A Guide To Getting Married In Chicago
Are you engaged? Congrats! If you’re thinking about getting married in the Windy City, refer to this Chicago wedding guide to help you get started planning.
Getting married in Chicago is a memorable experience. A historic city with stunning architecture, museums and waterfront restaurants, Chicago is a diverse and welcoming place for all kinds of wedding celebrations.
Where to Have a Wedding in Chicago
You might be trying to decide where to get married in Chicago or where to host a wedding reception that best fits your theme and aesthetics. Chicago is a large city with numerous possibilities for memorable wedding venues. Some of the best locations to get married in Chicago are listed below:
Being surrounded by art gives an indoor venue a uniquely beautiful setting, making galleries some of the best places to hold a wedding in Chicago. Galleries display the latest art and popular culture trends, and several Chicago galleries book spaces for events like wedding receptions. Some venues, like Floating World Gallery and the Zhou B Art Center, also have ceremony spaces, letting you tie the knot and jump right into celebrating the beginning of your new life in the same place.
You can opt for lavish or minimalistic decor for your gallery wedding, as most gallery venues will work with you to bring your wedding vision to life.
Chicago is home to a multitude of museums that host both public and private events. You’re sure to find a venue that suits the interests you and your partner share, whether you enjoy art, culture, history, science or astrology.
Depending on the facilities, you might be able to book a ceremony room and hold the reception in the same building. Some venues also offer outdoor options, like the picturesque sculpture garden with its view of Lake Michigan at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
If you’ve always dreamed of your wedding reception featuring a U-505 submarine, the Museum of Science and Industry has you covered. Few venues other than a museum would allow you to host your reception in a copper-domed rotunda with a historic locomotive and airplane.
If you’re looking for a romantic, relaxing atmosphere, organize your wedding at a winery or brewing company where your guests can enjoy the dining room and in-house drinks. Some venues double as restaurants, like the Moody Tongue Brewing Company, where you can hold a reception with a banquet menu and options for plated fine dining.
Other wineries have stunning outdoor spaces that make great opportunities to take wedding pictures or hold the ceremony. Find a venue with customization options like City Winery, where you can hold the ceremony and reception with in-house wines and chef-prepared food.
4. Industrial Spaces
With their open-concept floorplans and high ceilings, a converted warehouse can make a romantic space for a special ceremony. Each repurposed industrial building retains a part of the city’s past, making this an excellent option for history buffs. This venue is also ideal for larger wedding receptions, though some will hold more guests than others.
Some venues have a rustic aesthetic, like Firehouse Chicago with its antique furniture and reclaimed barnwood. Others, like Assemblea, have a sleek, modern look. Industrial buildings used as wedding venues typically also include a professionally landscaped outdoor space. If you’re unsure after viewing the pictures, ask the venue director.
5. Historic Mansions
For a traditional backdrop with a touch of culture, look for an older estate open for private events where guests can admire the historical architecture and charm. This type of venue typically has the space and staff to accommodate large events — the Stan Mansion can hold up to 300 guests and has recently added a bridal suite.
An estate wedding can have everything from a naturally beautiful outdoor picture area to an array of seating options. If you’re looking for a venue with a fairytale atmosphere, a historic mansion is a reliable option.
The cruise venues that run along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan offer waterfront views with the cityscape as a backdrop. Hosting a nautical wedding is a fun way to kick off your first real adventure as a married couple.
Cruise ships like Chicago’s First Lady fleet offer wedding packages that allow you to hold both the ceremony and reception onboard. If you’re looking for the best first look locations in Chicago, cruises are one of your most eye-catching options. You’ll love to look back on your wedding video and see you and your partner coasting along the water with your guests, the city skyline behind you.
Which Season Is Best to Get Married?
Now that you have some venue ideas, you’re probably wondering what dates you should book. The best time to get married in Chicago depends on one thing: which time of year is your absolute favorite? Chicago experiences all four seasons, and you can discover unique traditions happening during each one.
The weather will vary depending on the month you choose, and you should plan accordingly. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during each of the seasons.
Chicago’s fall months boasts cool but relatively mild temperatures and local trees that become a riot of vibrant colors. The weather is fair enough to spend time outdoors, and traffic tends to be less crowded than it is later in the year.
If you’re interested in a fall ceremony, October is the best month to get married in Chicago. The trees are changing, and the temperatures are still fairly temperate. Ceremonies with fall colors and harvest fruits can be held outside, with temperatures ranging from the 70s down to the 40s.
Some of the busiest times of fall are the week of Halloween and the Chicago Marathon.
With holiday festivities and the increase in traffic to large retail areas, winter in the Windy City is a busy time. Chicago winters bring light displays, carriage rides and a good amount of snowfall. Temperatures average in the mid-20s, with high winds and foggy mornings. If the magic of the season appeals, the right venue and wardrobe can compensate for the low temperatures.
The week of Christmas and the start of the new year are some of the busiest in Chicago, as winter draws crowds that rival summer tourism despite the colder temperatures.
Spring’s budding foliage and increase in mild weather make it the beginning of nature walks and other outdoor activities for the year. It also brings the start of baseball season and the St. Patrick’s Day parade. By March, temperatures begin to climb into the 50s and increase into the 70s by May.
Chicago is bustling the week of St. Patrick’s Day, when a parade takes place downtown and the city temporarily dyes the Chicago River green.
The summer weather brings increased hotel costs, busier nightlife and warmer temperatures from the 70s to 90s, with a cool wind rolling off of Lake Michigan. Tourism is common during the summer months when the city opens its beaches and plays host to seasonal music festivals.
Some of the busiest times of the summer are during the Taste of Chicago Food Festival and Lollapalooza.
