What You Need To Know Before Planning Your Washington DC Wedding
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Let’s set the scene: The romantic proposal of your dreams has finally happened. You’ve gotten a little bling on your ring finger and you’re ready to dive into everything wedding planning has to offer. You’ve helped plan so-and-so’s wedding and attended plenty in the past, but you have absolutely no idea where to start when planning your own Washington DC wedding.
Before you start scrambling and making choices you aren’t quite sure about, let me give you the inside scoop on everything you need to know before planning your Washington DC wedding! Let’s goooo!
Pick A Top Tier Wedding Planner
As a longtime wedding photographer, you’d think I would suggest you pick your photographer before doing anything else. (I mean, if you know you know.) Instead, I am telling you to absolutely book your wedding planning team before proceeding with any other decision for your Washington DC wedding.
Why? Well, your wedding planner is going to be the one there with you throughout the entire process providing the insider knowledge you won’t find on Google. They will be the one giving you an in-depth pros + cons list for each venue, a realistic budget estimate, and helping to execute the vision you have had for your wedding since…forever.
The best part about a Washington DC wedding? You will have so many incredible candidates to choose from! I have worked with so many Washington DC wedding planning teams that have absolutely knocked it out of the park and I would be happy to recommend any of them to you.
Book Your Venue Early
With any city, you’re going to want to get in touch with potential wedding venues like…two weeks ago. (But really, ASAP!) Bride Wars may have been a fictional movie, but the part about tight scheduling with wedding venues was ACCURATE.
If you are looking for a Saturday wedding date it is recommended that you reach out no later than a year before your tentative wedding and most places suggest closer to 18 months in advance. Washington DC weddings also get pretty busy on Sunday dates as well, but no where close to the buisiness of a Saturday!
If you’re flexible on the date, Thursday and Friday evening Washington DC weddings are having themselves a little #trending moment. I get inquiries quite frequently Fridays and I kind of love the vibe! You’ll usually have a bit more availability with wedding vendors since it isn’t quite as popular and everyone is ready to party after a long week at work.
Find A FAB Photographer
(I mean, I waited until halfway through.)
But really, it’s so important to find an incredible photographer that you jive with to capture your wedding day. You’ll spend more time with your wedding photographer on your wedding day than anyone else–even your spouse!
Make sure to ask the hard questions when choosing a Washington DC wedding photographer and try not to go solely off of budget. Schedule a brunch together or pencil in a long FaceTime date to chat all the wedding day details. Your wedding photographer is capturing EVERYTHING about your wedding day for you to look at for the rest of your lives together. Shouldn’t you choose someone who you can trust to capture the day with skill and create art to hang on your walls long past your wedding day?
(In case you were wondering, the answer is abso-freaking-lutely.)
Hire The Wedding Vendor Dream Team
This is another reason to choose your Washington DC wedding planning team first. They’ll come in with the absolute best recommendations for vendors you should be working with on your wedding day. If you’re not fluent with the creative community, it can be really hard to tell who is genuinely incredible at their job vs. who is genuinely incredible at social media.
Pro Tip: Don’t hire vendors solely based on their social media following.
Ask your wedding planning team who they would hire for their big day if they had to do it all over again. They’re going to know which caterers provide the best experience, which florists are true artists, and what DJ is going to PUMP UP THE JAM at your reception. (I do too btw, if you ever need additional recs!)
Choosing Washington DC wedding vendors that all work together often or come highly recommended is going to be a huge factor in your wedding day experience.
Let Me Rest My Case
After 8+ years as a wedding photographer, I have photographed so many weddings and celebrated with so many sweet couples. There are always exceptions to the rule, but following these guidelines are a sure way to enjoy your wedding rather than feel overwhelmed by it. If you have a vendor you HAVE TO HAVE then make sure you book them ASAP. One of the worst feelings I get is sending the, “Unfortunately, I’m already booked on your wedding date…” email.
I truly hope this helps with starting the planning process for your Washington DC wedding! If you’re ready to take my advice and reach out asap about your wedding photographer–I’d love to talk more wedding day details with you! Get in touch.
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I'm a Virginia-based wedding & portrait photographer capturing photos that look like actual ART.
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