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Finding the Best Photographer for Your Wedding Day

"Picture quality is mostly determined by the camera, but composition is determined by the photographer." - Robert Shields  

b2ap3_thumbnail_1529973_570161293070510_123422380_o.jpgPhoto courtesy of One Shine Photography

Many couples don't understand the prerequisites for finding that right photographer for their special day.  One who can deliver quality photographs is extremely important, and I'm here to explain how to narrow your choices.

First, get to know your candidates by inspecting their work, talent, experience, and most importantly their prices.  Keep it simple. You are hiring someone to do a job, and that job should be done to your satisfaction, so quality should be extremely important.  Quality tools help make quality work, but  it also takes a vast amount of skill/talent, hard work, and efficiency to make sure that the photographer can tell your story behind the camera.  

Because you'll be looking at your photos years from now and showing them to family and friends who couldn't make your wedding, the pictures should be expressive and show a great deal of emotion.  The photographer's job is to be able to capture those best expressions in your best light!  Picture quality is mostly determined by the camera, but composition is determined by the photographer.  Photos should make a person looking through them feel like they were almost there.  That's why it is important to browse through a photographer's photos and check out their resumes to get more insight on their shooting styles and compositions.

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Photo courtesy of One Shine Photography

Experience is also a major factor in locating a photographer.  Just because it's your special day doesn't mean that you should spend your whole life's savings on hiring a photographer.  Research your selection of photographers, and, if possible, look for any known references who you could contact.  Also, read testimonies on their website/fan pages.   With the experience comes the love for the art of photography.  It all falls back on quality work.  You should get what you pay for and be able to trust the photographer can deliver your vision.  

Meeting and interacting with your photographer is important as well.  Don't be hesitant to call or meet up with a potential candidate before his shooting on that special day.  You should want to know what kind of photographer you're dealing with beforehand.  Look for an audacious, confident, and charismatic photographer who is 110% sure they can deliver.  That degree of comfort will only make you more certain that you've made the right decision.  

Capturing those special candid moments of you and your significant other are priceless. They are moments that you can't get back, so thoroughly research your choices of photographers to make sure that your wedding day is just as perfect as you envision it!

- Robert

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The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Day Savings: Getting Your Money Right

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Soon after couples announce their engagement, planning the wedding becomes one of the first financial obstacles that the couple has to overcome together. The best thing to do is to learn about typical trends when it comes to planning a wedding and what mistakes lead to the most financial failures among couples during this process.

Realistically, the best thing to do when planning for a wedding is to start small and as early as you can. Today’s world is full of couples that are getting engaged within the first year to year and a half of dating, which doesn’t leave much time to save before the planning starts for the big day. Here are my tips to help you spend less and be empowered financially:

  • - Keep a spreadsheet keeping track of all of your expenses, so you know what you are spending and where.

  • - Be sure to look at the big picture, what really matters to you both. Instead of wanting the best of everything, simple try to have the best of what you can afford and for what is important to you.

  • - Take advantage of the skills your family holds.

  • - Of course, everyone would love for their one of a kind special dress but buying a pre-owned dress is much cheaper and can still be your very own. Think about buying pre-owned then changing a few things on the dress to make it “customized and original.”

  • - There has been a common trend of starting a “wedding account” among financial advisers these days.  Even if you are not engaged, it's not early to start saving. If a person has even the slightest desire to get married some day, he can start saving before dating someone. I guess you could call it the “401-Wedding,” if you get what I mean.

Invest in your marriage, not in your wedding day. There is nothing more stressful for a couple than starting their marriage broke because they had a big lavish wedding day. If the decision is to have more flowers, the perfect venue or something else that is over the top, take the road less traveled and spend less. Having a little nest egg going into your marriage will make things a little easier and less stressful through the first few months.

Still need more info? Should you put everything on credit cards, or create a separate checking account specifically for wedding expenses to avoid overspending? Check out more tips on Credit Card Insider’s community page. Also, try the wedding budget calculator here.

Related articles:  “How Much Does a Wedding Cost?” and “I’m Engaged! Now What? - First Steps for Newly Engaged Couples.”

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The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Day Savings

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Season's Greetings, Friends!  

The 2013 holiday season is still going strong, and we're just days away from the New Year!  Many of us are enjoying lots of needed time with loved ones and are already taking way too much [insert your fave holiday cryptonitreat here] down the hatch.  Warm memories and cherished traditions invoke the nostalgia that magically comes this time of the year. One of my heartfelt memories took place this very holiday six years ago the love of my life popped THE question. The exuberation I experienced in that moment was nothing like ever before. Within weeks, I was in wedding planning mode!  If you're like me, I was reading any and everything wedding that I could get my hands on - eventually becoming overwhelmed. 

These sentiments led me to unpack the next series: "The Unbeaten Path to Wedding Savings." I wish I had had a resource like this series during the midst of planning my wedding. As our gift to you, your bargainista team at GetWedforLess.com will be collaborating with highly respected industry experts over the next few weeks on how to curb costs - without compromising quality - on each of the big wedding expenditures (venue, catering, dress, honeymoon, etc).

