If you’ve ever attended a gorgeous wedding, you’ve probably wondered how much work went in behind the scenes to make it happen. How many hours did the bride pour over bridesmaid dress colors or spend consulting her wedding planner about the artful table arrangement? Or maybe you’re newly engaged yourself and wondering where exactly to get started with this whole wedding planning thing. Well today, this DC Wedding Photographer is pulling back the curtain and giving you a behind the scenes peek into some of the finer points that go into making a beautiful wedding happen!
Choosing a Date
You might not realize it when you receive a save the date in the mail, but likely a lot of thought and planning has gone into finalizing that date. First, there’s the availability of vendors and venues to consider. If you have your heart set on a certain location, you might have to be more flexible with dates in order to secure the perfect venue. You should also consider which day of the week to get married, as a Friday or Sunday wedding can sometimes be more affordable than the coveted Saturday night dates. Finally, when picking a wedding date, it’s important to make sure you’re not infringing on popular holidays or other important events. WeddingWire has a helpful date finder to see how popular your desired date is, as well as any holidays or celebrity anniversaries that might fall close by.
Creating a budget is probably one of the most important behind-the-scene aspects that goes into wedding planning. The cost of weddings has skyrocketed in recent years and without a budget in place it can be easy to overspend. To calculate an accurate budget before making any purchases, take stock of all of your available resources. This includes contributions from parents or family members, savings, or potentially taking out a personal wedding loan. Next, prioritize which parts of your wedding are most important to spend your budget on. If amazing photos to remember your day are a top priority, then maybe you’ll plan to cut back on the cost of favors. Finding a balance with your budget is the key to achieving a wedding that checks all of your boxes.
Deciding who actually gets an invite to your wedding is one of the more stressful behind the scenes facets of wedding planning that guests usually never get a glimpse into. There are typically a lot of people’s opinions to take into consideration along with logistics like venue size and budget. Although it can feel harsh to cut people out of your list, you have to make sure you’re ultimately considering the feelings of yourself and your fiancé above all else. If you’re still struggling to make decisions, check out this handy flowchart to help the process along!
Finding Your Vendors (including your DC Wedding Photographer!)
If you’re not familiar with the local wedding industry in your area, it can be hard to know where to start looking for vendors. Luckily, social media and the internet have simplified the search a ton. Start off with review sites like Yelp, WeddingWire, The Knot and good old Google to begin surveying the vendors in your city. Read reviews to decide if they fit your aesthetic and to get an idea of how they are to work with. Then move onto vetting their websites and social profiles. Click on their tagged photos to see examples from past clients. You can also search hashtags like #DCweddingphotographer to find more potential vendors. Once you’ve narrowed down to your favorites, it’s time to reach out! Schedule a meeting or phone call to discuss what you’re looking for and determine if you feel comfortable enough to spend a part of your wedding day with this person.
Much like the infamous guest list, seating charts can be a dreaded part of wedding planning. To make it easier, try to sit down with someone from each side (your mother and mother-in-law would be great) so they can help with navigating any confusing family dynamics. Then, set up a large diagram of the reception tables and use sticky notes to represent the guests at the tables. This way you can arrange and rearrange to your heart’s content without needing to erase or start over. Once you’ve settled on a chart make several copies of it for your wedding planner, venue coordinator, and anyone else who may need one, including a backup for your wedding day emergency kit. That is one document you don’t want to disappear!
It sounds funny but you actually need to plan out how you’ll get ready on your wedding day ahead of time. If you’re using a hotel room that’s not the honeymoon suite, you’ll probably have to make sure it’s booked for the night before in order to get in early in the morning. If you’re planning on avoiding seeing your groom before the ceremony, you’ll also have to have some sort of travel plan in place to avoid running into each other in the hotel lobby. Generally, it’s easier to let the bride travel first and get to a “hiding” spot at the venue and then have the groom arrive second to take his place at the altar. However, you decide to orchestrate it, make sure you have a logistical plan for the getting ready time leading up to the ceremony, otherwise you might be scrambling at the last minute.