Congratulations! You're engaged, you have officially entered into one of the most exciting times of life. And maaaybe the most stressful depending on what your personality type is. If you're not sure where to begin, here are the three things you should be doing right now:
Determine wedding size
Choose a photographer
Find a Venue
STEP 1:First and foremost, the main question you're going to need answered is if you're going to have a large wedding or a small wedding. It's fine if you don't know exactly how many people you're thinking of inviting, but deciding whether you're going to be inviting everyone and their plus ones or having it just be you, your fiance, officiant, and photographer changes all of your other wedding plans quite drastically. There are a few pros and cons to each of these choices. Weddings with a lot of guests means you get to share a day with some of your favorite people and if you have a large, tight knit family, it's amazing to be able to be surrounded by them as you say your vows. On the flip side, large weddings are heckin EXPENSIVE. So if you feel a lot of pressure to invite everyone in your close knit family because you don't want to offend anyone, choosing to have a very small elopement with no one or just your immediate family and friends is a great way to go. There still might be a few hurt feelings, but at the end of the day, if you're not comfortable or are not in a position to be spending thousands of dollars on a wedding, elopements may just be the best and most fun option!
STEP 2: If you've decided on having an elopement or micro wedding, then finding a photographer is probably the best decision, here's why. Finding a photographer with your date open can be pretty difficult, so capitalizing on as much time as possible is great. Also, elopement photographers are known for traveling, so it matters less on where they are located and more on the cost of their travel, their availability, and if they have a style that you really like. Finally, the hardest part of eloping is sometimes choosing a destination to get married, but thankfully your photographer should be able to walk you through some of their destinations to get married based on your budget, or they'll possibly have a discount to shoot your wedding at a place they've been dreaming of getting to document a wedding. For example, I will shoot a wedding at no cost other than travel fees if my couples are willing to get married in Greece, Italy, or British Isles, and I have significant discounts for European weddings simply because I want content there!
If you're having a large wedding, then choosing a photographer doesn't have to be your second step, but I would recommend keeping it in your list of top three, especially if you have a certain style of photography in mind.
STEP 3: Finally, after you have your wedding size and photographer decided, I'd recommend choosing your location. Especially if you are having a larger wedding, great venues book up quick, so finding a venue to hold your estimated amount of guests can be a big one. If you're eloping, then choosing where to say your vows is also a big decision because it affects how you'll be spending the rest of your day. Maybe you just want a simple courthouse wedding, but then afterward you can go to your favorite bar or coffee shop that is special to you and your fiance. Or maybe you want to take ATVs to the top of a mountain and say your vows up there! Whatever you decide to do, it is always going to be dependent on what your surroundings are. Personally I think celebratory surfing off the coast of Hawaii would be pretty awesome, but no one's taken me up on that one, yet.