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  • Writer's pictureJ&A

Wedding Planning: The FIRST thing to book

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

I just asked Josh what was the first thing to book when planning a wedding...and he pointed at himself.

"The groom?" I ask him in response.

"Duh!" He says.

Thanks, Josh. Thanks.

black river barn south haven table setting wedding

When we started planning our wedding, we didn't know where to begin. So where do you typically go for help? Google. As amazing and informative Google is, it also gives you every single opinion anyone ever had. Not helpful.

While WE may have not known all the in's and out's while planning our wedding, we don't want that to happen to you. We want to share with you the thing we have discovered to be one of the most important things to book FIRST when starting those amazing wedding plans.

Every bride and groom have a "must have" thing about their dream wedding. This thing rates at the top of their list in importance and is something very special to them about their special day. For some it may be the flowers, the photography, the venue, the dress, or yes, of course, the FOOD (Josh will vouch for this one as we had his beloved tacos at our reception!). And while all these are very important, we've come to realize that one of them stands out to us as a "must-book-first" item.

"Of course!" You're thinking, "Photography. Duh, because you're photographers." Well What is the first thing we would seek out?


Think about it. While yes, we may be biased and love photography, there are always other photographers. (Gasp, did we just say that?? Yes, we did! Because we actually know several photographers that we LOVE and admire!) However, there is only ONE venue that is unique in and of its own. And what if that venue is booked for your special day? That's it. You have to completely change locations.

hidden vineyard wedding barn venue Berrien Springs michigan sign
hidden vineyard wedding barn venue bride groom stairs

(Photos taken at the Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn in Berrien Springs, Michigan)

The staff at Hidden Vineyard were the bomb! A massive thunder storm threatened the entire day of Aaron and Lisa's wedding, hindering many outdoor photos under Lisa's dream tree. Hidden Vineyard let us come back a month later to shoot more outdoor wedding photos again all over their gorgeous venue for free! They were even doing a family event that day and asked if we wanted some hot chocolate. They were truly sweet, genuine, and hospitable hosts!

For more pics of this venue, see our blog "J&A Throwback: Summer Wedding at Hidden Vineyard Wedding Barn in Berrien Springs"

Here are a couple tips in regards to booking your venue:

1. If you have a "must have" venue in mind, then BEFORE you pick your wedding date, see what dates the venue has available.

(HINT: Did you know that some venues even offer cheaper packages if you book a Friday versus a weekend date?)

2. Go take a tour of the venue. Venue owners love to show off their beautiful place and we're sure they would enjoy sitting down with you to tell you all about the great things their location offers!

3. Ask them about vendors. They ARE a wedding venue. They know all about the photographers, caterers, DJ's, and etc!

black river barn south haven wedding venue bridal suite chairs

(Photo of the bridal suite at the Black River Barn in South Haven, Michigan)

black river barn south haven wedding venue ballroom place setting

(Photo of the main floor at the Black River Barn in South Haven, Michigan)

We've enjoyed watching Black River Barn start from literally the ground up as we live right around the corner. This venue consists of a brother and sister duo who strive for excellence in everything they set their minds to! This great teamwork and mindset is shown through the many many intricate details from bridal suite to outdoors of this breathtaking venue.

For more pics of this venue, see our blog "Black River Barn Bridal Soiree in South Haven, Michigan"

Bonus Wedding Planning Tips (we think are important):

- Hire your photographers as the SECOND thing on your list!

Yup, you were right. We DID get it in here;) But seriously...photographers get booked up a couple or more years in advance as well! Try to snag them up first thing and then you won't have to worry about whether or not your choice photographer will have an opening.

- Hire a wedding planner/coordinator!

Do you want to have the peace of mind knowing that everything will be taken care of and you won't have to stress over the details? Wedding planners are meant for this! They want you to be able to completely enjoy your "best-day-ever" stress free and be able to party without a concern in the world! Also, they are super knowledgeable on EVERYTHING WEDDING. They know about the venues, the photographers, the caterers, the decorations. Yes, everything. (Also, do you need any suggestions on coordinators?? We may know some!;))

bangor elevator wedding venue table setting

(Photo taken at The Bangor Elevator in Bangor, Michigan)

The quaint Bangor Elevator is situated right within the heart of Bangor. This rustic place was completely transformed from an old grain elevator to unique wedding venue! We loved getting learn about it's charm from our friend Rachel who gives brides tours of this venue.

For more pics of this venue, see our blog "Lauren and Blain's South Haven Destination Beach Wedding"

something blue berry wedding barn venue Bangor michigan outdoor

(Photo taken at the Something Blue Berry Farm in Bangor, Michigan)

Something Blue Berry Farm is located out in the country and is filled with elegant yet rustic charm. Host and hostess, Steve and Carolyn are the real deal! Carolyn is a motherly figure who warms her way to your heart and sets you at ease while hands-on helping your through the whole wedding venue experience! Their desire to genuinely care for their clients is so evident and we LOVED getting to meet them!

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