In just a few days, I will be celebrating 10 years as a wedding photographer. (I will also be celebrating three years of going bald. I wonder if those two are related…) With nearly 200 weddings under my belt, I feel like I am part-wedding photographer, part-wedding planner. Below are 3 Tips to Plan Your Perfect Wedding.
Make it Your Own.
As soon as you get engaged, people will not only celebrate with you, they will start asking about (read: planning) your wedding. They don’t mean to project their ideas and expectations onto you, but it does happen. This is YOUR day. They had or will have the opportunity to plan THEIR day. The couples who enjoy their wedding the most are the ones who create their wedding according to their personalities, relationship, and wishes. Anything else and there will be a gap between expectations and reality, which sets you up for disappointment and regret. Keep reading 3 Tips to Plan Your Perfect Wedding.
I have a friend whose wedding I may be shooting. (I am supposed to be on my honeymoon but this wedding sounds too good to pass up.) The bride and groom come from a small town in Northern Michigan and they know everyone. Their wedding could easily hit 200 people and fill up any banquet space. Is that what they are planning? Not even close. 20 people, winter wedding, on top of a ski hill…while wearing skis! (Probably didn’t see that one coming. Neither did I.) The point is, they are making their wedding their own, and that is what is going to make it magical. More of our 3 Tips to Plan Your Perfect Wedding.More 3 Tips to Plan Your Perfect Wedding.
Season, Look, Photos.
Now that you are ready to make your wedding totally “yours,” where do you start? First, pick your favorite season. (Is it any question what season and activity is my friend’s favorite?) Do you love the fall and all of the colors it brings? Are you more of a summer, outdoorsy couple? Pick the season that works best for you and that will help dictate the next several steps. My fiancé and I love the fall and hate being hot, so we opted for a November wedding. The exact month didn’t matter as much because…
…the LOOK we are going for is more of a classy and elegant feel. With that in mind, we opted for and were inspired by the white marble of the DIA, the Detroit Public Library, and the architectural gems of Detroit. Once we had the look we were going for, we could start to pick our venues (church, reception, and photo locations). One more of our 3 Tips to Plan Your Perfect Wedding.
Next, once the venues were secured, start looking for photographers. (I know a really good one who would love to work with you!) The good ones book up quick and the great ones book even before the venues! I recently had a bride book her wedding and ceremony site around my availability (thank you Marissa! It is the ultimate compliment.) As a rule of thumb, I would say most photographer book 8 – 12 months out, with Saturdays from May – October being the most popular day.
Schedule time for yourself.
Your timeline is one of the most influential factors on whether or not you will enjoy and remember your wedding or if you will be stressed and feel like your wedding went by in a blur. Before a couple even books me, I sit down with them and sketch out a rough timeline for their day. I always make sure that there is not only enough time for me to take photos, but also for you to spend some time just being present. I love giving my couples some space, a few minutes alone to just soak up everything that the wedding day represents. The friends, the family support, the journey and courtship through dating, the shared dreams, the commitment…everything. I often time read in post-wedding Thank You cards that alone time was one of the best decisions the couple made and some of their most cherished memories. Remember, you want a wedding day, not a wedding evening.
What do you think? What tips would you give couple who are planning their wedding? If you could change something about your wedding day, what would you do differently? (No snarky answers please. Only positivity welcome.)