You are engaged! OMG CONGRATULATIONS!!
Right now there is so much to celebrate! You are planning to marry the person you have loved for so long. It could be hours or days, but eventually, someone will ask the question, “so have you set a date yet?” There it is! You just couldn’t go a day or a week or a month without someone popping THAT question, right? And so the adventure begins to find the venue, the photographer, the cake, the flowers, the dress, the “everything!” BUT…. when should you hire a wedding photographer?
When couples get married, we frequently hear, “we didn’t know who to hire first! We had to make sure the venue was available, but how do we book the venue AND make sure the photographer is also open for our date??” A lot of times, a couple does not even know where to start. I say, start with the venue. If you have friends that have recently gotten hitched, you may even choose their venue. Friends are a wonderful resource for the “must have wedding vendors!” If you do start with the venue first, often times the venue will have a list of preferred vendors that they can give to perspective clients and this is helpful for a number of reasons. The venue has worked with these professionals on a frequent basis, and they understand how they work. The venue can give you a lot of “insider info” on certain vendors. They might also be able to contact the vendors (saving you time), by checking their availability! There are so many times where a venue will contact me asking if I am available on (insert date here) and I can either say “yes or no.” If I am available, I will get details about the couple, the date, and their expectations. I can then reach out to the couple, and we can go from there. OR the venue will give a list of preferred vendors to the couple, and the couple will contact me directly. Typically AFTER the venue is booked, the couples will book the photographers next.
Booking a photographer is an overwhelming process, I mean, have you scanned The Knot lately? There is an insane amount of information on there, and not only that there are hundreds of photographers. When you finally narrow it down to a handful, so begins the process of contacting them to compare availability, styles, and pricing. A word to the wise: make sure the photographers you are looking at are insured, have experience, have backup camera gear, and have backup photographers in case they are not able to make it to your wedding last minute.
Good photographers are booked quickly, most of the time over a year (or even two) in advance. The minute you find your venue, you should begin looking at photographers. Have we been hired before the venue? Yes- and sometimes that is nerve-wracking for us because we don’t know where we will be working! If we know the couple will be looking locally at venues, then PERFECT! However we have had some clients decide on venues hours away, or sometimes even out of the state. That doesn’t always work for us. Vendors like to know where they will be working. So pick the venue FIRST.
We also have a list of preferred vendors, so if you choose us (which I hope you do!!) then we can also make recommendations on cake, florists, makeup artists, etc!