The Big Three Wedding Needs

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Kiss on My List

First, a disclaimer- I have never been married.  Maybe someday I will be, but that’s a whole other saga.  I have been fortunate and honored enough to have been invited as both a guest, a groomsman, and as a photographer for many weddings in my life, but have not yet been the groom myself.  For the most part, I’m a vendor.  So I might have a vested interest.  But, that said, to me there’s a hierarchy of what a bride needs to consider when planning a wedding.  If they keep this idea in mind, hopefully it’ll make the planning less stressful.  Hiring the photographer is not at the top of that list.

The first two are interchangeable, but when I consult with potential clients, these have usually already picked out before I’m ever brought in.  And when I hear the level of excitement in their voices when describing these things, it tells me a lot about the couple.

To me, the most important item is the dress.  A wedding is built around the bride’s dress.  If the lady loves her dress, it makes her feel perfect.  Everything else falls into place.  The wedding is about the bride.  Grooms don’t matter, kind of like in ballroom dance, the guy is the frame, but the lady is the work of art.  And really, us guys are FINE with that.  It takes a lot of the stress off us.  The right dress will instantly let the bride feel the moment, and it’ll be easier for her to be ready for the onslaught of the day.  It’s a psychological warfare tactic really; she’s geared up and ready to face the challenges of an often 10-hour plus event when she’s dressed for the part. 

Eddie Money – Take Me Home Tonight

Once the dress is picked, then it’s the venue that matters next.  These two things I don’t believe the plan should compromise on.  Find the dress and the venue you’ve been dreaming of and everything else will sort itself out.  The right venue is like the right house.  When checking out a house to rent or buy, people check out multiple locations and find the one with the right feel, the right level of comfort, and the aesthetics they want.  It’s so much easier to be at ease, at repose, when you’re in a place that makes you feel at home, and ready to celebrate. 

Meat Loaf – You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)

After those two are found, then go after photographer.  Aside from the dress and whatever gifts you put on your registry (that you don’t return) the pictures are what you’ll be able to hold onto.  The pictures are the only real keepsake you can come back to, as wedding cake in a freezer doesn’t last forever.  I often ask potential clients on the initial consult how many photographers they’ve talked to, how many portfolios they’ve checked out.  If I’m the first or the only one, I suggest they shop around, because if they haven’t ever really looked around they need to for their own sake.  While I want their business, it’s more important to me that they find the photographer that matches their vision for the images they’re wanting after the day is over.  That’ll come in part when they have a photographer they get along with. 

.38 Special – Hold On Loosely

It’s quicker to get in sync and become at ease with a photographer the more you meet with them, the more time you devote to cultivating that relationship prior to the wedding day.  I purposefully try to schedule all initial consultations over a lunch, coffee, or beer.  After that, I usually schedule at least two more times to meet with them to plan and discuss the dynamics of their wedding, and hopefully shoot an engagement session with them to get a dry run of getting in sync for everything.  I want to get to know my clients, what makes them laugh, what they love and enjoy, so we can find that unique character to bring to their images.  You can’t create that on the fly, it takes time. 

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Don’t Do Me Like That

Not all photographers are the same.  Wedding photographers are broken into two categories- photojournalists and traditional.  Within those categories there are millions of different styles, shooters, and editorial combinations.  I tend towards journalism style with sharper colors and a more modern lighting style, with a mix of vintage and modern editing and post-production technique.  It’s important that couples pick a photographer whose style matches their taste and vision more than their budget.  I often recommend other photographers I know whose work I admire.  Like buying a car or a house, a wedding photographer is a serious investment.  It’s important to look around to find the right fit.  More often than not they come back to me because they feel my portfolio matches what they want and they feel comfortable.  Even when they don’t, they thank me for the advice I gave and the leads I gave them on finding the photographer that fits.  As long as you love the result, I’m happy for you, no matter who you choose. 

Boston – Don’t Look Back

When a couple compromises though, putting cost far above their wants and not finding that right balance that makes them happy… then… well… that’s a tougher story.  And a different post for a different day.

Agree, disagree?  Please comment below!  What mattered or will matter to you during your wedding?