We hope you enjoy a very merry holiday season!  May it be a time of appreciation for what has been, what is, and what you hope the future to be. 

Happy celebrating!

Lauren & Your Bargainista Crew

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What Style of Photography is Right for Me?

This is a very common question for a bride-to-be to ask herself. Sure, you may have a vision of what you want your photographs to look like when everything is all said and done, but how do you convey this to your photographer? The first step is differentiating between the different styles of photography. Here are a few of the basic (and most popular) styles today!

Traditional/Classic/Formal

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(Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography)

This is a style of photography in which the majority of your photos will be posed and/or staged.  The photographer will place you perfectly in order to capture the traditional wedding photos.

The photographer will be highly involved in this process, sort of like a director. Everything from the way you stand, to where you look, to how you hold your bouquet, the photographer will tell you exactly what to do.

This is a classic form of photography that will definitely be pleasing to all generations attending your big day! These do make for timeless album photos.

Photojournalistic

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(Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography)

This style of photography concentrates more on telling a story. Rather than capturing a specific moment in time like the Traditional style, this style captures feelings and emotions throughout the day.

With this style you can expect your photographer to follow one step behind, almost like quiet, less interfering paparazzi. This will result in more candid, natural photographs. There is minimal editing done to preserve the naturalness of the images captured.

The photographer will be less of a director and more in the shadows. With this style of photography you can also expect to say, “Wow, I don’t even remember…(insert “seeing my mom tear up,” “your sister laugh at the best man’s speech,” or “my niece twirling around on the dance floor”).

These will also make for amazing album photos.

Artistic/Editorial/Modern

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(Photo credit: Brittany Marie Photography)

This is a style of photography that is going to leave almost everything in the hands of the photographer. These photos are going to have different angles, unique lighting, and unexpected composition. 

There can be more post-processing that goes into these images to create a specific vision.

It is important to thoroughly look over a photographer's portfolio to make sure you both have similar tastes and visions.

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From Drama to Dream: One Bride's Victory

This weekend, one of my "girls" got married. I say girls quoted because I never gave birth to her; in fact, she is only a few years my junior. Nonetheless, she is my girl - someone who was gifted to me from God to share life with, to shed tears with, to literally laugh out loud with. 

On Friday, she went from a "Miss" to a "Mrs.," and I am overcome with sentiment. Sure, call it girly - it's all good. It feels right to have someone for whom you can feel all warm inside because her journey (that you know so well) and her future (that you imagine and have great expectations for) bring you exceeding joy. 

Getting to marriage is not a walk in the park, and it wasn't easy for our girl. In fact, forces from all over were coming together like Armageddon! It can be downright ugly. Just because the path isn't easy doesn't mean it wasn't destined to be! Without going into a litany of occurrences, my dear friend endured some family battles, last-minute vendor and familial reneges, disagreements on the vision for the wedding, tears, and her fair share of mind games to overcome. She came to realize that marriage - or even getting to the wedding day itself - is not about some fairy tale, but it's about journeying through life with that someone who "for better or for worse" would devotedly write the tale alongside her with unconditional love. 

The rewarding part of the drama is that she didn't have to go it alone. Her faith and encouragement from her beau and loved ones kept the ship moving forward!  Now, she stands gracefully as a "Mrs." stronger than she was, more determined, and focused.

Today, I pray a blissful, spicy, lovingly epic romance for you and the love of your life, my Whit. 

 XOXO,

Lauren

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The Ultimate Wedding Checklist & Timeline - Part VI (2 Months)

Photo credit: Rebecca Moses (ColinCowieWeddings.com)

2 MONTHS from Your Wedding Day

Note from the Editor:  And the eight-week countdown commences!  Your wedding will be here before you know it.  Take some time to reflect.  You are about to go from “Ms.” to “Mrs.”!  Allow yourself to remember your single journey, embrace it, journal about it, and look forward to your shared future with intention and a heart full of faith, hope, and love.  

I hope you enjoy today’s post from planner extraordinaire Jeffrey Brown as we near the end of the Ultimate Timeline & Checklist series...  

Happy planning + much love!

Lauren

OK, my Brides and Grooms, we are coming to a close with no time to lose!  Here’s my rundown for the two-month marker from your big day!

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Messina, Flowers by Amy Osaba (Lonny.com)

Set Hair and Makeup Appointments, and Decide on Your Big Day Look!

  1. Bring along your headpiece and jewelry if available.

  2. If possible, make the final appointment for your hair and nails the day before the wedding or day-of, so your hairstyle and manicure are fresh.

  3. If a makeup artist is being used, set the appointment time and location and how many in your party will be utilizing that service.

Meet with Your Officiant, and Confirm Ceremony Details and Guidelines with Vendors & Participants

  1. Musicians and anyone having a part within the ceremony should be met with in order to confirm times, schedules/order, and responsibilities.

