On behalf of all of us at Penny Photographics, we just wanted to say congratulations! You’re engaged!
So now you’re about to go on an awesome, amazing, overwhelming, engaging, absorbing journey – known the world over as Wedding Planning 🙂 In our experience as wedding photographers, the wedding planning process can be one of the most fun and honestly most challenging activities, so we wanted to create a resource for the newly engaged to make it just a little bit easier and a little more fun.
Please accept this wedding guide as our gift to you and yours on your happy engagement!
Wedding Planning: Where to Start in Five Steps
- Step One: Get Excited! The very beginning of wedding planning is the perfect time to get good and giddy! Dance it out, talk your best friend’s ear off, call all your relatives and friends. Then it’s time to get busy 🙂
- Step Two: Pick a Date or a Season. Once you got most of that out of your system (feel free to return to Step One as often as necessary!), we recommend getting into the swing of things by feeling out your style and what you want for your wedding.
- Consider your timeline. Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter? Destination? Backyard? If you want an outdoor wedding in Minnesota, December might not be the best choice (but it’s not impossible!) This often goes hand in hand with setting a date.
- Step Three: Choose a Venue. Once you’ve got a general idea and your date (or at least your season) narrowed down, choosing a venue is a great place to start.
- Venues book up quick, often a year in advance, so it’s important to start checking in with a few of your favorites early.
- We included a list below of some of our favorite venues for you to check out!
- Step Four: Get yourself a Photographer. Picking a photographer early in the process has its perks:
- You can work with them for your engagement shots – an adventure all their own!
- You can get to know them well before the big day, and they can get to know you – which can make epic day-of photography even easier 🙂
- They are professionals with lots of experience, which means they can be an awesome resource for you during the wedding planning process!
- We go into detail all about wedding photography below!
- Step Five: Channel your inner Leslie Knope! With a few wins under your belt, it’s time to get organized from style to vendors to special moments. Don’t worry – we’ll talk all about it below!
Wedding Planning Tools and Resources
- Wedding Planning with Pinterest! Pinterest is a great tool with plenty of planning perks to help you get your style and ideas sorted out – check out our blog all about wedding planning with Pinterest!
- The Wedding Checklist: There’s lots to do between now and the big day, and this checklist can help take the stress out of all the stuff you need tackle 🙂
- Creating a Wedding Timeline: Wedding timelines are basically the ultimate agenda for your big day. That might sound a little intimidating but they’re great tools, and flexible too. We love creating timelines with our clients to make sure everything goes smoothly day-of.
- The Knot and Wedding Wire: Wedding resource sites with search engines for local vendors and venues!
- Wedding Shows: Wedding shows give you the opportunity to meet vendors face to face and make some personal connections! Plus, you can get an in-person look at their work or samples. Wedding shows also help you start getting ideas for your own big day!
Minnesota Venues We Love
Wedding venues are as unique as the weddings and couples they host, each with their own style and perks. We’ve worked with lots, and have had the opportunity to interview a few!
- Green Acres Event Center: Rustic and Charming
- Surly Brewery: Stylish and Laid-Back
- Gale Mansion: Classic and Turn-of-the-Century
Minnesota Vendors We Love
Here’s to all the awesome professionals that make the magic happen on your big day! We included links to some local vendors you might like, and a great places to start:
- Cake: Nothing Bundt Cake
- Cake Alternative: Glam Doll Donuts
- Hair: Bang Bang Salon
- Makeup: Miranda Xiong
- Florals: Flintwood Florals
- Rentals: Festivities Event Rental (they do flowers too!). Check out our Q&A with Festivities 🙂
- Caterer: Green Mill
- Wedding Dress: Che Bella
- Groom’s Suit: Heimie’s Haberdashery
- Officiant: Ellen Maas (by far our favorite!)
- DJ: Josh with Harmony DJ Entertainment
- Photo Booth: The Traveling Photo Booth
- Stationary: Shutter Fly
- Videography: Peterson Brothers Productions
- Wedding Planning/Coordination: Bre! We sat down with Bre to discuss the perks of day-of coordination!
