When Should You Hire a Wedding Photographer?

One of the things that I’ve noticed as a wedding photographer is the general confusion when it comes to wedding planning and when to start hiring your wedding vendors. I get it - you’ve likely never planned a wedding before and suddenly people are asking you all of these questions and your head is spinning (“I don’t KNOW when the date is, Aunt Marge, we got engaged 37 seconds ago!”).

bride and groom outside the washington pavillion in sioux falls, south dakota

It totally breaks my heart when brides get engaged and start planning their dream day, but wait on hiring a few dream vendors because they’re afraid they’ll appear too ahead of schedule or eager. Notoriously, by the time they go to hire those vendors who they’re so excited to work with, they’re already booked up and not able to commit. It’s such a bummer! 

bride and groom walking and laughing

In general, when it comes to wedding planning, there’s no such thing as too early! Speaking from personal experience, I had a year and a half long engagement, and while parts of it got long, it was also so nice because I was able to hire everyone I wanted to hire, and we had plenty of time to get everyone paid before the wedding.

As a wedding photographer, I love when brides are on top of it and book early! When you think about it, we’ve got a lot to do before your wedding and I’m all about getting started. 

beautiful red and orange bouquet with babies breath wrapped in burlap

It’s fair to say that my brides consider wedding photography an investment and a priority, so because of that, we work together really closely before the wedding making sure every detail that they want captured, is. I’ve gotten texts from brides about what color shoes work best with the groomsmen’s suits, or what color ties will best pop off a gray button down. We’ve talked about flower bouquet trends that photograph amazingly well, and how to make sure all your bridesmaids look bomb and are still comfortable, even if they have totally different body types. 

casual beachy wedding attire

Not to mention, we need time for engagement photos! This is a great time to get to know each other so you’re not thrust into awkward conversation on the best day of your life. Plus, you get more photos. What’s better than that?

My friends at WeddingWire recently shared an awesome wedding planning infographic that I wanted to share. If you’re feeling a little lost with knowing what comes next, start with this! Once you feel like you've got a good handle on vendors, I love their Wedding Checklist tool. I LOVE CROSSING THINGS OFF LISTS, do you feel me?!

Wedding Wire Vendor Booking Timeline

While there are exceptions to every rule, I love this timeline and think it's super accurate! Vendors like wedding planners, ceremony locations, and photographers are typically only able to take one wedding per day–and sometimes per weekend! By booking those guys early (12+ months out), you can be sure you are on their list before anyone else.

bride and groom walking and laughing in downtown sioux falls, south dakota

With vendors who are typically able to take more than one wedding per day (DJ companies, florists, cake bakers and stationary artists), you have a bit more time. All that said - if there is somebody you are dreaming about working with, don't be afraid to contact them now, regardless of what they do. The vendor will be super flattered, and you'll get your dream day. Win, win. 

close up of groom adjusting his watch

Basically, if you’re selecting the right wedding vendors for you and your fiancé, they’ll likely have endless amounts of knowledge when it comes to wedding planning. If you hire them early, you get the chance to tap into all that knowledge to make the planning process super seamless and…dare I say it…fun! And wedding planning should be fun.