When should you start planning your wedding?
One of the first questions that comes to mind when couples begin talking about starting their life together is "when should we start planning the wedding?" Well, it is never too early to start. Here are a couple of pro pointers to get you started off right!
Start off by talking about your likes and dislikes. If you never planned a wedding before, you may have no idea of your own preferences when it comes to weddings. If you are not involved in the wedding industry, even answering questions from vendors may be quite overwhelming so websites like Pinterest and Instagram are good places to begin looking for inspiration and great sources to find vendors and planning ideas.
Research/Hire a Wedding Planner
60% of couples start discussing their wedding plans before they even get engaged. The reason they start so early is that the most popular vendors are usually booked way in advance. If you're dreaming of a wedding during peak season (April-June or September-November) you must start early. The team at Weddings & Events by Raina receives constant inquiries and book weddings up to 3 years in advance. Many top wedding professionals have their calendars filled more quickly than you'd expect. If you don't want to settle for whomever is available on date of your choice, do your homework, shop in advance, set aside time to discuss your planning decisions...you don't want to have to rush into anything. Having an expert planning team to assist you with sifting through previously vetted vendors based on your estimated budget and vision is a major time saver as well! Once you do get engaged they can jump right into action and get your dream vendor team booked and ready to go!!
Narrow Down Your Venue Selections
Begin by deciding on an approximate date/timeframe for the wedding to happen and narrow down your dream venue. Then research venues that fit within your vision and style. This way when it comes time to book you already have this difficult task narrowed down to your top five or six selections. Your wedding date will likely depend on the venue availability and if you are absolutely firm on the date, you may have to be flexible about your venue options. Once you are engaged you can then narrow down the list even further based on capacity for your estimated guest count, budget and availability. If you have an amazing planning team on hand they can even visit the various venues with you to ensure that you are getting exactly what you are envisioning and can afford. Keep in mind that in Tennessee, spring and fall are peak seasons and for many venues due to the mild weather and either beautiful flowers or unique leaf colors outdoors and it may be difficult or nearly impossible to hire your preferred vendors if you wait too long. We recommend looking to book your vendors anywhere from 6 months to 2 years in advance. The sooner the better. Once you have your date down, even if the venue isn't booked yet, it is time to lock in your favorite wedding planning team! And hopefully, it's Weddings & Events by Raina! Wink Wink...
Hire a Photographer
If possible, always hire a photographer for your proposal. If not, be sure to hire one for your wedding that who includes an engagement shoot. Not only will you want those photos for your Save The Dates, you will also want a chance to get comfortable with your photographer so that any unease or issues are worked out beforehand and don't come through in your wedding day photos. Now, for your engagement session, plan your outfits together, discuss location options with your photographer and sample their work first hand. Just be sure that you book your engagement shoot at least 2 months before you need to have access to the images. While sometimes you may be lucky enough to get a sneak peek of some of those images in less than 24 hours, during peak wedding season, it will take several weeks to get your edited photos returned.
Exception to the Rule
Here is one exception to the rule: elopements. Amazing intimate micro-weddings and elopements are super trendy right now and may be a little bit easier to plan in a short notice. Since they tend to occur any day of the week, you won't need as much lead time as a traditional wedding would. Yet, if you have the chance, make sure you learn what you can about how to make it as dreamy as possible to get the more beautiful photos of your special day regardless of how many guests will be attending.