I have been a professional photographer for 11 years now and primarily document weddings. Over the years I have been fortunate to shoot many amazing weddings and gained quite a lot of insight on what important things a couple should know. Not just on the photography front, but also planning the wedding in general. Here are some of my top tips I have to offer a couple planning to get married.
1. Professional Vendors
It is imperative that you book a professional. Vendors in your area most likely have worked together. Your vendors work together as a team taking complete control of your wedding day making sure everything runs smoothly. If you hire a friend or family member with no experience…you may run into problems. For example: I have done countless weddings where a friend of the family was asked to be the wedding DJ. With no experience in doing weddings, a DJ won’t know the flow of the evening and how to coordinate with other vendors.
2. Keeping a Budget
Determine your budget and stick to it. Invest your money in the most important areas. Some clients spend hundreds of dollars on party favors when most of the guests will leave the wedding without taking it with them. A photo booth would be a great idea for a party favor. No need to spend more money.
3. Season and Weather
Most of my weddings have been in Florida. A good number of clients were out of state getting married in the middle of summer….outside….heat….thunderstorms. I think you get the point. Where ever you get married: If you plan an outside wedding, always have a backup plan in case it rains. In Florida it is very common to get afternoon showers in the summer. A beach wedding at noon in the middle of June is probably not a good idea. Trust me, I’ve done a couple of those!
4. Sunset Time For Photos
This one is sooo important! If you decide to have an evening wedding, always keep sunset time in mind. Most couples will have their formal pictures taken after the ceremony during a cocktail hour. Make sure this hour does not fall during or after sunset. No photographer wants to shoot when its low light or dark. It will greatly affect the look of your photos. The golden hour for the best light is right before sunset.
5. Choose a professional photographer
Your wedding day is probably one of the most important and biggest moments in your life. Besides your handsome hubby the only other thing you take with you to reserve those memories are photographs and/or a video.
Photography/Cinema can be expensive and you get what you pay for. Unfortunately this is also true for hiring friends or family.
Get a professional!
6. Get a day-off coordinator
If you have a wedding planner, great! If you don’t have one, consider hiring a day-off coordinator. Most wedding planners are available to help you on the day of your wedding. A coordinator will make sure everyone is on time and everything runs smoothly. She will coordinate between vendors and is responsible for taking care of any glitches during your wedding day. This will give you peace of mind so that you and your family can focus on enjoying the wedding day.
7. Engagement Photos
There are many benefits to getting engagement photos taken. The most important is that you get to spend time with your photographer to build a relationship. This makes working with your photographer less awkward on the wedding day and you will feel MUCH more comfortable.
8. Timeline and DJ
A month before your wedding, schedule an appointment with your DJ to go over the flow of the reception. Your DJ will create a timeline of events as it will happen throughout the evening. Your vendors will greatly appreciate if you forward this to them. Especially your photography and cinema team.
9. Most Important First
After your engagement you will start to plan for your wedding. The first thing to determine is your wedding date and that goes together with booking your venue first. Some venues are booked as far as one or two years out. Make sure to research the perfect venue as soon as possible. After booking a venue you should focus on the following important vendors:
Photographer, wedding dress, cinematography, caterer(if it’s not included with your venue package), DJ, and other vendors.
10. Enjoy the moment!
Last but not least. It is so important to enjoy your day and NOT stress. If you planned well and you have professionals at your service, then you have no reason to stress. Your wedding day is a wonderful experience and you should enjoy every second of it.
Congratulations on your engagement!