First things first - CONGRATULATIONS!! To say it is an exciting time is quite an understatement...because it is a MASSIVELY exciting time! You just got engaged, just retelling the story of how it happened is enough to send you into a romantic spiral! But so are the questions from everyone about the date, the dress, location, favours, bridal party and the list goes on.
We want to help - planning such an epic day, is sometimes overwhelming when you sit down and start to think of all the details! We've been photographers in the wedding industry for just over 10 years now, so we came up with a few ideas and places to start when it comes to your big day!
Now - this isn't a complete list of the many things you'll need to do in the planning process, but these are our Top 10 places to start, so read on!
Here are our suggested...
1. Choose Your Wedding Date
Fair warning - when you get engaged...this will be the first question everyone asks you (even if you've only been engaged for 5 minutes!!). However, choosing your wedding date does take a little time! This can be a tough one, as you may have to compromise on something to get the date you want, or may have to adjust the day you were hoping for to accommodate the photographer or venue you were wanting! From June - August, there are only a dozen or so Saturday dates to choose from. And for those dozen we get 2-3 dozen inquiries!!! Those dates open up a lot more if you consider booking your date from September through to May, even choosing a non-Saturday date or Friday or Sunday on the long weekend! There are tons of options to consider. Our biggest word of advice is BE FLEXIBLE and maybe even just choose a Month you like instead of a day and begin to narrow it down based on your favourite vendors availability. Choosing a date outside the summer season, or not a Saturday will open up some amazing bonuses for you with extra perks and or discounts and just getting all the best vendors for your date!
2. Book Your Venue
We always like to suggest to our couples that they choose somewhere meaningful to them. You have so many venues to choose from here on Vancouver Island! We've got everything from rustic farm, elegant nature to castles, views of the Georgia Strait or rows of vines - the sky is the limit! Venues do tend to go faster, as they are typically only able to celebrate with one amazing couple a day - so choose a few places that spark your fancy, meet with the event planner, take the tour, check the menu & pricing - then make your decision!
3. Find Your Dream Photographer
There are a few out there, and of course we'd love for you to consider us first! That being said, if you've had your eye on someone specific for a while, you love their style, the feeling you get when you look at their images and you have always wanted them to capture your day - we highly recommend starting there, and letting the rest follow! Get in touch with them, let them know when-ish you were thinking of planning your day for, and see what their availability is like! We usually receive 2-4 inquires for Summer Saturdays, and know that we can't be a part of everyones wedding, so just in case we're booked for your day, here is a great link to a blog on 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
4. Book Your Marriage Commissioner, Celebrant or Religious Representatives...
You would be utterly shocked at how quickly these professionals book up! With Marriage Commissioners - they do have other weddings to officiate in a day, and as such can only do so many! Keep this one near the top for your day! Depending on the style of the ceremony you're looking for, you'll want to research the right fit for your day!
Marriage Commissioners focus on a "Civil Ceremony", and those ceremonies typically run about 15-20 minutes in total.
Celebrants will customize and tailor the ceremony to your needs! Celebrant ceremonies can (and often) include personal touches, memories, sand ceremonies, hand-fasting and complete ceremonies customized for you from scratch! One of our favourite celebrants, James Latour, is one of TWO "Certified Master Life-Cycle Celebrants" in Canada!
Check out James' work here: https://www.lifesjourneyceremonies.com/
All the options are fantastic, so choose the best for you! Here is a great website to start your search for a WEDDING COMMISSIONER on Vancouver Island.
5. Hair & Make-Up
You want your hair & make-up to be amazing for you and your ladies - so check in with your favourite stylists once you've booked your day! We always love mobile experts that come to you - so check with yours to see if they can travel! One of our favourite tips (and likely one you'll hear from your stylist!) is to book a consult to see how your perfect wedding day style will look! A consult is the perfect place to try your look, and then discuss with your stylist what you love or don't love about it! Remember - if you aren't a fan, its is okay to be honest with your hair or make-up professional, if you love it, don't be shy to share that either! If you're curious to know how it might photograph, you can alway book your stylist team for your engagement session, or even a sexy boudoir session (you can see more about those HERE!)
6. The Dress Search
You probably spent the better part of a week after your engagement engrossed in wedding dresses...dreaming of what you might wear, seeing what Pinterest had to offer, or TLC's "Say YES to the dress"! There are some boutiques that require appointments, and some that do walk-ins, just call ahead to book your appointment so you can find THE DRESS! Typically, wedding gowns are made to order, and the process can take anywhere fro 6-8 months, so be sure to allow yourself enough time for its arrival, as well as any potential alterations it may need. Here is an amazing article to help you find the best dress for your silhouette!
7. Consider Booking an Engagement Session
If you haven't spent too much time in front of the camera, or you're wanting some gorgeous photos of you & your fiancé - an engagement session is the perfect way to get more comfortable in front of the lens or to celebrate! With our engagements, we love to craft a session with something that you love in mind! Be it sharing a pint at your favourite pub, wandering the beach, bungee jumping or cozying up in your favourite sweater - we want to photograph it all! Engagement sessions are such an amazing opportunity to get to know your photographer, how they work and a little of what to expect on your wedding day!
8. Cake, Cupcakes & Sweet Treats
If the idea of cutting the cake is an important tradition for you, or you want to share your favourite cupcake flavours with family & friends - then you'll want to contact a few places to book cake tastings, as well as see who is available to craft your amazing tower of cake, cupcakes or even favours for the wedding day!
9. Guest List, Save to Dates & Invitations
Now that you've got the date & venue (and likely a few other things!) - its time to curate your guest list, and put together your "Save the Dates" (if you're doing them!) or Invitations to send out to your guests! Once you've got the guests counted, you can put together your seating chart!
10. Enjoy Your Engagement
Alright - if you've checked off most or all of those items above, then its time to sit back, relax and just enjoy being engaged for a while! Take date nights, cuddle your cats...or dogs, enjoy your morning coffee and bask in your engagement bliss!