These general tips are based on my experience as a wedding photographer, but also as an ex-groom, because of course I was once planning a wedding myself and went through the whole process from beginning to end.
These are not the standard tips that you can find everywhere on the internet but mainly focus on the big picture. They will help you make the choices necessary to plan your wedding.
Determine your core values
By this, I don't mean whether you think it is important to get married in a castle or on a farm. Or that you think it is important that a photo shoot takes place on the beach or in the forest. Core values are much more emotional.
Just list a few for yourself. What do you find important in life and do the people you hire for your wedding share these values?
Just to name a few examples:
The values you write down are crucial for your final choice, be it a photographer, DJ or wedding location. Do you have multiple options and you really can not choose? The one that is best in line with your core values is the best choice!
Answer the following questions for yourself:
- What is the total budget? And how can the budget be divided?
- What day do you want to get married? Do you have a special date?
- Where do you want to get married? Should it be easily accessible to all guests? Do you want to sleep nearby or drive home after the wedding?
- At what location do you want to get married? A castle? The beach? The forest?
- What do you want to remember and how? Photography, video, both?
- What style do you like? Journalism, creative, emotional, a mix of styles? Do you like colourful photos?
- Do you want a DJ, or a band, or something else? And what kind of genre?
Determine what exactly you are looking for, that will make the search a lot easier.
Limit your choices
And yet, even now, thousands of fantastic wedding venues, hundreds of great DJs, and just as many fantastic photographers remain to choose from. It is impossible to speak to all of them and if you contact too many, you will make it unnecessarily difficult for yourself.
Look carefully at what you are looking for and include your values in the choice. Do you value openness? Then look for someone who already tells a lot about himself on his website. Do you find involvement important? Maybe ask for some tips and see how involved the person is and if the answers really show commitment. Based on this, it is then good to limit your choice to a maximum of 3 suppliers per category and ultimately make a choice from these 3 suppliers.
Weddings are planned well in advance. A year in advance is common, but I also have wedding couples who have been planning 2 years in advance.
As a result, not every supplier will be available on your date. That is why it is good that once you have written down your options, take action and start the process of making your final choice as soon as possible.
Start the conversation
Only by entering into a real conversation do you get to know someone. Ask questions and be critical. You only make this choice once so make sure you are well informed to make the right decision. And that applies to every supplier; from wedding location to the make-up artist, the photographer and the DJ. Everyone should be expected to understand their profession and provide you with clear information.
Make your decision
Roxy and I may be a bit of an extreme case, but because we knew exactly what we wanted in advance, it was very easy for us to make decisions. For example, only one visit was enough for the wedding location. We knew immediately that it was perfect for our big day and have not visited any other wedding location. It was the same case with our photographer, we knew what we were looking for and made our decision during our first meeting.
This does not mean that you have to do the same, but at some point, you will have to make the decision. If you have a lot of doubts between, for example, two photographers, look beyond their work or what they offer and look at the person and whether their values match your own.