I have been in the wedding industry for almost nine years, and I have learned a lot. While my wife and I eloped and didn't plan a wedding, the couples that I have talked to over the years have given me insight into the planning process, what they regret what they do not and what they would do again.
So so this post is a collection of thoughts on what I have gleaned over the years. So as you think about your wedding, whether it is an elopement or a traditional wedding.
One of the biggest things that have heard from couples about was guests. Seating arrangements, how many to invite, who to invite, and who not to invite, what fall out there will be if someone is not invited. All the politics that go into planning can be the most stressful and least fun. Some couples said that they chose a smaller venue so that there was not enough room to invite a ton of people. Other couples want to elope for this very reason. The community can be a huge part of getting married, but it can also be fun just to be the two of you. Remember, the choice is yours.
Ask your vendors who they like working alongside. You may have people that you follow on Instagram or that worked on a friends wedding, but if you are at a loss, ask your wedding planning, your photographer, your florist who they have worked with, and who was rad. I have worked with DJ's who are highly recommended, but the dance floor was empty, and I have worked with others who were not as well known, but who are amazing.
Planning can be a nightmare for some, but the greatest joy for others. Brides.com has a great checklist.
But in short, you need to.
Set a date, find a venue, find a dress, book a photographer, a florist, a HMUA, a DJ or band, a caterer, possibly a planner. Get the guys suits, figure out transportation, pick a cake, figure out honeymoon plans, figure out invitations, the list goes on and on. Each of those might have several steps or items. Again this is why some choose to elope because things happen on their timeline, and there are a lot fewer things to plan.
Junebug Weddings has a great downloadable checklist here.
Having a budget (a realistic budget) is a hard one as well and one that may determine where, who, and what you book. If your budget is $20,000 and your dream venue is $10,000 that does not leave much for everything else. There are many ways to wiggle around in the budget but knowing what you want and what is important for you if the key to planning a successful wedding.
Picking your vendors is huge. These are the people that will help you in making your wedding or elopement a success. Make sure that you feel comfortable with them. As a photographer, I may be biased, but your media people are with you all day. While there are others that have a huge impact, your photography team and video team are the ones that will see you from the makeup to the send-off, make sure that you feel comfortable with who you have.
Wedding planners or day of coordinators can be a huge help to the success of the day. That said I have been part of many a wedding that has not had one and they have gone off without a hitch, but they also had an immense amount of help from family and friends.
As I have mentioned before, the decisions are yours. So don’t let anyone rush you into your decisions. You know what YOUR budget is, and what you want YOUR wedding. If you have any questions, want to chat about your wedding, even if you already have a photographer, shoot me a message and let me know!