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When to Book a Wedding Photographer

Wedding & Elopement Tips

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Wondering when to book a wedding photographer?! This is going to break down the timeline from when to book your photographer to sending out your save-the-dates!!

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So first of all, CONGRATULATIONS on getting engaged!!! That’s so dang exciting. If you’re anything like me, wedding photos are your top priority!! They are the only tangible memories you’ll have of your wedding day for the rest of your life. 

1. Book your wedding venue 

This is the first step you’re going to need to take because you’ll need a set date before you inquire with any photographers! It’s also important because this will ensure you’ll have a location. While you absolutely do not need to book a photographer that lives in the area you’re getting married, it will impact the packages photographers can offer you based on travel and other factors! 

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2. Book your photographer about a year out!

If possible, it’s ideal to book your wedding photographer about 1 year out from your wedding date! First of all, it means you have a better chance of getting to book your dream photographer before they’re booked. Second, it’ll give you enough time to take engagement photos and send out your save the dates with plenty of time! 

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3. Send out your save-the-dates 

For local weddings (or weddings that are local to most of the guests) I recommend sending out the save-the-dates about 7-8 months before the wedding. For destinations, sending them out about 9-11 months in advance is best. Also quick tip, if those time frames happen to line up with Christmas, make sure you send them in early November or January otherwise it may get missed amongst all the holiday cards!

Based on that, talk to your wedding photographer about how long their turnaround time is for engagement photos and plan your shoot based on that! Here’s an example:

Wedding in January 2023

Send save the dates May 2022 

(buffer time for designing, printing, collecting addresses, and mailing the save the dates)

(buffer time for photographer to edit and deliver images)

Take engagement photos April 2022

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4. Takeaways

While this timeline could be your ideal process, just know that no matter when you book your photographer, they’ll help you navigate wherever you are in the timeline!!! Some of my favorite couples that have ever booked with me, booked with just a few months before their wedding date because of a reschedule or a variety of other reasons!!! So don’t stress at all if this recommended timeline doesn’t fit with you!!!

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I hope this helps you determine when to book a wedding photographer and why!!! Happen to be looking for a photographer, reach out!!!

Not sure if you’ll need a second shooter?? Click here for my advice on that or here for tips on how to get the best getting ready photos!

Photos by Sacramento Wedding Photographer, Rachel Christopherson Photography

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