  2. Confirm delivery times for florist, bakery, photographer, and any other vendors.

  3. Check lighting with photographers and videographers and their positioning during ceremony.

  4. Know what time will guest be admitted and communicate to responsible parties.

  5. Know the answers to and communicate often forgotten logistics, such as:

    - Where will guestbook be located?

    - Do you have to provide a podium, tables, and other wedding supplies (candelabra, etc.), or does the venue take care of everything you’ll need?

    - What are cleanup/breakdown time factors for  any props?

    - Is there storage available if any items need to be left overnight for picky vendors?  If so, who will handle that at venue and Is there a fee?

Picture of marriage license

 

 

Apply for your Marriage License!

(Can’t be official without this)!

 

Have Completed Programs and Menus Printed

(Your caterer may do menus for you).

  

Plan Hospitality/Welcome Bags or Baskets for Out-of-Town Guests

Maybe you want to keep your theme or you and your intended’s story in mind to personalize the gifts.  Perhaps, you are getting married at a destination location and want to incorporate that somehow in your welcome gift.  Make them fun and inexpensive, but be creative!

Check back soon for the final part in this series!

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Engagement Session 411

Engagement Sessions are a great way to document this amazing milestone in yours and your future hubby's life! And there are always a ton of questions that come along with planning an engagement shoot, which is why I decided to write this blog today :) I hope you enjoy!
 
Engagement Session 411:

Congratulations, you are officially betrothed!  This is such an exciting time for my pre-newlyweds, and most love to document their new milestone with photos.  For many couples, setting up an engagement shoot proves to be a fun and meaningful journey into their upcoming wedding planning.  Of course, some may worry they can’t handle the stress of arranging for the perfect engagement shoot, what with the larger task of ‘The Wedding’ looming in the future.  Undoubtedly, it can seem like a lot to take on, but with the right tools and a committed photographer (ahem!) to help you along, the planning and shoot can be both simple and fun!  To get you started, here are a few of my personal tips on how to ensure your engagement session is absolutely awesome:

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1. Location, Location, Location
One of the very first questions I get asked when preparing for an engagement session is, “Where should we go?”  Quite honestly, the answer to that inquiry is unique to each and every couple.  Usually I probe a couple’s history by asking leading questions; i.e., “Where was your first date?,” “Where was your first kiss?,” “Where was the proposal?”  I typically advise my couples that it is important to consider places that are meaningful to them.  And not to worry - most photographers are more than willing to work with you regarding location choice… for instance, one couple I know had their photos taken in front of the Eiffel Tower at King’s Dominion!

2. Wardrobe Considerations
Ladies, here’s your chance to tell the men, “Yes, clothes are important!”  Of course, this depends on your own sense of style, but my suggestions always include the following:
·    Nothing too busy that will take attention away from you - here we’re talking crazy florals, bold prints, zigzags, etc.
·    If it looks like it belongs under a black light, it’s generally a bad idea - no neon pinks or highlighter yellows.  Sticking to neutral and subtle tones will bring out your natural skin tone and eye color.  
·    Playing Matchy-Matchy can be cute when done properly, BUT you probably don’t want to show up in perfectly matching plaid flannel shirts… unless you have a lumberjack theme, in which case we could make that work!  
·    Variety is the spice of life!  Always bring a few extra tops and/or bottoms.  In this aspect, you can easily change your outfit, which will provide us with a larger variety of photos.
·    For the love of Pete, be comfortable.  If you don’t typically wear it in ‘real life,’ it’s probably not something you’ll want to go with here.  Comfy couples make happy couples and happy couples have fun on their engagement shoots - I promise.
 
 
3. Accessories
With the use of props becoming more and more popular, I suggest that if you like and want to use props that you bring items that, again, have meaning to both of you.  Will you be using these photos for your Save-the-Dates?  A cute heart shaped chalk board or a hand-made sign with your wedding date on it would be a great idea.  Other cute ideas include picnic set-ups, balloons, kites, bicycles, pets (yes, it’s totally OK to bring your furry loved ones along!), etc.

 
4. Hair and Make-up
If you are like me (hair and make-up challenged), I highly recommend having a professional do your hair and make-up before your engagement shoot.  Not only is it a great way to test a salon for your Big Day, this will also take the stress off of you having to do it yourself!  If you have budget issues, perhaps a friend or family member that does great hair will help you out.  Take the opportunity to have fun and experiment with different styles; my only further advice would be to keep things relatively natural.  The focus should be on you and not your make-up; too much make-up can sometimes be distracting.

 
5. Have fun!
This is a ‘no-brainer’!  It may take a couple of minutes to get warmed up, but once you get comfortable, photo shoots can be a very enjoyable experience.  Be yourselves.  Kiss each other when the time feels right, hold hands, jump up and down, crack jokes!  If you’re silly, be silly. A good photographer will want to capture you in that pure state of being head-over-heels in love, so pretend like we’re not even there!  Ignoring the camera and being relaxed is the best way to handle these shoots, you’ll have a lot more fun if you’re not constantly worried about what we’re doing.  Just have a good time, we’ll make sure you look awesome :).
 
>>Photography Credit:  Brittany Marie Photography<<
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