Best Places to Take Wedding Pictures in Chicago
Chicago is home to several breathtaking locations, some iconic and others less well-known. Some of the best places to take wedding pictures — and some of the best places to get married in Chicago — are:
- Chicago Riverwalk pedestrian trail: Waterfront locations are some of the best for pictures, but The Public Art Program has also lined this walkway with displays of local art. Photos along the Chicago Riverwalk will be set against a collection of 3D and 2D art integrated with the city’s diverse culture.
- Navy Pier: Also called the People’s Pier, this is a popular location due to the shopping and restaurants, along with many yearly events and other attractions. It’s a busy location at any time of the year, but you are sure to find a place to take some outstanding pictures here.
- North Avenue Beach: As one of the most popular beaches in the city, couples frequently visit to get lively pictures on the lakefront recreational trail and at the beach house. With its portholes and decks, the beach house’s design makes it an excellent place for photos with a nautical theme.
- Millennium Park: This park features the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture, commonly called “The Bean.” You can get some incredible views of the cityscape and skyline here as well. The park is relatively busy year-round, as The Bean is an enormous draw for photographers and tourists alike, but the trip is worthwhile to complete your big-city wedding look.
- Adler Planetarium: This museum of astronomy and astrophysics is also home to the Doane Observatory, science exhibitions, theaters, the Gemini 12 capsule and a picturesque outdoor picnic area. There are plenty of sights to see here, and this can be a romantic spot if you and your partner share a love of astronomy.
- Lincoln Park Zoo: This 35-acre zoo allows free admissions and features hundreds of animals. The zoo can be an excellent opportunity for animal-loving couples to include their favorites in their wedding pictures.
- Olive Park: This quiet park is near the bustling Navy Pier but is more rarely explored. If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway for your wedding party to get photos, Olive Park can deliver. The fountains and nature trails make it a beautiful location for a photo shoot at any time of the year, and it’s also within convenient walking distance of the Ohio Street Beach.
Chicago Wedding Vendors
With so many great vendors to choose from, finding the best possible match can be a little overwhelming. Try narrowing down your search by looking for vendors you can make the most use of. Some of the most commonly employed are:
- The venue: When you’re working on your budget, it’s probably best to check off the venue before considering any other expenses. After wardrobe costs, booking a location is often the most expensive aspect of planning your wedding.
- Caterers: The food is what most of your guests will remember most.
- The cake: Whether you want a traditional cake or easier-to-handle cupcakes, this is the centerpiece of your reception. One perk of hosting your wedding in Chicago is the number of highly-rated local bakeries and pastry chefs you can hire for the occasion.
- Florists: The floral arrangements set the mood, and it takes careful planning to ensure the flowers look fresh for the ceremony.
- The photographer: Your wedding pictures serve as important memories that you can cherish for the years to come.
- The videography team: While a photographer captures still images, a videographer’s job is to capture live footage of your special day. They’ll take the best clips and create a highlight reel for you to have as a keepsake and share on social media.
- Beauty professionals: A makeup artist can help the members of your wedding party look their best.
- A band or DJ: Music is a vital part of the atmosphere at both the ceremony and reception.
How to Get Legally Married in Illinois
Wondering how to get married in Chicago despite being from another city or state? It’s a simple process!
Local, non-local and out-of-state couples getting a marriage license in Chicago or a civil union in Cook County should go to the nearest Cook County clerk’s office. The only requirements for getting married in the state of Illinois are that:
- You are both 18 years of age or older.
- You are both unmarried.
- You are unrelated by blood.
What Getting Your Marriage License Involves
To get your marriage license, you and your spouse will need to:
- Visit one of the Cook County clerk’s six Vital Records locations. Even if you begin the application process online, you must still visit the physical location to complete it.
- Present photo IDs with proof of your ages.
- Fill out the application together. Both of you must sign your names in person.
- Pay the fee for your marriage license.
Marriage licenses for Chicago and Cook County are valid the same day you receive them and are only valid in Chicago and suburban Cook County.
Where to Get Your Chicago Marriage License
Once you have completed your ceremony, you can sign your marriage license at any of six Cook County clerk’s offices to legally confirm your marriage. The county clerk will then issue a certified copy, also known as a marriage certificate. Your Chicago marriage certificate will be valid in any other state.
Book Wedding Videography Services with Shutter and Sound
We hope you found this guide helpful! If you’re looking for a Chicago wedding videographer, Shutter and Sound’s professional team of filmmakers is ready to work with you. We can produce a highlights reel that captures all of your wedding’s most beautiful moments and fits the tone and style of your special day. Please reach out if you’re looking for a wedding videographer for your Chicago wedding!
How Much Does A Wedding Videographer Cost?
Much like the venues, dresses and other expenses weddings commonly rack up, photography and videography costs vary depending on where you host and the quality that you’re willing to pay for. You might have options in terms of customizable wedding packages, but when you’re looking for a deal, you also want to make sure you receive a service that includes everything you’re expecting.
The following guide explores the costs of hiring a wedding videographer in several major cities where tying the knot is a regular event. Check out our information on what you can expect when you hire Shutter & Sound as your videographer.
The Average Cost of a Wedding Videographer
The average costs of a videographer vary greatly depending on what city you’re in, where you hold the wedding and several other factors. One of the important things to keep in mind, though, is you only get one ceremony, so you want someone with a video camera in working order who will save all the raw footage in case you request edits.
Look for videography companies that list prices on their website, which is a reliable method of keeping you informed. Some video recording and editing professionals avoid listing their prices publically to keep up with consumer demand. In this case, making an inquiry is generally how you find out how much services will run, but you should sign a contract only after you have reviewed the details. You might want to look at sites with transparent costs instead.
Typical expenses for hiring a wedding videographer are influenced by the following:
- Hours of coverage: Some videographers charge by the hour. If you want to make sure you stay within a set budget, you can request a set maximum of shooting hours. Most videographers will decide on their own hours and the most appropriate moments to shoot. Many will shoot the entire event, including the couple getting ready before the ceremony begins.
