There will be more than 46,000 weddings in Indiana this year. What makes some weddings better than others?

PLANNING

Planning a wedding in Indiana is an incredibly exciting process and weather or not you get professional help there is more info available online now to ensure you can plan the perfect wedding for you! But where do you start?

It takes a lot of practice to get good at something so why should you be expected to plan a dream wedding if you have never been married before? As a wedding photographer I have been to my share of weddings and have seen what works and what doesn’t. I created this guide to getting married in Indiana to help you when you have questions and don’t know what to do next.

Celebrate:

Celebrate your engagement! Getting engaged is a major milestone in your life. Take time to enjoy yourself and make sure you know What To Do Right After You Get Engaged.

 Marissa and Ryans Leaping Lizards Wedding Covington Ky - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

Wedding Concept:

Ease your way into wedding planning. Sit down and pick out a theme for your wedding day. This doesn’t have to be strong like a Great Gatsby or Masquerade wedding. If you don’t know How To Pick A Wedding Theme it can be quite simple. The theme of your wedding will help you make decisions like a color palate, how you want a bouquet designed, or what your invitations will look like. Once you have a theme in mind it's time to Create A Pintrest Mood Board. The mood board will help guide you towards a cohesive look and give you something to show your vendors to make sure they can help bring your dream wedding to life.

Wedding Budget:

Wedding planning is about to kick into full effect now because it’s time to come up with a budget. It doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. I've broken down how to Create A Wedding Budget and I show you how having a budget can help you make the best decisions to have a perfect wedding day. Luckily there are many Budget Saving Wedding Tips readily availible online.

 Sam & Alex's Homestead 1835 Wedding New Carlisle IN - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

Pick a Wedding Date:

At about a month in to your engagement you will undoubtedly get asked “Have you picked out a wedding date” If not, now is the time to do so! But picking a wedding date for your Indiana wedding is not as easy as just pointing to a date in a calendar, in fact in some cases picking your wedding date isn’t even up to you! And with how unpredictable weather can be here in Indiana there are several factors to consider. So be sure to keep the weather in mind!

Wedding Planning:

With a date and a budget you are officially ready to start wedding planning. Depending on your needs you may need a wedding planner or a day of coordinator. A full wedding planner will help you plan your entire wedding, walk you through options, help recommend vendors, share ideas, and of course be with you the day of the wedding. If you want to plan your wedding, a day of coordinator is a more economical choice and is booked closer to your wedding date. The day of coordinator will also keep everything organized for you, helping create a timeline, and put out all the fires on your wedding day so you can spend more time enjoying yourself. For a full break down check out What is the Difference Between a Wedding Planner and Coordinator. Here is also a list of Questions To Ask an Indianapolis Wedding Planner with download!

Wedding guest list:

Your wedding is a chance to celebrate with your family and closest friends. But there could also be co workers and neighbors and friends of your parents. The list can get long. How Do You Create A Guest List For Your Wedding? Talk to your partner about who you want at your wedding, is it everyone you have ever known and there plus one or a small intimate group of the people who you would do anything for? Once you have an answer you can start making the right decisions for your wedding. It wouldn’t make sense to book the largest wedding venue in Indianapolis if you are having a curated list of wedding guests.

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Wedding Venue:

It's time to find a wedding venue and this will be the first major decision of your wedding. Your wedding venue sets the tone for your wedding. A wedding at the beautiful and quaint Mustard Seed Gardens in Noblesville has a much different feel than a wedding at JPS Events at Regions Tower. This is why creating a mood board and talking about how you envision your wedding day is so important. Since wedding venues book up wedding dates a year plus in advance it’s important that booking your venue is one of the first tasks you check off your todo list. But all venues are not created equal. Some only work with certain approved vendors. So be sure to print out this list of Questions to Ask Wedding Venue to make sure they will be a good fit for what you envision on your wedding day!

