Couples, Wedding

Your Guide to Naples Wedding Planning

Congratulations on your engagement!

Getting married is exciting and the planning process has probably been on your mind. While planning a wedding is joyful, it can also be stressful if you’re not sure where to start. That’s why we made this guide. It’s tailored to amazing couples like you, and packed with information to help you plan the wedding of your dreams. We’ve put together everything you need to get started on your Naples wedding planning.

Now, Is wedding planning intimidating? Sure, but it doesn’t have to be! We’re here to help provide you with some of the latest information you’ll need from a wedding photographer and videographer’s expertise. We’re super involved in the planning process with all of our couples and hope this information helps you as much as it’s helped others. 

Bottom line: YOU’VE GOT THIS! 

Carefully Plan a Wedding Budget

Establishing a wedding budget should be one of the very first, and most important, thing to tackle on your wedding-to-do list. What’s more, your budget will set the tone for your wedding and will help you decide what you can and cannot afford to spend on during your Naples wedding planning.

Tip: Think about what is most important to you on your wedding day. Is it the venue? The photography? The music? Let what is most important to you lead your budget as this is what truly matters most to you and will make your experience. 

Do your best to stick to your wedding budget. We never recommend couples exceed their budget unless they truly, and we mean TRULY have room to spend a little more. Just to give you some insight, on average, a Naples, Florida wedding costs about $35,000.

Here’s a sample list of what to add to your wedding budget: 
1. Venue
2. Photography and/or videography
3. Wedding planner or day-of-coordinator
4. Officiant
5. Wedding dress, tuxedo or suit for groom, bridal party dresses/suits
6. Hair and makeup
7. DJ
8. Rentals for decor
9. Florals
10. Cake and/or desserts
11. Invitations
12. Party favors and gifts for your parents, bridal party, etc. 

Some venues only provide the space. Should this be the case be prepared to add the following to your budget:
13. Catering (buffet or plated dinner)
14. Linens, tables, chairs, dinnerware, etc.

Tour and Choose Your Venue

Once you’ve prepared and decided on your budget it is imperative you book a venue. Popular venues in the area are booked months and even years in advance. When looking for venues it’s important to look for a venue that fits your theme, find out if your date is available, schedule a tour, and find out what your venue offers within your budget. 

Tip: Naples’ high season starts in October and does not end until June. If you’re wanting to get married during this time rates will be higher and dates will be harder to secure. Inquiring early is a good idea (up to a year or more in advance).

Here are a few questions to ask when inquiring with your favorite venues:
1. Is our date available? If it is not, what are some alternate dates?
2. Can my guest count be accommodated?
3. What is the venue fee? When is the due date? What’s included in the price? 
4. When is my deposit/retainer due? What is your cancellation policy?
5. What is your contingency plan should my wedding be outdoors?
6. Are there any other events happening here the same day as my wedding?
7. Is there a groom and/or bridal suite to get ready? 
8. Can we choose our own vendors?

If your venue includes food/drinks, here are a few questions to ask:
1. Is there a food and beverage minimum?
2. Can we book a food tasting?
3. Are tables, chairs, dinnerware, etc. provided?
4. Is there a cake-cutting fee?
5. How much does an open bar cost? What is the fee should it not be an open bar?

Book Your Photographer and Videographer

Congratulations! You’ve booked your venue! Now, you can focus on looking for the perfect person or team, to capture your day.  You will look back on these memories and share them for a lifetime, therefore, do not take this decision lightly.
Your first step will be to decide whether you want only photography, only videography, or a combination of both. When couples ask our opinion, we always ask them to envision the time after the wedding when their gallery and/or video are complete. Will you continue to look at the photos? Will you watch the video more than once? If you know for a face you will look back on both frequently, then you should definitely invest in both photo and video. If your budget allows for one or the other, think about which one you prefer most. 

Tip: If you’re going to book a photographer and videographer you can look for vendors that work as a team, such as a hubby and wife duo like me and Frank, or a photographer and videographer that own different companies but work together often. Photographers in the Naples area average around $3k and videographers average around $4k or 5k. We offer photo only, video only, and photo and video packages. Find out more here or contact us here

Ask the following questions when reaching out to photographers and videographers:

1. Are you available for my date? 
2. What services do you offer? 
3. What packages do you offer? 
**Photographers and videographers will differ with their services. Some work with packages ranging from 6-10 hour days and some do not offer packages. A six hour day will typically cover your ceremony and reception, while an eight to ten hour day will also cover your getting ready. 
4. What is your cancellation policy?
5. How will our photos/video be delivered and what is your turnaround time? 
6. Do you have experience at our venue? 
7. Are you insured? 
8. Do you offer the option of a second shooter? 

