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Congrats, you’re engaged! Now what? | Advice from an Iowa City wedding photographer

Couples Engagement wedding planning
January 23, 2017

If you are like 1/3 of engagements, you likely were proposed to during the holidays.  It is so exciting to be newly engaged!  All of the possibilities, the happy shrieks from friends as you show them your new ring, and of course enjoying your love with a new level of commitment.  But you are likely beginning to settle into engaged life after the excitement begins to fade and are now faced with actually planning a wedding.  But where do you even start!?

I can tell you, I’ve been exactly in the spot you are in.  I was young and engaged with NO idea what the next step was to prepare for a wedding.  Once you start, the ball kind of keeps rolling, but it can be overwhelming to even find the starting point, so I’ve put together some advice to help you weed through your thoughts and get a plan in action.

Pinterest

Ok, I definitely have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.  It can be a great source of inspiration, so by all means, pin away as you begin to collect ideas for what you think your wedding day should look like.  The downside of Pinterest is you will get quickly overwhelmed by all of the gorgeous weddings you see.  You will begin to think the napkin rings are just as important as your vows.  And you will start to think it isn’t possible to plan a wedding for less than the price of your starter home.  So go ahead and get some inspiration, but be ready to edit those ideas to an attainable goal for your taste and needs. 

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The Venue

The first thing on your list is to book your venue.  Venues can book 2 years in advance, so it may have some affect on choosing your wedding date as well.  Luckily, the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids corridor has some amazing venues for couples.  Anything from big classic ballrooms, to wineries, to barns, to intimate settings.  We have so much diversity in wedding venues, that the area tends to draw in many couples from out of town.  Popular dates book fast, so this is something that really should be done early. 

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The Photographer

Along with venues, photographers typically book 12-24 months out, so this should also be one of your first vendors you book. Find a photographer whose style you love, and arrange to meet them before you make your decision.  I offer complimentary consultations to all couples that are considering hiring me for their wedding day.  This gives us BOTH the chance to make sure we are a good fit.  I want to make sure our personalities mesh, since I will be with you basically the whole wedding day.  I also want to be able any questions you have, and I know you have a lot, so you feel well informed before making an investment.  I love hearing your love story, how he or she proposed and what you dream your wedding day to be like.  I truly love what I do, and consultations help me to provide better service to my clients so that they love their experience just as much as I love celebrating and documenting your love.

Still Overwhelmed?

Does the idea of planning your wedding just totally overwhelm you?  I suggest hiring a wedding coordinator.  There are several wonderful coordinators in the area that I can recommend.  They offer so much help during the planning stages as well as making sure your wedding day flows smoothly.  A wedding coordinator can take all of the stress off your shoulders so you can truly enjoy your engagement and wedding day, and focus on what is really important: your marriage!
Some things to watch out for…
As you begin searching out your wedding vendors, there are a couple things to watch out for to ensure you are hiring a true wedding professional. 

  1. Any professional is more than happy to meet with you before you book their services.  If they are not willing to do this, I would continue your search. 
  2. All vendors should have contracts.  I’ve seen so many horror stories because contracts were not involved.  These contracts protect both the vendor and you.
  3. It’s okay to not buy wedding magazines or start a My Dream Wedding Pinterest board.  Weddings today are becoming more of a reflection of each individual couple.  Plan the wedding that you are dreaming of, even if it isn’t what looks popular in the blogs or magazines!


​Interested in working with me for your wedding?  I’d love to meet up and discuss your wedding day plans!  Feel free to email me at barb@danielsonphotography.com or visit my contact page to get in touch.  My wedding collections range from $2200-3500.