Photographer's Guide to Wedding planning

Everyone knows that wedding planning, in general, can be both difficult and stressful when there are so many things to check off. Yet, the most challenging part of any wedding planning is the ability to stay within the budget! Having experienced this first-hand during the many months leading up to my wedding, I can provide some helpful suggestions and recommendations. In addition, this article includes practical advice that would help wedding photographers like myself with more opportunities to capture precious wedding moments.

Please note: The listed information below does not represent a complete Wedding planning guide.


  • Allow about a year to plan for a wedding because anything less may be too stressful. When my wife and I prepared for our wedding, we did some planning-related things one day per week. We would then use an Excel spreadsheet to ensure all costs were accounted for to stay within the budget.

  • If you have less than one year to plan, I recommend hiring a wedding planner. Here are a few recommendations: Elle Weddings and Eventful by Mandy.

  • Reserving a Wedding venue: This should be the first item on the list, as many venues need to be booked a year in advance. Here are a few that I recommend as they provide both the option of an indoor ceremony area for a possible rainy wedding day and a reception area, which means you can save time searching for a restaurant. The significant advantage of having a wedding venue next to a reception area is that the couple can maximize the time for the Bridal photoshoot after the ceremony as they do not have to waste time driving from one location to another: In no particular order, here are my recommendations: Brix & Mortar, Swaneset Bay Resort and Country Club, Cecil Green Park House, The Law Courts Inn, UBC Sage, Westwood Plateau, Brock House and Bloedel Conservatory which is next to the Season in the Park restaurant.

  • Finding a hair and makeup artist. Here are a few that I have worked with recently: Katsuno Beauty, Elena T Artistry and AX Art Atelier

  • Finding a photographer: Myself and other wedding photographers are listed Vancity Weddings. You can find a videographer there as well. 

  • Finding a Wedding officiant: Whether a wedding ceremony involves a Marriage Commissioner or a pastor, please allow at least 20 to 30 minutes for the photographer(s) to capture all the crucial moments. To help stretch out the ceremony time, I often recommend many of my past clients to share personal written vows rather than opting for the shorter generic one provided by the commissioner.

  • Finding a flora decorator: Deborah Lee Designs 

  • Finding a Wedding cake or Cupcakes: From all the weddings I have shot, the cupcakes made by the Cupcake Sensation impress me the most.

  • Finding Wedding Favours: I recommend checking this company called Wedding Favours Canada.

  • Finding a Limo company: For my wedding, I hired Vanlimo Limousine Service as they have stretched SUV that provided spacious seating for our wedding party and, more importantly, spared my wife's wedding dress from being damaged due to tight spaces.

  • Create a Wedding schedule. Wedding ceremonies should never take place in the middle of the day due to the sun's harsh lighting. In general, most wedding ceremonies are between noon and sunset.