- Size of the crew: If a videographer works alone, the service costs will generally be lower. If they work with a team of two or three other videographers, the costs will be higher to pay the crew’s wages. Videographers who area one-man/woman operation may cost significantly more than a company with multiple videographers on staff. This may seem counterintuitive since they do not need to pay anyone, but it also means there are only so many dates they can book in a season, so they will want to earn as much as they can off of each event. Videographers who work independently often take longer to complete orders since they are responsible for doing everything without assistance, and when they are highly sought after artists, they can justify raising their prices.
- Length of the video: The total amount of time it takes to edit the footage will depend on how long the end product will be. Many videographers offer different options for the length of their main highlight video, ranging from a one minute instagram video to a 30 minute feature film. This length is a major factor in the cost of the service.
- Distribution: Want to make hard copies of the footage (DVD or Blu-ray) to save with your family’s albums or mail to family and friends? This traditional method of capturing the memories will likely come with additional cost, as the industry standard has no moved to an all-digital experience. You could instead ask for the videographer to make video clips available on Facebook or YouTube so friends who are unable to attend in person can still view the wedding.
- Location: You might pay less than the average for U.S. weddings listed above if you live in a smaller area where wedding videographers need as much work as they can find. In areas that are popular for destination weddings, though, the increased demand for videographers will usually mean higher costs.
- Travel distance: If you want to work with a specific videographer or company, you might have to arrange for compensating travel fees if you request for them to work out of their local area. Like many professionals, videographers have a range where they prefer to see clients. They might even list specific venues where their services are available.
- Add-ons and other services: If you get drone footage along with your highlights video, you will get to see your ceremony from an aerial view as if you’re in a movie. Having the videographer there is convenient for bundling the two services. You will pay more for getting the drone shots, but many videographers offer this as a simple add-on since it’s popular for weddings. If you’re interested in adding services, clearly stated pricing options are preferable. That way, you will know right away what fits into your budget.
Wedding Videographer Cost Guide by Region
Want an idea of what you will pay to get a highlight reel made at a major city venue? Wedding videographer prices can vary from coast to coast, but the good news is that they follow similar trends. For the most part, local talent is more reliable when the videographer works for a company, and the overall costs depend on how common weddings are in the area.
At a scenic location where property values are known for being higher than the national average, you will pay a little more for your videographer — and probably your venue, catering and other elements. Check out the details in our list of major cities.
You can expect to pay about $2,995 for a highlight video in the D.C. area, and this price point includes 8 hours of raw footage. Popular venues range from outdoor ceremonies in front of the D.C. War Memorial to waterfront weddings at historical buildings. Dining establishments like the Sequoia Restaurant, which overlooks the Potomac River, are also ideal venues. With a scenic location, getting a videographer to fly a drone over your party is definitely worth the extra expense.
D.C. wedding videography prices tend to be influenced by the heavy influx of visitor traffic and the demand created by wedding tourism. A couple can get married there without being residents. Some families will travel to Washington, D.C. from neighboring states or even from across the country to attend weddings at the nation’s capital.
Want a high-quality service with transparent prices? The price of booking with us includes filming, editing and distributing your footage.
Our wedding videographer costs in Boston are $4,295 at the highest price point. The cost of a Feature includes up to 10 hours of coverage and multiple cameras. Many weddings are held at five-star hotels, venue halls and the multiple waterfront locations on the shore of the Massachusetts Bay. Boston is another city where you can get married without first being a state or county resident, so wedding party tours of the food and wine scene are popular. You will definitely want to leave enough room for videography in your budget if you plan to host a bachelorette party in Boston along with the wedding and reception.
With the amazing oceanside views influencing venue costs, it makes sense that Boston wedding videography prices tend to be higher than average. The cost of living in Boston is high, with a demand for housing that exceeds the supply, and service costs by the local talent are ordinarily higher than in other parts of Massachusetts. Our videography prices include a team that is specially trained to deliver consistent results.
The total wedding videographer costs in Chicago depend on where you’re getting married in Cook County and the experience and quality of the service you hire. With fifty wards total and varying property values between neighborhoods, Chicago’s videographers tend to charge based on their studio’s location and their target market. With more than one fine arts college in Chicago, the city is pretty big on local talent, too.
Another factor is that wedding parties from Central Illinois often drive up to Chicago to have a big city reception experience, boosting the competition for lower Chicago wedding videography prices. Services from Shutter & Sound range consistently in cost from $2,995 to $4,295 in Chicago. When you work with us for your wedding videography, you will get the quality you deserve and an impressive range of services that other videographers might be unable to offer at the lower price points.
New York City, NY
Your wedding videographer expenses in NYC could vary depending on which borough you hold the ceremony in. How far the videographer has to travel from their studio location might also influence the overall cost. New York City is composed of a total of five boroughs, and many videographers prefer to work in a narrow area. This makes tracking down a videographer in NYC similar to the process in other large cities with a bigger area.
Up-and-coming videographers or new arrivals who come into the city with less experience tend to charge less. Even independent videographers who are new to shooting wedding videos at the best of NYC’s venues should be able to show you a portfolio of work they completed while in college or as they were preparing for their career. You’re hiring for an important ceremony that you will want to remember in the coming years, so be confident about asking about credentials. Our prices also range between $2,995 to $4,295.
Wedding videographer costs in Philly are typically more than in surrounding areas. Venues range from wineries, casinos, cruise ships and fine-dining locations, and the videographer scene is known for artistic talent. With several upscale or moderate cost venues to choose from, it’s especially good advice to check off your budget list before hiring a videography service in Philly. Many locations seat over 300 guests, and the city is known for having amazing catering.
Philly wedding videography prices are a little higher than some of the other cities on this list because of the sheer popularity of wedding services. Couples have a lot to decide on with so many exciting venues available. Philly weddings are held with any theme you could imagine and plenty of opportunities for diversity in the culture and religion. Popular services we offer at Shutter & Sound range start at $2,995.
