Recently engaged and don’t know where to start? You’re in luck! As a wedding photographer you can imagine we’ve been through it all. We have seen what works and what doesn’t. We want you to enjoy the planning process, this time should not be a time of stress, or make you want to scream. Following along this checklist will ensure you are on track and top of things, in a stress free way. Remember, that what you make of it, is what you will take from it. Enjoy this season, it is worth it, we promise.
You said YES, what’s next?
This probably one of the most exciting parts of the planning process, if not the best. This is when you start to blend those Pinterest Boards you started a while back, or look through the magazines you have held onto. Grab all your inspiration and start putting together a vision for your day. Read all about the 7 Tips For The Newly Engaged .
- Number one on the list, talk about numbers. You want to create a budget early in the planning so you can better prepare, plan and add the things that meet that budget.
- Start a wedding folder, add to or create a new Pinterest board.
- Reserve a date!
- Research vendors.
- Start the guest list.
- Have yourself an engagement party! This is a good time to also choose your wedding party.
TEN TO EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE
This is the best time to start booking your vendors. Some vendors book up to a year before the wedding date. If you have your eye on a particular venue, photographer or florist, I encourage you to reach out as soon as you know you want to book them.
- Choose a venue!
- Hire your vendors! Check out some of our favorite vendors in the industry.
- Say Yes to the dress!
- Reserve a block of rooms for your guest, if you will have a lot of guest from out of town.
- Register for gifts! (Now, who doesn’t want to do this!)
- Launch a wedding website!
- Choose your wedding colors! Read all about 5 Tips On How To Choose Your Wedding Colors
SEVEN TO SIX MONTHS BEFORE
This is the time in your wedding planning process where it all starts to come together. My favorite time with my couples because this is when we start to plan for the engagement session. Read all about What to wear for an engagement session?
- Select and purchase invitations.
- Start planning your honeymoon. (Take me with you!?)
- Shop for bridesmaid dresses.
- Meet with vendors.
- Schedule your engagement session with us. Let’s start with location. Read all about our Favorite Engagement Session Locations in OC
- Once you get your photos back from your engagement session, send out save the dates! Make sure to include a reply by, and add date.
FIVE TO FOUR MONTHS BEFORE
Almost there, can you even believe it? You’ve gotten through the hard stuff. Now it’s time to start putting everything into place.
- Book a rehearsal space, dinner, etc.
- Check on wedding invitations and confirm that you have your save the date responses.
- Send out guest list for your bridal shower.
- Schedule a hair and makeup trial.
- Narrow down your music list for your wedding. (Dance it off!)
THREE MONTHS BEFORE
You’re not alone if you’re feeling overwhelmed. This is normal in this stage of planning. Take a deep breath and enjoy it all coming together.
- Finalize the menu, flowers, cake tasting, seating chart etc.
- Order favors, if desired.
- Make a list of people doing a toast.
- Schedule your last dress fitting.
- Make sure your rings are sized and ready.
- Shop for groomsmen suits. Check out at Friar Tux and use code A9311 for an exclusive offer.
- Send out invitations. BONUS: Number your RSVP’s and keep track on a spreadsheet, just in case someone forgets to sign their name.
- Enjoy your bridal shower!
TWO MONTHS BEFORE
Home stretch, make sure to get a lot of rest during this time. Let the pampering begin!
- Schedule a spa day! *Not necessary, but definitely recommended.
- Touch base with all vendors.
- Finalize a timeline!
- Complete wedding questionnaire, with me.
- Review playlist with DJ/Band
- Enjoy your bachelorette party!
- Don’t forget to purchase wedding party gifts!
- Book a hotel stay, if needed, for the wedding night.
ONE MONTH BEFORE
How did time fly by? You’ve made it this far, hopefully in one piece, and in good spirit. All the hard work is about to pay off.
- Refer to your spreadsheet, check in with the guest who you have not received an RSVP from.
- Get your marriage license!
- Inform guest who are invited to the rehearsal dinner where it will be.
- Last dress fitting, for extra precaution!
- Send out final payments to your vendors.
- Confirm times with vendors.
- Provide guest with information, if not already in the invitation. Your wedding website, would be perfect to use for this!
- Write your vows. Don’t rush them on the day of!
WEEK OF WEDDING
I can hear your joy! As your photographer, I am full of excitement too. This week is intended to be stress free. Don’t let the things that aren’t happening “perfectly” affect your overall experience. Nothing is ever perfect, you define what makes your day an amazing one. Make it count!
- Reconfirm with vendors, if needed, for arrival times.
- Delegate small wedding tasks. A supportive wedding party will get you through the day.
- Send timeline to wedding party, if needed.
- Confirm timeline provided, by me.
- Set up a phone call with me! Love to hear how you are doing and chatting for a bit about your day.
- Set checks aside for vendors requiring payment day of. It’s important to assign this job to someone you trust. Label the envelopes by vendor name/type.
- Break in those wedding shoes. Wear them around the house, make sure they are comfortable.
- Pack up for your honeymoon, if traveling right away.
- Don’t forget, relax!
DAY OF WEDDING
IT’S HAPPENING! This day is all about making memories, enjoying the day, no matter what. And remember to spend some quality time with your spouse. As your photographer, I schedule in some time for you two, with no on in sight! Wedding days can happen rather quickly, so it is our goal to get you to stop, breathe, and soak up the moment with one another.
For a tangible copy of the checklist head here.