Seriously… your wedding day is suppose to be a fairytale.
Why in the world would you ever choose a location that would have no cover for you and your guest. Where is it likely to be 95 degrees and sweltering heat on rocks, a torrential downpour of rain, or gusting winds. After all… you spent so much time picking a dress and fixing your hair and makeup – it seems silly to risk it all for your wedding day.
Then… you see this.
Suck it up cinderella and bring umbrellas, bring sunblock, sunglasses, put on hiking boots or at least sandals that can trek on rocks – and let go of what you might have been thinking for the perfect wedding day, because this my friends is as close to perfection as you’ll ever get for a wedding view. When you and your guests stop for a moment and see this for the first time it simply takes your breath away. Be grateful – because not everyone can pause and look around on a wedding day and think – holy %##! this is amazing… on top of being happy for the wedding couple.
Happiest of marriages to Haley & George – they waited out the storm for an idyllic setting for their vows. With an intimate wedding with their family & closest friends surrounded by geological upheaval that dates to at least 1330 BC at best records when people first visited. Garden of the Gods (GOG) is one of the most beautiful places on this planet… so it is worth every possible inconvenience to have a marriage start here!
“May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently thorugh the world and know it’s beauty all the days of your life.”
― Apache Blessing
Officiant: Edwin Ward (720)300-4492
Dinner: Briarhurst Manor contact – Janice Montoya firstname.lastname@example.org
Overnight Accommodations: The Mining Exchange (719)323-2000
How do you know which photographer is right for you? Photography is a major part of catching the feeling, and details of your wedding day. Whoever you choose – you need to do your homework!
Don’t become overwhelmed. Create a short-list of your top 3 or 4 photographers based on friends referrals, websites you like or tips you’ve received from other sources – but don’t stop there.
Questions to ask the photographer:
1. Do you have my date available?
2. How far in advance do I need to book with you?
3. How long have you been in business? Are you a full-time professional or is this a side job/hobby?
4. Are you a member of any professional photography associations? (This can help determine if they are active in new styles and continually improving their skills)
5. How many weddings have you shot? Have you done many that were similar to mine in size and style? Do you have the experience and equipment to shoot in any lighting situation? Note: Not all wedding photographers can shoot in ALL lighting situations. On a wedding day – things can change in an instant. Find a professional that has experience and can provide samples of different lighting situations so that you can feel confident that your wedding day will look amazing regardless of the weather or light available.
6. How would you describe your photography style (e.g. traditional, photojournalistic, creative)? NOTE: The answer should help you determine whether this is a photographer who blends into the background and shoots what happens naturally, or creates a more visible presence by taking charge and guiding shots. Remember that while you may like the fly on the wall shots… things can get out of hand and most people need a photographer that can get those candid moments while still having the ability to rally groups together in somewhat “crazy” situations. It’s not as easy as one may think.
7. Do you have a portfolio I can review? Can I view FULL weddings instead of just highlight images?
8. Do you shoot in color and black & white? Both?
9. Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like?
10. What information do I need to provide you before the wedding day?
11. May I have references? NOTE: A professional photographer will NOT hesitate to provide this.
12. Are you the photographer who will shoot my wedding? If so, will you have any assistants with you on that day? If not, who will be taking the pictures and can I meet them before my wedding?
13. Do you have backup equipment? What about a backup plan if you (or my scheduled photographer) are unable to shoot my wedding for some reason?
14. If my wedding site is out of your area, do you charge a travel fee and what does that cover?
15. Are you photographing other events on the same day as mine? Note: This is VERY important. Regardless of experience, photographing weddings is exhausting work and you want a photographer that is concentrating on YOU and YOUR wedding – not worried about rushing off to another event or exhausted from photographing one prior to yours. This is an area that I would say demand that you are THE main event of their day.
16. How will you (and your assistants) be dressed? NOTE: The photographer and his/her staff should look professional and fit in with the style of your event – but also dressed to “hustle, climb hills & stairs…. etc.”
17. Is it okay if other people take photos while you’re taking photos?
18. Have you ever worked at my wedding site before? If not, will you check it out in advance? NOTE: Photographers who familiarize themselves with a location ahead of time will be prepared for any lighting issues and know possible restrictions, and will know how best to incorporate the site’s elements into the images.
19. What time will you arrive at the site and for how long will you shoot?
20. If my event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? Is there an additional charge? Do you give us notice before it is time for you to leave or do you just exit at the end time?