Are Highlight Videos the Most Affordable Videography Option?
A highlight reel is distinct from cheap raw footage. Even though it is a little more expensive, recording highlights is often the most popular job for wedding videographers, making it a desirable service to sell. You will find highlight reels listed at the top of nearly every quality wedding videography pricing sheet, and for good reason. Being able to see your wedding replay like a movie trailer makes it a unique memento.
A highlight reel is a short collection of clips that captures the top moments from your celebration. Wedding highlights are put together as a concise film of your venue, the bridesmaids walking with the groomsmen, the rings, your guests’ faces and your other favorite moments from the ceremony. The resulting piece tends to be a short but artistic collage of your party’s happiest memories together.
You will have a choice for the background music and maybe some of the effects work. With standard costs, a videographer will bundle filming the organic footage, searching for the best clips or pictures to use and editing the clips into a highlight reel. This takes more thoughtful editing work than uploading a film of the entire wedding, so even though the result is a shorter video, it tends to be a moderately priced service.
What’s a Reasonable Price for Highlights?
A reasonable price depends on the complexity of the project. The videographer has to go through the steps of searching for engaging clips to use and getting them approved for the final copy. If you have any special requests for your short film that are particularly unique, you might have to pay an additional fee for the extra time spent working on the project.
Special requests that cost a little extra might include:
- Social media videos and posts: Unlike a traditional highlight reel, a professionally designed Instagram video has to conform to the platform’s uploading standards and follow the associated trends. Social media uploads count as an add-on.
- A series of TikTok-style wedding clips: They can be a lot of fun but take longer to caption, and the videographer has to be very clever with the editing to make them work. If you want a video made in the style of a social media platform, you will pay a little extra to get it.
- Bloopers at the end: Unless you want to request one clip in particular that sparked some laughter, the videographer would really have to dig for the funniest possible moments, which aren’t always obvious. When you’re looking for funny highlights, you have to work away from other important footage like the first kiss as a married couple, the opening dance or the cake cutting. Depending on the request, you might have to pay more for additional edits.
- Longer highlight reels: The videographer should specify their preferred recording length for a highlight reel project. If you want to add more clips after you see the film draft, you might have to pay more for additional edits.
Hire a Wedding Videographer With Shutter & Sound
Thinking about hiring a videographer for your wedding who provides the services you want? Shutter & Sound is transparent about our pricing and provides reasonable rates that you can trust. We were also featured on the Knot’s Best of Weddings list in 2020, Wedding Wire’s Couple Choice Awards, Here Comes the Guide and Martha Stewart’s. We will pair you with a videography team who will love working with you as they capture your happiest moments.
Here at Shutter & Sound, we are excited for every client preparing to celebrate their big day with us. Our teams of select talent handle all of the recording and editing for your highlight reel, and each videographer is trained in our filming and editing style for consistency and quality control. We offer extra services at additional rates, and we display our work so you can take confidence in the results you can receive. Contact Shutter & Sound to learn more, or view our pricing options to find the perfect videography package for your dream wedding.
Gifts To Get Your Newly Engaged Friends
Your friends are getting engaged, so the wedding countdown has officially begun. It is time to figure out what gift to get them to celebrate their wonderful news. There are so many different types of gifts you can get that match their interests, from celebratory knickknacks to functional, everyday items to wedding planning must-haves.
To offer some help in your shopping endeavors, Shutter and Sound has composed a guide of gift ideas for a newly engaged couple and bride. These unique engagement gifts have various price ranges to fit your specific needs.
Gifts for the Bride
There are plenty of bridal engagement gifts for your best friend.
The bride-to-be will take lots of notes while planning her wedding, so a notebook is a practical gift. Remind her to keep track of the wonderful memories she is making until the big day arrives. There are multiple stylish designs and colors available online.
A Themed Coffee Mug
If the bride-to-be is a huge coffee drinker, this gift is perfect. She will probably consume lots of coffee during the wedding planning process, so a mug is the ideal everyday accessory. There are many different mug styles to pick out for your soon-to-be bride, and some companies even offer customization options.
A Tote Bag
Your best friend will attend many different meetings and need a bag to carry all her wedding planning essentials.
A Bridal Box Subscription
This Miss to Mrs. Box is one of the favorite engagement gifts for your friends. You can decide to send a box for three, six or nine months. This box has plenty of bridal goodies and wedding planning assistance, and it gets sent straight to their door.
A Wedding-White Robe
A comfortable, elegant wedding white robe is the perfect engagement gift for any bride. She can wear this throughout her engagement and on her wedding day while she is getting ready.
A Makeup Bag
This cute little gift will come in handy for when the bride-to-be wants to pack up some of her makeup for the big day. If she needs to make quick touch-ups, she will have this bag right at her fingertips, and her bridesmaid will be able to grab it at a moment’s notice.
A Sleeping Mask
Planning for a wedding can be stressful. It is essential that your friend gets enough sleep to look and feel her best. A sleep mask will be perfect for those stressful nights, blocking out any light that could interrupt her.
A Customizable Engagement Ring Box
If the bride needs to take her ring off for any reason, she needs a safe place to put it. You can customize a ring box just for her. This gift is practical and personal, and there are many different styles and colors available from different outlets.
A Neck Wrap
This is another great gift to help the soon-to-be bride relax. A neck wrap helps ease those tense muscles, and you can either warm it up or keep it cold!
Gifts for the Couple
There are plenty of gifts to get your newly engaged friends that they can both enjoy.
A Date Night Suggestion Box
Craft an elegant, personalized gift box, where guests at the wedding or you could write down some date night ideas for the newly engaged couple.
A Wedding Planner Guide Book
A wedding planner guidebook is an excellent gift to help the newly engaged couple in their wedding planning journey. This gorgeous wedding book by celebrity wedding planner Mindy Weiss is filled with tips from fashion to etiquette and everything in between.
