I’m going to cut right to the chase today and get down to it with a short and sweet post about the reality of planning a wedding in the Washington DC area. What’s the one thing that you need to know about planning a wedding in the DMV? You will have to take time off of work. Yup, that’s it! Just about every wedding vendor, from photography to venue to rentals, in the Washington DC area wishes you knew that you will in fact have to take time off of work to plan your wedding. It might not be a lot of time off of work, but you can’t just do it all at night and the weekends.


Photo Credit: Pinwheel Collective from Jessica and Creigh’s wedding in Virginia

I know it seems horrible to say to us Washington DC-ers who are known for working and working and working. But, its true. You’ll find it tough to plan your wedding unless you take a little time away from the ol’ job during normal business hours. Time off of work seems so simple, but many engaged couples do not know this fact. They assume that wedding vendors can meet at night or they can tour possible wedding locations on the weekend. However, there are a few reasons why this is not always possible and I’m doing my best here to manage your expectations on the wedding planning front.

Not too long ago I was at a wedding planning advice session at DMV based wedding stationery boutique, The Dandelion Patch. A few wedding vendors from around the Washington DC area were there and they all agreed on one point: wedding planning requires time off of work for the engaged couple. If it is site visits or dress shopping, or a catering or cake tasting, you should expect that you will have to take time during normal business hours to plan your wedding.

True, you can (and you should) do the bulk of your wedding researching and Pinterest drooling at night and the weekends. You can save your lunch hour and long commute to wedding hashtag surfing on Instagram. And, I fully realize that this point might be lost on many of you, because we are all work-a-holics here in the Washington DC area (Read my post about how to plan your wedding on a busy schedule!) But, when it comes time to sign those contracts and start to book vendors (aka start to write checks!) for your wedding, you are going to have to take time off of work to meet in person and see the vendors and/or the space with your own eyes.

On the weekends, most wedding vendors have weddings they need to attend to. Weekends are wedding prep and/or wedding day! Most wedding vendors are busy servicing their current clients on the weekends. They are out and about busy with their weddings. The chances are really high that you might not be able to tour your wedding location on the weekend, because they will be either setting up for or hosting a wedding.

Would you want prospective clients poking around at your venue during the set up of your wedding? Would you want your venue coordinator preoccupied with showing an newly engaged couple around their property while they were supposed to be prepping for your wedding? Probably not. And, be very careful (as in don’t do it!) about asking to attend or peak in or just stand in the background of someone else’s wedding so that you can see the space in action. Weddings are a special sacred time for each and every couple, so don’t go there! The bottom line is this: Venue coordinators, photographers, rental companies, caterers and just about everyone else in the wedding biz will be busy doing their job on a weekend.

During the week, meetings with wedding vendors after 5 pm can be tough and not always a guarantee.Catering chefs typically arrive at their kitchens at 6 am, and that is why they like to schedule wedding meal tastings at noon or 3 pm. Your wedding venue might close at 5 pm, or the sales staff might keep regular weekday business hours. You can ask to meet a self-employed vendor (think a wedding planner or videographer) at night and many do have evening office hours. But, keep in mind, they are human too. Working all weekend, all week day during the day and holding meetings at night does not do a wedding vendor good. These folks have families and hobbies and volunteer work too – and they deserve to have down time like the rest of us!

If you are planning a wedding in the Washington DC area be prepared to take some time off of work to plan your wedding. Your wedding vendors (and your co-workers!) will appreciate it!

Be sure to check out all of the other DC area wedding advice that we have put together for you or look through our list of the best Washington DC area wedding vendors!

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