CONGRATULATIONS! We are so excited for all the wonderful engagements that have been taking place over the last few weeks so we thought creating a post about your first steps after the engagement would be perfect! Now that you have the ring, what comes next?
As a wedding photographer we work with so many couples each and every year, helping them with their planning process comes up more than you’d think as just one part to the day! Plus being engaged myself, I have a few tips on this process that will hopefully make it easier for all of you lovebirds enjoying this blissful engagement season!
STEP ONE : HIGH FIVE!
Yes, high five! You’re now engaged and you should absolutely take a moment to enjoy it! Enjoy all the celebrations, congratulations, and most of all the fact that you now have a fiance! Say it again, fiance, you’ll get used to is!
STEP TWO : SET THE DATE| SET THE BUDGET| HIRE A PLANNER
This is a three part step as these three things usually come into play together! You’ll first want to look at setting your date, most vendors will need that to confirm availability including your planner! However if there is a venue or vendor you’ve always been dreaming of for your perfect day, you’ll want to reach out to them with a couple of potential dates! When setting the date, remember to give yourself enough time to plan and not stress about your day! There’s nothing worse than a stressful engagement, so give yourself the time to enjoy it and plan leisurely over 8-12+ months! For example, my fiance proposed in April 2015 and we are getting married in June 2016, which has given us plenty of time to plan and actually enjoy this time in our lives together!
And then there’s the budget! Once you have your date set, reach out to a planner for help with this! A planner will walk you through the steps of setting your budget according to your wedding day, style, and of course available funds for the celebration! Wedding Planners are worth their weight in gold and this isn’t just a vendor talking. My wedding planner, Natalie Imhoff | The Bridal Solution, is a dream and she’s been an amazing liaison for me working through some hiccups that have risen up over the last few months (yes, even a vendor’s wedding has hiccups!). Your planner will also start to work out a few logistics from the guest list to vendor options to get the planning process started!
STEP THREE : BOOK YOUR VENUE | BOOK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Now we get to dive into venues and vendors! When we start the planning process, again a Planner will be so helpful if you are starting from scratch with wedding planning! Some couples have an idea of their perfect venue, others have always wanted to use a certain photographer so book these two in tandem to help solidify your top picks!
Booking Your Venue : When booking a venue you’ll want to sit down with your Fiance and find a space that really represents the two of you! For example my Fiance and I are really fun and quirky so we went with a renovated 1960’s hotel on the beach in Florida! Also depending on your date, you’ll want to find a space that can be flexible with weather conditions. Having a planner in place for this will also be ideal so a backup plan can be discussed! There are SO many venues out there so really do some research and don’t be afraid to ask your planner or family/friends for recommendations, word of mouth referrals are venue/vendors best friends!
Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind for the venue is your budget. If you are working with a planner, he/she will certainly keep that in mind for you so the planning process will be much simpler, however if you are going it alone make sure you are taking into consideration all the extras (rentals, food/beverage, restrictions) when booking your space for the big day!
Booking Your Photographer : Woohoo, our favorite part!!! Photography is such an important aspect to your wedding day, and yes I’m saying that as both a wedding photographer and a bride-to-be! The photos from your day will be your tangible memories from such an important event in your lives together! Wedding days fly by in the blink of an eye and our couples are always SO grateful for the moments we captured that they completely missed or forgot about. It’s amazing to know that even after the cake has been eaten and the day has come to a close, you’ll still be able to look back on your day for years and years to come thanks to your photos!
When searching for your photographer, also keep in mind what is most important to you! When looking through photos do you love the moments and overall story of the day or do you sway toward the more posed and dramatic portraits of the day? Each photographer has a different style and personality so be sure that both you and your fiance not only fit that style of photography but also “click” with your photographer’s personality as they will be by your side throughout your entire wedding day (we typically spend more time with the bride on her day then the groom even does, so we love getting to know our couples and consider them friends by the end of the entire wedding process!) Finding a photographer that fits your style and can truly represent your wedding to the best of their abilities is key. If photography is an important aspect to your day, be sure to budget for that as photography does fit into that age old saying “you get what you pay for”. Of course there’s always an exception but hiring an experienced photographer who is amazing at their craft will be something that I’m sure you won’t regret the day after your wedding or even years after!
AND that is how you start planing your big day!
After you get these three big steps planned out, you can take a breath and enjoy the fact that your wedding planning process is well underway!
We are SO thrilled to hear from all the excited new brides-to-be and can’t wait to photograph so many beautiful weddings in 2016 | 2017! If you are interested in reserving your date with Catherine Rhodes Photography, please contact us HERE to check availability! Congratulations again and enjoy this time to the fullest, your wedding day will be here before you know it!
© Catherine Rhodes Photography 2016 | First Three Steps to Planning Your Wedding | Destination Wedding Photographer