So you’re planning your wedding: Tips 1

So you are engaged and starting to plan your wedding.  There are so many details to take care of and in all the fun – you may at times become overwhelmed with all of the vendors and options.  A wedding day is a huge event – even for the smallest of ceremonies and don’t feel like you are all alone when you are trying to figure out all the details.   Here are some of my tips/suggestions to make your day go smooth.

Day of coordinator or a wedding planner.  Even if you are a DIY kind of bride… on the day of your wedding, you really will want to enjoy your day.  The smallest of details can become a hassle taking you away from your time with the family & friends that want your attention.  A day of coordinator at minimum can help field those questions from vendors and sweep some of the little issues that may come up on the day of your wedding without you even knowing anything is askew.  If you have it in your budget for a good wedding planner – EVEN BETTER.  If you pick an experienced wedding advisor/planner – they have  coordinated and organized hundreds of weddings already… and a seasoned pro can actually help you save money and cut costs on some things while allowing you additional funds you need for the most important things on your wedding list.  Many times, they actually save you time and money that more than covers the fee that they charge for their services.

How do you want it to look.  Many times when shopping for a photographer/videographer bridal couples fall in love with images.   Plan your wedding time according to the images you love.  If you are looking at a videographer or photographer’s work and you find yourself loving fresh clean life-style images that are natural light based – it is a good idea to take this into consideration.  A wedding at 6 or 7pm at night may not allow you for that look in your images.   If you want a sunset…. again more of the same.  You don’t want to plan your ceremony to end as the sun dips down over the horizon line as then it is too late to get those amazing dramatic sunset images.   Be aware – hire an experienced photographer and videographer that knows how to make your day look the best that it can and help them do their job as well by planning your day around the image style you like the most!

How do YOU want to look.  Although many of us are capable of doing our own hair and make-up – it is the preference of many to have their hair and make-up done for them on the wedding day.  An experienced MUA (make-up-artist) and Hair Stylist is a miracle worker!!!  They know how to make you look like YOU only a little fresher and better.  One of the best things about a great MUA and Stylist is they also know how to make your hair stay put!  There is nothing quite like a bride that is confident because she know she looks amazing for such a special day.

Referrals.  Referrals for your bridal vendors are very important.  But, always consider the source they are coming from.  A good review is from a person or vendor that is in love with the service and quality that they have seen or experienced.  Unfortunately, many reviews are “purchased” when it comes to vendors/venues.  Always use your own feelings about a vendor as well when making decisions about any vendors.  Different personalities work better with each other and what may be good or bad for one person could be amazing or opposite for you.  Experience says a lot about any vendor and that should always be considered as well when you are making your final decisions.

Making decisions.  One of the biggest problems is the MASS amount of vendors in each category.  It can truly make you crazy trying to make the “right” decision.  Make it easier on yourself.

A. Narrow each vendor category down to 4 or 5 that you are interested in. Whether it was from photographs you’ve seen, food you’ve tasted, websites you liked, or referrals you have gotten.

B.  Make these your top questions or things to look for.

1. Years of experience.  How many years have they been in their profession? Do they have any professional affiliations, awards…etc.

2. Proof of finished product.  Taste test, view images from their previous weddings, full wedding videos.  Photographers… see ENTIRE weddings – not just a few “wall hangers” to make a decision.  And… not just one – any professional wedding vendor with experience will be able to show you numerous complete weddings they have done.

3. Meet your vendor.  From the above try to narrow your selection down to 2 or 3 then meet with them face to face.  Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions, but more importantly – notice if you “click.”   Liking your vendor can actually make a huge difference in the results too.  You smile easier, you are more relaxed and confident and you are put at ease that they will do the best job possible for your wedding day.

Jeanine Thurston Photography

This is just a list to get you started.  If you want to really get into your wedding planning there is an amazing Bridal Bootcamp coming up on April 1st, 2012 that you don’t want to miss.  Some of the top wedding vendors in Colorado are there to answer all of the tough questions!!!!

Subscribe to our blog for some more wedding photography tips to come in the next few months.

A letter on my door step. portraits are more than paper.

There will be no portrait photos in this post.  This letter wasn’t mailed – it was at my doorstep when I got home a couple months ago.  I read it, I cried, and read it again – probably a hundred times by now.  It wasn’t easy to read – and honestly, as much as it validates what I do for a living – I wasn’t sure I was going to share it either.  If you choose to read through the letter, you will know why I’ve finally chosen to share it.

July 2nd, 2011

Jeanine – 

Today I am writing for a couple of reasons.  I have some quiet time at the moment and need to get a couple of things off my mind.  I will leave this for my husband to deliver to you when he is ready.

You photographed my wedding, you photographed my first pregnancy and my first baby.  I contacted you awhile back to photograph my 2nd child and family.  After getting prices and realizing I would want all of the pictures as we love your work – I decided against spending $500+ – which is what I normally spend for portraits and prints with you..  Please know it is not because I don’t value your amazing eye, or how much we love the experience.

That week that I decided to NOT do a session with you, this is how I spent some money.

On Sunday I called and cancelled our session.  Monday I went out and got my hair cut ($39+tip), and colored ($65), Thursday I had my nails done ($24), my family went out to dinner at a somewhat expensive restaurant for no particular reason costing us $79 + tip.  This was just 4 days since canceling our session, already totaling over $200 for un necessary things.  My nails only lasted about 2 weeks, my hair is gone, and seven weeks passed when I got the phone call from our doctor.  It was not something I expected and the cancer has spread very quickly.  I will be leaving my husband, my 6 year old girl and my now 2 year old – not by choice.  It is very hard for me to talk about it which is why I need to write you.

I watch your Facebook page and your posts about the value of a photo and if I could give back all of those things that I purchased this few weeks after I cancelled my session with you, knowing what I know now, and have that session, well… I would do it in a heartbeat. 

Now my time is done and there are no more chances for me.  The next time someone cancels a session – my wish is that you forward this letter to them.  Time is fragile, it is gone before you know you had it.  If you charged $200 for one print it wouldn’t be enough for what it is actually worth.  I cringe to think that my priorities were a manicure over a memory to pass onto my babies and husband.

My love and thanks for what you have given us from past photos.  I am so sorry that I did not see it as more than paper until now.

Karen L.