Wedding Planning Tips and Advice: Serendipity Photography

Wedding planning timetable tips and to do list



You have just become engaged!!!

The next few weeks will be a complex amalgam between a blur of happiness and a mix of planning, fun, laughter, even terror; giddy crazy moments as buy rings, ring your friends and bask in one of life’s most precious and wonderful times, and then face the tough decisions in the best way you can.

Wedding style and budget: first things first.

It is important to work out your style, and from this consider what you can afford!

Lets start with the big ticket items first — your wedding reception and ceremony venues. Ideas and decisions flow from your wedding theme; perhaps something historic, romantic or urban/contemporary. Consult your dreams, where have you always imagined being married? What about other options, open it up, think laterally and surprise yourself. Consider your family recommendations and style. Make a short list and start ringing, then visiting — its a bit of a juggling act.

Your theme may affect your date (beach weddings or destination weddings) or there may be narrow date windows because of close family members’ travel availability or your own work schedules. If you do want a peak period and your budget is tight or timing is less flexible consider Fridays or a lunch wedding reception slot. Think laterally — recent ideas that Serendipity couples have entertained include high teas and a very special tramcar wedding; follow the links here and here for some visual inspiration! We have offered photography to couples with receptions on boats and  islands, or ceremonies next to acclaimed organic vertical kitchen gardens. (Hint: think St Kilda)

Serendipity Photography wedding planning timetable tips and advice

At Serendipity Photography we bring together the very best of our thoughts and knowledge, gained from over twenty years of weddings, in tips and advice to guide you through the wonders and frustrations of your wedding planning journey.

Consider everything, consult and make lists when working out your budget. Wedding budgets are easy to set, and hard to stick to. Once you’ve established a realistic budget you can move on to your most important decisions: the ceremony and reception venues. Booking these locations will be determined by your preferred time of year. Quality and value matter, so consider suppliers who get booked in association with the reception centre, boutique photographers and dress designers.

Here is a list from Serendipity Photography with our suggestions, tips and advice about some of most important milestones in the months to come before your wedding!

9 to 18 months before

Booking venues and photographer, followed by videography and your gown

Good photographers book up early so it is important to spend time early on finding your wedding photographer. Naturally, we would love you to consider us at Serendipity Photography!!  Stunning images, albums that are a visual feast and very individual styling — at Serendipity we are passionate about design and image quality, and we truly believe that we have the skills and experience to bring you wedding photography that is just right, perfectly expressing your own ideas and experience of your day. We guarantee (that is 600,000 hand finished pictures and 2100 weddings later) that you will look stunning and feel beautiful!

Now for your gown, perhaps the most important of all choices for your wedding day! Although some brides “just know”, it may take many weeks till you feel confident with your choice, so enlist help and start shopping. At Serendipity we believe that it is worth going with good professional advice and choosing a dress that fits well and really suits you rather than just following the latest direction. Even if your dress is for one day it is for THE day, your pinnacle of moments. You deserve to feel so special in your dress, alive, glowing; your dress should fit so that you look good and can move and breathe. Hand made and couture definitely offer that something more! Work on the dress budget from the time you see that little gleam in his eyes, the quick laugh and special smile only for you. Enlist your mum, your grandma, and your matron of honour. Most friends will extend a little help, and maybe you can negotiate a little with the designer you have set your heart on.

If you have been contemplating joining a gym or starting some yoga classes then now is the time. An exercise régime will have you looking and feeling great, especially when combined with a good diet and some time out from your usual routine. Consider having a massage or pampering yourself in some other way. A little relaxation can be extremely beneficial especially during this busy time.

6 months before

Theme: finalise your overall directions for colours and style, whether it simple elegance — oh so traditional, or stand out contemporary; or express yourself in stunning luxury with rich or bold colours and extravagant details. Consider individual themes, strong directions related to your choice of venue and be prepared to carry this through in table dressings, events, and particularly you and your family and bridal parties choice of apparel.

Finalise who is exactly in your bridal party.

Consider your choices for cars.

Finalise celebrant details.

Choose your florist, consider your list of floral pieces, style of bouquet and coördinate with your theme and time of year.

Start with your bridesmaids dresses, not so easy at times. Couples are often for individual styling related colours or matching fabric, this may be very helpful in the case of a more eclectic mix in the bridal party. Toning colours  in similar styles can look great too!

Choose or design your wedding invitations; listen to clips from different musicians, and choose a band or DJ.

Organise your hair and makeup; it is very much worth having a good trial and being confident that your look coordinates well with your dress and accessories.

