10 Steps To Planning Your Wedding

You're engaged, now what? Knowing where and when to begin can be daunting - good thing you've found us, then! Here are the 10 things you need to do right away... 

Share the big news with your inner circle before updating your status on Facebook. It's not cool for your acupuncturist and hairdresser to find out before your extended family. 

Everyone's eyes will be on your hand, so grab your BFF, splurge on a professional mani, and start showing off that sparkler! 

Being engaged means you get to plan the wedding of your dreams. But it also means you're about to spend the rest of your life with your soul mate. Take some time (at least a couple of weeks) to savour how totally romantic that is before you dive into logistics. 

Ready to get down to the nitty-gritty? Settle on a rough guest list and budget. 'Without this, you can't book the right venue and vendors for your price point,' says planner Tracy Taylor Ward. 

This is the fun part: brainstorming with your man about the big day. Compare fantasies (tequila tastings, beach vows or a Venetian villa), and sign up for a Pinterest account to create an online inspiration board. Go crazy and think big- you can refine things after you've picked that all important venue. 

Have a range of dates in mind before your tour venues. Are you imagining a spring garden wedding, or autumnal 'I dos' in the woods? Do you want a honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, or to cruise the Caribbean? The answers will help to steer you towards your ideal time of year. Tip: ask engaged friends when they're getting hitched, so you can avoid those dates. 

If you want to work with a wedding planner, book them before you choose your venue. 'I often wish I could turn back time and show new clients a site that would have been a much better fit for the theme they wanted,' says planner Annie Lee. 

Your venue will influence every decision you make, from your colour scheme to the style of your dress, so pin this down early on. The key is to find a venue that works with your vision (black-tie ballroom, modern minimalistic). And don't be afraid to think beyond the banquet hall. 

This is not the kind of party you can throw together at the last minute. Stay on track by creating a timeline of your to-dos. We asked wedding planners what software they used to stay organised. The unanimous response? Microsoft Excel. 

Once you've secured a venue and date, start hunting for your celebrant, photographer, and band or DJ. Because these people often book one event per day, they get snapped up quickly. Pounce immediately.


Budgeting For Your Wedding

Ok, so it's not the most glamorous part of planning a wedding, but you need to nail down what you need and get the best out of your day without running yourself into debt. Here's a few ways to make the process a little less painful...

Work out what you want

'It may seem obvious but you need to decide the type of wedding you want before doing your sums and booking venues,' says wedding planner Julia Dowling. 'I've seen a lot of couples book the venue first, only to realise they've blown the majority of their budget and can't afford another element they were desperate to include'

Have the money do the talking

About 50% of couples foot the whole bill themselves, which means that the other half ask for help, mainly from Mum and Dad. Sit down with each set of parents individually, you with yours and your partner with theirs, and ask if they would like to contribute to your wedding day.

Add it up

Your parents' contribution + yours = your total budget. Note: do not include your credit card limits in the total. You don't want to run yourself into debt as a married couple, that's no fun is it?

Spend it wisely

Now that you have a figure, start thinking about your priorities. What do you want most? A jam-packed dance floor? Amazing food? Or brilliant a brilliant photographer such as myself? (Shameless advertising right here!) Allot the bulk of your budget there and find ways to save elsewhere.

Consider every cost

'Most people go over budget by at least 30% because they didn't account for everything up front', says wedding planner Annie Lee.
Be sure to include the following hidden costs:
Dress alterations
Weather back-up plans (tents, heaters, umbrellas etc)
Taxes (Always ask if things include tax!)
And even postage costs for invites!


Hopefully these few tips will help you along your way to planning your perfect day, with as little trouble as possible.

Why do you need a wedding photographer?

So you may have found me on Google or locally as a wedding photographer. Let's be honest right now my prices are some of the cheapest you'll find in my area, but I'm definitely not the most expensive. Also if you're reading this blog, a major factor in figuring out if you absolutely need a wedding photographer, is your wedding budget.

So let me break down exactly what a wedding photographer should be doing for you. (Yes, this includes me)
First of all, you should chat with the photographer and have a look as his/her/their work to see if they are the right fit for you. You wouldn't want to book a photographer that only shoots black & white images, if you absolutely hate them! Me personally, I find it hard to like black and white images purely because I think I overdid it as a child. These days, I only make an image black and white if I feel it really fits the mood and feel of whats going on.

Then you want to see what kind of package they can do for you, whether you want a photobooth, Polaroids on the day, how fast they turnaround the images, how many free prints are included etc. etc...

Another major question I get asked is "How many images will I get?" - At this point I put everything down, look at the couple and tell them straight. That if you want 1,000... 5,000... 10,000 images, I am not the photographer for you. Now I'm not going to knock any other photographer that does hold their selling point on "I will give you X amount of images" as there are probably some amazing shooters out there. But the majority of them don't know a thing about capturing moments, they don't know about lighting, feel, mood, poses, organisation skills. Hell if that's all photography was then everyone would be doing it, just hold the button down for 5-8 hours straight and you've got 10,000 images!
But that's not my style, I want to capture moments. My style of shooting is to try and stay hidden, and no that doesn't mean I'm going to be hiding behind the wedding cake trying not to be spotted, but rather let your day flow as it's supposed to without you and your guests feeling on edge.
If people really want a number (which they usually do) I tell them I can give them roughly 40 quality images per hour, that they will be happy with. But again, this varies on the length of your day, how much traveling is involved, how many guests you have etc.

You also have to factor in the fact that you are hiring a photographer to do one very specific job, to capture your day just as it was. Sure, you have a fancy new iPhone that captures brilliant images. But again, it's the knowledge of the photographer that makes the difference. And let's face it, you've spent thousands on your dress, rings, venue, food, cars... Why wouldn't you hire a professional to remember all those details?

What does the photographer do at the end of your big day? Is his/her/their work done? Absolutely not. Let's not forget editing all your images, building you a preview, burning CD's, creating a wedding album (probably the thing I hate most, but it has to be done, and done well!)

Hopefully me rambling on has helped you decide whether you need a photographer or not, are the things listed above important to you?


Thanks again for taking the time to read my once in a blue moon blog post, I keep telling myself I should blog more and I promise I'll fit them in my schedule when I can!

Invest in memories.