So you’re newly engaged!
Or… maybe you’ve been putting off wedding planning, because you saw that the “Easy Wedding Planning Guide” book at Chapters was actually the size of a phone book. Relax! Your friendly neighborhood photographer, Anna, will help you get started on planning that Calgary wedding of yours in this sweet Top 5 Tips To Kick Start Your 2017 Calgary Wedding Day Plan! (Alright, that title is ridiculous. But, let’s move on.)
1. Big? Small? Decide on the size of your wedding first.
This step literally dictates everything else in your wedding planning. A lot of factors go into deciding how big of a wedding you want to host, including budget, venue picks, and whether or not you can stand your extended family. Curate your guest list before anything else and don’t feel you need to plump your side of the list with that coworker you barely talk to just to fill up seats. Calgary is home to many amazing venues that cater to all kinds of wedding sizes!
2. Indoor or outdoor wedding?
Season definitely plays a big part in this decision. Considering Calgary has maybe 5-6 months of somewhat decent weather outside, your options might be limited based on the time of year. Good thing that there are a lot of unique and beautiful indoor and outdoor options in Calgary for any date on the calendar. If you are considering an outdoor ceremony (and/or reception), it’s important to consider a “Plan B” in case weather goes awry. The best option I have seen is picking a venue that already has an on-site indoor location to use as a backup, such as the Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, Lougheed House, and Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant. In general, golf clubs are perfect for this as they have amazing greenery (duh!) and great indoor spaces with staff that are quick to rearrange rooms for a ceremony spot in case the stormy clouds are rolling in.
Here are some of my favorite outdoor wedding locations!
“But how do I deal with bad weather if I don’t have a backup indoor location to my outdoor wedding ceremony?”, you ask? Glad you did. I wrote an entire thing about planning a wedding day around rain. Feel free to check it out here.
3. Themes and color schemes
Highly important to settle on early in the planning game. Color schemes are generally decided based on the season, and themes are usually easier to accomplish to accent the venue choice. Consider pastel and soft colors for warmer months and darker, richer colors for cooler months but ultimately, chose whatever dang colors that really speak to you regardless. Picking a color theme will flow into the rest of the decision making process, from the flowers to the bridal party outfits to the decor.
Themes are usually more hardcore, with serious dedication put in by some couples to be true to a calendar holiday, fictional pop culture universe, or a subculture. If your significant other wants to ride down the aisle on a broomstick wearing a cape and Griffindor uniform, you might want to have a golden snitch somewhere on your outfit. That being said, themes are amazing when they come together – one of my favorite weddings ever was steampunk themed and I loved how the guests came together to dress up for the big day!
4. Wedding planning. Who is taking on this task?
We all know that DIY wedding planning is totally doable and won’t run your budget up as much as hiring a wedding coordinator would. But is it really a good choice for everyone? According to Wedding Paper Divas, 68% of couples decided to save their money by not hiring a wedding coordinator – but a staggering 40% of those couples said they had spent 10-15 hours PER WEEK on the planning process leading up to their big day. Some people love the craft-filled nights and researching all different kinds of amazing cakes and flowers on Pinterest, but if this isn’t your jam or you just can’t spare that kind of time, hiring a wedding planner might be one of the best decisions for your wedding day.
Calgary is home to some seriously amazing talent, and I’ve got a great list of wedding planners (and other vendors) on this page right here. Including a video interview with Evelyn Clark Weddings, an amazing local wedding planner as seen below!
5. Winter is the busiest wedding booking season of the year. Get on it!
Us Calgary wedding industry peeps refer to winter as “booking season”. Statistically, it is the time of the year where most engagements happen (around Christmas time, New Years, up to Valentine’s Day) and also where most of the wedding planning and vendor booking happens – it is cold and we don’t like that so we hibernate in our sweet, warm homes and we hole ourselves to our computers and do research on wedding cakes, flowers, photographers, you name it. If you’re in the beginning stages of planning your wedding, your ideal plan of attack during this winter would be to secure the “big” vendors as early as possible. This includes, but is not limited to: venue for ceremony and reception, marriage commissioner/officiant, photographer, planner, florist, caterer, music/DJ. Generally speaking, these vendors book out fast with some up to a year or more in advance. The most important “big” thing to check off your list is your ceremony and reception venue; particularly if you are looking at a specific spot, their availability can often dictate the date of the wedding itself. Most other vendors require you to have this date before booking their services, so it’s best to do this as soon as possible.
Once you’ve booked your photographer, it’s a good idea to start thinking about an Engagement Session (all of my wedding packages already include one!). While that may not sound like the most relaxing idea, getting a head start on having an experience having your photos professionally taken will not only set your expectations with your photographer about your ideal wedding day photos, but you’ll also get a sweet set of fun portraits of just the two of you (that are definitely on another tier than selfie-style shots). I really like to work with the couple to think outside the box for this session – we don’t have to go to park A, then park B, and that’s it. The photos mean so much more when you use a spot that’s special to you, or somewhere you wouldn’t even think of doing photos in. Like a restaurant or a theatre, or at home with your cat or dog!