Oh my gosh- CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so happy for you and your beginning to your happy ever after.

But now what?!

Oh...my...gosh. Uh...

Ya you may be overwhelmed once your excitement settles, but it's okay! Take a deep breath....and relax. Here are a few tips and tricks that will answer some of your big questions. As always, feel more than welcome to contact me for any questions!

To start, I could put the first tip as "Get a wedding planner". BUT what if we don't have the money for it?! Totally okay. You can do it yourself. And I'm not just saying that. I didn't have the money to put toward a professional planner, so I did it myself!

7 Steps to Plan Your Dream Wedding

1. First thing is first. How much do you want to spend? Write this down, then write down what all you want at your wedding (officiant, DJ, photographer, flowers, dress, shoes, groom tux, bridesmaid accessories & dress, cake, centerpieces, venue cost, etc). It is helpful to also budget each item individually.

2. Then figure out where you want the wedding. A barn? A church? A garden? Where do you see yourself getting married? This should probably be done a year out from your wedding date, but I had a short time span (and also a small wedding) and found a venue about 4 months before my wedding.

Once you figure out what TYPE of venue you want, you have to figure out what specific one you want! Here are some things to look for in a venue:

-Wedding packages- Most venues have this. It usually is best to go with a package with chairs, tables, and decor, as these things add up very quickly. Another thing to keep in mind is a DJ and photographer. Very few venues have these, so plan accordingly. Some good websites to look on for vendors are weddingwire.com, thumbtack.com, and theknot.com. 

To note: If you are handy, you can easily make wedding decor yourself. This will largely cut down the costs. There are many cute wedding table centerpieces on pinterest.com! You can also cut down on floral costs this way, as flowers are very expensive.

3. TOUR the venues. I cannot stress this enough. Photography can make things look fantastic when they are not. Make sure the venue is something you really want by going to visit in person.

4. Schedule your venue for your desired wedding date.

5. Now you need to get your vendors scheduled. Schedule your DJ, photographer, and officiant. If you are using a florist, also ensure to tell them when you need your flowers by (though they usually need a little less notice).

6. After you get everything scheduled, you need to focus on YOU. Don't stress, you got this. If you have a maid of honor or a close family member, have them help you manage wedding tasks to lessen the stress on you.

7. Now is the fun part! Go get your dress, shoes, and accessories. 

Of course each step is a little more drawn out, but just make some checklists and check each item off as you complete it. Of course assigning different tasks to the groom, mother-in-law, or other close family or friends will help speed the process along.

5 Tips for your wedding day:

1. Be prepared for the worst. I hate to say it- but what if it rains and your wedding is outdoors? Do you or your venue have a backup plan?

2. When hiring a photographer, make sure they have used flash before hiring them to take photos in a dark place (usually the reception). Flash is totally different from natural light, so they need to be experienced in this.

3. DON'T STRESS. I know, this is easy to do and not so much to do. But I PROMISE. It will all turn out magically.

Fun Fact! 100% of weddings I have shot have run late on their timeline. It happens. A lot. It's okay! I promise the wedding won't start without you.

4. Make a timeline. I would absolutely love to help my clients with a timeline if they need it. Ask your photographer, as they should know the approximate time for everything on wedding day. Taking getting ready photos, the first look, the ceremony, family photos, romantics, and the reception, all pretty much have the same timeline per wedding. To make a timeline, start with the time you have the venue rented and the ceremony time, then fill in the empty spaces! It is your photographer's job to follow this timeline and not elongate photo times and interrupt other planned activities.

5. Hire 2 photographers. This doesn't mean 2 different companies. This means to hire a primary shooter who brings a "2nd shooter" with them. Some include these in their packages (like myself) and some add them on as extra. These 2nd shooters will ease your mind, as there are TWO photos capturing that first kiss and the groom's reaction, instead of one. Plus, it gives you a lot more angles, which means more stunning photos!

Well, Congratulations!!! And I hope this helped work out some of your worries and questions.

As always, if you need anything, I'm only one message away!

~Nicole

wanderlustphotoco@gmail.com

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