Wedding Photography:

After the venue, wedding photographers get booked furthest in advance because like a venue they can only host one event per day and once a date is booked, it’s no longer available to other couples. With wedding photography you will see prices all over the board ranging from $500 to $5000 so be sure to read my guide on How Much Does Wedding Photography Cost in Indianapolis. When looking for a wedding photographer it's important to decide on the Style Of Wedding Photography you want as well as How Many Hours of Wedding Photography Do You Need. Once you have decided, schedule a time to meet with 2-3 wedding photographers in person and print out this list of Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer and this list of Hidden Wedding Photography Costs to ensure you pick a wedding photographer who is going to deliver what you are looking for.

Bridal Party:

Your wedding is a time for family and friends to get together. This includes your bridal party. Your bridal party should be those closest to you who have your back until the end. Best friends, Sorority sisters, actual sisters, ect. It is not always a clear cut How Big Should A Bridal Party Be.

 Spencer and Kristen Primos Event Center Wedding Indianapolis Indiana  - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

Wedding Dress:

The wedding dress is arguably the most iconic piece of a wedding day. It's no small task picking out the perfect dress but luckily the incredible people over at Sophia's Bridal on the southside of Indianapolis can answer all of your questions about How To Pick The Perfect Wedding Dress. Also don't forget to go in for last minute alterations a month before the wedding!

 Tony and Rachel's 502 Event Center Carmel Indiana Wedding  - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

Wedding Cake and Catering:

When you think about traditional wedding photos, cutting the cake is at the top of the list along with the first kiss. But that trend is shifting. More couples are opting for cupcakes, pies, or donuts instead of cake. This rises a few more questions like What Are Alternatives To Wedding Cake. But if you have to have a cake (Because who doesn’t like cake? Plus the people who don't are not cool enough to be invited to your wedding) then here is a list of questions of What to Ask Wedding Cake Baker.

Before we get to the desert though you also have to think about catering for your wedding. Catering is a bit trickier to cover because some venues will only allow you to use approved vendors, others force you to use their in house caterer, and still others will let you bring in or do whatever you want! It is important to talk to your venue about their policy if you have a specific style of food of caterer for your wedding in mind.

Once you have picked out 2-3 options for catering your wedding, schedule time to talk about menu options and have a tasting. This is also the perfect time to print out and bring this list of what Questions to ask Caterers.

Engagement Photography:

If you booked an engagement session with your wedding photographer now is the time to get them scheduled. Try to schedule them sooner rather than later. 2-3 months after booking your photographer is just fine depending on the time of year and weather so find out WHEN TO TAKE ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS for a more info.

Your engagement photos should be personal to your relationship. If you two meet at that hole in the wall taco place and still go once a week, incorporate that into your session! Think about the things you two love to do together or what drew you together. But if you still need help, no worries! I am here to help so here is a list of the Best Places To Take Engagement Photos around Indianapolis, complete with real engagement photos! Now that you have date and location scheduled, you may be wondering WHAT TO WEAR FOR ENGAGEMENT SESSION. This can change depending on the season but a good rule of thumb is to wear solid colors rather than outfits with small patterns and then wear something you feel comfortable and confident in.


I have a 14 day guaranteed turn around on engagement photos because there is so much that you can do with them. They can be uploaded to Facebook and Instagram of course and can be used for save the dates, check out my blog Why Save The Dates Are Important. Your engagement photos can also be used to create a guestbook for your wedding! A traditional guestbook is one of the biggest wastes of money at your wedding. You already have everyone’s name and addresses. Ask your wedding photographer if they offer a guestbook from your engagement session images. This is a fun way to relive this special time in your life.

 Chris and Jessy The Lodge at River Valley Farm Wedding Yorktown IN - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

Wedding Website:

At this point in wedding planning you have all the major details figured out that are important to your guests. A date and location. This is when most couples create a Wedding Website. A wedding website is free and lets you have one easy location to keep all of your info for guests which saves you 100 phones calls from that one relative who has no idea how to use google maps. I recommend using ZOLA. Zola is an all in one place to keep track of wedding planning process, keeps your guests informed of the most important information, and lets you create a wedding registry from an endless amount of items or guests can even contribute to a honeymoon fund or your favorite charity!

