As a photographer, I’ve worked many, many celebrations from weddings to bar and bat mitzvahs to graduations or non profit events. I’ve seen what makes a great event, and here they are:
1. Hire a professional photographer. Yes, this is given. You were expecting this, so let’s get it out of the way. A great photographer will capture the moments so you can share them now and pass them down later.
2. Start your planning as early as possible. You know you. Start with a guest list and a budget. From there you can prioritize where your money will go. Be realistic and build in a pad, because unexpected costs sometimes do pop up. Plan for the unexpected. Plan for traffic. Plan for weather. Plan for things that are probable and not everything possible.
3. Delegate tasks. You don’t have to do it all yourself if you don’t want to. Depending on the event, friends and family can help with contacting vendors, getting prices, and providing moral support. Or a sounding board. You can also consider a planner, either to help with everything or just be there for day of coordination.
4. Book your venue, caterers, DJ or band and yes, your photographer as soon as possible. We do get booked pretty far in advance, especially in our busy seasons of late spring and early fall and around holidays.
5. Ask your vendors for advice. Many of us have done hundreds of events. We want your event to be fabulous! We are happy to provide you with our experienced point of view so you can make the decisions that make you happy.
6. Create a timeline. Loop in the photographer, DJ/Band, caterer and venue to make sure everything happens when it should.
7. Have a list of must have photos. Ask a best friend or relative to help the photographer find the important people in those must have photos.
8. Take care of yourself. You can’t have a great time if you’re tired and stressed. Get sleep and stay hydrated.
9. Be flexible if things change. We don’t have control over things like weather, but if you plan well, you have options.
10. Please, please, please enjoy the moments. Be present in the moment once it starts.