CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE ENGAGED!
We realize that wedding planning can be overwhelming and in the beginning, you have no idea how to start and therefore, as experienced wedding photographers and videographers, we created for you this wedding guide.
We are Pavel and Vera, best friends, soul mates, husband and wife, and passionate wedding photographers and videographers travelling across all of Australia and New Zealand.
HOW EXCITING THIS MOMENT IS!
You should take some time before you start planning and enjoy your engagement and also share this news with your family. Be prepared for that you will have to tell your engagement story a million times in the next following days. Also, everyone will be asking when and where you are getting married.
JUST RELAX AND DON’T STRESS ABOUT IT.
Anyone, who has already got married, is now an expert so don’t take their advice so seriously.
2. ENGAGEMENT PARTY
This is a great way to celebrate your engagement with your families and friends. Also, it is an excellent opportunity for your extended family to get to know each other before the wedding, so they don’t feel like strangers on your day.
If this idea overwhelms you, you don’t have to do a party of the year. It can be just a family dinner, gathering in a park or your home. If you have more budget, you can hire a catered space or book a self-catered venue where you can bring your food and drinks.
As this is an excellent practice before your wedding planning, don’t plan everything on your own. You can allocate some tasks to your bridesmaids.
Lastly, have fun!
3. PICK A STYLE
Before you start planning, it’s essential to figure out what you both like and how you want your day to look.
We recommend booking a dinner at your favourite place and having a glass of wine (maybe two, haha) and now imagine how you see each other on the day. Are you walking barefoot on the beach? Or are you having your reception outside with candlelights following a first dance under the stars?
Or are you walking up together on green rolling hills and feeding alpacas?
Talk openly about what you like and dislike.
Then, go to Pinterest for inspiration but don’t feel pressured to follow any trends.
It’s your wedding, so make it your own!
4. CHOOSE A DATE
Most couples get married on the date they were engaged or on their anniversary. This looks pretty romantic. However, you are very limited in finding available vendors, such as a venue or photographer, you might love. It is better to have a rough date and be flexible to change.
Remember that the most popular venues are booked one and a half years to a year in advance.
Also, the most popular seasons for weddings are spring and autumn because it is neither too hot nor cold, so if you want to get married in these months, you shouldn’t hesitate to book your vendors too long.
Check with your families if the date you chose suits them if they are not planning any holiday.
5. FIND A VENUE
Ok, so you figured out the date, so now it’s time to look for a venue.
Before you start looking, ask yourself these questions:
Is your wedding big or small? (how many guests)
Indoor or outdoor?
Close to home or interstate/overseas?
What style? Romantic, classic, modern, boho, beach, rustic, vintage?
Use Google and Instagram for looking. Type place plus the keyword “wedding venue”.
Before you book a venue, you should also check your photographer’s availability if there is someone you love (see point 7 – Find a photographer).
Photographed at Yandina Station, Sunshine Coast
The national average wedding cost is $31,368, according to The Easy Weddings 2018 Survey.
It’s important to ask how much you and your fiance can realistically spend and save between now and the wedding.
You will spend almost 50% of your budget on your venue so how many guests you will invite matters!
Don’t feel obligated that you have to invite everyone.
It’s your wedding and you should spend your day with the closest one and people you feel comfortable around.
Anyway, you won’t have time to talk to every single person if you invite 100 guests.
Mid-week weddings are cheaper. Also, some venues and other vendors may have a special price during the off-peak season (summer, winter).
The good idea is to start a wedding savings account and transfer a regular monthly amount.
You can also ask families how much they are willing to contribute.
Photographed at Gabbinbar Homestead, Toowoomba
7. FIND A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
If you find a wedding photographer whose style you love, don’t wait and ask for availability and pricing. Don’t expect they will hold your date. They won’t secure your date until the retainer is paid and the agreement signed. We have had so many couples we had to turn down because they waited so long and someone else booked their date. It always breaks our hearts.
It would be best if you started looking for your wedding photographer around the same time as the venue.
The most popular photographers are booked one and a half years in advance.
Before you dive deep into looking, it’s definitively worth jumping onto Pinterest or Instagram and starting pinning photos you love. Once you create your board, ask yourself what they have in common. Are they light and airy or darker and moody, are they posed or candids?
