Q: I’m considering a wedding date that falls more than a year from now. Can I commission my photographer right away?

A: Many wedding pros cannot commit to a wedding if a specific date has not been set yet, and most of the time a date cannot be set until a venue is confirmed (reservation fee paid and contract signed). So even if you KNOW the exact date you want to get married, I wouldn’t recommend hiring many professionals until you have your venue sorted out—often some venues will not even accept inquiries for events more than a year away. The only wedding pro you might consider commissioning right away is a planner or designer; they can help you select a venue that fits your budget and tastes, and see you through the rest of the planning process.

If you’re looking for tasks to take care of right away, you can begin planning other things that are sure to happen sooner than your wedding, such as your bridal shower, or bachelor/ette party. Start gathering inspirational ideas and researching wedding decoration and honeymoon possibilities (Pinterest is great for this). Draft a budget and perhaps MOST importantly….START SAVING UP. An engagement lasting more than two years gives you an enormous advantage in that you might be able to splurge here and there on more things because you’ve had more time to save for them. A wedding will eat through a budget faster than you imagined possible, more so if you’re especially interested in talented and experienced wedding vendors, so start setting money aside right now!

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