We all know that after the engagement glow is over and the wedding planning begins, everything can seem a little daunting. With over 25 years of experience working with brides and grooms as they make their way toward their wedding days and down the aisle, I have plenty of advice to give to make sure that you get through it all.

One Year or More Out

First things first: find a venue site.

Louise Michaud Photographer, Salem MA Wedding Photography, Boston Wedding Photography

Most vendors will not book a wedding couple unless they have a venue chosen and committed. The reason is that without a venue, there could still be a change in the date—we need to know that we’re 100% committing to a certain day to ensure we are available on your wedding day.


Ask friends and relatives to be in the wedding party.

Begin looking for a photographer. You’ll want to find someone who matches your personality, style, and price range. This will involve meeting with photographers, reviewing portfolios, and then the planning. (More on the photographer in a later post!)

Nine Months to a Year

Pick a theme. Know the style of the wedding you want. This will help you when choosing the other key details of your wedding, from the gown to flowers to yes, even the right photographer.

Hire an Officiant.

Start looking for the right wedding gown. With the time it can take to find the “right one” to the time needed for alterations, you don’t want to wait too long.

Begin a proper hair, nails, skin care, and exercise routine. Brides and grooms want to look their best on their wedding day, and that means getting yourself started early on. Do you want your hair grown out for your wedding? Make sure you give it enough time!

Louise Michaud Photographer, Salem MA Wedding Photography, Boston Wedding Photography

Find the right hair stylist and makeup artist—vendors book up early, especially if your wedding date falls during the busy wedding season (May to October).

Research and find florists, bands, DJs, caterer (if not included in venue), and more. Again, vendors will book up quickly! You do not want to wait too long. Remember to consider your ceremony and cocktail hour as well—do you want someone playing during that time? They’ll need to know.

Your venue may take care of tents, linens, tables, etc. for you, but make sure that’s the case. If not, or if you’re doing this yourself at home, you’ll want to reach out to rental companies early on.

Louise Michaud Photographer, Salem MA Wedding Photography, Boston Wedding Photography

Have an engagement party—remember to register for gifts!

Research and reserve accommodations for out of town guests. Most hotels will book room blocks for your wedding at a special rate—make sure to contact them early to make sure they have the availability.

Fun Tip: A lot of brides and grooms seek inspiration from Pinterest—set up your boards early on and start pinning ideas that could bring your perfect day together.