Tips for Brides series, today’s blog topic, is on The Booking Process. Understandably, selecting the ideal vendors for your wedding day can be a nerve-wracking, fingernail-biting, ulcer-inducing process. But the good news is that once you’ve chosen your vendors, it’s all downhill from here! So, our first tip in the booking process is:
Get the stressful research part of the process out of the way so you can move forward with the fun stuff. Of course, do your due diligence, make some calls, ask the important questions and make sure you’re at peace with who you’ve selected but then book them, Dano! Ok, not really. But book your vendors as soon as you’ve made your selections. A lot of the best vendors (photographers, florists, bakeries, etc.) will get booked rather quickly. So don’t let the one’s you’ve decided on slip away.
Get Your Game-Plan On
Now is the time to lay out the schedule of shoots, or at least start asking about it. Make a list of what you need:
Engagement Session. Check! Save the Dates. Check! Bridal Portraits. Check! Wedding Day. Check! Check! Check!
Some couples use their engagement session images for their save the dates, which is a splendid idea. However, Save the Dates should go out as soon as you’ve picked a date and location for the wedding. With that in mind, if you have your heart set on a spring engagement session which is months away, you will need to schedule a save the dates shoot. We’ll go into more detail on save the date and engagement sessions in future blog posts. For now, just make sure you ask the questions to your now photographer, “When should we schedule these?” You may also want to ask if they will get in touch with you to remind you of these sessions or if that is your responsibility. As long as you know, you can plan for it.
Things to think about before scheduling your sessions
Do you want to shoot in a particular season? Do you want to wait to get a little more in shape, or perhaps after the summer when your skin has that wonderfully golden glow? Even if you do set a date and plan for that perfect outdoor engagement session, weather can sometimes be an unintended factor. So make sure you have some room to schedule a new date if needed. Ask the question of your photographer, “When is the last opportunity before the wedding, that we can schedule a shoot?”
What does the Photographer Need from you?
Sometimes it helps to work backward from the wedding date to determine what you need and when you’ll need it. Ask your photographer how much lead time they need to schedule a particular session. Typically, your photographer will want the advanced notice to schedule an engagement session, bridal portrait session or save the dates session.
Make sure you have asked the not-so-fun questions as well as all the fun questions before you sign on the dotted line. No one even likes to think these issues, let alone ask them out loud, but it can save you a lot of pain and hassle if the situation does arise.
What is their policy for changing the date of the wedding?
Do they have a cancellation policy?
When you have these answers up-front, there will be less concern later.
What is their payment schedule?
At Edmonson Weddings, we require a 50% retainer at booking, with the second half of the payment due 30 days before the wedding. We’ve found that many vendors operate on a similar payment schedule, some varying just slightly. You may find some vendors who have payments split up into three installments; some require the final payment due 2 weeks before the wedding. We’ve learned that for the majority of our clients, it helps to have the half the amount due at booking and have it all taken care of at least one month prior. No one wants to worry about money in the weeks leading up to the big day.
What to Expect On The Day
Will it be the photographer you meet with or another shooter? Will it be 2 photographers or perhaps more? You don’t want to be surprised on your wedding day with a photographer you weren’t expecting. Some studios are more like photographer factories. In this situation, you are usually just booking the studio, and they will assign a photographer for your wedding. So make sure you ask the question and if you’re not comfortable with the answer, ask more questions.
Wedding Albums Capture Your Legacy
You can choose to include albums in your packages or not – the choice is up to you. But our recommendation is that if you know, you want it, incorporate it in the package in the beginning. If an album is important to you, make sure you include it in your budgeting process. A lot of couples wait to order an album after the wedding is over and unfortunately, a lot of other bills come due towards the end of the wedding. If you plan for an album from the beginning, you can avoid the disappointment of not having one right away.
Many of our clients order their wedding albums up front, not only for themselves but their parents and grandparents and sometimes even for their bridal party. All they ask of us is, no surprises. At Edmonson Weddings, we provide our couples with a planning guide so that there are never any surprises. What you see is what you get!
We hope this week’s installment of Tips for Brides has provided you with some guidance and reassurance when it comes time for you to book your wedding vendors and photographers in particular. If you have any additional questions, feel free to post them here, and we will do our best to respond!