Your BEST Wedding: Part 2: More about Budget, Location, & PHOTOS!

 Here’s the 2nd post in my mini-series of Wedding Day tips, tricks, and wisdom!  PLEASE share this info and the previous post “Your BEST Wedding: Part 1- Your Best Photoswith any Brides to be or Grooms, family and friends of them too, that you know! 🙂  Just trying to inform the masses and help you get your “BEST Wedding”!
2) BUDGET & EXPECTATIONS! Don’t go all out and broke on your breathtaking, amazing, top of the line dress and expect breathtaking, amazing, top of the line photographs in that dress for less than a $1,500! Most of the industry pro’s in the big markets START at $3,000.00.…and there’s a reason! If you’re in a smaller city/rural area your good photographer starting point should be no less than $1,500-$1,700! You really do get what you pay for and there’s a reason the best are so expensive…they’re the best, they shoot with the best, and they bring the best to your day! Don’t buy that $3,000 dream gown and expect your $400.00 photography package to show the detail, angles, etc…that flatter not only that dress, but YOU in that dress!  That’s not to say that a new up and coming photographer won’t give you excellent photos, hey, we all started out somewhere…even I did a few weddings for less than $400 when I started out, but A good rule: Don’t blow the budget out on a dress if you’re not going to do the same on the Photography/Videography!  You won’t be able to tell when you’re looking at your photos 10, 20, 50 years from now just WHY you blew a few weeks/months salary on THE dress when your photos/video don’t show it and, most importantly YOU, in the best possible light! *Important tip: when choosing your photographer or videographer make sure you see a COMPLETE portfolio of a wedding they’ve done!!! Everyone knows you put your most unique, creative works on your website to draw everyone in, but it’s the complete package of a wedding or two that’ll show you what you’re going to get! Do you want 5 or 6 really good photos of your day, or a few hundred to be able to put in an album? If they won’t show you, well then, you’ve got your answer! Just because a photographer says they’re “professional”, stays busy with a high dollar price tag, and has a few of their best shots on a website or in their office doesn’t mean they’re going to give you what you’re looking for, what you’re dreaming of, so ASK! And ask to speak to previous Brides they’ve shot for references if you’re so inclined!  More on Choosing a Photographer HERE.
3) LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION & LIGHTING LIGHTING LIGHTING!!! This is what’s it’s all about loves! Many a great wedding photo has been ruined by poor lighting, small spaces, too low or too high ceilings, dark spaces, even time of day! A beautiful location in the afternoon may turn in to a photographer’s worst nightmare when the sun goes down, and vice versa! If you’ve had your heart set on those dreamy, sunlit, golden sun peeking through the Bride and Groom images you’ve been seeing repeatedly in your wedding mags then get with your photographer to work out the best time of day for ceremony and after, or before, ceremony portraits.  Also, pick a location that is going to have gorgeous outdoor scenery to supply those “magazine” backdrops you’re in love with.  
Also PLEASE consider that your grandmother’s Church built in the early 1900’s probably isn’t going to lend you those images you’ve fallen in love with.  Wood, out dated/colored carpet, childish wallpaper in the “Bridal Suite”…all things to reallllly look at and consider “Do I want that in my photos?” …And NO, before you ask we cannot change the wallpaper, carpet, or wood color in from your day. Well, unless you’re willing to pay dearly for it 😉  
Also, I’m BEGGING you when you’re choosing a venue, such as a Church, that you ask the rules on Photographers.  If you’re bent on having that super duper close up shot of your rings going on, and the first kiss, your Church/Officiant may just put the kill switch to that idea.  Most “formal” or older Churches will a) either not let us in the sanctuary, b) require that we shoot only from a balcony, or c) only permit us to shoot without flash and from behind the very.last.pew.  Know before you book 😉
Along with choosing the venue that’s going to yield those images you’re held dearly in your dreams, make sure you and your chosen photographer hit up the location before you lock it in if possible…preferably during the month and time of day you’re wanting to have your event, so you can sort out the good, bad and ugly of your ceremony and reception sites, and if they‘re going to be conducive to AMAZING photos. Some photographers may tell you their equipment isn’t suited for low light/flash situations, if that’s the case and your heart is set on that particular place then ask another photographer for their opinion, or if you‘re set on that photographer, then work with them and their suggestions on a new super duper location for your event!!!
