Getting engaged is such a surreal experience. For me, at least, it was something that I thought about for SO long. It began with, WHO was I going to marry? And then once I met him, WHEN were we going to get engaged? WHAT was it going to be like?! We got engaged on New Year's Eve almost 10 years ago. So much of our family and friends were there and it was one of the best night's of my life.
After you get engaged, the questions immediately start coming — “When is your date?” … “Where are you getting married?” … “What are you envisioning for your day?” My hope for today’s post is that it would help give you direction as you begin (what can be a very overwhelming process of) planning your wedding!
Since I can only claim to be an expert in the area of photography, the following are my biggest tips for planning — from proposal to wedding day — from a photography standpoint!
- Just a general (but very important tip in our opinion!) to start this off — planning a wedding is a LOT of work! We always suggest hiring a wedding planner! Trust us, they will save you money, time, and a lot of stress! Reach out to us if you need suggestions or just need a shoulder to lean on. We have supported so many brides throughout the years.
- From our experience, and after consulting with a lot of experienced photographers that we work with, it’s safe to say that photographers book out about one to one and a half years in advance of the wedding day. If you have your heart set on a certain photographer, reach out to them sooner rather than later! You might even consider emailing or calling them before you tour venues/set your wedding date (if the specific date isn’t important to you!). With good communication and planning upfront, it is definitely possible to avoid the dreaded “We’re already booked email” from your photographer by choosing your date, venue, and photographer all at once!
- Save-The-Dates are typically sent out six months-ish prior to the wedding day. If you want to include an engagement photo on your Save-The-Date, set up your engagement session at least two months prior to this send-out mark. This will give your photographer enough time to shoot, edit, and send over your final photos. This will also give you time to get a design to the printers. That process can take about 2-3 weeks.
- Begin (seriously) planning your “day-of” wedding timeline three months out from your wedding day.
- When will hair and makeup be done?
- Are you going to do a First Look?
- Who is going to be in family photos?
- When is the ceremony?
- Cocktail hour?
- Planning in advance will allow you to ask your photographer and planner any necessary questions so that you can plan a day that best suits your specific needs.
- It is a good idea to have your final “day-of” timeline solidified one month before your wedding day. This timin will allow you to send out your timeline to family and bridal party in advance. They can familiarize themselves with the schedule for the day. Not only will this give you peace of mind (hooray for one more thing checked off that to-do list!), but sending your timeline out early to those who are heavily involved in your day will allow them to ask you questions right away (instead of on your day!) and avoid any stress that could be caused by timeline confusion on your wedding day, like your groom standing in his underwear minutes before he is supposed to head to the alter.
- Day of, relax and trust your photographer! ENJOY the day, be IN the moment, and know they are working hard to capture all of the incredible experiences of your day so that you can relive them for decades (and then generations) to come : )
As a quick overview, to make things easy for you!:
- 1-1.5 years out from your day — book photographer
- 8 months out — engagement session
- 6 months out — send out Save-The-Dates
- 3 months out — plan “day-of” timeline
- 1 month out — “day-of” timeline solidified and sent to family/bridal party
- Day of — relax and ENJOY! Hand your cell phone to your MOH, leave your watch in the hotel room and let the best. day. ever. happen!