Wedding Industry professionals refer to the short stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day as “Engagement Season”. With so many opportunities to gather with friends and family, its a great time to get engaged with all your loved ones close-by (or, in the case of Covid, at least all gathers around for a Zoom call!). And who doesn’t love a good proposal? This can be such an important moment in a couple’s journey together, and happen to be one of my favorite things to capture for my clients.
With engagement season winding down, many couples find themselves tasked with navigating the vast ocean that is wedding planning. And where to start? Never fear: I believe planning your wedding should be an enjoyable experience, and your vendor team should always, always act as your advocates and your personalized support system.
So, to help guide you as you set sail on this journey, here is an outline of what I think is a couples best next steps in planning a wedding. Follow these to begin planning the wedding of your dreams.
STEP 1: SECURE YOUR VENUE(S)
Start booking your venue tours and walk-throughs now. After you and your fiance have discussed a budget for your day, the first step in the actual wedding planning process should be to on securing a location for the ceremony and reception. If for nothing else, this will play a key role in determining the actual date of your wedding.
Oftentimes, venues that are in high demand book popular dates quickly (up to two years in advance), so if your ideal timeframe for your engagement is shorter than that, you may find yourself at the mercy of your chosen venue’s availability. If you have your heart set on a high-demand venue with a packed dance card, consider an off-peak day such as a Thursday or a Friday.
Something to keep in mind when considering a date, is your guests list. Will most of your friends and family need to travel from far away, or are they local? If you do choose and off peak day of the week, say, a Thursday, many of them may have conflicts with work, not to mention planning for events like a rehearsal dinner (typically the day before the wedding).
STEP 2: IDENTIFY YOUR MUST-HAVE VENDORS
My couples tend to put a very high priority on having beautiful photography on their wedding day. So, I often find I am contacted as soon as the locations and the date are secured, (and even occasionally beforehand just to make sure I am available for a variety of dates). Typically, the photographer comes second to the venues, but many times a planner is secured here as well. If you have some other must-have professionals you want on your team (a florist or an event stylist, for example) for your wedding day, be sure to contact them as soon as you possibly can to make sure you get on their books.
As time goes on and my client list and network grows, I, like several other photographers in the area, have no choice but to turn away more couples than I am able to book due to our high demand calendar. So please never feel as though you are contacting someone you know you and your fiance want on your team too early. The last thing you want during the planning process is to not be able to work with vendors for your choice because they are already committed elsewhere.
STEP 3: CONSULT THE TEAM YOU’VE HAND-PICKED
You will find during this process that there is a huge number of vendors for everything you could possibly need for every single detail of your wedding day.
I always recommend speaking with your planner, coordinator and venue manager for their recommendations on who you should chose for the wedding day. I also have a list of vendors I love that is ever evolving, updated and growing, so feel empowered to speak your photographer, as well.
Quality vendors are everything. The right ones will go a long way to make your wedding day the best day of your lives.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Wedding planning will always be a unique time in your life and the start of your lives together as an intended couple. The day is for the two of you, and that is the way it should be.
Do you have any other tips for couples tying the knot? Let me know in the comments below!
Reach Out to Gretchen Bell
I’m Gretchen Bell, a wedding photographer currently calling Louisville, Kentucky home. Capturing your proposal engagement and wedding through photography is my top priority — I want you to have these memories to hold onto for a lifetime!
I for one would love the opportunity to photograph more proposals. Think I could be the photographer for you? Reach to me here or via social media. I look forward to hearing from you and help you along your journey as you start planning for your wedding!
Learn more about Louisville Wedding Photographer Gretchen Bell by clicking here.
Gretchen Bell is an award winning wedding and brand photographer based out of Louisville, Kentucky. She is a believer in serving all couples with romantic, editorial images regardless of race, gender, or orientation. Have a question, blog topic, or wedding inquiry? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org