5 Things to do Right After you get Engaged in Houston

Huzzah! You’re engaged!! It’s a seriously magical time! Especially if you are engaged in Houston! You and your fiance are popping the champagne, everyone is loving on you two and for at least a week you’re on cloud nine…until it hits you. You now have to plan a huge event for your nearest and dearest. Don’t get me wrong, food tasting and engagement sessions are super fun, but let’s call a spade a spade. Planning a wedding is a lot of work! To help navigate your first few weeks as a newly engaged couple, here are five things you should do first:

  1. Get inspiration more from Instagram than Pinterest
  2. Be open to venues that aren’t barns – Houston has a ton of stunning spaces that aren’t barns!
  3. Before deciding on a date, take a hot minute to consider all the seasons
  4. Be strategic in cutting costs
  5. Slooooow down and carefully vet all the vendors you want to hire.
wedding to do list

1. Get Inspiration more from Instagram than Pinterest

Let’s get real, I bet you already have an active Pinterest page. And why shouldn’t you Pinterest is an amazing space for finding and organizing wedding inspiration and you absolutely should use it, but hang on a sec! Before you let this platform become your main inspiration space, think about these three reasons to  get inspired on Instagram over Pinterest:

Pinterest has a lot of Clickbait: In case you didn’t know, your Pinterest searches have a ton of  clickbait pins and generic wedding trends placed in your search results. Thus, if you’re hoping to find more unique posts to inspire you, Instagram is a much safer space. Instagram might have sponsored posts, but they don’t give businesses the ability to place clickbait in front of you the way Pinterest does. For a true inspirational space, Instagram is the best   Especially because you can…

Find a TON of local Wedding Vendors. Instagram has been the go-to spot for wedding professionals for a while now. It’s a space where all your potential vendors share their unique weddings, and truly shows  emerging trends on the wedding scene. Plus you can look up hashtags to find local vendors to start seeing the work they do in real time. I know I use the hashtag “Houston wedding photographer” and “Houston engagement photographer” to help couples find me. And it works like a charm! When you look at the vendors who pop up, you can see who they have tagged in their posts, to find other awesome local vendors. 

Instagram Feeds are Stunning. Let’s be honest about Pinterest boards. They are a hot mess. Even with the best Pinterest board you will find a lot of non-cohesive imagery pulled together. Various editing styles, wedding themes and color pallets are hodge-podged together. On Instagram you will be able to find a look you like more quickly with local vendors, which will help you narrow down your search much faster. 

romantic Houston engagement session photographed at Bell Tower on 34th by wedding photographer Swish and Click Photography

2. Be Open to Venues that Aren't Barns

If you live in Houston you’ve gone to at minimum three barn weddings. I am low balling, it’s more likely it’s been at least 5. And I am not trying to be a Negative Nancy on your elegant barn dreams (they can be freaking gorgeous!!) but I highly encourage you to look at other venues just in case. You never know, maybe your dream venue will surprise you! To inspire you, the following are five badass Houston wedding venues in 2020:

**Side note, the Dunlavy will be missed going into 2020!

And to show I don’t hate on Houston barn venues, here are a few that I adore:

romantic Houston wedding photographed at Hotel Zaza by wedding photographer Swish and Click Photography

3. Before Deciding on a date, Consider all the Seasons

Did you know that October is the most popular month to get married? In fact, it just recently overtook June as the favorite month! And Houston in the fall is a rad season for weddings. But! Before you pick a date, here are three things to think about above and beyond the weather:

Your Honeymoon. Depending on where you want to go after your wedding, you might want to plan your wedding to fit your trip. The good seasons are different for Greece, Paris, Cancun and Florida. As well, you might have dreams of being a wizard and going to Harry Potter world, but wanting to go during off-season. That could change your wedding date as well.

Flowers and Colors. This might be my most cost effective advice in this blog post! Not all flowers are in season all the time, which means if you have been dreaming of a certain flower to be in your wedding, it would behoove you to find out when they are in season to help you save money. Also, your florist and wedding planner will love you for it! 

