There are really only good things that come with booking your wedding photographer ahead of time. Not only does it alleviate some of the stress that comes with wedding planning, but it also gives you the satisfaction of checking off one of the biggest decisions for your wedding day well in advance. It gives you time to research photographers, meet with them, decide what packages will work best for you and budget appropriately.
Most of the top tier photographers will be booked well in advance or may only accept a certain number of weddings per year. This is important to keep in mind if you have your heart set on someone specific. Don’t be disappointed by waiting too long. The first step is to book your venue (see the list of venues I will be shooting at this year for inspiration). Now the first big thing is planned for your wedding, so move forward with booking your photographer!
Another great reason to book in advance is to spread out your wedding payments and manage your budget. You can work with your photographer to find out the deposit amount, and find out when you can expect to pay the remaining balance. You could begin making payments leading up to the wedding, or prepare to budget the final payment to be due right before the wedding. Each photographer is different and should be able to work with you on this step. Remember to allocate 10-15% of your wedding budget to your photographer.
Finally, since engagement photos are always included in my packages, it is great to book in advance so that you have time to book your engagement session well before the wedding. Most couples getting married this year have already had their engagement sessions done last year, between spring and fall 2013. This way they had time to use the photos for other things: save the dates, stag & does, engagement party or bridal showers, or even a photo book that doubles as a guest book for the wedding.