A Celebratory Bottle Opener
These special times call for a celebration! Get your friends a personalized bottle opener for this and the rest of the celebrations that they will have together.
Personalized Wine Bottles
Do your newly engaged friends enjoy drinking wine together? Get them their own personalized wine bottle. You can make the gift extra special by having their names and wedding date engraved on the wine bottle.
Wedding Countdown Blocks
Wooden blocks can be used in engagement photos or as home decor to count down to the special day. These are also a great keepsake for your friends.
Wine or Drink Tumblers
Wine or drink tumblers are great gifts to get your newly engaged friends. You can customize these for the bride and groom or give matching ones to the couple. For example, you could put their names and anniversary date on the tumbler.
A Wedding Fund Money Box
A personalized money box will make saving even more exciting and special. You can customize it any way you like — add pictures, their anniversary, their names and more. This elevated money box is a fun, practical gift for anyone planning a wedding.
A Personalized Map
This gift is a beautiful personalized map of where they got engaged, where they met, or another meaningful place. This gift has many personalization options, and it can serve as home decor for years to come.
If your couple enjoys cooking or loves to work together as a team, a cookbook is a great gift. A cookbook allows them to bond and work together in the kitchen. This Williams-Sonoma newlywed cookbook is full of delicious modern and classic recipes. Whether they are hosting a gathering or just cooking for themselves, this book has it all.
An Instant Camera
These cameras have been popular in the last few years and are great because you get to print your pictures instantly. You can shop different polaroid variations and help them start capturing their memories.
Contact Shutter and Sound to Turn Any Wedding Into Lasting Art
If you or your newly engaged friends are planning on having a videographer at the wedding, you must find a business that understands and emanates the vibe of the wedding. Shutter and Sound is a professional wedding videography company with years of experience capturing wedding moments. Check Shutter and Sound’s video gallery to get a feel for the kind of art we create.
Our small group of experienced videographers is standing by to answer any questions you might have about pricing or what we can do to help make you or your friend’s wedding uniquely beautiful. Check out the locations we serve and contact us today with any questions!
Wedding Planning Checklist
You’re getting married! Perhaps you’re eager to start dress shopping, go cake tasting, look at venues and complete all the other fun tasks that come with planning a wedding. There are plenty of details that go into planning a wedding, and staying organized is the best way to accomplish everything before you say “I do.”
This list of everything you’ll need for a wedding will help you follow a timeline of when to accomplish certain wedding tasks and ensure you remember even the smallest details of your big day. Use this ultimate wedding day checklist to learn how to plan your own wedding.
Twelve Months Before Celebration
Time to start wedding planning! Month 12 is the beginning of your wedding planning timeline. Complete these tasks when you’re a year away from your wedding day.
1. Determine Your Budget
Once you determine your overall budget, you’ll start to get a sense of what venues, vendors, outfits and wedding accessories you’ll be able to afford. You can set budget limitations for every aspect of your wedding. This can help you avoid going over budget and spending time looking at venues or vendors that you can’t afford.
Make sure to keep track of your spending when it comes to wedding purchases, such as the wedding cake, the flowers, decorations and other vendors you hire. Following your wedding budget can help you, your partner and anyone financially contributing to your wedding stay in the loop of the costs of vendors and other expenses.
2. Find a Wedding Planner
Planning your wedding by yourself is possible, especially with this guide. If you choose to hire a wedding planner, it’s important to do your research. You want to find a wedding planner who gets your overall vision for your wedding and will respect your budget limitations.
3. Find the Perfect Wedding Venue
The wedding venue is the centerpiece of your day. Finding the perfect place that matches your vision, meets your budget and is in your ideal location is important. It might be worthwhile to look for blogs about the best wedding venues in your area. Check out Shutter and Sound’s blog for our take on the best wedding venues from California to New York City.
4. Write out Your Guest List
Your guest list is one of the most important parts of your wedding, so sit down with your partner and write it out. Be sure to consider how much space your venue will hold and how many of your guests will be able to make it to the venue location.
5. Pick an Overall Theme
This is your special day, and you can make your vision of the perfect wedding come to life. Every wedding is unique, whether it’s a classic big wedding or a small gathering of your closest loved ones. Some popular wedding themes couples use are:
You can find numerous wedding themes and color combinations ideas online.
Eleven Months Before Celebration
Look at these tasks when you’re 11 months away from your wedding day.
1. Choose a Color Theme
Choosing a color theme for your wedding is one of the more fun decisions you get to make. You don’t have to have anything set in stone before you do some research. It might be worth checking out your favorite social media sites to see what sort of wedding inspiration is available. For example, Pinterest and Instagram are great platforms for when you want to get a visual of color-themed events.
2. Hire Vendors
Some wedding vendors require bookings eleven months or more in advance, especially if they’re popular in the area. Vendors you’ll want to meet with and book during this month include your wedding photographer and videographer, and your DJ or band for entertainment.
If you’re interested in having a videographer turn your wedding day into a piece of art you can watch throughout the years, Shutter and Sound has locations across the United States. Contact us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Ten Months Before Celebration
When you’re 10 months away from your wedding, work on these tasks from your wedding timeline checklist.
1. Shop Around for a Wedding Dress
If there’s going to be a wedding dress involved in your wedding, whether it be one or two, it can be fun to shop around for different designs you are interested in. You might do most of your shopping online, or you might make a weekend out of trying on dresses with your crew.
2. Shop for Invitations
Some people send out digital invitations, while others prefer handcrafted ones. If your wedding is small and you’re crafty, you might even hand-make or digitally design your own.
3. Look at Hotel Options Around Your Venue
If you’re having a big wedding, check for hotel options near your venue so your guests don’t have to scramble to find accommodations as the wedding approaches. If you have the budget, you might even pre-book these rooms and pay for some or all of your guests’ rooms ahead of time.
4. Draw up Your Wedding Website
A wedding website is a convenient place for your guests to find all the wedding information. If your guests lose their physical copies of their invitations, they can just pull up your website. Creating your own wedding website is simple. There are sites designed to help you create a wedding website.