Anniversary date. I know of some couples who choose a date that has signifigance to them and their family. I had a couple get married on the bride’s grand parents wedding date, which was so special to the entire family. Or they want a bitchin’ date like 02/22/20. Others choose the date for their future anniversaries, when weather would be optimal for fun trips. 

romantic Houston wedding photographed at The Olana by wedding photographer Swish and Click Photography

4. Be Strategic in Cutting Costs

Weddings are expensive. Even when my husband and I were planning ours, we went over our proposed budget by a few thousand dollars. It wasn’t anything that hurt us financially, but some of the vendors we deeply wanted went over our budget a little and it added up. 

One thing I will say, is that we never bartered with the people we hired for our wedding. Instead, we did research on average pricing so we didn’t walk into consultations and get sticker shock.

Try to Find Venues with Furniture. More specifically tables and chairs. It’s not always a guarantee that venues will provide them. Thus, couples have a rental and delivery bill for several thousand dollars if their venue doesn’t have the furniture. So always ask when doing a tour if they are included. It will save you a god chunk of money.

End the Open Bar Early. Alcohol costs add up fast. Yes, having an open bar all night long = happy guests, but I have to say that by 10pm or so, people are getting wasted. I have been to many a wedding where guests have been too drunk to hold sparklers for the grand exit. And that’s a mild example. A lot of wedding horror stories I know include an excess of alcohol. So you can make your wedding safer and save a bit of money by ending the open bar before the end of the night.

Get Married on a Friday or Sunday. My husband and I did this, and it allowed us to afford a venue we would have had to pass up. Most venues have lower pricing for Fridays and Sundays, and even better pricing for off season weddings. It would be a nice thing if your proposed wedding date was during the off season to help you save money.

What would I not cut costs on? As a photographer, these are the things I see making the biggest overall impact and feel of a wedding, or preserve the wedding well after it has happened:

  • food
  • planner
  • flowers
  • music
  • photography
  • videography
romantic Houston engagement session photographed at Hotel Zaza by wedding photographer Swish and Click Photography

5. Slow down and Carefully vet all the Vendors you want to Hire

Booking the right vendors for your wedding is trickier than you might think. The truth is, smart couples inadvertently book vendors who aren’t the right fit for them all the time.

Get to at Least Page 5 in your Google Search per Vendor. The first few results that pop up in a web search are paid for, and then you get results from Wedding Wire and The Knot. Most couples don’t know this, but these wedding sites prioritize vendors who spend the most money on advertising, not ones that would fit you best. As well, there are so many wedding vendors per category, that going deeper in your web search results is a must.

Find Vendors on Instagram. As I wrote earlier, go where the pros go! Looking up local wedding hashtags will give you a treasure trove of local vendors.

Take your Friend’s Recommendations with a Grain of Salt. Your friend probably had a wedding that has a different look and feel than what you will want. Thus, not every vendor they recommend will be a good fit for you and your honey. Look at the friend’s recommendations and see if you love their work on their own merit. And if you love them? Awesome! 

Meet Vendors in Person. Most importantly the ones who will be our shadow for most of the day (e.g. the planner, photographer and videographer). Since they will be with you most of the day, liking their work and clicking with them personality-wise is imperative. They need to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. Confident in yourself and your choices. For me, having them make me laugh was also important. You only get this sense when you meet them in person. A connection can’t be ascertained via email or text the same way it can in person. Thus, I would set up a few meetings one weekend and knock them out.

In the end, your wedding is about getting married to the love of your life. There is a lot of noise out there {including this blog post!!}. The best advice I can give, is to do what feels right for you and your honey bunny.

Are you engaged in Houston? If you try any of these tips, let me know in the comments! I would love to know how they work for you.

romantic Houston engagement session photographed at Hotel Zaza by wedding photographer Swish and Click Photography

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Christine Wright

Christine Wright

Love my work? Want me to capture you and yours? Let’s talk!! It’s easy, my email address is Christine@swishnclick.com. Let’s have a heart-to-heart, get excited about the possibilities of your wedding or session and come up with a plan that is uniquely you! I want to hear from you!

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