This time of year is rough. I hate telling people that I am already booked for their wedding date. However, this is the time of year when it seems like I receive multiple inquires for dates that I’ve had booked for months. I’d imagine it also probably sends a sense of panic back to the bride because if I’m already booked, others may be as well. So I thought I’d write a blog on How Far In Advance You Should Be Booking Your Wedding Photographer.
Do a quick Google search and the number may shock you.
Another quick Google search will tell you that the average couple is engaged anywhere from 12-18 months. This means, you’re supposed to have your crap together (aka – date set and venue booked) after 2 months of being engaged. I get it, you’ve been seeing your friends engagement and wedding photos for years and you probably already have your ideal photographer picked out when that ring slides on your finger. But the FIRST thing you MUST do before contacting photographers…. choose your venue!
As soon as you get engaged, friends and family and even people you hardly know will start pounding you with questions. Particularly this question – “When’s the wedding?!”
The only thing more scarce that wedding photographers availability?Wedding venue availability. Especially in West Virginia. Venues are few and far in between around here so the biggest mistake you could make is “choosing” your wedding date before reaching out to venues. First, you should come up with a list of venues you’d like to tour. Go and see them in person and get their availability that day (because it could change from the time you email them to the time you tour). Then choose which date works best for you from their availability. Book it and BAM. You now have your crap together!
So now that the 2 most important things are established, venue and date. You can start reaching out to your photography choices. Photographers want to see that you have an established venue and date when that email rolls in. We know how hard it can be to secure a preferred date and it sometimes leaves couples with no other choice than to change wedding date all together. And if photographers aren’t available for your new date, you’ve most likely just lost a retainer fee and now you’ll have to start your photography search all over again.
It seems like most of my couples reach out to book me for their wedding about 10-12 months prior. This is perfectly acceptable (regardless of what Google says). However, right now I’ve have a 2021 wedding on the books for 3 months and we still have 18 months to go. So it definitely varies! If you have a super popular wedding date like the ever so sought after 10/10/20 coming up this year, that is a date that I suggest booking up to 18 months in advance or as soon as you can. I am still getting inquires for this date and I’ve had to turn down so many weddings.
So moral of the story, establish your wedding venue and date first and then start reaching out to photographers as soon as possible. Dates go super quick and it’s just the nature of my business – I want to be able to share in as many wedding days as possible. Seeing your joy on your wedding day brings me so much joy that I seriously hate seeing an inquiry come in for a date that I am already booked.
I have just a couple more dates I could possibly book for 2020 so if you’re reading this thinking, OMG I need to book my photographer right now, get in touch HERE and I’d love to chat! Otherwise, 2021 will begin booking up before I know it!