Wedding Videography:

Having a video from your wedding day that you can look back on is an incredible experience. But you may be thinking Do I Need A Wedding Videographer if we hired a wedding photographer? Simply put wedding videography offers something that photography does not. Voice. For that and so many other reasons I think it’s a great idea to hire a wedding videographer. Ask your photographer for recommendations of wedding videographers. That will ensure you they both work well with each other and no one will get in each other’s way. Be sure to print up and ask this list of What to Ask Wedding Videographers.

Reception Entertainment:

When it comes to entertaining your guests you have quite a few options here in Indiana. From a Live Band, DJ, Dueling Pianos, or even Spotify Wedding Playlist can work for several parts of the day like Getting Ready, the processional, recessional and first dance (Just be sure to spend the $10 for a premium subscription so a poorly times ad doesn’t ruin the moment). But how do you choose a Live Band or DJ for Your Wedding. It all comes down to the feel you want for your wedding. Dueling Wedding Pianos or a Live Band will bring the most energy and will be sure to entertain your guests all night. A DJ may be a more economic choice but don’t cut corners here, a great DJ is worth their weight in gold and can keep the party. Be sure to download and print my list of What to Ask Wedding DJ or Live Band.

 Sam & Alex's Homestead 1835 Wedding New Carlisle IN - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

Wedding Officiant:

To get married you only need 2 things. A location and an officiant. The officiant is the one who will officiate the wedding ceremony. If you are getting married at your home church this will probably be the pastor. But if you're having your wedding outside of a church you will need an officiant. Here is a list of Questions To Ask Wedding Officiant that you can print out. The officiant will help you make ceremony plans according to the length and traditions of your ceremony. The officiant will also help notify your guests if you plan to have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony.

Wedding Florist:

A floral wedding bouquet is the perfect compliment to any wedding dress. But there is a lot more that goes into the a bouquet to remember than you think. Seasonality can predicate what's available and therefore prices can fluctuate. So having an open mind and a florist you can trust is must. Check out my interview with Julie's Flowers of Geist who is a Wedding Florist in Indianapolis. She shares what to look for in a bouquet and what Questions To Ask Wedding Florist.

 Jon & Melissa Philbert Rustic Wedding 
Summitville Indiana

Wedding Band Shopping:

Your engagement ring is a special piece that you will wear forever. Your wedding ring signifies your union together. Often couples don't know when to buy the wedding bands. The wedding bands are traditionally purchased 2-3 months before the wedding date. That gives you time to pick out something personal to you and also accounts for production time if you went the custom route.

Party Rentals:

If you are having an outdoor wedding ceremony, there is a good chance you will need to rent chairs or a tent for your outdoor reception. If you are having your wedding in one of the colder months you may want to rent some large space heaters to keep your guest warm. Make a list of the things that you want to rent and about 3 months before your wedding place an order with one of the several Party Rental Supply Stores around indy.

Honeymoon Ideas:

Just the word honeymoon makes me think of a tropical location and delicious drinks. That is what my wife and I did and it was a great way to relax after the marathon that is planning a wedding. If you downloaded the Wedding Planning App Zola, (affiliate link) you can add a tropical honeymoon to your wedding registry and let guests pitch in for your experience. But perhaps a far off location is not what you two have in mind and want to stay close to home. Luckily Hoosiers have a lot of options for Romantic Honeymoon ideas in Indiana that do not require a ton of travel!

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Wedding Night Plans:

There is a good chance you will be getting married close to home and don’t think you should get a hotel room the night of your wedding. But as someone who went home the night of their wedding, I can confidently say I wish we got a hotel room. Not that anything was wrong with our house but the day was so special that ending it the same way we did the other 364 days that year with laundry that needed done and dishes in the sink fell flat. You only get married once make it extra special. Make sure you know What To Pack for your Wedding Night and also know that you may be exhausted and starving after your wedding ceremony so think about a late night snack before. Which is one of the best ways to Surprise Your Groom On Your Wedding Night.

Reserve a Block of Hotel Rooms:

Indiana is the crossroads of America which means it's a great central location for any family of friends traveling for your wedding. To make your guests life easy you can reserve a block of rooms at a hotel close to your wedding venue. Traditionally couples reserve about 2 dozen or so rooms at the hotel they are staying at the night of their wedding. To Reserve A Block Of Hotels For Your Wedding Night is quite easy, does not require you to put any money down, and can be done over the phone!

