Let's recap by now you should have your date, location(s), & bridal party attire taken care of. Next comes the invitations and other small features. I saved invitations for now because all of what we've done so far should be included on the invitations. Invitations of course need the date, time, & location, but you should also include the attire you wish the guests to come in such as formal, semi formal, casual, aloha attire, ect ect. & to be able to do that you needed first to know what the bridal party is going to wear so that guest match the formallity or lack there of. In addition guests often appreciate it if your gift registries are also listed.
The style & price of the invitations you choose if highly personal but some things to think of. If you are having a very small wedding and are so inclined personally handmade ones are awesome! I so wanted to do this but we lacked time in our planning so it wasn't in the cards for us. If you decide to purchase premade ones then consider your style of wedding as this is also indicated in the style of invitations you choose. They should match or at least have a flow of consistency. If you are trying to be budget concious (they are only invitations after all) then maybe consider a very classy simple style that is also a bit less money because they do not require too many extra details, special papers, ect ect. The picture above is a photo of our invitations & matching envelopes. We chose the simple classy route so that we had flexibility if other portions needed changed & also prefered to alocate the rest of those funds to more important parts of our wedding.
Now that we can start to calm down a bit as the biggest portions of the wedding are scheduled we can begin to look at other details. The other things that eventually need to be scheduled would be a photographer, caterer, rentals, dj, ceremony music, officiant, flourist, & any other small details you'd like to add. Don't be overwhelmed by these. Yes it can be a lot to take in but over the next few weeks I will break these things down for you to make them more manageable.
Lets first begin with the photographer. These are special moments you are sure to want to save. Decide whether you are going to do an engagement shoot. If you are then this is a perfect time to build a relationship with your photographer. Yes get to know your photographer & let them get to know you. I think this is important for the wedding photos & future photos. You need to trust the photographer doing your wedding that your photos will be taken professionally & securely. Since becoming a photographer I have heard so many horror stories about photos getting lost or damaged or photographers just cancelling without a reason ect ect & that is why I think it is key to know & trust your photographer. If you are not doing an engagement shoot think of another way you can test the photographer out a bit. We decided against an engagement shoot based on such a short timeline of our engagement, but I decided to do a boudoir shoot for my groomsgift as a way to test out a photographer I'd found that I liked. It was all a surprise for him and when we interviewed her for the wedding photos he did not know we knew eachother, but this was a way to test out skills & build a relationship. Still interview several so you get an idea of styles and do not just go with the first you meet but build that relationship. I love it when after a shoot a customer keeps in contact either through professional business connections or just keeping me up to date on how they are doing. You never know when the two of you may be able to use eachothers services again.
When discussing expectations with the photographer be very very clear. Lay everything out in the contract. If you expect something tell them. Your expectations may not be as "common" as you think and if the photographer does not know what you want then they can't deliver it and it leaves you to be set up for dissapointment.
While we're on the topic of photographers lets also discuss the infamous debate going around currently about guests taking photos. Other photographers will disagree with me on this but I'm going to talk from personal experience as a bride & photographer on this one. Obviously you want guests to be curtious about when/how they take photos but I personally think they should be encouraged to take photos. A professional photographer is a must but you will get many other perspectives from your guests photos as well. As a photographer I am not threatened by this at all but think its wonderful because lets face it one or even two people cannot be at every angle at every moment. I even go as far as to tell my brides that if I am shooting their wedding and afterwards they have photos from guests that they would like edited/color corrected to please let me know and that is a service I can provide for them. From a bride's perspective I was incredibly disappointed that only one of our guests took any photos & although I loved the photos our photographer did the pictures that this lady took were just as precious to us. For example although it was only a phone picture she managed to get a shot of my brother, nephew, & I dancing all together that my photographer did not get & she got some of us together and of my family that I would not have had otherwise. Now above I said a professional photographer is a must & I still stand by that becasue if we would not have hired one then we would not have had any photos from that day also although guests perspectives are valuable they cannot replace the quality of photos you get from a professional camera, editing, and composure. This doesn't have to break the bank to do either though. I suggest above getting to know your photographer for that reason. We interviewed several photographers and we ended up with the best one for what we wanted but was also at a much more reasonable price. A high pricetag doesn't guarantee quality, but getting to know who you're working with can improve it and expectations of both parties.
Don't forget to keep the photographer's details after the wedding for future photoshoots such as aniversary, children, maternity, ect ect. Once that relationship is built make an effort to maintain it if possible so you always have that person available if needed. And although never required most of us would love feedback from the services you receive. Remember pictures should be fun & tell stories that words never could.
See you soon for Pt 5 Other Venders & small details
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