FINALLY! The piece I’ve been trying to get done for a few weeks…choosing our photographer. I almost added it to my last post, but decided it is long enough be a separate post. Enjoy!
Selecting a photographer was as stressful as deciding on the venue. We were fortunate to have the venue locked in over a year in advance. Once January 2013 hit the pressure was on to interview and select a photographer. We felt our budget was set, and were already having issues coming up with the money due to family drama. Every time I looked into possible photographers I would get anxiety when looking at their package pricing. I had an idea of what I was looking for in a photographer, but just looking at their websites didn’t really give me a good sense of who or what they are about.
While waiting for me to get off of work my fiance had a few drinks at a local wine bar and started chatting with one of the girls who worked there about our wedding. Turns our she’s a wedding photographer! I had already begun making appointments with other photographers and then added her to our list of people to interview. Within a few days we had three interviews set up for the following week and got to meet them (2 out of 3, one flaked on us) and check out their portfolios in person while chatting about pricing, packages, and extras. Turns out the gal from the wine bar was a perfect fit! Even if she was almost double what our original budget was.
We figured that our wedding photos are gonna last forever, why not invest in someone who is a professional and is flexible enough to give us what we were looking for:
- Payment Plan: So we don’t have to pay everything up front.
- Add/Subtract Items: For A La Carte extras, like photo albums.
- Offers ALL DAY coverage for no added cost!
The last item was a BIG deal for us if we were going to invest in someone who was originally out of our price range. A lot of photographers offer 4,6, or even 8 hours of coverage on the day-of, and then charge extra for additional hours and staff. Since our ceremony and reception are at the same location and we have the venue until midnight we wanted to make sure we had someone who would also be able to photograph everything. We especially wanted someone who could be with my fiance and his groomsmen, while someone else is with myself and the bridesmaids at the same time taking photographs of everyone getting ready. We discussed doing “First Look” photos of us seeing each other before the ceremony, on-site at the venue. Planning a timeline for the day-of was getting longer and longer, and by the time we met with our chosen photographer I knew exactly what we were willing to compromise on, and what we didn’t want to waste time and money on (i.e. engagement photo session). The other big advantage to finding someone from the local business community was getting an additional discount on our Thank You cards. She offered to help design and print our Thank You cards at no additional cost as a “4th Street Discount” because my fiance and I both work locally as well. How awesome and sweet is that?!
The final item that impressed me is their photo albums. Originally I had been against getting photo albums (not enough funds), and during our initial interview they showed us these beautiful photo albums with the most amazing binding and layout design I had ever seen!! I’m a big stationary and paper geek (hence doing all the DIY invitations and stuff), and was surprised at how much I loved their albums. When they then offered to substitute the cost of the engagement session for possible photo albums on the back-end I was ready to give her a deposit right then and there! The pragmatist in me waited 24-48 hours before finalizing our decision, of course, because we still had to decide how we were going to come up with the rest of the money to pay for their services. Due to their awesome payment plan we still have time to save up, and hit up other family members, for the rest of the money for our chosen photographer.
We’ve been fortunate to have a very generous and loving family who are helping us with financing the wedding, photographers, venue, and some odds and ends. There are always stressful budgeting and financial questions that come in to play when planning a wedding of any size and scale. Take a deep breath and try not to freak out. 🙂
Until next week!