5. Make Your Engagement Plans
If you want to have an engagement party or engagement photos, the tenth month before your wedding is a solid time to make those plans. Hosting your engagement party during month 10 allows you to celebrate with plenty of time left to plan your wedding.
Nine Months Before Celebration
It’s time to let people know when your big day is. Complete these important tasks when you’re nine months out from your wedding.
1. Send out Save the Dates
Before you send invitations, it’s customary to send guests notification about when and where your wedding will take place. You’ll send out formal wedding invitations closer to your wedding day.
2. Buy Your Dream Dress
If you’re planning on wearing a wedding dress, now is the time to purchase one. Hopefully, by this point, you’ll have shopped around for dresses and found one that fits your personal style. If you’re buying it from a store, it’s helpful to do a dress fitting in-store before you finalize your purchase just in case your dress needs alterations.
Eight Months Before Celebration
Tackle these tasks on your wedding to-do list when you’re eight months out from your celebration.
1. Find a Florist
Flowers are typically a big part of weddings. Some people choose flowers based on their colors, and others choose flowers based on their cultural meanings. Whatever you decide, if you want flowers at your wedding, it’s time to find a florist.
2. Shop for Bridesmaid Dresses
If you’re choosing your bridesmaids’ dresses, the eighth month before the wedding is the time to start shopping for styles and colors you and your bridesmaids will be comfortable with. Schedule fittings for your bridesmaids, whether you schedule them all together or separately, so you can make sure the dresses fit and everyone is happy with them.
3. Create a Gift Registry
Who doesn’t like gifts? More importantly, who doesn’t like gifts they already know they’re going to like? The eighth month before your wedding is the perfect time to create your gift registry. You’ll have plenty of time to shop around for what you want, and your guests will have plenty of time to plan ahead when it comes to their budgets.
Many businesses have their own process for creating a wedding registry through them. For example, if you’re fond of Target, you can check out their registry program and find more information about their process.
Seven Months Before Celebration
Remember to accomplish these important tasks when you’re seven months from your wedding day.
1. Find Musicians With the Same Style as Your Wedding
It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether you want a band for your ceremony or a DJ for your after-party. You might even want to use the same band for your ceremony and after-party. If you’re interested in hiring a band for your wedding, you might listen to them play first. You want to be sure they can play the songs you want in a style you’ll dig.
Many people hire DJs for their after-parties because it’s simple to hand a DJ a long list of songs you want them to play.
2. Hire an Officiant
Whether you’re religious or not, someone with the proper credentials has to be at your wedding to make your marriage official. Your wedding officiant can be your pastor or a friend that is ordained online.
3. Plan Rehearsal Dinner
Consider planning a rehearsal dinner for the night before your wedding. You can use this dinner as a way to thank the members of your wedding party and get them up to speed on how your wedding ceremony will play out.
4. Order Rental Items
Now’s the time to order any rental items you might need for your wedding, such as tables, chairs and dishware. Make sure they’ll be delivered to your wedding venue ahead of time so you have time to set everything up.
Six Months Before Celebration
There is always something to think about when it comes to your wedding day. Work on these tasks when you’re six months out from the big day.
1. Think About Lighting
Lighting can help set the mood for your wedding day. Consider the lighting for your ceremony and reception. You can use the lights that are at your venue or rent out lighting fixtures that will enhance the ambiance. String lights, lanterns, candles and other light fixtures are all popular wedding decor.
Five Months Before Celebration
You have five months before the wedding day. It’s time to think about travel plans and other tasks before the special day.
1. Find Your Tuxedo
If you or your partner are planning on wearing a tuxedo or another type of custom-made outfit, five months before your wedding is a good time to set up some fittings at businesses within your price range.
2. Plan Your Honeymoon
Planning your honeymoon now can help you receive good pricing on travel and find the perfect destination for you and your partner. Buy those plane tickets and book your hotel.
3. Figure out Transportation
Organizing wedding day transportation is helpful for out-of-town guests or guests who have too much fun at the reception. You can rent party buses or communicate with the hotel you blocked rooms at to see if they have shuttles that can transport guests to your venue and back.
Four Months Before Celebration
Only four months until your big day. Complete the following tasks before your celebration.
1. Meet With Your Caterer
Schedule a meeting with your caterer, and taste their food and drink options. It’s okay to give yourself some time to think after this tasting.
2. Shop for Your Wedding Cake
Since wedding cakes are typically larger than the average cake, you’ll have to give a heads up to the business you want to make your wedding cake. You might even schedule a cake tasting with different businesses. Get a sense of what flavor options they have and what cake decorating skills their team has.
3. Plan Hair and Makeup
Professional hairstylists and makeup artists can book up fast, so make sure to schedule them for anyone who wants their makeup and hair done for the wedding.
4. Pick Outfits for Your Groomsmen
If you want your groomsmen to wear coordinating outfits, this would be the time to take them to a tuxedo shop or wherever fits the style of your wedding. It’s important for you and your groomsmen to be happy and comfortable with their wedding day outfits.
Three Months Before Celebration
Your wedding day is getting closer. As your excitement grows, remember to complete these tasks around the three-month mark.
1. Write Invitations
You can write your invitations by hand or create them online. You can find plenty of template styles online that will match your wedding day colors and theme.
2. Ask Your Caterer About a Menu
Hopefully, you’ll have had time to think about the tasting you had with your caterer, and you can help them draw up a more complete menu for your wedding.
3. Pick Guest Favors
Consider leaving your guests with a unique favor to let them know how much you appreciate them attending your wedding. Examples of guest favors include wine glasses, candles and custom items.
4. Write Your Vows
If you’re choosing to write your own vows, now is the time to start. You can communicate with your officiant for vow ideas or write what comes to mind.
Two Months Before Celebration
Two months before your big day, make sure you complete the following tasks.