Tip: If your budget allows, having a second shooter is always a great option! Talk to your photographer and/or videographer about this option. Second shooters usually focus on details and creative angles resulting in a wide variety of images within your wedding gallery. 

Invest in a Wedding Coordinator or Planner

We cannot stress the benefits of a wedding planner/coordinator. Weddings are a huge undertaking and having someone to help you with all the details is a really great idea if your budget allows. Planners are usually well connected in the area and can recommend amazing venues and vendors they have personally worked with. Hiring a day-of coordinator is a great option, too, if you’re not able to hire a full-service planner. We truly believe this is an essential component to Naples wedding planning.

Tip: Many couples are under the impression that venue coordinators are similar to wedding planners and day-of-coordinators. Don’t get us wrong, venue coordinators are essential to you having an amazing and smooth wedding day and they work hard to make sure everything goes off with out a hitch! Wedding planners and day-of-coordinators work for YOU, not the venue. They will ensure the smallest details are not left to chance and you will see them working tirelessly to communicate and make sure your requests are taken care of. Trust us, you won’t regret having a planner or coordinator!

Choose and Book Your Other Vendors

Also, when looking for your vendor team, it’s important to note exactly who you will need to hire and their purpose for your big day. Here’s a list of important vendors you may need for your Naples wedding planning:

Officiant or Pastor
Makeup Artist and Hairstylist
Baker/Dessert Maker
DJ, Musicians, or Live Band
Rentals for Decor or Equipment
Wedding Dress, Tux/Suites, and Bridal Party Dresses

Tip: A good way to gather a list of vendors you’ll want to work with is by asking for recommendations from your planner/coordinator, venue, vendors, local online groups, or friends. Remember to always check reviews and ask the questions that are important to you. A good vendor team is essential to making sure you have the wedding of your dreams.  

Book Your Engagement Session Soon!

When booking your photographer always ask about engagement sessions. These photos can be used for your save-the-dates, your wedding website, and your social media sites! In addition, engagement sessions also give you the opportunity to work with your photographer before your wedding day while also getting you used to being in front of a camera. You’ll get to know your photographers work style and also have an opportunity to ask questions. 

Tip: Ask your photographer how much an engagement sessions costs. Some photographers include engagement sessions in their packages. We include engagement sessions with some of our packages and you inquire here to find out more!

Send Your Invitations and Make Your Wedding Website

Your invitation suite is a great way to give your guests a glimpse into your wedding day theme! Now more than ever, couples are opting for modern ways to invite those they love to be with them on the most special day of their lives. 

You can choose to go traditional with your invites and send out save-the-date cards four to six months before your wedding. This will help your guests know when you are planning to get married and reserve the day on their calendar. These are especially helpful if you have guests coming from out-of-state or traveling internationally. Your actual invitations, with an RSVP card, should be sent six to eight weeks prior to your wedding. If you’re planning on a destination wedding, plan to send save-the-dates eight to twelve months in advance and invitations three to four months in advance. 

You can also make a wedding website to update your guests on all the juicy details pertaining to your big day! You can tell your engagement story, introduce your wedding party, link your registries, and also have guests RSVP. Companies like The Knot, Wedding Wire, and Zola offer free wedding website builders. 

Tip: If you want to forego the traditional approach, you can also send electronic invites.

Carefully Plan Your Wedding Timeline

Your timeline will set the tone for the day and also keep everyone on track. It’s imperative that you have a timeline for your day. Please keep in mind that weddings are notorious for running behind schedule. This is why it’s so important to make sure you have the appropriate amount of time built into your day. Your Naples wedding planning will be so much for efficient with a well thought out timeline.

Here’s a sample list of events you should plan an ample amount of time for
Hair and makeup (especially if you have a big bridal party)
First look
Family portraits
Bridal party portraits
Bridal portraits

Tip: Your planner/coordinator will help you finalize your timeline. Photographers and videographers also provide timelines to let you know where they will be during your day. We provide a timeline to all of our couples before their wedding day! 

We hope this guide has been helpful to your Naples wedding planning! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us! We’d be honored to capture your beautiful day and help you with your vision! We can be reached here or email us at