If you’re reading this, odds are… you’re engaged! So, first things first: congrats! Welcome to one of the most exciting seasons of your life! But now that you’re betrothed… what happens next? As a seasoned wedding photographer, I’ve got some tidbits of advice to ease you into the world of wedding planning.
- Secure Your Date and Venue First
Though this step may seem obvious and simple, it’s also super important! Picking your date and venue will impact every other decision you make for your wedding. You’ll want to make these decisions as early as you can. Some venues book years in advance and certain days of the year (hello long-weekend Saturdays!) are super popular.
Having your date and venue set makes planning much smoother. Some venues even have lists of preferred vendors which make starting to plan easier! As wedding photographers, we love being brought into a wedding that already has a set date and venue. It helps us to be able to start brainstorming ideas for your photography right away based on season, location, architecture, and more.
TIP: Be flexible on your date/season. It could help you snag your dream venue and maybe even save you money!
- Define Your Wedding Style
This should be at the starting point of your wedding planning. Deciding on a theme/mood/vibe will help you be able to narrow down possible vendors much quicker. If you want an ethereal outdoor boho wedding, you’ll know to start looking for forest venues. If you know modern steampunk is more your style, you can find decor vendors that specialize in that.
One of the best things about your wedding style is that it can be totally unique to you. It’s a way to set the tone for the day, and for your marriage. As a wedding photographer, it also helps us start to plan out how we are going to capture your day. The earlier you figure this one out, the better! It’ll help everything else fall into perfect colour-coordinated place.
TIP: Check out some of our Real Weddings on the blog for inspiration!
- Reminder: It’s YOUR day!
With planning a wedding comes many different opinions from every corner of your life – both useful and sometimes not so useful. Something that you need to remember while planning is that it’s your wedding. Early on in your wedding planning is when you’ll start to get advice from everyone and their mother. You don’t have to take or ask for everyone’s opinions. You do you!
This is something we live by. As wedding photographers, we thrive off of collaboration. From years of experience, we know what works and doesn’t. But, our couples’ ideas and opinions always come first. This is your wedding – it should scream you! Try to go about all your wedding planning with that in mind. Know what you want, and go for it! Be as funky or as classic as you want. We know that the best weddings are the ones that ruffle a few feathers.
TIP: Be selective with whom you share your wedding details. This will help keep your mind clear and dodge any unsolicited opinions!
- Find Your Photographer (aka your new BFF)
The best question to ask yourself when shopping around for wedding photographers is as follows. Can you see yourself hanging out with them and hitting your favourite bars? If your answer is yes, you’ve found the one! Okay so maybe choosing a wedding photographer isn’t exactly the same as finding your forever life partner. But we like to think it’s pretty close!
Our advice for finding a photographer is to meet in person with a few different options! Even if you’re set on a certain photography collective (like Mango Studios!), shop around within it. Take a look at the galleries of the different photographers, meet with them, and see who you vibe with. You’ll be spending a lot of time together before and on your wedding day. You want someone you’re comfortable with.
TIP: Have a list of questions prepared when meeting with photographers. You can check out our list of questions here.
- Don’t Second Guess Having an Engagement Session
Yep, you heard us! Engagement pictures are a total must. The coolest thing about engagement pictures is that they bring every piece of your early wedding planning together. These pictures will represent the same style and vibe at your wedding. You can use them on your Save The Dates, letting people know when and where your wedding will be. Engagement pictures are a hard thing to get unwanted opinions on, so you know they will be 100% you.
They also are the best way to bond with your wedding photographer. Whether you’re hiking up an escarpment together or sharing secret lunch spots in Queen West, the time spent together will prepare you for the all-day event of your wedding. It also helps us to be able to get your style down in anticipation of creating your wedding gallery.
- Don’t Forget to Take a Breather
Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. You’re engaged! You’re getting married! Don’t forget to soak that all in with your partner. And remember, wedding planning isn’t everything! You still need to take time for yourself, your job, and your relationships. Have you checked on your dog lately? It’s totally okay to step away from the Pinterest board. Those chalkboard signs and signature cocktail ideas will still be there when you come back.
We know that it can be a lot to deal with when you’re just starting to plan. We hope this starter list helped give you a little clarity and a foundation to start your planning on. And if you’re looking for a wedding photographer, you know where to find us 😉