1. Send Invitations
Send out your immaculately designed invitations. It might be helpful to create a checklist of all the people you need to send invites to.
2. Try on Your Wedding Attire
Make sure the dress or tux you bought still fits you. If you think it may need alterations, you still have time to get them done.
3. Get Your Marriage License
Before your officiant can officiate your wedding, you need a marriage license, so head down to your local courthouse. You might even be able to start your application online before you go in person so the process doesn’t take as long.
4. Buy Accessories
The kind of accessories you add to your wedding is up to you. The following is a list of small accessories you might take this month to consider:
- Flowers for your bridesmaids to hold
- Jewelry for yourself and your partner
- Frames for any pictures you might display
- Guest book
- Cake topper
- Comfortable dancing shoes
5. Pick the Perfect Playlist
Sit down with your partner and create a playlist that embodies your relationship, or a playlist that’s just fun. Think about if you want some songs to be played at a certain time during your wedding to help create a certain mood.
One Month Before Celebration
You’re getting closer to your special day! Make sure you accomplish the following tasks.
1. Pay Your Vendors
Make sure you pay all your vendors in full before your wedding day. Also, be sure your caterers know when and where to bring the food and drinks you’ve ordered and how you’d like everything to be set up.
2. Draw up a Seating Chart and Place Cards
If there are a lot of people at your wedding, consider drawing up a seating chart and making place cards. You can find great seating chart ideas online that look nice and match your theme.
3. Clear Your Schedule
If you can clear your schedule for the week of the wedding, that’s great! If not, consider planning ahead so your workload is lighter during that week.
4. Take Care of Your Body and Mind
You want to look and feel your best on your wedding day, whatever that means to you personally. If you want to get your hair professionally colored, go for it. If you want to hit up more relaxing yoga classes, go for it. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself.
5. Practice Your Vows
If you and your partner have written your own vows, practicing saying them out loud ahead of time might help you feel less nervous when the time comes to read them for real.
6. Do a Walk-Through
You’re almost at the end of your wedding planning guide! You’ll want to think through all the final touches of your big day. Things you can do to ensure you have everything completed for your wedding day include:
- Make a list of any personal items and things you need for your wedding day.
- Write down a schedule for the wedding proceedings that you can keep with you.
- Make sure everyone you want to come to the wedding is still planning on coming.
- Meet with vendors one last time before the big day and go over a wedding vendor checklist.
Contact Shutter and Sound to Turn Your Wedding Into Lasting Art
This 12-month wedding checklist can help you remember all the things you need for a wedding. If you’re planning on having a videographer at your wedding, start your research early to find a business that understands and emanates the vibe of your wedding. Check out Shutter and Sound’s video gallery to get a feel for the kind of art we create.
Our small group of experienced videographers is standing by to answer any questions you might have about pricing or what we can do to help make your wedding uniquely beautiful. Check out the locations we serve, and contact us today with any questions!
How to Choose a Wedding Videographer
It’s your big day — you likely already know how important it is to capture it all on video. But there are a lot of videographers out there, all with different styles, results and experience, so how do you know which one is the right fit?
The quality of your video is going to depend on several factors, from your preferences to your budget and location. You’ll have to weigh what you want in a video against your videographer’s skills and specialties. In this guide, we’ll discuss several factors you’ll need to consider when choosing a wedding videographer.
Of course, your wedding videographer must fit into your budget. No one wants to spend more on the video than on the rest of the wedding. That said, you should be prepared to spend more than the bare minimum on your videographer if you want strong results. You tend to get what you pay for with these things.
Wedding videographers are a worthy investment, as this will likely be your best way to go down memory lane in the future. Would you rather sift through an SD card of static photos and try to remember every detail or hit play on a video and feel all of those emotions again? Video captures the whole moment and then some, while photos just capture a fraction of it.
With all of the value that you can get from a wedding video, make sure you fully consider how much you want to invest in this part of the experience.
Don’t forget to pay close attention to the package you purchase, so you know which of your must-haves and your nice-to-haves are covered. You might get more time, more cameramen or longer videos with higher-priced packages.
Many different types of wedding videographers will charge varying prices. A “point-and-shoot” videographer is pretty bare-bones. They might give you a video that looks a little cheesy or plain. Of course, these will be the cheapest. From there, the quality typically goes up.
Here are some of the things you’re paying for when you hire a wedding videographer:
- Experience: A videographer might have as much experience as your cousin who just got a nice camera for his birthday last year. Preferably, your videographer would have a well-trained and well-educated team of cameramen and editors who know exactly what they’re doing from years of practice. This level of experience will show through in the product with technical skill and a strong artistic vision. Professionals, as expected, charge more than amateurs or hobbyists to make up for their education, expertise and the years spent honing their craft.
- Materials: Nice cameras aren’t cheap. Footage on a decent camera will have a significantly different look from one shot on an iPhone. Plus, they tend to look better after being edited than low-quality footage does. Videographers vary widely in the tools that they use, but one that opts for top-of-the-line equipment may factor that into their costs. Someone who works with the bare minimum may be cheaper, but you won’t get the same level of quality. Still, quality equipment is not the best indicator of a quality video. Some artists can create stunning results with mid-level equipment. Don’t let tools be an overwhelming factor in your decision.
- Location: Some regions of the world and country will have higher prices, simply due to the market in that area.
- Time: Each cameraman and editor will spend hours on a video, and you’ll be paying for that time. If a company or videographer is in high demand, you may have to pay more, simply because of the number of people vying for their time.
- Skill and style: Skill typically comes from experience, but not always. The best way to judge a videographer’s skill is to look at their portfolio, which will also tell you more about their style.
2. Videography Style
There are several different types of videography styles, but a select few have become popular in recent years. It’s essential that the style you choose fits with your vision for the wedding. If you’re looking for class and elegance, a Marryoke video probably won’t accomplish that.
