Hi Christina and Kevin!
This is a high level planning guide so you can feel at ease knowing this is the path that I have planned for checking things off your wedding list. This is a living document, so as we cross things off, I’ll update (as much as I can) in real time. You’ll see me list vendor recommendations within the categories as well!
secure a venue.
We know these are your must-haves or nice-to-haves:
An outdoor ceremony option, or an equally beautiful indoor option.
Nice bridal AND groom’s suites
Open catering, BYOB is a plus
Other questions to ask:
What rentals does your venue come with - tables, chairs, linens, etc…
How many hours of rental will you have? Does this include set up and tear down time?
Does the venue have a preferred vendor list?
If so, do they charge you a fee to use vendors outside of this list? (This mainly pertains to catering.)
Will your wedding venue need to flip a space after the ceremony? Are there fees with this?
Does your wedding venue require insurance coverage from your or your vendors?
Will you want to do a rehearsal the day before at the venue? Do they allow this, and how far out can you schedule it?
Does the venue have an on-site coordinator? (Not necessary, but helpful to know.)
On the day of your wedding, do they allow wedding tours?
What restrictions do they have - can you have open flames (for candles or sparklers)? Flower petals?
Other fees that you need to think about: security, parking or valet, security deposits, cleaning fees, rehearsal fees, etc…
Let’s find a PHOTOGRAPHER! Things to think about:
Hours of coverage you’ll need. Do you want them there as you’re getting hair and makeup done? Do you want them to stay until the very end? (Are you planning on having a special sendoff that you want them to stay for?)
Ask for a full wedding gallery to view. Most photographers only show the cream of the crop on their websites and instagram. You’ll receive anywhere from 500-1000+ photos, and while there will be gems, not all are the money shot. Seeing a full gallery helps set expectations.
Will you want to do a first look?
I could go either way on this, but if timing is tight, a first look helps with flow as you’ll already have portraits done with each other earlier in the day.
How quickly will the photographer get the images back to you? Will they post sneak peeks and share that with you?
Do you want an engagement or bridal session? Some include one session as part of their package; some have it as an additional charge.
If you want to use your engagement photos as part of your save the date design, you’ll need to schedule this sooner.
Will you want them to have a second shooter? Some include this as part of their package, but some you have to pay for an additional.
All are film photographers.
Find a DJ!
The DJ company I recommend will have an online portal that allows me to input the day-of timeline, but also allows you to easily put in your song lists. Please keep in mind you do not need to dictate every song and can trust your DJ, but this song list is for the must play or do not play songs.
Ceremony songs: think about what kind of songs you want for guest seating, wedding party processional and recessional.
Think about genres or artists you’d like for cocktail hour, dinner and dancing music. If music isn’t a high priority, it’s okay to allow the DJ to make the call for this as well.
Think about your first dance and family dance songs. Will you want these songs to be shortened? (I recommend this.)
Will you want a private last dance song?
Think about your DO NOT PLAY list.
Are you open to guests requesting songs to your DJ?
What reception events will you have? Wedding party entrance, your entrance, first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, toasts, cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss, games?
Many DJ companies also offer lighting and photobooth options as well.
This lists out all available DJ’s along with their pic, bio and pricing. You can sort to the “Details” tab at top to see their bio and pricing. We may want to add on ceremony sound + lighting or photo booth, but we can add that on at a later date. They are all really great, let me know who you prefer based on bio + price and we can set up a meeting with them or we can just book them. Your call on how important it is to meet them in person!