I know budget is essential but remember this is the day that will not happen again. You invest in your wedding dress, flowers, styling, hair, make-up, cake, food, drinks and all other things that will make your day marvellous, but they won’t exist in a year.
You determined the style you like, so now you can jump on Google and Instagram again and start looking for a photographer and videographer.
DON’T CUT YOUR BUDGET ON PHOTOS
All you will have are memories and your photos and video to remind you of your perfect day. Many times, we have heard people regretting their choices of not investing in good quality photos and believe we made the same mistake with our wedding. You can always cut your budget on other things, but you shouldn’t do this with only one thing which will remain for the rest of your life.
When looking for a photographer, you should consider a wedding video. I’m not talking about an hour-long video. Still, you can get 5 minutes highlight video where you have the most critical moments, such as seeing your fiance’s expression as you walk down the aisle, your face when you say your vows, your parents crying during the ceremony, etc. Many photographers now offer combined (photo & video) packages which are more affordable than hiring a photographer & videographer separately.
8. FIND A CELEBRANT
A celebrant plays an essential part in your wedding. They will set the mood for the ceremony and significantly impact how you and your guests will remember it. They will also help you feel comfortable and at ease, so it is crucial to choose the right one.
How to choose the right one? It is essential to feel a personal connection between you and your celebrant. This is a person who marries you and not just anyone. Also, check their website and social media and see how confident and experienced they are in public speaking. They should also do all legal paperwork, help with your vows and create a customised ceremony.
Be prepared to invest in a professional one. We are happy to recommend some great celebrants!
6. INVITATION LETTERS
If you are tech-savvy and want to simplify your wedding planning, definitively, “Yes” for a wedding website.
This will be a go-to place for all guests for wedding information, so they don’t have to bombard you with every question.
What you should include:
Location and how to get there
What time it starts
If there is a hotel nearby
Transportation, e.g. shuttle bus
Information about “unplugged wedding” – no cameras during your ceremony
Your story – how you met
Photos from an engagement photo session
This can also supplement your wedding invitations, saving you money on design and printing. Most websites also have RVSP software, which is good if your venue changes ceremony time, so you don’t have to reprint your invitations.
10. BOOK OTHER WEDDING VENDORS
Once you lock in your venue and a photographer/videographer, you should also start thinking about your wedding dress. If you opt for a custom-made dress, go shopping 9 to 12 months before your wedding. Otherwise, plan your visit to a bridal store 6 to 8 months in advance. When choosing the style, it’s essential to know how comfortable you feel in the dress and if you can move freely.
It’s a good idea to have a second pair of shoes for your bride & groom photos, which is comfortable (flat & light colour). Most of the time, they are not visible under the dress anyway, and you will also appreciate it later in the evening on the dance floor.
Bridal magazines are a great source of inspiration. If there is anyone you like, jump on their website and Instagram. Make sure you have a trial. We have had a few brides complaining about their makeup being too dark, which is not a good thing you want to solve on your day. Also, be very careful with a tan. It isn’t easy to correct orange skin tone in post-processing, and it cannot be done on 700 photos.
Do you need only a bridal bouquet, or are you looking for someone to style an arbour and reception tables? Establish your flower style (Go to Pinterest).
Don’t choose a cake before you pick your wedding style. Before talking to your cake maker, you should have your venue, dress and floral arrangements sorted out. Three tiers cake will serve 50 to 100 people. Enjoy tasting!
It sets the vibe of your wedding. Ask yourself what type of music you like and what atmosphere you want to create. You can choose a band or DJ or build your playlist.
For your morning preparation. It shouldn’t be further than 15 minutes from your venue. Some venues offer wedding accommodation, but that’s not always ideal. You should choose your accommodation based on the style of your wedding. If you have a beach wedding, look for a beach-styled apartment. If you have a country wedding, look for a cabin. Generally, white walls and hardwood flooring work best for photos. Also, how much light, room size and the number of people are super important!
If you are not getting ready at the venue, you must consider transportation. You can book Uber or arrive in style in a vintage vehicle, boat, motorcycle, helicopter, bus or VW Kombi.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by all planning? Don’t be scared to ask for help from your bridesmaids and family or hire a wedding planner. If you can’t afford it, consider an “On day coordinator”. These guys will communicate with all your vendors, manage your timeline and sort out any potential issues on the day so you can relax and enjoy your day to the fullest.