Yes, I’m a wedding photographer, but often, being involved in the process of the wedding planning with a couple becomes a part of what I do! It’s crucial that I have an understanding of how many people will be attending, where the wedding and reception will take place and what details are important to the couple, so that I’m sure to take the photographs they will want for the rest of their lives.
Here are a few tips that I think can be helpful to anyone currently in the planning stages for your wedding:
1) Understand Your Budget – Before making any decisions or putting down any non-refundable deposits, take stock of your finances. Are your parents or anyone else contributing to the wedding? Do you and your fiancé have savings set aside for wedding expenses? Come up with a budget based on this information so that you don’t plan above and beyond what you can afford.
2) Create a Guest List – This should be done early on, and may need to be revised several times before you send “Save-the-Date” cards, or invitations. According to The Knot, “Half of your wedding expenses go to wining and dining your guests. If it’s costing you $100 per person, eliminating one table of 10 can save you $1,000.”
3) Create a Calendar/Checklist – Photographers, entertainers (band/DJ), venues and other wedding related vendors tend to book up quickly; sometimes 12 – 18 months prior to your wedding date. This is especially true if you are getting married at a peak time; in the northeast this is typically weekend days from June through October. Sit down as a couple, determine what your priorities are and then create a schedule for contacting those vendors you want to secure for your special day.
4) Secure Accommodations for Guests – If you’re likely to have a number of guests from out of town, contact one or more local hotels. Many of them will set aside a block of rooms for your guests. Sometimes there are group discounts offered, but guests typically have to call and give a credit card number by a certain date prior to the wedding in order to hold the space and rate.
5) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – It’s likely something may go wrong. I’ve seen all sorts of mini-crisis’ but ultimately, they aren’t big enough to ruin the day. If you leave your shoes at home, or at a hotel where you were getting ready, it’s possible someone will have time to go back and get them, or you can always go barefoot! It won’t change the fact that you are getting to marry your best friend in front of your closest family and friends!