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7 Tips for Successful Wedding Planning

Wedding planning doesn't have to be hard. Here are some tips to help you out!

successful wedding ceremony

Planning for your wedding might seem like a daunting task, but with the right strategies, you'll be able to tackle it confidently. As a wedding photographer of 10+ years, I've worked with a ton of couples, wedding planners, coordinators, and venues, and have picked up on the winning strategies to help make the wedding day go off without a hitch!


Rest assured you'll have a beautiful and organized wedding with the following tips!


Tip #1 - Make a List


This is always my first step when I have things that need to be done! Having everything written down is a great way to stay organized, plus it's super satisfying when you can cross things out. Consider using Google Docs so you can collaborate with your fiance, and format it so that the big items are headers, and then have the smaller tasks under them. It's important to prioritize the important things.


Some examples of to-do items would include: decide on date/venue, decide colors/theme of wedding, contract vendors (photographer, videographer, coordinator, flowers, cake, catering, hair/makeup, DJ, etc), pick out your wedding dress and tux, coordinate engagement shoot, make wedding website, save the dates, invitations, and finalizing your RSVPs.


Tip #2 - Plan in Advance


Your wedding date might be two years away, or even further, but you'd be surprised how quickly things can creep up on you. Try to get as much done as soon as you can, don't procrastinate. You should book your vendors at least a year in advance if possible. If you're struggling to find vendors, consider my personal recommendations, or ask a friend for a referral!


"He who fails to plan is planning to fail" – Winston Churchill

Tip #3 - Don't Get Caught Up in "Perfection"


Trust me, I get it. As a photographer and videographer, I'm constantly adjusting my lighting, changing my angle, and doing everything I can to get the perfect shot. But sometimes, it's better to get a decent shot than to miss it because I was too busy adjusting things to try to make it perfect. Your wedding should be a fun and joyful experience, so don't let the details bog you down.


Tip #4 - Set a Budget, and Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize


In case you can't read that font, PRIORITIZE. It's important to set a specific budget for your wedding. It can be as big or small as you want, but pick a number and stick to it. Decide what's most important to you, and be flexible on other things. The old adage is that photography should be 25% of your total wedding budget. But if pictures are extra important to you, maybe diy a few decorations instead of buying, so you can spend a little more on that. It's up to you, but don't worry yourself with trends or what's "expected." For reference, the average US wedding cost in 2022 was $30,000.


Tip #5 - Be Creative!


If you want a Star Wars wedding, go for it! It's 2023, so if typical traditions aren't your style, then grab some lightsabers and make your wedding a force to reckon with! This is a momentous occasion in your life, so let it represent you and what's important to you and your relationship.


Tip #6 - Hire a Coordinator


I know we already touched on vendors a bit, but this one's super important. Everyone always talks about the venue, the food, the photography, but I'd argue a coordinator is more crucial than any of those. Well, maybe not the photography ;)


I've shot weddings without a coordinator, and sometimes it goes fine, but more often than not, it ends up being a disorganized, hectic day, and often as the photographer I end up having to "coordinate" which isn't ideal. Having a designated person in charge of handling the details and making sure everyone is where they're supposed to be at the right time will be a godsend. You don't want to be pulling your hair out with managing everything when you are supposed to be enjoying yourself! If you're in the market, I highly recommend Nicole at Stag & Lily Event Co. She's awesome.


Tip #7 - Leverage Your Resources


Weddings are a huge industry, and thankfully that means there are a ton of resources out there! Sites like The Knot can help with your to-do list, and even create your wedding website and manage RSVPs.


My own website has client resources including downloadable templates and vendor recommendations.


Your other vendors are a great resource too! We want to help make your wedding day a success, so let's help each other. Mutual respect and appreciation go a long way.


And we can't forget your friends and family. Many of them will want to help you, so let them, and if your parents are helping pay for the wedding, be open to compromises. It's your day, but their money, so establish your boundaries, and plan a wedding you can all be happy with.


Your Wedding Day Awaits


Weddings have a lot of moving parts, but with the right tools and knowledge, planning will go smoothly. It will be a fun and rewarding experience and you'll learn a ton!


If any of these tips helped you, be sure to share this post with others, and leave a comment down below if you have any questions.


If you need more advice, feel free to shoot me an email or connect with me on Instagram.


Happy planning!

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