There are so many things to think about when you first get engaged. The two biggest decisions you will most likely make first will be when + where will you get married, but shortly after those decisions are made, there are a few more that need to be booked quickly – your wedding planner, band/DJ, and photographer. Why are these 3 vendors important to book early on in the wedding planning process? Well, these are the vendors who can only book one wedding per day. Other vendors, like hair + makeup, floral design, catering, stationery, and transportation, generally have a team of people who make it possible for them to take on more than just one client per day. When you’re hiring a vendor who plays such a hands-on role in your wedding day and someone who IS the service hired, you need to make sure you contact them early so that someone else doesn’t book them before you do!
Here in Charleston, wedding dates book up extremely quickly. Peak dates are often booked 12-18 months in advance! If you are planning on getting married on a Saturday during the months of April, May, June, September, October or November, you should contact potential photographers as soon as possible. These dates tend to go very quickly and as much as I wish that I could be in two places at once, I just can’t.
If photography is very important to you and you have your heart set on working with a particular photographer, you may even want to consider reaching out to them BEFORE you book a date + venue. If you can get a list of dates that they are available, you can actually plan around THEM, making the process of booking the wedding photographer of your dreams a little easier! I’ve been blessed to have a handful of brides schedule their wedding date around my schedule and it is just so humbling to know that they wanted to work with me so badly, that they changed their plans to make it happen. I’m truly lucky!
So although there is no hard + fast rule as to how far out you should book your wedding photographer, I will tell you this: I am generally booking peak dates 12-18 months in advance. I’d venture to say that the same is true for most Charleston wedding photographers. Since this is such a huge destination wedding town, we get an overwhelming number of wedding inquiries so there is no shortage of business. I do try my best to ensure that every couple I book is a good match for me, as my dates are limited and I want to be working with couples who are just as excited to be working with me as I am to be working with them! With that being said, dates book up quickly so I’d suggest that the earlier you can book your wedding photographer, the better – especially if you have your heart set on working with someone in particular. Don’t delay. Make it a priority to get the major vendors booked as soon as possible!