Wedding Planning // The First Month
I’ve gotten a loooot of questions about wedding planning so far and what I’m up to! I guess this is probably because I’m in the wedding industry so everyone is curious about my plans- especially WHO will be my photographer haha! So I thought I’d start a blog series about it.. not really sure if this will be a once a month thing or just once every couple months but I’m hoping that reading about my planning process with help other brides with their own!
I plan to write another whole post about planning a wedding while working in the wedding industry since it’s been a really interesting experience so far but for now, I’ll just say it’s been so eye opening to be on the other side and see exactly what my brides are going through, looking for and feeling like. I feel like I’ve already changed the way I talk to my brides and approach my business. But more on that all later!
The first thing Dan and I (aka.. me) did was sit down and write a rough guest list out. This helped us get a good idea for how many people our venue would have to be able to hold. We both have big families who we are super close to so this was a crucial first step! We then talked to my parents about budgets and my Dad even sent me his spreadsheet from my sister’s wedding seven years ago (seriously, being the 2nd child is the best! Sorry Kelly..). Right away I had a list of vendors she chose, some numbers to work with and a plan for what we needed for our own day.
Dan and I are both “mountain and lake” people. We spend almost every free second by the lake in New Hampshire (it’s where we got engaged!) so I knew that was the kind of feel we wanted for our wedding. As much as I LOVE Cape weddings, Boston city weddings and oceanside weddings, in the end they just didn’t feel like “us.”
As a wedding photographer, I am constantly on the hunt for new-to-me venues that I want to photograph at. Remember when I wrote that post about Venues I Really, Really Want to Photograph a Wedding At? There was a venue I found around that time that I completely fell in love with. I left it off the list for some reason but I knew immediately it was the perfect venue for us.
Our Criteria for the Wedding Venue Search:
- A venue where everything (lodging, ceremony, cocktail hour, reception) was all in one place.
- A venue I had never shot a wedding at before in NH or VT.
- A venue that had mountains in the backdrop and preferably a lake as well.
- A venue that was within our budget.
And that was pretty much it! We went to look at one venue: spent a complimentary night there, ate the food, talked to the staff, and walked around the property. Dan said he was sold and I didn’t overthink it, we booked it the next day!
Before I signed the contract with the venue, I made sure my “dream photographer” was free. For obvious reasons, photography is the most important vendor to me on our wedding day. When the day is long behind us, when our memories of the day start to slip away, I know amazing photos (and, you know, our marriage! hehe) are what we’ll have left. The photographer I chose is the photographer I’ve been working for for the last 4-5 years since I graduated photography school. I do album designs and other miscellaneous design work for her and I’m so excited she will be there to capture the day : )
I love flowers but I know nothing about them. So when it came down to selecting a florist, I just reached out to some Vermont photographers that I trust and got a recommendation. We hopped on the phone for a quick call and I was quickly sold by her extensive knowledge of our particular reception venue layout and her professionalism. Florist: check.
This is BY FAR my favorite story of wedding planning so far! Back in June, I photographed a wedding that had a band that stood out to me among all the rest. They had EVERYONE (and I mean everyone.) on the dance floor and the dance party even spilled out onto the patio out back. I had dinner with the band that evening (as I usually do) and they were so much fun to chat with. As soon as we had a date, I reached out to the lead guitarist and asked him if he was willing to come up to Vermont. I was moving forward with booking but holding back a bit because I wanted to talk to Dan first (he is way more knowledgeable about music than I am haha).
That Friday night, Dan comes home from softball and goes, “I was talking to my buddies.. I found our band! A guy I grew up with started a wedding band a couple years ago and I completely forgot; he taught me so much about playing the guitar and singing! **Name drops**”
In complete disbelief, I’m like, “You have GOT to be kidding me!? That’s the lead singer for the band I wanted to book!!”
Like. I can’t even. I had chills. What are the chances of ALL the wedding bands in New England? Of ALL the bands I have seen while photographing weddings, THEY stood out to me. Just crazy.
And that pretty much sums up how wedding planning has been going for us so far!