• Andrea O'Bert

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WEDDING PLANNING // TUCSON WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

A few weeks ago, I opened up my Instagram story to engaged couples to ask their biggest questions about the wedding planning process and you all submitted! These 25 questions are the most common questions I received about wedding planning and I hope that by answering them here, I can help you all make the process a little bit easier! If you have more questions, let me know and we can do a part two!



1. Where do I even start???

The scariest part!! You’ll want to start by determining your preliminary guest list and budget! This will give you some framework to work with as you begin to tour venues and find vendors! Once you have decided on a venue and a date, you'll want to start booking your other key vendors: planner, photographer, videographer, catering, etc.


2. What's one thing every couple should do on their wedding day?

I’m going to say two things, one as a photographer, one as a romantic. One, sunset portraits. Regardless of when your ceremony is, sunset portraits are always gorgeous and I guarantee they will be some of your favorite images from the day! Two, alone time with your spouse. Wedding days love so quickly and having some time alone together is so important! Even if it is just five minutes, you will treasure that time on the day of.



3. What are some good day-of essential items to have?

I might do a post on this alone but just off the top of my head, water and snacks for sure, make sure you don’t let yourself go without eating or drinking. You’ll also want scissors, a sewing kit, Bobby pins, a tide stain pen, deodorant, toothbrush, a razor, a pen. There are a ton of things but that’s a good place to start!



4. I want a destination wedding! What should I do first?

Start researching destinations! Instagram is a great place to start! You can look at #destinationwedding or more specific tags like #cancunwedding or #baliwedding to find venues and resorts! If you get the chance to go out and tour the area beforehand, it’s a great idea but don’t be discouraged if you can’t! Destination planners do a great job at achieving your vision, even when you’re thousands of miles away.



5. Do I NEED a wedding planner?

I would say it depends on your situation. But If you can, I highly recommend it, especially if your venue doesn’t have a coordinator. And it’s important to note if you do not have a planner, you’ll have to dedicate much more time to the planning process so if you are in a very busy season of your career or schooling, I would say you should definitely try to get a professional wedding planner to make your life much easier.



6. I have a lot of friends I'd love to bridesmaids, but I'm worried it's a lot. How many bridesmaids is TOO many?

This isn’t an easy question either! I’ve been at weddings where three is “too many” and weddings where eight was perfect. It depends on the people in it.The important thing to remember that asking someone to be a bridesmaid is a service to you and not to them. Every single person you choose as a bridesmaid should be chosen because it is going to make your day better t have them with you, nothing else! So don’t have any obligatory bridesmaids, only the people you know will help you, cheer you on and be there for you before, during and after the wedding. If you are blessed enough to have ten people like that in your life, then heck yeah they should all be bridesmaids.



7. How do I tell my mom she doesn't get to make all of the wedding day decisions?

A lot of people run into this problem, especially if their parents have contributed money to the wedding. The first thing you should do is whenever someone does offer money towards the wedding, ask them upfront if they want it to go to anything in particular or if they want to be involved in deciding how it is spent. If they say no, you shouldn’t feel bad about making those decisions yourself. And if they are overbearing, assigning them jobs that you do want them to do so they can still be involved without taking over your plans. And if it’s a hard subject, don’t bring up wedding planning around them and continue to make those choices with your partner. And nothing beats an open conversation about the topic to let them know how you’re feeling.



8. How do I save money on my wedding without it looking cheap?

Keep in mind that in general, cheap things will look cheap. And if you are having a lower budget wedding, the best bet is to choose the things you want to invest in and cut the unnecessary details, rather than doing cheap alternatives. If you don’t particularly care for decor, then just skip it rather than doing cheap decoration. If you aren’t one for flowers, don’t buy them. You can definitely have a classy event on a low budget by skipping the things that don’t matter and investing in the things that do. Cutting your guest list is a great way too. A cheap event for 150 people can cost the same as a high end event for 50.



9. When do I send out save the dates & invitations and do I need both?

Save the dates should be sent out at least four months in advance for local wedding at least eights months out for destination weddings. The more notice you can give people who are traveling, the better. Formal invitations are usually eight weeks out. If you choose to skip the save the date, it’s not a big deal for local weddings, but try to let people know in some capacity so that they can be prepared for the time & financial commitment if needed.



10. Am I supposed to pay for my bridesmaids dresses and hair & makeup?

As a rule of thumb, no. Bridesmaids generally know going into it that they will have to buy quite a bit of stuff. However, if you have very specific requests for these things that are pricey and might be out of your bridesmaids budgets, it is always a kind gesture to take care of it for them if you’re able to, particularly for hair and makeup. It really depends on your your bridesmaids financial situation as well as what you are asking of them.



11. What is best time of year to get married?

All the time! There is beauty in every time of the year, and a wedding at any time can be gorgeous. It really depends on what you’re wanting, where you are and how much you can spend. Weddings during peak season will cost more (which varies depending on your area). In all, don’t worry too much about the time of year you decide on!



