The venue and photographer are two HUGE wedding details that you’ll want to get figured out early on as well. I realized I never talked about choosing a venue in my choosing a date post, so let’s backtrack a little and chat about that 🙂
Choosing the Venue
I finally got the opportunity to go and see our venue in person yesterday… and I would HIGHLY recommend going before you commit to it. We are getting married at my childhood church so I’ve spent a lot of time there and have seen it lots and lots so when it was offered up as an option, I said sure! No need to see a place you’ve been to many times before when you’re crunched for time, right?
Seeing a place and seeing a place as a bride are two very different things, as I found out yesterday. You’re looking for perfection, elegance, romance and the only way to tell if the space is going to be good is to see it in person. I thought our church would be absolutely perfect without a lot of work but now having seen it as a bride, it’s going to take a lot of creativity and work to make it meet my elegant romantic expectations. However, it is still doable and worth it since the church is free for us to use. My fiancé was also incredibly understanding and said that we can go there one day during his leave to work on it before the decorations go up and plan everything out together. So that will be fun. But even if you’ve practically lived at the space before, go and look at it again once you’re engaged before you commit. You may be surprised how the space has a) changed over time or b) is viewed differently now that you’re a bride. Had my photographer not been there I probably would have had a total bridezilla meltdown. Which brings me to my next point…
Choosing Your Photographer
I love pictures, I love photography, and going into it the photographer was one of the most important parts of the wedding planning to me. Definitely start looking at photographers as soon as you have a date. I was led to believe that it would be much harder to find someone that was available but nope. I easily found two photographers that were available for the date and time within a day of searching (I used http://www.theknot.com to search for ones in my area… seriously, such a great resource for brides.) I ended up choosing an independent photographer and will share more information on her once I have pictures to share too (she’s so amazing and is a lot of fun just to meet with!) but these are some of the factors that influenced my decision:
1) Independent vs. Company. One of the photographers I was looking at worked alone and the other was a company with many photographers that they would help you choose from. I went with the independent one. It made me comfortable to choose someone based on pictures I KNEW she took… and could view online. I had a very bad experience with my indoor senior portraits which were done by Yuen Lui. They’re supposed to be very good and their examples online are good as well (as were my friend’s photos) but mine were just subpar. They were un-editably bad… clearly my photographer was not one of the ones with the pictures on the website. The photographer I went with had whole wedding galleries on her site that I could view so I got to see every photo given to the bride and groom from a typical wedding, not just a highlight reel. Seeing exactly what I was getting made me 100% comfortable in my decision to choose her.
2) Upfront Communication. The independent photographer was also SO much better at answering all of my questions and addressing my concerns upfront. The company just kept asking for my information and kept pressuring me to set up a meeting despite my telling them that I had to make a decision ASAP (since I had to let the independent photographer know.) It wasn’t until I told them I had another photographer ready to go that they finally addressed some of my concerns… and then pressured me to make a meeting again. Meanwhile, the independent photographer and I were corresponding via email several times a day and I was getting lots of information from her, in addition to seeing pictures I knew were taken by her and loving them without having to set up a meeting. If they’re not going to understand your tight timeline from the beginning and help you move fast, do you honestly want them being part of your 3-4 month engagement?
Needless to say I am SO impressed with the woman I chose as a photographer for our wedding! She is very talented not just with finding photography opportunities in spaces but in wedding planning itself. It’s going to be nice to have an extra pair of eyes there on the day of the wedding to make sure everything is perfect and she’s just so fun to work with!
The next installment of this series will be about the wedding party and their attire, since it should be jumped on quickly as well!