We’re so excited to see you getting engaged, but there is a new trend that is starting to emerge, and we’d really like to talk about it. That trend is waiting until the last minute to book your wedding photographer. We’ve been photographing weddings for years, but this new trend took us by surprise. We wanted to talk about it here on the blog and share some insight on the best timelines for booking your wedding vendors.
Advice for Brides on Booking your Wedding Vendors
At Organic Moments Photography, we want to make sure that we’re delivering our clients beautiful, emotional photography. But we also want to make sure that we deliver helpful information. We’ve talked in previous posts about building a wedding day timeline, but before you can have a wedding day timeline, you need to find, select and book your wedding vendors. We feel terrible every time a potential client approaches us and we have to turn them down. When someone wants us to tell their wedding story and we have to say “no,” it’s really disappointing to us!
Avoid Disappointment When Booking Your Wedding Vendors
More and more, we’re seeing wedding couples wait until just a few months before the wedding to book their wedding photographer. But, at the same time, other wedding couples are still booking far in advance. When you wait until the last minute, there is nothing we can do when we aren’t available on your day. We’ve had heartbroken brides call their venue and switch their wedding date because they were so set on having us photograph her wedding. The simple way to avoid this disappointment is to book your wedding photographer 6-12 months in advance!
Guidelines to Booking your Wedding Vendors in Advance:
Here is a quick, at-a glance listing of commonly accepted guidelines for booking your wedding vendors in advance:
- Venue – Book 12 months in advance or more
- Wedding Planner – Book 12 months in advance
- Wedding Photographer – Book 6-12 months in advance
- Florist – 6-10 months, more depending on the extent of your floral needs
- Officiant – 6 months or more (depending on the season)
- Hair and Make-up – 6 months
Keeping these timelines in mind when planning your wedding will help you to make sure that your wedding planning goes smoothly and with no disappointment!
First Come, First Served
We get it. With Amazon Prime, we have all become accustomed to instant gratification. Order something today, get it tomorrow. In some cities, you can get it the same day! This is an amazing time to be alive. We love Amazon Prime, too. There’s plenty of wedding planning you can do leaning into the amazing availability of products that can be sent out using Prime delivery! But that can’t be said for your wedding vendors. Your wedding photographers, your wedding videographers, your hair and make-up artists and even your officiant can only be in one place at a time. When it comes to selecting your wedding photographer, we can’t guarantee that we’ll be available last minute. We only shoot a limited number of weddings, and it is still a first come first served industry.
Wedding Photographers Take Vacations, Too!
While we’re lucky enough to live in paradise for most of the year, we have families. We plan our calendar around school vacations. Last summer we got four (not 2, not 3, but 4!) inquiries for July… in May!
That was only two months before their wedding!
While I (Erica) was thrilled that they wanted to work with me, personally, I was unfortunately unavailable to all four of these wedding couples. I had already planned to hike the Rocky Mountains in Colorado with my family in July. If I had known of their interest earlier, say 6 to 12 months in advance, I easily could have arranged to make the trip in August. But once vacation plans coalesce, it’s difficult to cancel reservations and pay hundreds of dollars in rescheduling fees. I couldn’t let my kids down!
Wedding photographers work hard all year round. It is important we spend time with our families when we can. When you plan ahead, you know you have the best chance of booking the wedding photographers you love at the venue of your dreams on the day you want.
Tips for Last-Minute Weddings:
If you get engaged in March and want a June wedding, we understand. It’s hard to plan things quickly. In that situation, here are a few ideas:
- Talk to your prospective wedding photographer and your wedding venue at the same time.
- Call the wedding photographer you’re interested in and find out their availability before booking a venue.
- Be flexible and creative. Consider Friday night weddings and Sunday morning weddings. Saturdays are always the most popular wedding day, but we can always photograph on other days.
Destination Wedding Planning Tips
We photograph a lot of destination weddings. When it comes to planning a destination wedding, timing becomes even more important! Not only for your wedding photography, but for your wedding guests as well! Your guests need to ask for time off work and to get the appropriate passports and paperwork to be able to travel and celebrate with you. Booking long-distance travel requires a significant investment of money and time. Make sure that you give your guests ample time to be able to meet you at your destination wedding location to join you.
- Save the dates are important with a destination wedding! Not only can they help your guests prepare, but it will help you make sure you’re communicating an accurate guest count to your wedding venue. Many destination wedding venues have a guest minimum for an event. Send them out as soon as possible. While a destination wedding in Miami might not take as long to plan, a destination wedding in Santorini requires a significant amount of time to plan and save for. Think about your guests!
- Book your venue 12-16 months out. Popular venues might even be booked for key dates 18 months in advance.
- Hire a professional planner. She will be able to help you navigate timelines, requirements and logistics.
- Book your wedding vendors far enough in advance that they can research any permits and licensing they might need! In many areas, you can’t just show up on a beach and take pictures! We need time!
Just to be clear, we don’t want you to think that we only will take weddings 6-12 months in advance! If we’re free for a wedding in two weeks and you want to get married, we will do our best to be there. But we wanted to share these tips to help our brides get the wedding photography they deserve. We want to be there for your special day to capture all the emotions and to tell your story! Avoid disappointment by booking your wedding vendors in advance.
Thank you for considering us for your wedding photography needs. We would love to tell your story.
To see if we are available for your wedding day you can contact us HERE!