wedding photographer Melissa Jill
I know I'm a little bit biased, but I truly believe that hiring your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions that you'll make during your wedding planning process. You're creating not only one of the most emotional and important days of your life, but also planning a beautiful and entertaining event, full of meaningful details. So the way that day is documented -- and the person you hire to do so -- really matters! In the past, I've shared my suggestions for how to choose a wedding photographer and some questions to ask yourself before you start the search to help you with the process of finding just the right photographer. But along with HOW to choose a photographer, I also often hear engaged couples ask WHEN they should hire their photographer.

As with so many other things, the answer is "It depends." :) In the infographic at the bottom of this post, WeddingWire suggests booking your photographer by 10 months before your wedding. I think this is a great recommendation, but everyone's situation is different. To be on the safe side, here are three things to consider as you decide when to pull the trigger on hiring your photographer:

1 -- How popular is your wedding date?
There are certain dates that are more popular than others. On the MJP calendar, there is one date in the fall on which our team is already booked for 3 weddings (plus one more wedding for my Photo Booth company Rendezbooth). And I STILL get requests for that date that I have to turn away. Many engaged couples book their venue or hire their planner first. If that's you, ask your planner and your venue contact about how popular your date is. This will give you a good idea of whether you need to snatch up your preferred photographer pronto.

2 -- How many weddings does your photographer accept in a year?
This is an important question to ask your potential photographer, and it's one that often doesn't occur to non-photographers. Shooting weddings is an exhausting and time-consuming job, and many of us set boundaries on how many weddings we can commit to in a year or in a season. If your chosen photographer only accepts a limited number of weddings, it's important to move quickly to hire them before all of those slots are filled.

3 -- How in-demand is your photographer?
This is a much more subjective consideration than the two above, but it's still important. From the research you did when you were first searching for the right photographer, you might have an idea of how popular and sought-after the one you've chosen is. If they are in high demand, they will receive a large number of inquiries ... and that means there is a greater chance that someone else will book them on your wedding date. The more popular a photographer is, the sooner I would recommend reaching out to them about booking your date.

Note that all three of these reasons are recommendations for moving sooner. The only suggestion I have for why you should hold off on booking your photographer is if you're not sure they're the right fit for you. There are a lot of photographers out there. But once you find the right one -- the photographer whose work moves you, with whom you just "click" -- I hope you'll move forward with booking them immediately. After all, it only takes ONE other couple to put your chosen photographer out of reach for your wedding day.

The experts at WeddingWire shared a helpful infographic with me to help engaged couples figure out when they should have each vendor booked. Take a look at their Vendor Booking Timeline to create a roadmap for your own wedding planning process! You might also find their Wedding Checklist helpful to keep yourself on track.
infographic on when to hire your wedding vendors
Again, this is a great general guide, but if you have a shorter engagement than a year, don't fret! You can still have an amazing wedding with stellar vendors. Just use the above guide to book your vendors in the same general order to ensure you are able to assemble your dream team before they get booked up!
-----------> If you are engaged and planning your wedding, it's a great idea to start thinking about the timeline of your day early on! If you would like to have a timeline to start from, click here to take a quick 2-question quiz, and we will email you back with an ideal preliminary timeline based on the sunset time on your wedding day as well as whether or not you would like to do a first look!
3 things to consider when planning how soon to book your wedding photographer
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