PRODUCTS AND “PACKAGE/COLLECTION” DETAILS
21. What packages do you offer?
22. Can I customize a package based on my needs?
23. Do you include engagement photos in your packages?
24. Do you provide retouching, color adjustment or other corrective services?
25. How long after the wedding will I be able to view images? Will they be viewable online or in proof format?
26. How long after I order my photos/album will I get them?
27. Will digital files be included in our package, is that an additional charge, and what printing rights would we have if we received the digital files as part of our package? NOTE: Personal printing rights for digital files are limited and vary from photographer to photographer. Just know what you are comparing when asking the same questions to different photographers.
CONTRACTS & POLICIES
28. When and how do we sign a contract? NOTE: Don’t book a photographer—or any vendor—who won’t provide a contract.
29. How much of a deposit do you require and when is it due? Do you offer a payment plans?
30. What is your refund/cancellation policy?
31. Do you have liability insurance?
THE PERSONALITY FACTOR
Although this is the last factor to consider when you hire your wedding photographer – it is also THE thing that should be used when it comes to your final choice. Once you have compared apples to apples and you know that you have narrowed it down to 2 of the top people after all these questions have been answered. Which photographer are you the most comfortable with? Which do you feel will be the best with your family and friends? Always remember proven technical excellence first, and then pick the photographer that will give you an amazing experience.
THE IMAGES YOU LIKE
So important, yet so many couples pass over this very important thing in planning. You’ve poured over thousands of images and know what you would like your wedding photography to look like. Plan your wedding start time with your photographer based on the images you like the best. While a true professional can photograph in any lighting situation – NO photographer can make a natural light image in a dark church, they can’t do a sunset image if the sun sets during your ceremony and it is pitch dark before photos start… and I could go on and on. Know pros and cons to having your images done before or after your wedding. While no photographer should make you do your images prior to your wedding ceremony (although many of us may like to) – if it is important for you not to see each other prior to the ceremony THAT IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE! It is your wedding day – so be happy in choosing what is important to you. A professional photographer;however, can take what is important to you and work with you on a timeline that will accommodate what you find important and what you want your images to look like.
ON THE WEDDING DAY.
Relax. You’ve asked the tough questions, you have a great photographer – and now enjoy your day and get excited that you will get some great images!
I’m beyond excited when I get to photograph a newborn of a wedding I photographed years earlier! I just can’t stop grinning ear to ear… and this little lady has some of the most amazing parents and family that I’ve ever met. Shannon & Jon had their wedding in Mexico 6 years ago when I toted my own kids with when they were only a year old and my youngest Jace was only 3 months old. So this wedding was a little extra memorable for me too.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A “GOOD” VENDOR REFERRAL FROM ANOTHER VENDOR.
There are many unwritten rules of playing fair within any industry… the line is faded and frustrating. Many years ago, when you were a photographer, videographer or other vendor you saw referrals based on quality and trust. It is amazing to get referrals from other brides and grooms, from planners, from venues… and the list goes on. But that line of why we are referring someone is becoming quite jaded, and we need to keep our eyes and ears open for little ques that make a “referral” not so sweet or solid.
The biggest issue that has come to light is that vendors have learned that over the years they can get “paid” by other vendors for referrals. This is the first line that was crossed some time ago, when some venues and vendors decided that you had to only be of “average” quality and pay a huge chunk of money and they would put you on their referral list. There ARE some upstanding vendors out there that choose their referral list by experience, merit, value, quality of work and customer service ~ but definitely not everyone is in this category.
Things to look for that can be “red-alarms” when getting referrals from vendors, and questions that are important to ask.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask: Do vendors on your referral list pay to be on your referral list? That doesn’t mean that they are bad referrals, however, if they have paid to be there… you need to dig a little deeper. Check and double-check their experience, quality of work, and try to find other people who refer them as well.
2. Vendors that offer HUGE discounts if you go with ONE vendor only. If you are a professional, you should work well with multiple other vendors. Offering 30%- 50% off your services ONLY if they book with a specific other vendor should set off a HUGE red flag. They may be just new to the industry and are trying to align themselves with some great other vendors to pump up the quality of their own work, but playing well and being able to refer multiple other vendors that they work well with shows that they have more connections and people that they can produce well with.
3. Tell me about your referrals. When meeting with a vendor and getting references from them, ask them to tell you about the references and why you are referring them – be in tune to how excited they get about them and how much detail they can give about how they work, their style or how they service their clients. They should be able to do this about ALL of their referrals they are giving, including their experience, maybe how well they shoot in different environments, or how helpful and present they are with their clients.
