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How to Start Planning a Wedding: My Top 5 Tips


bride and groom pink wedding kiss at the bellacosa lakeside venue in lake wales florida with romina raggio photography

So, you're engaged! To the love of your life, no less!! You're beyond excited and so ready to begin the rest of your lives together, but first, you've got a bit of an important event to plan. Planning a wedding is an exciting adventure and an incredible opportunity to create a day that's as meaningful as it is beautiful.


But there are so many details, and so much to do! You want to make sure you don't miss anything in the excitement of creating one of the most magical days of your life. With over 5 years of experience in the wedding industry as a Tampa wedding photographer myself, here are my top tips for planning a wedding:


Make a guest list


Of all the aspects of planning a wedding, this is the one that will have the biggest impact on every other part of your special day – so it's worth starting here. As you make the guest list, ask yourselves: What's most important to us? Is it having an intimate gathering with just our closest family and friends? Or is it having a huge party?

bride dances with flash photography at covington farm florida with best tampa wedding photographer

The number of guests you invite will determine the venue and location, which will determine your budget, and so on. You can fine-tune and finalize your numbers later, but drawing up a rough number of how many people you'll be inviting will provide some helpful direction for all of your decisions to come. It's also important to remember, when thinking of who you want to invite to your wedding, that this day is all about you! Don't feel obligated to invite people just because you think you should, think about who you actually want to celebrate your big day with and invite the people who mean the most to you.


Set the date


bride and groom first kiss at the mulberry in new smyrna beach florida with florida wedding photographer

This step is crucial because it will directly affect some of your other big decisions – like how much time you'll have to secure vendors and where you can hold the ceremony and reception, depending on venue availability for your chosen date. Its important to consider, is there a specific date that holds significance to you and your partner? Does the season you get married in matter to you? Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but if you're getting married during a popular season or on a holiday weekend, or if you've already got a venue in mind that's fairly popular, I recommend booking the venue at least six months to a year in advance. And if you want the greatest freedom to find your perfect venue and vendors, the further in advance you book, the better! That way you'll have plenty of time to secure all the best vendors without having to rush your wedding planning process.


Start scouting for venues


bellacosa lakeside wedding venue in lake wales florida

Once you've got your date set, make sure to schedule tours of potential venues as soon as possible so you can find the perfect spot for the ceremony and reception! This step can even be interchangeable with the previous step. You can either find a venue based on which locations have your preferred date available, or choose your favorite venue first and then set your date based on what that venue has available! If you have an idea of what kind of wedding you want, this should be easy! If not, start looking at wedding blogs and magazines for inspiration. Narrowing it down early will save both time and money in the long run.


The venue is such a crucial part of your wedding day, and its so important that you find the perfect place that feels right to you. Make a list of the things that matter the most to you, and go into each venue tour with an open mind!


Send out save-the-dates


engaged couple engagement session at hillsborough river state park with romina raggio tampa wedding photographer

As soon as you have a confirmed date from your venue, send out save-the-dates as early as possible. People will appreciate the notice so they can plan ahead for time off work and other commitments. The earlier you send them, the more likely all of your friends and family will be able to join you!


You'll need to schedule your engagement photos pretty early on, as well, that way you have photos to use on your save-the-dates. Bonus tip: use this as an opportunity to get to know your wedding photographer & make sure you guys work well together before the big day! With that being said, that brings us to our fifth and final tip:


Hire a photographer


One of the most important things to remember when planning a wedding is that, with the right professional, you'll be able to cherish it forever. You've spent months planning and pulling together every last detail, and you don't want to forget a single one of them! Picking the right photographer is so important to ensure that you'll have photos you love of your most special day, the big moments and the little moments and everything in between. Not every photographer is right for every couple, so do your research before you choose. Look at their portfolios and their style, and make sure you click well with them! You want to make sure that when the day comes, you'll have someone by your side who you can trust to not only capture your wedding day, but also be a light and reassuring presence throughout it all. Once you've chosen your favorite, make sure to secure your photographer in time as professionals are often booked even a year in advance!


romina raggio photography poses in field with camera about me team photo best tampa wedding photographer

Need a Wedding Photographer? Then I'm your gal! I would be beyond thrilled to be a part of your big day and help you in celebrating one of the best days of your lives! I love weddings more than anything, and I would be absolutely honored to have you trust me with your wedding day. Contact me and lets talk! I would love to answer any questions you might have or set up a time to chat and discuss your wedding photography needs!