4 months before

Consider apparel choices for family especially mothers of the bride and groom.

Finalise cake choices.

2 months before

Finalise your guest list and send out invitations at least 6–8 weeks before the day. Confirm your celebrant, and attend to service content and details. Now is the time to finalise honeymoon arrangements, and fill out your Notice to Marry– which must be done before one month before. Arrange accomodation for interstate or overseas guests and consider your wedding cake purchase.

Finalise Bombonnieri 

1 month before

Pick up your rings and arrange engraving if required. Decide on the order of the speeches and finalise reception details and timing. Attend planning meetings with celebrant or priest, photographer, videographer and reception.

2 weeks before

Reconfirm your suppliers, start writing thank you notes as you receive presents.

1 week before

Pack your bags, have some beauty treatment and a day spa if possible, print or pick up tickets and arrange insurance. Check on the speeches and bridal party travel arrangements, planning and and timing.

Serendipity Photography photo tip! Make sure you have enough card.. nothing more annoying than to waste precious holiday time trying to buy more card for all those shots of your luxurious honeymoon accommodation, fabulous landscapes and special momentos of your trip. Its worth not leaving it till you get to the airport shops — its better to buy more of the smaller 8G or 16G cards and secure your images regularly as the chances of you losing your camera are somewhat higher than on a normal holiday and the memories correspondingly more precious. (Why would your attention be a little diverted we wonder.…)

2 days before

Lay out our dress, veil, shoes and other accessories. Reconfirm your tickets 72 hours before and have an early night and pamper yourself with a massage, a hot bath or a DVD.


Also, check out our wedding planning tips for the groom!

10 Responses to “Wedding Planning Tips and Advice: Serendipity Photography”
  1. Kasia 30 March 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I don’t think that there is one “easy” way of planning a wedding, however from my experience, one way of making sure that everything is done on time is organization. After I got engaged, I wrote myself a list of everything that I had to get done, in order of importance. The first two on my list were Reception Venue, and Church. These are things that need to be booked plenty of time ahead. Big churches and well-known reception venues get booked up very quickly– sometimes up to two years in advance! So definitely come to a conclusion about your wedding date as soon as possible, so that you get the church and reception centre that you want, on a day that is good for you.
    Another key thing to remember when planning a wedding is not to think that everything lays just on the bride’s shoulders. When your bridal party (and groom!) offer to help, take them up on it. Otherwise you will just end up stressed, overworked, and will forget to enjoy the experience.
    Also, do your research. A lot of time, effort, and travel, can be saved if you do internet research before you go out scouting for the perfect shoe to match that dress. Many websites of different companies will have images of their products up on their websites. This was you can gauge whether a particular store has the product that you were after.
    Finally, make sure you have fun. Planning a wedding can be a very enjoyable experience, if you let it.

  2. Jennifer & Peter 3 October 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Make sure you utilize the internet to find a theme and ideas.

    In our case, we were keen on copying a Butterfly cake we had found on the internet.
    This then sent us on a search for beautifully coloured butterflies which we found on ebay. We were also able to extend their use to the candlelit centerpieces.


  3. Lisa So 21 September 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    I didn’t want a heavy looking dress, so I swayed away from heavy materials like satin. When I first saw my dress, I knew it was the right one. It was romantic with layers of tulle which made the dress look flowy and light. I have a small frame, so I wanted a princess shaped dress so I don’t disappear in photographs!

    The pleating and the layers of the lace were really special and gave the dress a great structure and shape. We eventually found the perfect dress in Mongkok, Kowloon of Hong Kong.

    The dress turned out really well in photos. It was great how Serendipity shot the dress, and made it stand out in our photos. The dress really is a wow factor.

  4. Kat Miklic 31 August 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    When planning our big day, we knew from the start we wouldn’t have enough time on the morning of the wedding to get pre photos with both the Groom’s side and my side. Serendipity were so accommodating in offering us a pre-shoot for the grooms side a few days prior to the wedding. The pre-shoot also allowed my groom time to feel comfortable in front of the camera and enabled us to have his motorbike and our dog be part of our wedding album.

    I would suggest this to any bride who thinks her timelines may be stretched on the day of the wedding, it took a little bit of extra stress away from our big day!

  5. Rachel Tisseverasinghe 30 August 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    You’re right, planning your wedding involves a mix of emotions…and a budget!!!
    It’s important to know your budget, as wedding costs can vary greatly.

    My husband and I knew our budget and started from there.. We made sure we were organised in advance..and we had about 1 year to plan the wedding, which was great.

