How To Kick Off Your Wedding Planning!

by | Wedding Planning Wisdom, Wisdom


Sara Of Sara Taylor Photography

When you wake up every morning, pop your finger out and gaze fondly at the sparkler on your left hand it is the most exciting feeling ever. A real engagement ring – yay! Which quickly turns into questions from your mum, the neighbour and your bestie… have you set a date? What about the dress? The Photographer? The Venue?

Luckily Australia has a fabulous array of wedding suppliers who are super fabulous at what they do. We can throw a wedding like the best of them. But where to start planning, when to start planning and in what order! It can all seem a little daunting when you start your wedding planning. Lucky for you we have caught up with a few of Victoria’s tops Wedding vendors who have given us the heads up on where to start planning for the big day! But get onto it gals as Summer and December in particular is the most popular month for engagement celebrations which means your wedding planning needs a kick start!

I talk photography – Sara from Sara Taylor Photography

Fabulous wedding photographers are in great demand, often booking out 2 years in advance! Great wedding photographers are not only artists but are story tellers as such –  the emotion, the laughs and a happy tear or two and all the smiles in between will be interwoven through a beautiful selection of photographic artwork.

Consider photographic style (traditional, candid, photojournalistic), photographic skill (are they accredited by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography?) and personality when considering your professional photographer. Your photographer will not only spend a lot of time with you on your wedding day but is one of the few that you need to chat with post wedding. By the time we have photographed an engagement session, the wedding and designed the album, couples end up being on a fantastically friendly basis. It is such a lovely part of the job.

Wedding photographers can offer varied packages within various price brackets. Most photographers are a little flexible on inclusions and most will be able to provide advice on times for the day, photographic locations as well as show you through a good example of their photography. We take each couple through an example of a whole wedding from start to end, so they know exactly the type of images to expect.

My best advice is to book as soon as you have locked in your date and make sure you are comfortable with your photographer as this will affect not only your photographs but also your experience and feel of  your wedding day.

Ben from Barwon Edge talks reception venues

“Most couples we speak to want something different, they want to have their own style and personal touches” says Ben. This means shopping around and finding what suits them best. All function venues & restaurants offer something different. Some will give you flexibility and a lot of input into your event and others will offer set packages and very little for you to have to think about.

If you are wanting a particular date, it is a good idea to book your reception at least 18 months before your wedding. “Most couples who visit Barwon Edge work with about an 18month time frame” Ben explains. If flexible with dates you can often get in 10 months to a year in advance. This is based on Saturdays over the busy season (August-April). Most venues will have more availability on Fridays, Sundays, mid week and through the off season (May-July). Deals can often be had over these times as well.

Before paying a deposit make sure you know exactly what you are up for. Sit down with the function manager or owner and make sure you know what is included in pricing and what isn’t. (Table cloths, decorations, flowers, music, cutlery, glassware, crockery & staffing). Some of these sounds obvious, but can vary from venue to venue.

The most important thing is to find a venue which you feel confident & comfortable in. Your wedding day is a special day and not something you should be nervous, stressed or worried about. A good venue should alleviate all this and make sure you have a fun and happy occasion.


Jodie from Flower Bowl talks flowers

When choosing your wedding florist it is so important to consider the style and look you are wanting and which florist will best reflect your ideas. Are you traditional, rustic or a romantic?

Some florists will offer a package or a bridal collection, just ask each florist what they offer. Jodie from Flower Bowl talks about creating a personalised feel to reflect your day,  “We think one of the most important things is that we “get you” and that you like our general style. We like to work with brides individually rather than offering packages, as we feel this is the best way to personalise your wedding flowers”.

With most florists you will need to make an appointment about 8-12 months before your wedding date and at this stage we can begin working on theme, style and colours as well as discussing which blooms are in season. Flowers can be also worked in with the colour of your bridesmaid dresses and to compliment your venue/environment.

Visit the florist armed with pics of things you like, both flowers and styling ideas is a great place to start!

JO BETZ talks civil celebrants

Things to consider when booking your celebrant!

As soon as you determine your date, book your celebrant. Jo Betz recounts, “I’ve encountered many a flustered bride and groom who have booked venues, photographers, hair, make-up, flowers and have the whole day planned and then realize they don’t actually have anyone to marry them, which is a pretty crucial step!” Often this can lead to couples being disappointed as the celebrants they would most connect with are already booked. Great celebrants can be booked up to a year, sometimes more in advance, so do it quickly. Google is a great place to start but recommendation from friends or other couples who have recently been married are invaluable too.

Always meet your celebrant and ensure they’re someone you feel comfortable with and that they reflect the kind of ceremony you want. Generally they will meet up with you in person or if location is a factor you can always ‘Skype’. It is important to talk with them personally just to get a feel of their personality. They’re a big part of your day so its super important that you connect and feel comfortable with them.


Erin from The Bridal Atelier talks wedding dresses

Choosing your wedding dress has to be one of the best parts about planning your wedding and whilst some girls find it a daunting experience it doesn’t have to be. Erin from The Bridal Atelier on Pakington Street says “the best advice we can give girls is to come in with just a few ideas, maybe straps and lace, and then leave the rest up to what works on your body. You may be surprised which styles suit you best.”

Around 6-12 months before the wedding is the ideal time to purchase your wedding dress. Erin suggests gathering a small group of friends and or family, and making a day of it by visiting two or three boutiques and enjoying a long lunch to debrief your favourite dresses. Many brides are surprised to learn it takes about 4 months for their wedding dress to be made plus you need to factor in time for alterations and choosing the perfect accessories to complete your look. The whole process can take around six months. Most designers are able to accommodate shorter turnaround times but there is usually an additional cost associated with this. The motto here girls, is shop early and don’t be afraid to commit once you fall in love with a dress.

Kate from Kate Trickett Travel Counsellors talks Honeymoons

Your Honeymoon is one of the most important holidays you will ever take… so it is important to get it right. When planning a honeymoon, you should consider the time of year you are getting married for what destinations will suit most. You should also think about what kind of experience you want from your honeymoon e.g. romantic bliss, safari adventure, cultural cities etc. When considering the timeline to book chat to your consultant about weather, peak periods and special rates at various locations. Booking time will range depending on your location and time of year you wish to travel. Travel over our holiday periods for example may need to be booked even 12 months in advance.

“A popular trend amongst modern couples who live together and already have all the bed linen and towels they need, is to take out a Honeymoon Gift Registry” says Belmont Travel Counsellor, Kate Trickett. The bridal couple receives a beautiful keepsake box complete with guest cards, thank you cards and a special book to record their wedding and honeymoon memories.

Kate advices “most of all make sure you sit down with your consultant and be advised on the best places to go that will match of your dreams” and she offers a fully flexible services where she comes to you.

Other bits to pop on your list…

  • Rings
  • Suits
  • Reception décor
  • Cars
  • Invitations
  • Music/entertainment
  • Accommodation

Most of all when planning your wedding have fun! Roll with the laughs as well as any hick-ups along the way…. and lastly  BRING ON THE WEDDING!!!!

Images by Sara Taylor Photography

Ms Gingham says: What a fabulous post! So concise and all these experts give us exactly what we need to know! Great work Sara!

About Sara Taylor Photography: Based in Geelong, Sara Taylor Photography create fun and fresh lifestyle photography.



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