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Wedding Planning Tips from a Photographer-Bride: Venue Selection, Vendor Choice, and Trending Ideas

Hey there! As a wedding photographer who is currently planning my own wedding, I know all too well the pressure and anxiety that can accompany the process of making major decisions. With my unique perspective as both a vendor and a bride, I'm thrilled to share the knowledge and insights I've gained along the way to assist future couples in making the best decisions for their wedding day.

Romantic beach engagement photo in Michigan.

Selecting Your Wedding Venue

Look for Venues that Offer Packages

To start off, my best advice for couples who are just beginning the wedding planning process is to lock in your venue first. Take the time to tour a few places and get a better understanding of the costs involved, as well as what the venue includes. I strongly recommend looking for venues that offer packages that include tables, chairs, linens, setup/teardown, etc. Although it may come with a premium price tag, I have found that it is worth the investment to opt for these packages rather than trying to handle everything yourself. In fact, it could end up being more expensive if you try to do it all on your own.

Prepare For the Unexpected

There are always unexpected things that can happen on a wedding day, like inclement weather or family dynamics. Living in Michigan, the can be quite unpredictable, so it could either be scorching hot or a torrential downpour in August. To prepare for either scenario, we have selected a venue that can accommodate both indoor and outdoor spaces. Additionally, having both sides of our families together for the first time can be an exciting and unique experience. We want to make sure we spend time connecting our families and are so excited to see everyone under one roof celebrating together. Overall, we know that our wedding day will be unforgettable, regardless of any surprises that come our way.

Choosing Your Wedding Vendors

Consider Budget and Availability

One of the biggest challenges my partner and I faced was choosing a location and vendors. We are lucky enough to be well connected in the industry, but it made it difficult to choose between all of the amazing vendors we know. We ultimately had to consider our budget and availability in making our decisions. When choosing our own wedding vendors, availability was a major factor due to my schedule as a photographer. We were fortunate to secure vendors who helped make my clients' weddings enjoyable and who we trusted to do the same for our own wedding day.

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

When it came to selecting a wedding photographer, there were a few key factors that were important for us to consider. First and foremost, we wanted someone who has a style similar to my own. Equally important was choosing someone we already know and trust, to ensure we feel comfortable in front of the camera and enjoy our day with them. Thankfully, we have a great friend in the industry that perfectly fits our criteria and was available on our wedding date!

The Role of a Wedding Photographer

The role of a wedding photographer is not just to capture beautiful images, but also to assist couples structure of the day to make sure all the important moments can be captured. Knowing this side of the business best, I will be sure to confirm the day of timeline well in advance to ensure there is enough time for the photographer to capture all the necessary shots. On the day of the wedding, the photographer and day of coordinator should help the bride and groom stay on track with their timeline to avoid any delays or missed photo opportunities.

Capturing Candid and Unexpected Moments

However, it's not all about following a strict schedule; the photographer should also be in the moment with the couple, capturing candid and unexpected moments that truly capture the essence of the day. Trust your photographer to capture these! By working closely with the couple and staying attuned to their unique vision and style, a skilled wedding photographer can help create a beautiful and timeless record of the big day.

Creating a Unique Experience

Forgoing Traditional Wedding Events

Given my experience as a wedding photographer, my fiancé and I are choosing to do things a little differently than most couples when planning our wedding. We have decided to forgo the traditional bridal party, which allows our closest friends to enjoy the day without any specific responsibilities or structure. Additionally, we have chosen to have a private ceremony with only immediate family, so we can focus on being present in the moment. Finally, we have chosen to skip some of the more traditional events at the reception, such as cake cutting and formal dances, to maximize our time with our guests and allow for more free-flowing interactions.

Exciting Trends to Incorporate into Your Wedding

I've noticed some exciting trends on the rise that I'm excited to potentially incorporate into our day. One trend that's gaining popularity is champagne towers, which can make a unique alternative to the traditional cake cutting. Another trend that I've been loving is big, removable sleeves on wedding dresses. They can completely change the look of a dress on the fly and add a touch of glamor and drama. Customized dance floors are also becoming more popular, with couples opting for special lighting, more florals, or even unique designs to create a memorable setting for their first dance. Minimal table decor is a trend that's on the rise, as couples realize that simple and understated centerpieces can be just as beautiful as more elaborate ones. And lastly, big group reception photos are becoming increasingly popular. Right after speeches, before everyone starts eating and tables become messy is the best time to execute these big group photos!

Making Your Wedding Day Truly Yours

My top advice for couples is to plan the day according to what YOU want. Your opinions and your partner's opinions should be the only ones that matter. It's natural to get caught up in what you think others might expect or what is customary for weddings, but ultimately, it's your wedding day and should reflect your individual vision. Don't be afraid to deviate from tradition and customize the day to make it enjoyable for you. As someone who has worked behind the scenes at many weddings, I've seen firsthand how certain details can add unnecessary stress or distractions that take away from the experience. Don't sweat the small stuff, just take in the day and enjoy every minute of it!


Want more insider tips? Check out this blog 6 Wedding Day Tips for Brides


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