Booking Early = BIG Bonuses! – Wedding Planning 101 – For the Newly Engaged

I took a few days off after the New Year, hey working right up to it I think I deserved it ;), but now it’s time to get back in action.  A TON of new Brides to Be were birthed over the Christmas and New Year holidays, and that means a TON of new Brides to Be now saying “Ok, what do I do now?”   Well, read through this post and then at the bottom check out the BraskaJennea Weddings Book Now incentive…trust me it’s a “TO DIE FOR” item you’ll want hanging in your new home together!

Planning.  One word that incites a flood of overwhelming joy, it’s what you’ve wanted all your life…dreamed of since you were a little girl, and now IT’S FINALLY HERE…AND it’s also a word full of questions…and stress.

There have been books, and blog, and magazines written on just this very subject.  I’m working on one myself 😉 , but still there’s SO much to know, to do, to research.  Where do you start?  I’m not going to be able to cover the whole process step by step in this post, but I’ll give you “the big 3” to help kick it off.

1)  You have to start with a date.  “Duh” right? But here’s a few tidbits on picking your date:

A: Weddings are EXPENSIVE. I can’t stress this enough. They don’t have to be bank breaking affairs, but they do cost a large chunk of change.  Pick a wedding date far enough out to give you time to make payments!  Making payments for a year instead of taking out loans, maxing out credit cards, and starting your new married life off in debt is a far better decision.

I mentioned once before about the price difference in paying off the $2,400 for your dream Wedding Photography Collection in 12 or 9 months, rather than 3 to 4. DON’T WAIT! Do it ASAP and save yourself added money worries.

B: Whether or not you can deal with the Weather!  Do you like hot weather, cold weather, or do you want “just right” weather? i.e. are you ok with sweating, pit stains, and redoing your make-up during and after pictures, or are you ok with finding a cute “Winter Wedding Coat” or capes for yourself and your girls, are you ok with the threat of snow?

If you’re not ok with heat then the “peak wedding” months are not for you.  June-August are HOT…hellciously HOT, and over the years of planning, floral design, and now wedding photography there’s one cry I hear all.the.time. from my Summer Brides “It’s SO HOT!” Which to that I say “DUH! Ummmm It’s Summer” Lol!  I’m not ridiculing anyone for choosing a summer wedding, I mean I shoot them, I love them just the same as I do cool month-ed weddings, but seriously….IT’S SUMMER…in the SOUTH!  Anticpate 100+ degree temps for a July-August wedding, it’s almost a guarantee.

This was an early September Wedding, and the Groomsmen were on.point on this unseasonably hot Sept. Day.

If you’re not ok with the cold or snow possibility then avoid December thru February at all costs. It’s going to be cold. And sure last year “we had 60 degrees and sunny in December”, consider that the extreme exception to the rule.  If you’re planning a wedding and cold is just not your thing, no matter how much you want a Christmas or New Years Wedding, avoid Winter.

A cold snap for Meg + Jason's New Year's Eve Wedding led to her friend's grandmother lending her her fur coat for her wedding day to keep warm! Beautiful!
A cold snap for Meg + Jason’s New Year’s Eve Wedding led to her friend’s grandmother lending her her fur coat for her wedding day to keep warm! Beautiful!

So, where’s the happy medium? If you’re not wanting Fall Colors so therefore a late October-November Fall Wedding is out, typically September, or even early October, can skate you by on bringing in those Summer colors, just remember though this is still the south so it may still be bitterly cold or unseasonably warm.  If you’re not wanting a “Winter White”, Holiday theme, or Fall Colors then the prime time for you will be late March-end of May.  Granted, again, we’re in the south so rain is always a threat, but those months typically yield the most “pleasant” climate for outdoor weddings, or at least the outdoor portrait session on Wedding Day.

That last point brings me to Planning Priority 2 & 3, which is a TIE between Venue AND Photographer. Here’s why:

This is what’s it’s all about loves…how will you remember the day?!