Wedding Transportation:

Booking a block of hotel rooms lets you arrange easy wedding transportation from the reception venue so guests who enjoyed a few drinks don't have to worry about how they will get to the hotel. If you are hiring a limo or party bus for your wedding the transportation company should also be able to accommodate the guests transportation at the end of the night. If you are considering special transportation for your wedding, I have found that it makes the most sense when traveling more than 10 miles between the ceremony and reception venues for larger bridal parties which is who rides in the wedding limo. This lets your bridal party enjoy that extra mimosa or two while getting ready.

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Wedding Invitations:

You sent out save the dates and now it's time to send out your official wedding invitations. The wedding invitation the important job of collecting an RSVP. So figure out how you want to collect RSVPs and make this as easy as possible for guest to submit. Including a stamped return postcard is a great idea as it only requires the guest to answer one question and put it in the mailbox! This will increase your response rate so you can accurately prepare for the next step.

Seating Chart:

Now that you have back your RSVPs you can start building a seating chart. The seating chart my feel like a daunting task, but once you know the basics you’ll find it's easier than you think to Make A Seating Chart For Your Wedding. It’s all about breaking down your guests into groups. Friends, work friends, parents friends, family ect, then assigning them a table. And if you are serving a plated meal it's an absolutely must for the caterers to have. If there will be a lot of kids at your wedding here are some great ideas to Keep Kids Entertained At Your Wedding. That way you and your guest can dance the night away and the kids won't feel left out.

 Nate Jessica Buechler Wedding 
Indianapolis Indiana 
www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

Wedding Favors:

Wedding favors show guests your appreciation for celebrating one of the biggest days of your life with you. Great wedding favors are 3 things, Memorable, Personal, and Seasonal. We are lucky to have access to an incredible amount of Wedding Favors In Indiana from local businesses that truly make your wedding day personal. A treat at the end of the night will be sure to make your wedding something your guests won’t soon forget!

Wedding Vows:

Your wedding vows are personal, heart felt, and something you will never forget. Many couples decide to Write Personalized Wedding Vows which adds a lot of meaning to the wedding ceremony. This can feel like a lot of pressure so give yourself time to work out what you want to say. Here is also a Grooms Guide To Writing Their Vows that your future groom would really appreciate if you sent to him! It helps to remember you are not writing your vows for everyone at your wedding, you’re just writing them for each other. So don’t worry about making it sound like your vows were written by Hemingway, as long as your partner understands what you are trying to say you are sure to have a winner.

Family Photos:

Your wedding is the perfect occasion to get everyone in your family together and having a professional photographer there makes it a no brainer that you would want to get family photos. As a professional photographer I can tell you the biggest black hole of time comes from the family photos. Having a written Wedding Family Photo List will help your photographer organize the group shots efficiently. On average wedding family photos take about 3 minutes per grouping. 10 groupings will take about 30 minutes. Pro tip designate one GO TO person who knows your family to help call out names for the photographer to speed things up since the photographer likely won't know who your cousin Sally and aunt Kim are.

 Katie and Kyle Rhodes Wedding
Glenwoddie Country Club Golf Course
Glenwood IL
Salem Lutheran church
Homewood IL

Wedding Day Timeline:

You are closing in on your wedding day and If you have a full wedding planner or a day of coordinator they will be able to sit down with you and create a personalized wedding day timeline. If you are wondering what is a wedding day timeline, it's a plan for your wedding day that keeps everything in order and running smooth. Every wedding timeline will look different and change depending on a number of factors based on a few questions. The biggest being Should You Have a First Look. Once you have decided, you can download my Wedding Timeline With First Look or my Wedding Timeline Without First Look. The wedding day has a lot of traditions. And if you are asking What Wedding Traditions To Follow here is a list 5 ancient wedding traditions we still follow today. If you have any vendor specific questions feel free to reach out to them and ask. They have done this before and will be happy to help. Once your timeline is completed, send it to all of your vendors!