Some of the most popular videography styles include:
Cinematic wedding videos are fun to watch and fun to shoot. These videos are shot more like a movie, with creative camera angles, text, montages and subtle effects. You may even see things like drone shots and multiple angles of one event. Typically, a cinematic wedding video will have music and natural sound effects to back up the footage, but they may fade in and out to accentuate the story better.
A full-length cinematic video won’t necessarily be linear. It may flash through shots from different parts of the day to best tell the story and convey the emotion.
Videographers can have varying levels of involvement, but usually, they’ll have a heavier hand in this kind of style. They might set up shots or direct the couple throughout the events. The best videographers can strike a balance between incorporating subtle handiwork that will significantly improve the footage and turning your venue into a mess of flashes and microphones.
To get the right tone, they might work off of your wedding theme and talk to you about what kind of effect you want the video to have. Since they can use music and get creative, cinematic videos are excellent for portraying the emotion of the day.
A journalistic video is more about recording the event in its entirety than making an emotional, compelling video. These videos may still employ some creative choices, like voiceovers and interesting shots, but, for the most part, it will be minimally edited.
Journalist wedding videography is more likely to capture every moment — though not necessarily the emotion behind it — and tends to follow the events of the day in order. The videographer will take a more hands-off approach, with less directing and more candids.
If you want a simple, straightforward option with no bells and whistles, the journalistic style might be for you.
The Love Story
A love story video focuses on the couple’s entire journey, not just the wedding day. It may have more documentary-style elements, with input from the couple and their friends and family talking about their story. It might also include pictures and videos from the couple’s time together.
This is undoubtedly a romantic style, and it would likely use elements from the cinematic form. It may take a little more time to set up and gather the interviews than a cinematic video would, but if you want something that covers more ground than the actual wedding day, a love story video could be the right style for you.
If you want to focus more on the fun times all your guests are having and the togetherness of the ceremony, a Marryoke video might be something to consider. They aren’t as common as other styles and sometimes can be an add-on to a regular video package, but they are certainly entertaining.
In a Marryoke video, different guests will lip-sync to a song throughout the day, and the editors will create a mashup of all of them singing, dancing and laughing. It’s a fun way to get your guests taking part in the video, and it lets you play with shots that look like they’re straight from a music video.
Keep in mind that it might take a significant chunk of your videographer’s time to set up, so an extra cameraman might be necessary.
3. The Videographer’s Portfolio and Past Works
One of the best ways to choose a videographer is to look through their portfolio. You can see which styles they can do and how they edit a big day down to a fraction of the time. Do they lean toward candids or staged shots? Do they use lots of music or voiceovers? You may also be able to see how a videographer will handle specific locations, like a beach or forest wedding.
Another helpful piece of information from a portfolio is consistency. How many breathtaking videos have they done? Do the videos all feel like they share a style? Look through your potential videographer’s portfolio carefully, as this is your best chance to understand the tone and style they use.
Lastly, always check the reviews. A videographer can say whatever they want about their services, but honest responses from real customers can tell you what they’re really like. Make sure to get reviews from independent, third-party websites and not solely from the videographer’s site.
Reviews can offer a lot of information about the videographer and what they’re like to work with. Reviewers could tell you about the videographer’s responsiveness or how easy they were to communicate with. They may also tell you about how the videographer involved them in the decision-making process. Looking at reviews provides lots of little pieces of information that you may not have thought to ask about.
In every region of the country, you’ll have different videographers at your disposal. If you’re considering a destination wedding or enlisting a traveling videographer, you might find that your options can be quite versatile, depending on the location.
It may be nice to know that some companies, like Shutter and Sound, have consistent services in multiple regions throughout the country. Though our locations reach far and wide, our videographers are carefully selected and trained to adhere to a specific style. Your video will receive the same level of care and a similar style across cities from coast to coast.
If your friend from Los Angeles recommended us, but you live in New York, you can still take their suggestion. Alternatively, if you’re looking at destinations or different locations, you can trust that you’ll get similar quality and results with a nationwide videography company.
If you want to pay for the costs of mileage and a hotel stay, you may also be able to send a videographer to your destination. You might want to do this if your location isn’t within their network, you’ve simply fallen in love with their style and you can’t picture anyone else running the show.
Here are some of the other ways your wedding location could affect your video.
- Familiarity in the business: Working with reputable and well-known videographers can make your big day go smoother. Planners and venues may be familiar with their style and be more confident or knowledgeable about working with them. Plus, your videographer may have worked the location before and knows all the tricks to get the best shots.
- Tricky venues: Keep in mind the difficulty of particular venues. If your wedding is in a more traditional location, shooting it can be easier. Places like the beach or less-conventional settings might be more challenging to shoot, so experience will go a long way in ensuring your videographer can adjust to environmental conditions and produce a stellar film. They may need to know more about lighting or know how to keep their camera rolling amidst sand and ocean spray.
- Scale: If your wedding has a massive audience with all your closest acquaintances, you’ll probably need multiple videographers to help cover all that ground on the big day. Make sure your videographer is aware of your guest list, so they can set you up with the appropriate number of cameramen.
Other Things to Consider
Here are a few more questions to ask yourself when choosing your wedding videographer:
- How quickly do you want your video? Editing and postproduction can vary significantly, depending on the videographer, the size of the wedding, the number of cameramen and more. If you’re not particularly patient, you may want a videographer with a quick turnaround.
- Do you want any raw footage? Raw footage is everything that the cameramen shot. Your final video typically won’t show every single detail that was caught on camera. If you want everything possible, you can sometimes request the raw footage, though it may cost a little bit more.
- How involved will the videographer be? Remember, you don’t want an obtrusive cameraman butting in all the time, but a few tweaks can be helpful. Think about the level of involvement and what the videographer’s timeline will look like. Will they stay for the whole reception or just opening remarks? How about the bridesmaids getting ready? Talk these things over, so you can find the right fit.