I was reviewing examples of wedding planning timelines the other day when I came across a checklist that was three pages long! As soon as I looked at it, I felt my eyes glaze over. As one of the premiere Wedding Photographers in Washington DC and business owner, I love a good checklist, but going overboard defeats the purpose and creates more stress.

If you recently became engaged and feel a little overwhelmed about the next step, we encourage you to enlist help! Photographers, wedding planners, friends, and family are all great resources to help you set off confidently in the right direction. We want your wedding planning process to go as smoothly as possible and have a ton of fun doing it. Instead of bombarding you with the world’s largest list, we’re providing just the first few steps to get you started!

Enjoy your engagement party!

Before you hit the ground running, take some time to share and celebrate your exciting news with friends and family! Plus, you can probably get some good ideas and advice from guests who have already planned weddings!

Set the budget.

Not the most fun part of planning but probably the most important. Get with your partner and decide what you’re both willing to spend. If family members are contributing, discuss their part as well.

Once you decide on a ballpark number, prioritize. Have each person make a list of what is most important down to least important (DJ, cake, photography, venue, food/drink, wardrobe, etc.). Take the top 3 from both of your lists and plan on allotting extra for those things while cutting back on the less important items on your lists.

Organize the guest list.

Before you begin looking at venues, it’s important to have a general idea of the size of your wedding. Most venues have a minimum and maximum capacity. You want to make sure you get your money’s worth if many guests can’t attend while allowing for wiggle room if all of them attend. You’ll need this number while booking other services such as catering, rentals, and cake as well.

Select a wedding party.

Knowing the size of your wedding party is helpful when selecting a venue, ordering flowers, and planning attire. It’s also important for the everyone in the party to know as early as possible so they can plan to attend pre-wedding events as well as set aside time to help out—you don’t want to be scrambling to find a maid of honor a month before your big day!

Book a venue.

Before booking, decide if you want to have your ceremony and reception at the same location, whether you want an indoor or outdoor wedding, and how many people you need to accommodate. If you’re looking at outdoor venues, don’t forget to ask about weather accommodations such as heat lamps, fans, or an alternate location in case of rain.

Set the date!

This is pretty self-explanatory, but there’s one thing to consider: if you have fallen in love with a venue that’s booked or out of price range, see if they have availability or offer a lower rate during the offseason or for a non-Saturday wedding.

Hire a photographer/videographer.

Here’s where we come in! Finding your dream photographer is one of the most important steps in the planning process. I know we’re a little biased, but do you want the most important day of your life left in the hands of guests with iPhones? Find someone who you feel comfortable with and who understands your vision and shares your style. You will want these memories to last a lifetime!

As one of the premiere Wedding Photographers in Washington DC, we know the wedding planning process can be a stressful one! Let us help!


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