First & foremost congratulations on your engagement!!! If you are newly engaged you are probably wondering what should you do first. When I was planning my own wedding almost 8 years ago I remember asking myself “so where do I start?” While this is different for everyone, here are 10 things that may help give you some direction! This list is compiled of my own experience & insight I have gained from brides while photographing weddings! Before we dive in grab your favorite hot beverage & something to jot down a couple of notes.
The next few things you can start doing after you have had some time to just enjoy the moment! I would recommend finding these next few things at least 1-2 years before your wedding because venues, planners, & photographers book up quickly & pretty far out like 1-2 years! If you plan on getting married in 1 year then try to find these 3 vendors in the 1stmonth or 2 of being engaged!
3. Start a pinterest board with wedding ideas or take it a step further & have a board for different categories such as brides maid dresses, or blush themed wedding ideas, details, invitations, venues, tablescapes, flower arrangements etc.
4. Start following wedding related hashtags & vendors for wedding inspiration & to find wedding venues, planners, photographers, florists, caterers, bands, etc on Instagram & follow along on facebook too!
Some examples include- For the Charleston area: #Charlestonweddingphotography, #charlestonwedding; Greenville area: #Greenvilleweddingphotography, Greenvilleweddingphotographer, #Greenvillewedding
To follow our hashtags for every wedding & engagement shoot follow #LBweddings #LBbrides #laurenberryphotography
5. Pick a date!
This can be a tough one because you are picking just one day of 365 days. The easiest way to tackle this is to 1st determine what season you may want your wedding to be in & if it will be indoor or outdoor in a general location & plan according to the weather, because an outdoor wedding in December might change your plans entirely.
Next, narrow it down to a month & then a day. Are there dates you can eliminate right away such as a holiday, graduation, or birthday? Or is there a number than has a special meaning to you both? Is your date flexible depending on venue, planner, or photographer availability? Make sure to have you future husband weigh in on this as well!
6. Come up with a rough draft of a guest lists
It’s helpful to have an idea of how many guests you will have so that you can make sure your venue can accommodate that many. You may find yourself looking for a venue that can accommodate more guests if you have a larger guests list or you can pair down your list.
Something my husband & I did when planning our wedding was I wrote out my side of family & he wrote out his. Next we added those together then added in our friends.
7. Book your wedding planner
I can’t stress enough the importance of a good planner. This person is someone who has experience planning weddings to perfection down to the smallest detail! You won’t regret having a planner & saving yourself a lot of stress & worry! (More to come about planners in a future blog post so tune in here with us every Wednesday)
8. Scout out & select a venue
What type of venue do you have in mind for your dream wedding? Indoor or outdoor? Something coastal, vineyards, historic homes, church, in the mountains, or at a plantation.
It’s important to think about what kind of look you want in your photos. Do you like the light & airy photography style or darker bolder photos? The venue you pick can also affect the style of photographs. For example, if you like light & airy photos & natural light you might consider getting married outdoors or in a space with lots of window light coming through a light colored room.
A few important questions for the venue include:
Find out what the max guest count is for the venue for the ceremony & reception?
Do they have a getting ready room for the bride & groom on site?
Can both the ceremony & reception be held on site?
Can you have your own caterer & other vendors?
How long can you book the space? You want to make sure you have plenty of time to get ready on the front end as well as time for photos before the ceremony (3-4 hours) & enough time for the reception, most weddings from the getting ready to the end of the reception last around 8-10 hours minimum.
Do they have chairs, tables, linens to choose from?
9. Book a wedding photographer
10. Ask your bridesmaids!
Bridesmaids are the best! These girls never cease to amaze me at how dedicated they are to the bride. They “got your back!” I have seen them do numerous things in the name sake of the bride such as using their bodies to form a line or circle around the bride so no one will see her! It’s like having your own group of body guards+personal assistant/stylist for the day! If a hair is out of place they are on top of it. Left your lip gloss in the room, no problem someone will track it down. They are there for you & that’s what it means to be a bridesmaid!
Well, friends I hope this helps you as you plan your wedding! Don’t forget to give yourself some grace as you plan your big day & take some time to just relax & enjoy being engaged, because no matter what, at the end of the day you are still marrying the man of your dreams!
Grab our free Engagement Guide for Epic & Dreamy Portraits including outfit inspiration, hair & makeup, locations, & so much more!
JOIN THE FUN
Go behind the scenes of our latest shoots, get tips for your session and be the first to find out where we're headed next (and how you can join us!)