- Pet Attendant: What?! A vendor just for your pups and pets?! Darn right! Check out Doggy Social 🙂
Wedding Photography (Yay!)
Okay, maybe we’re a little biased but we sincerely believe that investing in your photography is a priority! Why? Simple! Pictures last, which means the moments they capture can live on for you and your families.
Check out some our photography resources!
- Things to Tell Your Photographer: A comprehensive look at why it’s okay to share!
- Creating a Family Photo List: A little planning goes a long way!
- The Dip is For Everyone: A how-to on one of our favorite photo moves 🙂
Engagement (Adventure!) Sessions
Engagement photos are often the first thing on your mind after the big moment, and it’s no wonder!
- You get to celebrate and get all jazzed up for a day of romance and adventure.
- They are super useful for wedding announcements, invitations, Christmas cards, Mother’s Day gifts, and plenty more.
- They’re also a great time to get to know your future wedding photographer since most wedding packages include them!
Here at Penny Photographics, we are big into engagement sessions. In fact, we have a whole philosophy around them, starting with the name – we call them Adventure Sessions, and we approach them a little bit differently:
- Capturing a Love Story. To us, these sessions are all about telling your love story as a couple. This is as opposed to your wedding photography which is a documentation of the beauty and togetherness of a wonderful and singular day.
- Unique.We believe all couples are unique and have their own unique quirks and personalities, so not all engagement photos are just the same old posey-posey pictures.
- Authentic. It’s important to us to get to know you as a couple, and to reflect your personalities, love story, and styles in the images we create for you so that your captures are as authentic as you are.
- Adventure! We’re all about making a day of your sessions and going out exploring to really get the right photos for you. Seriously, we’re down for anything – waterfalls, from hiking to Uptown, city lights, day-trips, breweries, snow! You name it, we’ll meet you there – as long as there’s coffee first 🙂
Including Pets in Your Wedding Journey
We. Love. Dogs. And if you’re anything like us, your pets are family. That is why we believe in supporting you to include them in as much as you want or can (no pressure, it’s not like pet-friendly photographers don’t just secretly want to play with your puppy or kitty or iguana all day…)!
- In Adventure Sessions: Adventure sessions are primetime gold for pet-friendly photos, and their close-ups can be tailored to fit yours and your pet’s needs.
- Pet-inclusive shoots can be done just about anywhere allowed:
- Check out our tips on bringing a pup (or more!) along for your engagement photos!
- At Weddings:Beloved pets can be just as welcome on the big day, and we’ve shot tons of weddings with dogs! Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Pet-Friendly Venues: Double-check that your venue is dog/pet-friendly – some allow pups only outside and some let your pets join the party!
- Let your photographer know your pet plans! That way they can be sure to capture your pup in all their splendor 🙂
- Pet First Looks: We love first looks anyway, but pup-first looks? So adorable!
- Bonus Cutie-Pies in Bow-Ties: Wrigley and Sully
- Pet Care Vendors: Services like the amazing Lara with Doggy Social offer day-of pet attention, care, wrangling – even transportation – for weddings and photo shoots so that your pet can safely be a part of the festivities stress-free!
Hear from Couples Who’ve Been There!
Sometimes, in the thick of the excitement or stress, all you need is a little good cheer and a reminder that those before you survived the craziness of wedding planning! So here is some feedback from our most recent weddings:
One Last Thing…
We’re so excited for you and your wedding planning journey, and we hope this resource was helpful. We’d like to take just a moment to share a small piece of advice, one that lies close to our hearts:
Your wedding day, more than anything else, is about the love and connection between you and your partner. Everything else is just icing on the cake. So when you get stressed or overwhelmed or have a mini breakdown crisis over what shade of linens to choose, just take your partner’s hand and remind yourselves what this journey is all about 🙂
And remember, you’re not alone! You have family, friends, internet support groups – and us! Always feel free to reach out 🙂
Best wishes to you and yours – and remember, you got this!