12 Tips For Planning Your Wedding | Los Angeles Wedding Photography

Know your budget and Stick to it

It can seem daunting when you first start planning your wedding. There are many details that you have to consider. Knowing your budget really helps when making decisions, and sticking to that budget is even more important. 

You’re embarking on a new life with your best friend and you don’t want to start it in debt. 

Survey how much you can actually invest in your wedding and take in to account any family members that are contributing. When you have finalized the amount, make sure you allocate certain percentages to your bigger vendors like Venue, photography, videography, catering and florist. 

Heres a breakdown of what you can expect your wedding budget allocation to look like:

Estimated Budget $35,000

Reception: 45% - $15,750

Photography/Videography: 17% - $5,950

Attire, hair, and makeup: 9% - $3,150

Flowers: 6% - $2,100

Music: 6% - $2,100

Wedding Rings: 5% - $1,750

Ceremony (if off site): 2% - 700

Stationery: 2% - 700

Gifts: 2% - 700

Cake: 2% - 700

Decor: 2% - 700

Miscellaneous/just incase:2% - 700

 Create a vision board

Conveying your vision to a vendor is very important. Using resources like Pintrest, the vision boards on The Knot, or physical tare out sheets can really give your vendors a clear idea of your vision. 

If you’re working with an event planner these resources are crucial. 

Get your fiancé’s input

Getting wrapped up in the cake tasting, the beautiful flowers, the lace and glam will really make you forget why you did this all to begin with. 


Don’t forget to ask them how they feel about things. Sometimes fiancé’s can be forgotten and I know you don’t want to make yours feel as though they have fallen by the way side. 

Take your fiancé to a cake tasting, have them help you with venue options. All of these little things will help them feel included. 

Stay organized

Have you ever missed an appointment, forgotten where you had to be or had that nagging feeling that you’ve missed something? Every couple planning their wedding has experienced this. 

There are many simple, easy and FREE ways to stay organized. 

Some of my favorites include Trello, spreadsheets, using your calendar, and making check lists. 

Keeping organized will relieve stress and help you maintain your sanity while planning your wedding. 

Know your schedule

Having a wedding schedule will give allow you to know where you should be and when. This is important for your wedding party, DJ, event planner, and close family members. 

As your photographer this also helps me with understanding where the action is and capture it for you. 

Take your time

Don’t feel like planning your wedding is a race to the finish line. You have a job, go to the gym, have social engagements to attend and family to stay in contact with. Give your self time and plan at a pace that feels comfortable. 

Usually 12-18 months is plenty of time, but if this still feels like rushing to you extend your timeline. 

Remember, you want to make this process happy and fun. 

Use wedding sites to your advantage

The Knot, Zola, Wedding Wire and so many other wedding sites are amazing for couples. 

On these sites you are able to create your registry, communicate certain details about the big day, tell your love story, create vision boards and hold photos of your favorite moments in your relationship. 

I personally use The Knot to connect with brides and grooms and it has proven to be a great place for couples and industry professionals to connect. 

Consider having the ceremony and reception in the same place

Having the ceremony and the reception at the same venue can do wonders for your wedding day timeline. 

Having to be transported from place to place can cause delays and make a joyous day a bit stressful. On Long Island, many venues offer both reception and ceremony onsite. Lucky for you, almost every one of these venues are stunning and you can take your formal and couple photos there. WIN WIN WIN! 

I think you can see a theme here, try and make everything wedding related as stress free as possible! 

Talk to other married couples

Knowing what other couples wish they did on their wedding day can help you decide whats important and whats not. Maybe adding extra roses to the entry way wont make a huge impact when you think of your wedding in 20 years, but deciding to do a first look can really spark emotions that will have your tearing up for decades. 

Also remember that advice is always subjective. I would suggest listening to the stories of other couples wedding day, but also take in to consideration your personality and how their experience may help you. 

Use venders you like

My absolute FAVORITE part embarking on the wedding journey with a couple, besides the actual wedding, is getting to know my brides and grooms. 

You are a unique person with individual taste and personality. Your venders should mirror you and how you want to present yourself to your guests. 

With all of my inquiries I take about an hour to answer your questions and to ask questions. As your photographer I will be spending more time with you on your day than any other vender. We want to make sure that we mesh well and that I will make you as happy as you can be once you receive your wedding story through photograph. 

You should do the same with all of your venders and make sure you are very comfortable with them. 

Untraditional is okay

Traditions are wonderful, elegant and sometimes very fun. However, you do not have to conform and follow traditions to the letter. 

Some of the most fun weddings are non traditional. So, consider some not traditional aspects to integrate in to your wedding planning. This will add a unique spin to your wedding and maybe start a trend!  

Take time to yourselves

Go on a few dates while wedding planning. On these dates, do not discuss wedding details, just enjoy each other. 

Remember why you decided to get married in the first place and become intoxicated in one another. 

****BONUS TIP: Consider a first look

First looks are very special. First looks allow the couple to see each other in a more intimate setting. The emotions, love and tears that are shared during this time are some of the most touching and powerful images of the whole day. 

Couples that do not do first looks almost always wish they had. The photos that are produced from this very impassioned time of the wedding day are usually the photos that are made in to wall art in your home. You want to memorialize how you felt at that very moment.

Crystal Stewart