Many a great wedding photo has been ruined by poor lighting, small spaces, too low or too high ceilings, dark spaces, even time of day! A beautiful location in the afternoon may turn in to a photographer’s worst nightmare when the sun goes down, and vice versa! If you’ve had your heart set on those dreamy, sunlit, golden sun peeking through the Bride and Groom images you’ve been seeing repeatedly in your wedding mags then get with your photographer to work out the best time of day for ceremony and after, or before, ceremony portraits.  Also, pick a location that is going to have gorgeous outdoor scenery to supply those “magazine” backdrops you’re in love with.

Heartwood Hall is a Historic Plantation Home near Memphis, TN and it's truly all decked out for Weddings! A Photographer's Dream
Heartwood Hall is a Historic Plantation Home near Memphis, TN and it’s truly all decked out for Weddings! A Photographer’s Dream

Also, PLEASE consider the decor of the venue that’s already there.  Your grandmother’s Church she’s pushing for because “it’s free!” that was built in the early 1900′s probably isn’t going to lend you those images you’ve fallen in love with from Pinterest.  Keep an eye out for Dark or really yellow/orange wood, out dated/colored carpet, child’s wallpaper in the “Bridal Suite”…all things to reallllly look at and consider “Do I want that in my photos?” …And NO, before you ask we cannot change the wallpaper, carpet, or wood color in from your day. Well, unless you’re willing to pay dearly for it 😉

I LIVE for close-up ring this one!
I LIVE for close-up ring shots…like this one!
Side Note: I’m BEGGING you when you’re choosing a venue, such as a Church, that you ask for the rules on Photographers.  If you’re bent on having that super duper close up shot of your rings going on, or the first kiss, your Church/Officiant may just put the kill switch to that idea.  Most “formal” or older Churches will a) either not let us in the sanctuary at all, b) require that we shoot only from a balcony, or c) only permit us to shoot without flash and from behind the very.last.pew.  Know before you book ;).  Yes, it is a very special, and sacred, ceremony, but it is a wedding, YOUR Wedding, and if you want those images choose a venue that’s going to permit your photographer to get them…with as minimal intrusion in the ceremony as possible.
Along with choosing the venue that’s going to yield those images you’re held dearly in your dreams, make sure you and your chosen photographer hit up the location before you lock it in, if possible…preferably during the month and time of day you’re wanting to have your event, so you can sort out the good, bad and ugly of your ceremony and reception sites, and if they‘re going to be conducive to AMAZING photos. Plus it let’s you work out the best ceremony time, and time to start pictures prior to the ceremony, and portraits after.
Ahhhh sweet sweet Sunset! Timing around the Golden Hour yields stunning results!
Ahhhh sweet sweet Sunset! Timing around the Golden Hour yields stunning results!
Some photographers may tell you their equipment isn’t suited for low light/flash situations, if that’s the case and your heart is set on that particular place then ask another photographer for their opinion, or if you‘re set on that photographer, then work with them and their suggestions on a new super duper location for your event that they can work in and with to produce your dream images.
Note: you may pay more if they have to bring in lighting equipment, but have them see the locations and ask them if they’ve shot in that situation before and how they dealt with it/how the photos turned out (ask to see them if available)! You won’t know unless you ask, and it’ll be worth it to get that final result.

I wrote a post last Fall on Choosing a Wedding Photographer so please check that out as well as the 4 other Wedding Planning 101 links at the bottom of that post.

NOW, as promised a SUPER fantastic Booking Bonus to help encourage any potential BJP Wedding Brides and Grooms to get on board, and not wait until the last minute to try and book Wedding Photography.  2014 for BJP is already shaping up to be an insanely busy Wedding Year! Whooo!

For the month of January all NEW weddings booked within 10 days of first contact will receive a complimentary 16×24 Professional Canvas Gallery Wrap with their pick of Wedding Image overlayed with the First Dance lyrics.  Here’s one from a recent Bride’s request: BraskaJennea Photography - Ladd Wedding -  Nashville Wedding-632WANTED


You’re already salivating over having one of you and your Groom hanging in your home together, I know.  And this $300 piece of artwork for your wall can be yours for simply booking early!  Avoid the heartbreak of not getting your date, or not being able to shell out the money in just a couple of months time if your date is available, and book AS SOON AS YOU HAVE YOUR DATE!  I promise it’s totally doable with planning. 🙂

So, Happy Wedding Planning lovers!  It’s your day, do it right!

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