 Chris and Jessy The Lodge at River Valley Farm Wedding Yorktown IN - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

Hair and Makeup:

Before your wedding be sure to get a hair and makeup trial run. For the same reason you don't pick out your wedding dress the day of the wedding. You want to make sure it looks good and that you’re happy with it. The trial run is not the hair and makeup artists time to “Practice”. It allows you to talk about available options, get an idea of the artists skill and personality. Since wedding day timelines are pretty tight it's also an opportunity to talk about how much time is needed to accomplish what you want for all your bridesmaids.

Relax:

Even though you are just weeks away from saying I DO you need to take time for yourselves. Have a full day date together where you don't talk about any wedding planning. Get outdoors and go on a hike at Eagle Creek State Park, Take a cooking class, go to dinner and a movie, get a manicure! Whatever you to love doing together do that. Spend time focusing on why you two fell in love. As hard as it seems to believe, this phase in your life of wedding planning will soon be over so look to the future and talk about what life will look like in the years to come!

Wedding Day Emergency Kit:

No matter how well planned out your wedding day is, a small emergency can always pop up. Have a wedding day emergency kit with the essentials like Tylenol, breath mints, and a snack. And don't forget things like a Tide pen for stains, super glue for possible heal malfunctions, and a small sewing kit for tiny tears in dresses or suits.

Get Your Marriage License:

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To get married in Indiana you first need a marriage license. IMPORTANT NOTE Your Marriage License is only valid for 60 days. So don't jump the gun and get it the day you get engaged otherwise you will have to go through the following process all over again. To get your marriage license need to go to your county clerk's office for the county you live in. You don't need an appointment and once you get there where will be signs pointing you to the right window. You both need to be present at the same time to apply for your marriage license. You need to bring proof of address like an electricity bill so they can verify you live in the county and to issue you your license. You need to bring your license and birth certificate. You will have to fill out a form and swear that you are not knowingly marrying your first cousin, and that’s it! $18 later they will hand you your marriage license! For a list of specific instructions to your county check out Indiana's own Guide To Get Your Marriage License.

Wedding Rehearsal:

Practice makes perfect right? Having a wedding rehearsal ensures everyone knows what their roles are during the wedding ceremony and that there are no hiccups. But if you have never been to a wedding rehearsal you may be wondering Who Needs To Be At The Wedding Rehearsal? Generally anyone who has a part in the wedding ceremony need to be at the Rehearsal. Your parents, bridal party, and officiant. If you have a wedding planner or day of coordination, they will most likely be there as well. This can happen up to a week before the wedding and depends on the venues availability so be sure to ask your venue about their Rehearsal policy and get their suggestions.

Get ready to get ready:

The morning of your wedding, before you walk down the aisle you will be getting ready with your bridesmaids. Think about what you will wear before you put on the dress and what you will be listening too. Those are just 2 of my Tips for Getting Ready On Your Wedding Day. Make sure all your bridesmaids know where they will be getting ready and if you will be sitting in a chair for hair and makeup make sure they know when to be there as well.

GET MARRIED!

The day has come! Hopefully you got plenty of sleep the the night before. It can single handedly be one of the biggest factors in enjoying and Staying Present On Your Wedding Day! Remember that no matter how perfectly planned your wedding is, it’s possible something will go wrong. Take a deep breath and remember that the point of your wedding day is to get married to your best friend and unless something directly affects the ceremony then shrug it off and deal with it tomorrow. And if it won't be a problem tomorrow… then it's not a problem to worry about today. Trust your wedding vendors and enjoy the day you have been looking forward to for a very long time!

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After The Wedding:

You spend a year plus working up to your wedding day. Blood, sweat, and tears when it to it. You said I DO so now what? Well the wedding isn’t over yet. There are still a few more things you need to do. First and foremost you need to notify your job that you are now married. This will change how much is taken out of your paycheck, how taxes are filed, and also could change your medical benefits. On top of sending thank you cards and potentially changing your last name there is a whole list of What To Do The Day After You Get Married. Take this time to start planning something new! Build the life you envision together.


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