In the wedding industry, referrals are the best form getting the best combination of vendors, which equals your best chances of getting top-notch results from them as a team. So after you ask the hard questions go with your gut… but vendors that play fair with other vendors and that are knowledgeable about their referrals means you are getting the best referrals. And vendors that can give you a few referrals from each service and that can describe to you why one or the other may be a great fit for them means they are concerned about what is best for you as a bridal couple too! However, a vendor that says you MUST go with a specific vendor to get a discount from them, OR locations that refer based on them being paid… let the red flags start flying.
Life passes us by so quickly, and I woke up this morning to a “quote” on Facebook by some unknown that I really had to share.
“If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes, only then would you realize how special you are to me.”
As much as it applies to loved ones, it is why I love photographing so much too. People in general are so unaware of how beautiful they are, and how other people actually see them. As does everyone else, some days I wake up feeling a bit ugly and yucky, other days we feel ok or don’t even think about it. A few days we feel amazing here and there. But I think if we all actually had a chance to see ourselves how others see us we would have so much more confidence in who we are and how amazing we actually look to other people.
I’ve had so many calls lately from people who had contacted me months ago about their wedding… and then call back only to find we have that date already booked. My heart sinks, because some of them I would so LOVE to photograph their wedding. I kindly hand them off to other photographers that I personally recommend – but hate the deep sigh I get from them when I tell them we no longer have their date available.
I encourage anyone having a wedding to book your key vendors ASAP… especially ones that can only do one event at a time. Wedding planner, photographer, videographer, DJ or Band… are mostly limited to one wedding a day – so make those your priority after you have your date & venue set. This is such an amazingly important day and getting the vendors that you love can make a huge difference in how comfortable and carefree you feel on your wedding day. Florists, catering, On-site MUAs, Stylists and cake should be next up – because although they may be able to do more than one wedding in a day, they still have limitations on how many they can do.
The “when to book” each vendor changes from year to year in your most loved wedding magazines (it almost changes as fast as your local weather forecast) and typically their ball park timeline only works if you have multiple choices that you love for each vendor. If you have a specific vendor you want to work with, or an amazing vendor that does limited events to give you the best service and attention then you can throw all those timelines for booking out the window. This is your wedding day – you deserve world-class vendors, and the memories of your wedding day are world-class important.
The DRESS… yes, that beloved dress that you want… can take months to get and even more time to get altered. Many brides don’t realize how much time that can take… so find your dress with enough time – so you’re not cutting it too close to the wedding day!
Another great reason to book ASAP… is it gives you more time for financial planning for your event. Many vendors will work with you on payment plans so that instead of “cutting” your budget and settling, it may allow you to get the vendor you want, the packages you want to make your day over the top amazing.
So get out a pen an paper and start making your priority list for your wedding day – make a wedding top 10. Those top 5 vendors – book as soon as possible, and the the next five as soon as you can after too.
Don’t forget to follow our BLOG to get lots of great tips for your wedding day!
When you dream of your wedding day, what colors come to mind & where do you find your inspiration? There is so much planning – and just shouting out “PINK” at the top of your lungs seems to be such an easy answer. The colors you choose for your wedding can really set the tone for the entire day. It can make people feel festive, romantic, crazy fun, heart-warming…
So where is a good place to start?
What do you love most? Sunsets or sunrises
Where is your happy place? Hiking in the woods, in the city, or at the local ice-cream parlor?
What inspires you???
What most people do is go and HIT the Pinterest pages and start clicking the heart on everything that they like. And although it is quite fun to do, at times… that causes a hodge podge of wedding design with nothing quite melding together. As much fun as you’re having browsing the local boards, it is so much more fun making your wedding about you and not about making your wedding about how someone else may have had it.
And… this brings us back to colors.
Having a hard time narrowing it down?
Maybe too much of seeing everyone else’s color combinations…. time to go to the local home store (Home Depot, Lowes, Benjamin Moore) Those little paint sample cards can be priceless. It allows you to look at colors that YOU fall in love with – without the persuasion of wanting a color pallet EXACTLY like that other bride.
AND YET ANOTHER OPTION:
Pick a destination, a fruit you love, a plant or a vegetable, a mushroom, an animal… something in NATURE, that you find completely beautiful and attractive to you. Base your color pallet off of the colors of that object. Funny… nature kind of has a way of knowing what looks good all on it’s own.
But… in the case that maybe you just want some options and don’t want to think about it quite that much… here are some inspiring colors in nature!
Danielle & Ben’s wedding (or re-wedding) was nothing short of beautiful! They had a small wedding in Hawaii where Danielle was raised and then now living in Colorado, came back to our beautiful state to “re-tie” the knot and celebrate with all of their families and friends.
Danielle & Ben Brach.
WEDDING PLANNER/COORDINATOR: Danielle Odil of ENTWINED PLANNING
LOCATION: D-BARN – Longmont, Colorado