Note: you may pay more if they have to bring in lighting equipment, but have them see the locations and ask them if they’ve shot in that situation before and how they dealt with it/how the photos turned out (ask to see them if available)! You won’t know unless you ask, and it’ll be worth it to get that final result. 
 4) PRACTICE! Rehearsals are just that…rehearsals! So….rehearse!!! Wear your shoes you’ll be walking down the aisle in, and require your maids, flower girls, mothers, etc… do the same! Walking around on concrete in 4 inch stilettos is a whole other ballgame to walking on cushy Church carpet, slick hardwood floors, zero padding commercial carpeting, or….the dreaded STAIRS!!! I’d recommend, if you can do it, that you try the shoes out 1st right after you buy them at the ceremony site, and don‘t forget to wear them with your dress…BEFORE you get the final hemming done! Your dream designer stilettos may make you look more like a klutz than a swan when you descend the stairs alone to meet your father at the bottom, or when you’re unsticking your heel from the grass as you try to smoothly glide down the outdoor isle. Just a few things to consider…and as for your girls, well, be considerate of them as well…they’re going to be standing in that one spot for a minimum of 15 minutes, I’ve seen, and experienced,1st hand the grimaced faces, and awkward postures of Bridesmaids who’s feet were being tortured during the ceremony…and trust me…it ain’t pretty….before, during, or after! Now, you probably won’t please everyone if you desire to have all their shoes match but the best practice is to take them all with you if you can and have them all stand in the shoes for a minimum of 5 minutes! You, and especially they, probably aren’t going to want to waste the money on buying shoes that will only be worn once because, no matter how amazing they look with the dress(es), they don’t make your posture, or more importantly your face, do pretty things! At the end of the day though, we will do insane things, and suffer intense pain for gorgeous shoes, so it’s all about what you and they can, and will, be able to handle.
5) FLOWERS: I don’t have a lot to say on this subject, except for the love of everything beautiful and right with weddings and the flowers that make them…. KEEP THEM AT BELLY BUTTON LEVEL!!!!!!!!!! This is a sticking point with me!! For real! It un-nerves me to no end see a Bridesmaid, or worse BRIDE, walking down the isle with the bouquet jacked up under their chin because their stem grasping hand is at their breast or moving somewhere around that vicinity!!!! SHOW OFF YOUR CHEST, NECKLACE AND YOUR DRESS, don‘t hide them…it does not make for pretty photos! I promise!!! Keep the bouquet holding hand at or below your belly button (depending on your arm/torso length and bouquet size you may have to make it lower than your BB to show off more of the top of the dress)…and leave it there! Practice this at the rehearsal with either an imaginary bouquet if you’re a maid, or the ribbon bouquet from your showers if you have one….trust me….you’ll thank me for this when you DON’T see your flowers covering up your gorgeously expensive gown! And if you need suggestions on Florists I have a few I can recommend…or tell you to stay far away from, orrrr I can do them….for a price of course! 😉 That’s all I’ve got to say…about that!
MORE Resources:  A GREAT blog was recently written for “Kennedy Occasions” out of Murfreesboro, TN by the super talented Amber Vongsamphanh of “Lotus Blossom Photography” go check it out “10 Tips to Making Your Wedding Photography Dreams a Reality- with Amber Vongsamphanh” for more info and helpful tips on location, lighting, details, etc…. you won’t be sorry you clicked over!!  I also L.O.V.E. LOVE This post from Simply Stunning Events  “Are My Wedding Photos Done Yet” A MUST READ! 🙂


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