12. How do I keep my ceremony from being too boring?

Remember that all of your guests are there for you and they won’t find it boring at all! If you want to add interesting elements, there are lots of fun traditions you can add! One of my favorites is the wine box, where you write each other letters and seal them in a wooden box with a bottle of wine, to open on your fifth or tenth anniversary. Personal vows are always heart wrenching and endearing as well. And there are tons of cultural traditions! If you or your partner is part of a culture that has specific wedding traditions and you want to honor that culture, they are always do much fun and so unique for everyone to watch, even if your guests aren’t a part of the culture.



13. Do we need to do a registry if we already live together and have everything we need? Is it bad to ask for cash?

You don’t need a registry at all but just know that if you don’t have one, people will give you lots of random stuff you may not need. Most people will never be offended if you have a cash fund; but if you’d like to be more discreet about it, you can do a honeymoon fund, new home fund or use a registry like Zola where people can give you gift cards, experiences and more cash items.



14. Is a videographer worth the money?

Yes 100%. I think a lot of people think about the photo and video interchangeably but in reality, you’ll use them very differently after the wedding. While you might be able to hang a wedding photo on the wall and look at it every day, a video is the only way to capture your vows, your speeches and a lot of the emotions of the day that can’t be seen in a single frame. Statistically, the number one regret from couples about there wedding is not having a videographer so I definitely recommend it if you’re able to.



15. How far in advance should I buy my dress?

Six to nine months is what’s recommended! More than that, you risk falling out of love with your dress or it going out of style. Less than that, you risk not having enough time to have it altered.



16. How long should my engagement be to plan a wedding?

I’ve seen awesome weddings planned in a couple months and awesome weddings planned in a couple years. Just know that the shorter the engagement, the more time you’ll have to dedicate to planning and the harder it will be to find venues and vendors. If you want it to be a bit less stressful and have time to enjoy your engagement, I would say at least 10 months.



17. How long is fun reception?

It depends on your crowd but 4 hours is a good place to start! This is 1 hour for dinner, 1 hour for special dances and activities and two for dancing and partying! If you really want to soak in the party and spend time with guests, you may want 5-6 hours for the reception instead.


18. Is there a perfect wedding size?

Nope! It depends on your crowd! The average wedding size right now is about 130! That’s a great size because there are enough people to party and dance but not so many you won’t be able to see everyone throughout the day.



19. Do I need to have assigned seats at the reception?

I don’t feel assigned seats are very necessary but I think assigned tables are, particularly for larger weddings. When you have a crowd of 100+ people and no assigned tables, every group will take their own table and there will be tons of mostly full tables and then groups that have to get separated to fill in the remaining seats. Or people will start pulling chairs around, which you don’t want either.


20. Who gets a plus one?

Ideally, you should offer a plus one to everyone in the wedding party for sure as well as everyone that you know is in a long term relationship or who would otherwise not have a lot of people to talk to. If it’s a destination wedding, try to give everyone a plus one if you can!


21. Are fake flowers a good way to save money or do they look tacky?

So this is a completely personal opinion and I don’t mean any negativity towards those who have had fake flowers at they’re wedding but I’m not a fan of them. And honestly, if you are using fake flowers that are nicer and more realistic, they often cost as much as real florals. If you’d like to save money on florals, I’d recommend skipping floral decor, opting for smaller and simpler bouquets and skipping boutonnières, but most of the time, I’d advise against fake flowers.


22. Is it bad to have a child-free wedding?

Not at all! Having children at your wedding can change the feeling of your event and if that’s not something you want, don’t have them. Most everyone will understand. And it’s okay to have exceptions for particular kids too. You can simply put “adults only” on your invites or save the date and it does the trick!


23. Do we have to have an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen in the wedding party?

No, this kind of goes back to the other bridesmaids question. While having an even number can make things easier and will make your photos from symmetrical, the priority should be that everyone in the wedding party is going to be there for you, and you shouldn’t add someone or take someone out just for the sake of an even number.


24. Should I make a wedding website?

Yes! They are usually free, easy to set up and can make your life much easier! I recommend ZOLA for wedding websites because it’s pretty much an all in one resource. A website is a great place for FAQs, addresses and info, photos, RSVP link, accommodation info, and your registry!


25. What traditions should be skipped on a wedding day? What traditions shouldn’t?

This one is totally up to you but the important thing to remember is that absolutely nothing about a wedding day is set in stone. You can change pretty much ANYTHING about a wedding to suit you. There are no traditions that HAVE to happen. That being said, lately I’ve seen a drop in bouquet and garter tosses, which I’m okay with. If there is one thing NOT to skip, I would say writing vows. Even if you don’t say them at the ceremony in front of everyone, having vows or letters to share in some capacity is really special.



Alrighty, that's all I've got for you today! I hope this helps make your wedding planning a little bit easier and if you have any other questions, just let me know! Enjoy!

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@andreaobertphoto

Arizona & Destination Wedding Photographer

Andrea O'Bert is a traveling & destination wedding photographer and Arizona wedding photographer, specializing in shooting weddings, elopements & couples locally in Tucson, Arizona, across the United States and internationally. Specializing in capturing love stories, authentic moments & creating heirloom images that will live on for generations. Documenting your love with warm, candid imagery that is one-of-a-kind. Travel & adventures are welcomed and encouraged!

(520) 981-8084 ||  andreaeobert@gmail.com || Tucson, Arizona