If there is one single piece of advice that I could give the newly-engaged set it would be to stalk photography blogs. Read them not just for the obvious reason: when you're in the market for a photographer, but for the unexpected: your overall planning.
Photography blogs are one of the the few sources to a find a real wedding in your area captured in flawless photos. The weddings featured in most magazines is usually an event that showcases one-of-kind (subjective) details that hasn't been seen before...and often using higher-end budgets. Preston Bailey takes my breath away but only a select few can afford him. Photography blogs, instead, focus on the couple, the venue, the flowers, the rentals - all of which tend be local to your area. While there are bridal magazines that cater to your respective local area, new publications are issued quarterly (or sometimes the new covers are issued quarterly *wink*) whereas photography blogs are updated weekly with their latest work of almost all of their clients. I don't know about you but I get antsy for my Martha Stewart Weddings mag.
Finding a venue is tough especially if your only available source for how it looks for wedding is the fairly outdated material sent to you by the catering manager. With a photographer's blog you get a glimpse of how a prospective venue looks for a wedding, sometimes, in different types.
Rancho Las Lomas - Indoor Reception
Courtesy of Jasmine Star
Same space, different use
Courtesy of Leigh Miller
Outdoor reception, same venue
Courtesy of Leigh Miller
It can be especially helpful for those who are in the market for an unique venue that is not often advertised or not very well known.
Also, I have found that photography blogs can provide a good example of a how a wedding gown looks on a real person, you know not a model. Naturally, finding your wedding gown would be a bit hard considering there many designers and styles out there, but if you aren't quite sure about a silhouette a blog will be your best bet to see how a bride of a similar body type carries the gown.
Sometimes blog stalking reaps big rewards for those whose heart grows fonder.
Courtesy of Our Labor of Love
Yes, I googled my dress before buying it.
Seeing my gown on a bride who's shape is closer my own really put the mind at ease.
Courtesy of MSD Photography
Not sure where to begin your list? Project Wedding is always a good start. Snippet and Ink also has list of photography blogs. Oh yeah, as do I. Later I will have a full list of blogs that I have or currently follow.
Now you know and knowing is half the battle.