. Most hotels will give your suite for free if you book a certain number of rooms. Make sure to take advantage of this.
11. Rental company – make sure you have a rental company for your linen, tables and chairs unless the venue provides it. It is a good idea to rent your own then to use the venues, most cases it will save you some money in addition to a bigger selection to choose from.
12. Gift registry – make a list of the stores that you would like to receive gifts from, 3 – 5 stores is a good number.
Tip 3: Most couples that live together already have everything they need. Many couples find themselves choosing gifts that they already have but have no other option. However, some photographers offer a gift registry that can help you with purchasing your wedding album. It’s always a good idea to set this up with the photographer. This way you can get something you want that you don’t own, with the perks of not having to pay for it yourself.
9/8 months to go
13. Save the date cards – this is the time that you want to have your save the date cards mailed. It is also a good idea to have the photographer provide you with that image. Using an image from your engagement session is always a good idea.
14. Invitations – if you want to save money, combine the invitation and save the date.
15. Honeymoon – start thinking about your honeymoon location. Most honeymoon locations offer gift registry, so keep this in mind when creating a gift registry and sending out to your guests. This is the time you want to get a passport or have your current passport up to date if you plan on having an international honeymoon.
16. Rings – start looking for a wedding band.
Tip 4: Create a vision board. Pinterest is an awesome tool to use to help create your board. Make sure to share your ideas with your wedding planner, photographer, makeup artist and hairstylists.
7-5 months to go
17. Tuxedo – find a store that the groom and his groomsmen can find their suits. This is a great time frame if you’re looking to have anything customized for the men to wear.
18. Bridesmaid dresses – this would be the ideal time to have your bridesmaids purchase their dress as well as any alterations that need to be done.
19. Cake – At this point you should have thought about if you want to have a wedding cake, cupcakes or any other dessert you desire. Finding the right wedding cake company can help you with that decision.
20. Wedding officiant – find and choose the right minister, rabbi, judge or priest you wish to use for your wedding day.
21. Transportation – transportation to and from the venue is always a good idea for the guests that are arriving from out of town. In addition, also consider what transportation you will be using for the bridal party.
22. Bridal shower – if you decide to have a bridal shower, this would be a great time to do so. Communicate with your maid of honor, or the person who will be hosting the bridal shower of what you want the party to consist of.
Tip 5: For the groomsmen and bridesmaids, make sure to allow enough time incase more than one alteration is needed. Keep in mind some alteration places can take up to a month to complete.
4/3 months to go
23. Make-up – start looking at make-up artists and consider having a trial session. Make-up is a very important part of photography, so make sure not to skip the trial session.
24. Hair – decide the hairstyle you wish to have on your wedding day. Also consider having a trail hair appointment.
26. Wedding officiant – find and choose the right minister, rabbi, judge or priest you wish to use for your wedding day.
27. Vows – start writing your wedding vows, before you know it your big day will be here.
28. Day of itinerary – design and print out wedding program which will be given to the venue to be placed at your ceremony location.
Tip 6: A cool idea for the groom and his groomsmen is to find a gentlemen’s barber shop. It’s a unique and new concept that would look great in your wedding photography, especially if whiskey and cigars are added 🙂
2 months to go
29. Marriage License – make sure you apply for your marriage license.
30. Gifts – this is the time to purchase gifts for the bride and groom’s parents as well as the bridal party.
31. Bridesmaid / Groomsmen – make sure everyone is ready for the wedding and that there are no changes among the the bridal party.
32. Final alterations to the wedding dress – this is the time to double check that the wedding dress fits perfectly. It’s great for at least one bridesmaid to be at the appointment so they know how to bustle the dress. This will be very important on your wedding day.
Tip 7: Contact all your vendors so they are in line with your wedding date. It’s a good idea to send a mass email to your vendors to introduce each other.
1 month to go
33. Final head count – together with your groom finalize the guest list and make changes as needed. Also, make sure to let the venue and catering company know the final amount of guests attending and what meal the caterers will need to prepare (meat, fish, vegetarian).
34. Seating chart – provide the wedding planner and/or the venue coordinator the final seating chart.
35. DJ – supply your DJ with the final song selections for your wedding day. You should also include your grand entrance song, first dance, father/daughter dance and mother/son dance. Communicate to your wedding photographer and DJ if there are any special dances planned such as money dance, dragon dance or any other important dance you have selected to do.
36. Bachelor party – the best man should communicate with the rest of the groomsmen on what they would like to plan for the grooms last “hoorah” as a single man.
37. Bachelorette party – the maid of honor should plan, share and give out duties for each bridesmaid for what they plan to do for the bride’s last outing as a single woman.
Tip 8: Don’t forget to enjoy this planning time, your big day is almost here!
2-3 days before
38. Bridal party layout – finalize where each bridesmaid and groomsman will be standing. Take into consideration the height difference.
39. Timeline – finalize the timeline of everything that will take place on the day of the wedding such as transportation from ceremony to reception and hair & make up appointments.
40. Vendors – provide all the vendors the final timeline of the wedding day. Make sure to include the address for each location.
Tip 9: Your officiant should have the wedding vows by now. If not, make sure he or she receives them.
The day before
41. Payments – write out final payments to all the vendors. To make it easier on yourself, give these payments to your wedding planner or assign this task to someone.
42. Rehearsal – walk the venue with the bridal party and family so everyone knows their location and arrangement. Don’t forget to come up with a hashtag so everyone can tag you on social media.
43. Rehearsal dinner – enjoy the dinner and relax, it’s the last night before you become Mr. & Mrs.
The Big Day
44. Wedding bands – give the wedding rings to the best man and maid of honor to hold on to until the ceremony.
45 Order food – don’t forget to eat! This day will be filled with a ton of excitement and appointments.
46. Swap gifts – let the best man and mad of honor exchange the bride and groom’s gift for each other, so you are not seen. In addition, provide your parents with the gift you bought earlier.
47. Don’t forget to breathe – your 12 months of planning will have paid off.
Tip 10: Congratulations! You are now married. …enjoy the honeymoon!
Here is a list of our preferred vendors that are featured in this blog:
– Ceremonies by Bethel
– Cathy Cipriano