Wedding planning can be very intimidating! But, it doesn’t have to be. Start the process off easy by tackling these eight simple steps.
- Announce Your Engagement
Decide if you want to share the news with your parents and closest friends before anyone else. Then, share the glorious news with the world!
- Start Dreaming
Make a trip to the nearest magazine rack and purchase each wedding rag on the shelf. Start tearing out sheets or dog-earing pages to your heart’s content. At this point, the sky is the limit. Collect each concept, color-scheme and detail that grabs your attention. If your collection starts to become rather large, you can further organize it in terms of contents: dresses, cakes, uplighting, flowers, etc. Be sure to include your fiancé in on the planning. Let him own some of the day too. Talk about what style the two of you would enjoy most whether the backdrop is a ranch, beach, resort, mountaintop or ballroom. Don’t talk of money just yet.
- Set a Rough Budget
How is your wedding being paid for? Are you going the traditional route and the parents of the bride are going to foot the bill? Are both sets of parents sharing equally in the costs? Or, are you and your finacé going to fund the celebration yourselves? However the wedding is being paid for, this is the time to decide a budget. No further plans can be made until a budget has been set. Be realistic with your budget. Don’t go into debt. This is a once in a lifetime event, but don’t start your marriage with your checkbook register in the red.
- Create Your Guest List
Based on the budget you and your finacé have decided on and the sizes of your respective families and number of friends, come up with a ballpark number of guests you think you’ll end up inviting. The national average cost to feed each guest at the reception is about $63 and that doesn’t account for the wedding cake. To eliminate any mishaps, use Google Docs to create and maintain this list. It will be super easy to share with moms and wedding planner and you can even assign permissions to other users in the future (view vs edit).
- Select Your Venue
Now that you know your budget and how many wedding guests you’ll be expecting, you can now start looking at wedding venues. These are typically booked 12-18 months in advance. Be prepared to compare apple to oranges. What is included at one venue may be an add-on at another. Here are 60 must-ask questions when shopping for a venue.
- Set Your Wedding Date
Once you’ve paid that deposit on the venue, you simultaneously set your wedding date!
- Hire Your Wedding Photographer and Videographer
You’ve got your wedding date, now is the time to book your photographer (and videographer). Again, be prepared to compare services. Not all packages are the same. My two best pieces of advice are: #1: Be sure you like your photographer better than you like their price; #2: Insurance is a must-have! I have read too many horror stories about photographers not showing up, not delivering images/products as promised or simply put, they are just not capable of photographing a wedding (sub-professional equipment, bad customer service, stress, timeline issues, lighting challenges, etc.). Here are 10 questions to ask anyone you consider to photograph your wedding. Please, please, please do not hire a friend or relative with a nice camera—unless they happen to be a professional.
- Hello! Did Someone Say Party?
Yes, it’s finally time to party! Let’s have a party to announce the engagement. Traditionally, the bride’s parents host this party, but in the modern world, all bets are off. Do it your own way! This is a great time to announce your wedding party, ask ring bearers or flower girls to participate, ask certain family or friends to host a wedding or bridal/lingerie showers, or let special someones know of a special part they’ll have on your wedding day.
8 Things To Do When You’re Engaged
I wrote a two-part series with a detailed wedding planning timeline. Once you’ve completed this short list, you can resume your wedding planning here.
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I am a San Antonio-based wedding photographer and I cater to outdoor-loving couples who prefer to have all the realness captured on their wedding days. I am the wedding photographer for the outdoor adventurers, the romantics, the laid back, the snugglers, and those who wish to capture all their realness.
I am absolutely in love with capturing the kinds of weddings where there are more hugs than handshakes, the dance floor rumbles all night long, and chairs are pretty much rendered useless after dinner. Whiskey bottles are passed around, most of the wedding party has been best-best friends since kindergarten, Grams is likely to lose her shoes and your partner is much more emotional than you are. These kinds of weddings are my jam!
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
I am a WPPI-C certified professional, full-time wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
When I’m not behind my camera, you can find me hiking, cycling, backpacking, camping, enjoying water sports, listening to music (Elvis and Prince), hunting for arrowheads, reading audiobooks, occasionally eating a few glazed donuts (my only weakness to sweets) and then re-starting my keto diet about every 10 days. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of.
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