The love of your life proposed, you said yes! Congratulations! This is one of the biggest moments in your lives, and a reason to celebrate. You will feel excited and maybe a little anxious as you think about planning your wedding. There are so many resources out there to help with your planning, but where do you begin? As a wedding photographer I often talk to brides about much more than just photography. It’s almost like we become such good friends that photographing their wedding seems more like just being an honored guest that gets to capture it all, and I’m always down to bring you a coffee to your bridal suite!
1.) Get Organized
I love buying all kinds of fun notebooks and folders, especially the ones with pretty designs and typography on them. It helps to have a folder with receipts, print outs, and things you rip out of magazines for inspiration all in one place. Notebooks are handy as well to write down ideas of anything that you want to remember to do.
2.) Plan a budget and stick to it
Next, you want to do is sit down together and plan how much you want to spend on your wedding in total. Keep everything in mind from venue, to dresses and suits, to décor. Also keep in mind if you want to include the cost of your rings (including the engagement ring) in this budget. Try your best to stick to this because the last thing you want to do it start your marriage with an enormous amount of debt over your head as newlyweds and being stressed about it.
3.) Venue Search
Before you book anything else you need to nail down your venue and date. This in itself can take a lot of time, but the best research can start online. Many sites like The Knot (www.theknot.com) and Wedding Wire (www.weddingwire.com) have reviews by real brides on their venue and vendor sites, as well as cost (stick to that budget!), and loads of pictures so you can think of décor and what you want your theme to be. Don’t worry if you don’t have or want a theme, your theme could always just be pretty wedding! Make sure you see your venues in person, speak to the coordinators, read the contracts and find out all the details. Now would also be a good time to hire your wedding planner if you are using one and they will take care of all the fine print for you. Think of how you want your photographs from your day to look while choosing your venue. If you love bright and airy images, don’t choose a place with no windows and dark wooden walls, floors and ceilings. Time of day matters as well, here in New England it’s not the best idea to have a 4:00 wedding in December with no first look if you want bright and well lit portraits after the wedding since it will be dark.
4.) Choose Your Bridal PartyOne of the greatest things about planning your special day is planning to share it with your closest friends. Both of your should choose your bridal party and think of a color theme that will be present in the décor and bridal party outfits. You can even ask friends to be a part of your bridal party with hand lettered cards and homemade gifts to add a special touch to it. Do some searches online to get some great ideas for some crafty fun, and start to imagine what your wedding day will look like!
5.) Dresses and InvitationsNow that your date and bridal party are set, you can shop for your dress and the dresses for the ladies! This is such an exciting and special day to share with your closest family and friends. Start looking for invitation designs at this time or hire a designer. Etsy (www.etsy.com) and Minted (www.minted.com) are really great resources for finding some beautiful invitations.
Now get ready to plan your big day! Get organized, set your budget, research and book your dream venue, gather your friends, say yes to the dress, and send those save the dates. Planning a wedding should be exciting and fun but is no doubt going to get a little stressful at times. The best advice I can give you is to enjoy the process. If things don’t go as planned, step back, take a breather and remember to enjoy planning your day together. It will all come together, and any issues can be overcome. Ready?! Go!