    I downloaded check lists from the internet, and used that like a bible, and ticked the tasks as things got booked and organised. We booked the main things first (Church, reception, band, PHOTOGRAPHER, etc), as some may be booked 1 year in advance. The more organised you are in the beginning, and less stressed you’ll be closer to the day :)

    I had a theme in mind, which made the colours and choices easier. For example…I loved a colour called cherry red (pinkish red) and I love Summer and exotic countries — so I had frangipani’s, orchid’s and lillies as the flowers.
    We both also wanted to include romance in the photos, so we hired a horse and carriage, and I also wanted to incorporate a classic look to the photos, so I bought parasol’s off the internet.
    The colours and flowers turned out beautiful in the end, as with the horse and carriage and parasol’s.
    My husband and I also love “bling” and Anthony loves the “Mafia” theme…so my dress and jewellery had lots of crystals and my husband, Anthony wore his big shiny, gold jewellery.
    We also knew what style of photos and colours we wanted in the album.
    Serendipity captured the moments and themes PERFECTLY!

    Don’t take it all on by yourself, people are there to help, and are happy to help. So don’t be afraid to delegate tasks (doing so, reduces the stress).

    Most importantly, relax on the day. You’ll be easy to work with, and you’ll shine in the photos, and your photographer will love you for it! :)

    Good luck on your special day, and the prep. before hand :)

    ooxx Rachel Tissa

  6. Sonja Medic 27 August 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    The most important step for me when planning my wedding was to be sure I knew exactly what I wanted before I went out looking– otherwise I would have just gotten lost in all the options. Having a really clear plan in mind made it easy and stress-free (or as stress free as a wedding can be!) I never had a theme in mind, because a theme can’t represent me and what I want– what I wanted ended up being my theme. All the things I love ended up in the wedding, from my favorite colors, favorite car, favorite movie and of course my favorite man! Don’t feel constrained by what you see other people do– don’t feel afraid! Just do what you want and what reflects your personality. And by doing so your wedding planning will be much easier and you won’t regret the choice you made to express your individuality.

    I’ve seen lots of wedding albums in my time and they all look the same, but at Serendipity they really help you express yourself in a way that I have never seen before. Every bride looks happy, comfortable and uniquely herself– I can see my personality shine through their photos. They really bring out the best in you!

  7. Thilini Jayasekara 25 August 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    I wanted my wedding to be perfect. So I spent a great amount of time planning it. First was choosing a venue that suited my requirements that looked stunning. Then I spent time choosing a theme color, a photographer, videographer, my dress, bridesmaids’ outfits, music, caterer, cake etc. In choosing all these, I considered a few choices at first and had meetings with several vendors. Advice from people already in the business were quite valuable. My MC named Dominic from Lakeside was incredible in this planning phase. Sally and Julian gave me some invaluable tips on how to plan the day. The celebrant , Prabhati gave me contact details of DJs, florists, poruwa suppliers etc. Then I compared the quotes and choose vendors that suited my budget. I also maintained a wedding log book which made the planning a lot easier. My advice is it is never too early to start planning a wedding. The earlier it is, the better and less stressful it will be.…

  8. Claire 21 August 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I think you’re right, it took so long to plan our day, even though it was quite small. I’m glad that we didn’t leave it until the last minute!

  9. Marina Godler 20 August 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    We wanted to create a very romantic atmosphere for our ceremony and reception. We started around nine months before, and booked in Brighton International, because of its convenient location, close to home to beautiful locations, and of course because we could have our ceremony in the garden there. We chose Serendipity Photography because of their outstanding quality and artistic vision. They spent a lot of time in the album design, getting it right. The table decorations were very special, from Centrepiece by Design, and we thought is was well worth spending a little on lighting.. the guests loved the atmosphere and the photos really show up all the colours. We chose Prolight and Sound in Bentleigh, and were very impressed with their service. Natalie from Party and Wedding Design gave us our marvellous ceremony decorations and table cloths and chair decorations. Centrepiece by Design gave us the magnificent table pieces in an extravagant crystals theme. It is really worth searching around for quality suppliers, and good to give yourself at least 6 months for your function theming, particularly if your day is in a busy season. Hope this helps! Marina and David

  10. Kristen Babbage 13 August 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    When planning your special day make sure you check out ebay. ebay was a massive help in finding just what we needed and at a fraction of the cost. For our wedding we bought custom made bridesmaids dress; handmade sugar roses for our wedding cake; my tiara and bridal hoop; table scatterers; bomboniere boxes, ribbon and chocolates; and so much more. All of these looked fantastic in the photos and put the finishing touches on the day.

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