Be your own Wedding Planner- Yay or Nay?

You’ll quickly find out my answer to the title.

Whether your answer is YAY or NAY, here is one thing to take away/put on the front of your wedding binder/pin to your future wedding Pinterest board:

Take your time BEFORE you sign a contract to choose your vendors wisely.

After you have that long awaited (or barely anticipated) ring on your left hand, hit the ground running on RESEARCH.
Check out the options around you before signing on the dotted line.
Fall wedding Pennsylvania @PhotographerAmy Austin wedding photographer
Envisioning a specific look for your wedding day??
TRY TRY TRY to choose a date about nine months to a year out.


Yes- some vendors are booked that far in advance. Ask all the girls on your speed dial, in your reading group, sorority house, or even your hairdresser who they loved and who they didn’t love for their wedding.


And do me a solid…
@PhotographerAmy -Austin Wedding Photgorapher -1
Sit back for a minute and listen up as to WHY.


If your bestie from middle school messages you after she hears you got engaged with the words:


Open the message.
If she then sends you flawless photos of about a gazillion pounds of orchids??


Your freshly engaged heart might skip a beat because you knew she didn’t have a huge budget either.


Dig a little deeper, please.
You may realize later that she won a package from a bridal show drawing. She has no idea that an average wedding budget would never lend itself to that platinum orchid package that she was lucky enough to wrangle in for a little more than what it might cost for a toss away bouquet from this stunning florist. *(that’s the bouquet you toss to all your single ladies! And yes, that’s usually a separate cost, too.)


Bottom line?
You need to wrap your head around your own bottom line.
That’s your wedding budget limit.
You need to know what you are willing (and just as importantly NOT willing) to fork over for your wedding day to look the way you dream.


You have pinned away on Pinterest, but now you are starting from scratch to make it a reality.
Think of it this way: you are basically setting up your own movie set.


It’s up to you who shoots the movie, who directs it, and how the movie goers will remember (or try to forget) your opening weekend. Sound like too much pressure?


There is silver lining.
You get to be the stars of that movie either way- so don’t start sweating yet!
@PhotographerAmy - Elizabeth Birdsong Photography Austin Wedding Photgorapher Le San Michele Wedding Photos-1293
Not every little thing needs to be stressful!


Go for those trials and tastings!
Live it up.


Go to those bridal shows to see if you can be the lucky one who wins that honeymoon to Greece. Plenty of vendors offer free meetings, trials, giveaways and gift cards just for dropping an email!
Create an email address exclusively for the wedding extravaganzas so you can keep up with what you’ve collected separately from your work or social email.


Now where to start?! 


——Here’s a game plan to stay on course.—–


Set up a ONE DAY A WEEK for a month right off the bat with certain goals in mind for your day off.
Here are my top 4 suggestions for your first month engaged:


1. Venue Day 

    This can set the entire tone for your wedding!
Are you picturing a vintage style? Don’t go see the warehouse unless you have the budget to completely redecorate.
Find a quaint location that already looks appealing to your vintage taste— maybe a library that has a courtyard, maybe a ranch that is full of vintage props already! 
Love wine?
Research vineyards in your surrounding areas and take a day to go see the area that can accommodate weddings and look into what needs to be rented or brought in to make it a reality.


2. Catering & Cake Day!

This can be a day of eating for free!
But ladies and gentlemen:
Do not go ANYWHERE that you are not considering.


That was what your research was for. Narrow down to about three options for that day after you have already read your venue’s recommendations and taken in your own research.
The best way to narrow down cake and food? REVIEWS!
*(Yelp is great for food research, but not always great for every vendor during a wedding- a lot of photographers and videographers use places like WeddingWire to store reviews.)


3. Coordinator Meet up 

     Scratch everything.
Can this day be numbers 1-4????


Guys. I know I can be a huge help on the wedding day as far as timeline (let’s not think of that as bragging, remember- weddings are ALL I DO!!)
But this needs to be said:
Austin Wedding Photographer Destination wedding photography-10
I am NOT a wedding coordinator!!!!!!!
Nothing can take the place of the emails they can send on your behalf to other vendors they know.


Nothing can take the place of the stress that’s relieved when your DJ is running late and you actually had NO idea because your planner contacted the company and had someone come take over before you knew what was happening.
Nothing can take the place of that nod they give at the right time to send your wedding party down the aisle.


Not having a wedding party? They will get YOU when it’s time to walk down the aisle.
I have since shot TOO many weddings where things ran crazy and I had to “fix” the timeline over and over because of a lack of coordinator.


Do I mind? No.


But I need to be paid more to double if I’m acting as a coordinator.
Same with your family members. The fact that they got married once (or twice) decades (or even a year) ago does NOT make them a coordinator.
Harsh, but true!
They may want to help, but do all of your wedding vendors a favor and let them sit back enjoy the day. It all goes by quick enough!


4. Officiant Selection

     I never realized how important this was in my first few years of shooting and working weddings.
I had this assumption that the officiant was just showed up and could perform a romantic wedding on command.


My word, I can admit when I am wrong.


They do not just show up. They can make that huge difference between awkward silence or even worse- awkward silence being awkwardly filled up with extremely awkwardly spoken phrases like “Well, you sure are marrying up!”
@PhotographerAmy -Austin Wedding Photgorapher -1088
Let’s just say not every officiant can pull off humor.


I am all for the light side of weddings.
Vows are sacred, but there are moments that need to bring in the personal aspect of you as a couple.


That is the ENTIRE reason you are there! YOU are marrying the person next to you. 
It’s YOUR movie, remember? 
Meet up with someone so they can help narrate it and do it justice. My hubs and I did premarital and we are SO lucky we were able to spend so much time with a more experienced couple *(that’s you Brig and Norm- we love you guys!) who could show us the best of what’s coming.


Premarital counseling will be an ENTIRE blog in itself, so get ready for that one.


Well, my friendly followers, that’s all for today’s advice.

Did this one help your planning perspective? Was it something you wish you read before your own wedding?


The more I continue to shoot weddings, the more I have to say.


Shocking, I know.


But I want to keep giving away my wedding knowledge. I want to be sure you get to do your “Best day ever” right the first time. (Or second time!)


This is just a part of the continuing education courses for weddings that I’d like to provide. Start sharing these advice pages on your social media now whether you are engaged or not!


The experience of others should be used to benefit the rest of the wedding world. For any specific questions or recommendations please reach out at 

Until next time!

Love y’all.



4 thoughts on “Be your own Wedding Planner- Yay or Nay?

  1. I absolutely adore your wedding advice, and this one is perfect as always. I hope every one of your couples planning a wedding, whether it’s in your home in Austin or one of your fabulous destination weddings, really great advice with gorgeous photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So much great advice on wedding planning from Elizabeth Birdsong Photography. All those planning their wedding in Austin, make sure to check this out for awesome wedding tips!


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