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Solve These Wedding Dilemmas With Our Expert Advice

Although couples setting out to get married are embarking on a journey filled with excitement and anticipation, navigating all the intricate details can be overwhelming. To give you the answers to all those tricky questions troubling you on the road to happily married bliss, a wedding expert is here to answer the most commonly Googled questions about weddings. 

From budgeting and venues to planning timelines and weather considerations, Kris Labang, the owner of Hawaii Wedding Photography, gives you all the answers you need to make your wedding planning as easy as possible.

Demystifying Wedding Budgets

Question: "What is the average cost of a wedding?"

One of the most concerning questions for any couple starting to plan their wedding is a simple one: how much will this cost? Unfortunately, ‘What’s the average cost of a wedding?’ is a question with variable answers depending on where you’re having your wedding, how many people you want to invite, whether you want to have professional photography, an open bar, hire a DJ…. And on and on! 

However, data shows that in the United States, the average expenditure hovers around $33,000, with this figure encompassing the venue, catering, attire, and professional photography. Kris advises, ‘The first thing you should do is create a list prioritizing the elements that matter most to you. This ensures that you know exactly which things are absolute must-haves while showing you things that could be sacrificed if they don’t fit the budget.’  

Choosing The Perfect Venue

Question: "How do I choose the perfect wedding venue?"

Selecting the ideal wedding venue is crucial, as it will set the tone for your whole day. Factors such as location, capacity, amenities, and ambiance should all be taken into account when you visit potential wedding venues - as well as the all-important consideration, price. Align your choice with the overall theme and vision of your wedding, and make sure to read reviews and make a personal visit to the venue if possible before you book it. 

Planning Timelines: From "Yes" To "I Do"

Question: "What is the ideal wedding planning timeline?"

Making a planning timeline is crucial to ensure you have everything booked and organized in time for the big day. Typically spanning 12-18 months, this timeline includes key milestones like venue and vendor bookings, invitations, and attire selection. Kris says, ‘Making a month-by-month guide helps you stay organized, ensuring you confirm bookings and make payments on time and no detail is overlooked.’

Picture-Perfect Moments

Question: "How do I choose a wedding photographer?"

Choosing a wedding photographer involves more than a casual review of a few photos. After all, these will be pictures of one of the most important days of your life! Consider photography styles that resonate with you, check reviews and portfolios, and meet potential photographers to discuss your vision. 

Kris advises, ‘Make sure you understand precisely what you’re getting on your special day. Don’t just ask the photographer if they can do it; both good and bad photographers will say they can, and there’s no way to tell if they are lying. Instead, ask potential photographers if you can see all the shots they took at the last wedding they did. 

‘Why? Because it’s easy to get swept off your feet by the cherry-picked and edited pictures photographers put on their Instagram and website. But seeing a full wedding album, with all their best and worst shots, will show you exactly what you’re getting and where the photographer’s strengths lie.  

‘What you don’t want is a “lucky” photographer who only gets nice shots when the situation is perfect. Instead, you need a photographer who can get you nice pictures even in unappealing situations. Understanding the editing process and how long it will take will also help set your expectations for the finished product.’

Weather Woes: Best Months For A Sunny Celebration

Question: "When is the best time of year to have a wedding?"

The question of when to have a wedding often centers around weather considerations, as no one wants to get married in the rain! While summer is traditional, spring and fall also offer pleasant conditions, and each season brings its own unique charm. Looking at historical weather data for the area where the ceremony is taking place will give you an idea of what the weather might do on the dates you’re considering. The critical thing is to prepare a backup plan for adverse weather conditions and embrace the distinctive atmosphere each season offers for a memorable celebration.

Permits And Paperwork

Question: "What permits and paperwork do I need for my wedding?"

Understanding the necessary permits and paperwork for a wedding is crucial, as if these aren’t filed correctly, your wedding won’t be considered legally binding. Research your local marriage license and permit requirements and ensure your ceremony will comply with legal regulations. A systematic approach to documentation guarantees a smooth and legally sound wedding process - and remember, you can always contact the relevant authorities for accurate guidance.

DIY Or Wedding Planner?

Question: "Should I hire a wedding planner or do it myself?"

The main deciding factor in whether or not to hire a wedding coordinator is usually money. Most don’t see the advantage of hiring one, especially when you can take care of the easy things like hiring vendors and picking centerpieces yourself. Kris says, ‘But that’s the point - you don’t hire them for easy things. The real value of a wedding coordinator doesn’t come to the surface until something terrible happens. Even then, a good coordinator won’t inform you about it unless absolutely necessary. 

‘That being said, DIY is not a terrible option, just as long as you remember two things. Firstly, have someone people can go to with questions or problems - and ensure that person isn’t you or your partner. If you are this person, it can distract you from the day, even if nothing goes wrong. Instead, I recommend nominating a close friend or family member as your point of contact.  

‘The second thing is: go with the flow. Understand that things may not go as planned, and be prepared for it. In fact, this is a good mindset to have even if you have a good coordinator. If it rains on your wedding day, there’s nothing anyone can do to fix it, so don’t let unchangeable things distract you from celebrating with your loved ones.’  

Budgeting Beyond The Obvious

Question: "What are common hidden costs in wedding planning?"

Hidden costs often catch couples off guard during wedding planning. Unforeseen expenses like gratuities, overtime charges, and alterations can all add up to make the final bill a lot heftier than you might have been expecting! Creating a contingency fund to cover unexpected costs ensures your budget remains intact, minimizing financial surprises.

Guest Lists And Seating Arrangements

Question: "How do I create a wedding guest list and seating plan?"

Creating a wedding guest list can require sacrifice, especially if you don’t have the funds to invite everyone you’d like. Kris suggests, ‘Make a long list of everyone you’d invite in your dream scenario. Then, go through and identify the absolutely essential people - family and close friends first - and keep going until you hit your maximum number of guests. Look at the people who’ve been left out - are any of them people you haven’t met in years? Are any of them people you felt you should invite out of obligation, like co-workers or your parents’ friends? You can comfortably leave these people off your list if you’re short on space.’

Creating a good seating plan requires finesse to ensure everyone is sitting with someone they’ll be comfortable with. Consider the interests, personalities, and ages of everyone involved. Seat people who already know each other at the same table, or try to put people together if you think they’ll have something in common to talk about.

Kris comments, ‘Weddings come with many questions, and answering them helps couples plan their special day. Each question is a chance to discover new ideas and make the wedding planning process enjoyable.’

About Hawaii Wedding Photography

With over 20 years of experience shooting weddings in Hawaii, Kris knows how to get that perfect shot every time for his clients. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, Kris captures the couple’s most special moments on the beautiful Hawaiian Islands.

Kris Labang is the company owner of Hawaii Wedding Photography


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