The First 3 Things To Do When Planning a Wedding

Yay! You're engaged!! Getting engaged is such an exciting moment, so before you dive into your wedding planning take it in and enjoy it! Then you can hit up Pinterest and make the mother of all wedding pin boards! However, before you start planning table settings, flower arrangements, and pretty details there are a few major things you should do first. Unless you've had a wedding binder with magazine cutouts since you were seven years old, you probably have no idea where to even start! Well, I'm here to help! Here are the first three things you should do when you start planning a wedding!

     FIRST... Find a venue!

So you've announced your engagement and everyone is asking, "When is the big day!?" There are a few different factors in picking a date for your wedding: season, sentimental value, and last but certainly not least, availability of your venue. The absolute first thing you should do when you begin wedding planning is to book your venue. You may have the perfect day picked out, but you have to make sure your dream venue is available that day! Plus, most wedding vendors won't be able to commit to you until you have a date and location set in stone. Once you get your location set you'll have a better vision of just what your wedding day will look like! Now that you know where your reception will be held; you can plan table settings. Does your venue have a bridal suite? Now you can decide on hair and makeup. All of your wedding planning will start to fall into place once you settle on where you'll say, "I do."

Here are a few of my favorite wedding venues: Gover Ranch-Anderson, CA;  Heart S Ranch-Cottonwood, CA;  Solage Resort-Calistoga, CA.

Kassie and Heath at the beautiful Serotonin Manor in Cottonwood, California.

    SECOND... Book a Photographer!

You are reading a blog written by a photographer, so of course I'm going to say photography is important... Right? Well, IT IS!!! Let me just tell you that this is going to be the best day of your life, but some parts of it are going to be a blur. So, you need a great photographer to document this wonderful day, so you can relive it forever and ever! I know you're pinching pennies and reading every article on how to save money on your wedding, but if there is anything you should invest in, its your photos. And, yes, I use the word "invest" because it IS an investment. You are investing in a skilled professional to photograph your memories so they can live on through generations and generations. Your wedding photos are more than just an Instagram. Not only do you have to look at the quality of a photographer's portfolio, but you also need to make sure you like their personality! Beside your future spouse, your photographer is going to be the person you spend the most time with on your wedding day. And when something weird happens, you're going to look to them for answers. My first wedding ever, no one knew how to put the boutonnieres on the groomsmen and everyone looked at me and I had no clue... But you better believe I am a master of boutonnière pinning now! And I am currently working on my bow-tie tying skills... Also, you're engaged! You've got to have beautiful engagement photos to document this time and send out save-the-dates to your guests, right? Plus, photographers know everyone! You need a florist? They've got multiple recommendations. Makeup and Hair? Let me tell you who does the best makeup in town! Booking your photographer opens the doors to so many other wonderful vendors. 

Even the photographer gets a photo with the bride and groom!

     THIRD... Get a Coordinator!

Okay, so this one might cause some controversy! YES, you need a coordinator!!! I don't care if you spend millions on the most elite event coordinator in the world or you have your Aunt Susan coordinating on the day. You need, want, have to have a coordinator. Imagine this... you're in the makeup chair having a mimosa getting ready for the biggest day of your life. Are you relaxed and having a great time with your bridesmaids? OR are you responding to a zillion texts and calls regarding napkins, bar set ups, and what decorations go where? I guarantee you'd rather be the first and the best way to do that is to have someone that knows exactly what to do without asking you! Of course, having a professional wedding coordinator is the best option, but you may have already written that off based on budget alone. But there are options!! Did you know you can hire a coordinator that only shows up on the day? Yes, its true! It is a lifesaver! Does your venue have an on-site coordinator? Having someone set up and take down can make the entire day run even better. Chances are you aren't an expert on weddings, so finding someone that can tell you the ins and outs of having a successful wedding can take your stress level way down. 

Need a coordinator? Here are some that I have had amazing experiences with: Carats and Confetti Events;  Veiled in Vintage;  Jen at So Eventful Sonoma/Napa

Meg & Anthony's wedding day coordinated by Jen at So Eventful at the Solage Resort.

Well, there you have it! The first three things you should do when you start your wedding planning! Now go and get started! A great way to start is by heading to NorCal Weddings and the Redding Bridal Show to find amazing vendors and inspirations! And remember to have fun and enjoy the process! 

Happy Wedding Planning!