For couples who are planning a first wedding, on the surface, it always seems as if it’s just a matter of picking this and that, scheduling a few things and signing a contract or two. But when couples get about knee keep in the wedding planning process, many begin to feel overwhelmed, defeated and stressed out. Wedding planning is much more than picking colors, scheduling the caterer, and signing a venue contract. In order for your day to go as smoothly as possible, it needs to run with military precision. Before you dive headfirst into your wedding planning, take a second to read these very first steps to planning your wedding day. I think they’ll help.
Wedding Planning Step #1: Choose a Wedding Planner
Step one. Choose a wedding planner.
First mistake. Many couples think they can save money by not hiring a wedding planner, but the honest truth is that nine times out of 10, a wedding planner will not only save you money, they will also save you time. AND, they will make your actual wedding day much more enjoyable (and memorable) because they will be the one stressing out about all the minute details of your day while you freely celebrate your love. (What would you rather be the most memorable thing about your wedding day—how you had to look for your wedding bands for an hour-and-a-half before the ceremony, where the champagne flutes got misplaced, why Grandma Betsy was the last one to eat OR how your husband gazed straight into your heart during the first dance and whispered the most amazing love notes in your ear?)
But how does this added expense save you money exactly? By hiring a wedding expert right off the bat, they can lead you to reputable wedding vendors who will perform exactly as you need them to. You don’t have to waste time researching and interviewing possible candidates. A good wedding planner will already have knowledge of vendors’ styles and price ranges. They will have a library of vendors who are trustworthy. You minimize the chances of having to re-do or re-purchase things because you started out on a solid foundation.
First Steps to Planning a Wedding
Wedding Planning Step #2: Set a Rough Budget
Step two. You should have a general idea of your wedding budget. This doesn’t have to be an exact dollar amount, but you should know if your budget is closer to $15k or $125k. This will set the guidelines for everything that follows.
Planning Step #3: Create an Estimated Guest List
Step three. When asked, I like to advise my couples to use the tiers of wedding guest selection and the ABC’s. How does this work? Create three tiers: 1) immediate family and bridal party 2) anyone you can’t imagine celebrating without 3) all others. Include your ABCs in group 2. These are people that you usually share or celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, or Christmas (or other religious holidays) with. I would even go so far as creating a fourth group and putting everyone in there who you haven’t seen in the last five years (or whatever your personal threshold is.)
Make sure you get both mothers to help with this list, but remember you (the couple) have the final say—especially if you’re footing the bill.
Planning Step #4: Select Your Venue/Set Your Wedding Date
Step four. Now that you know what you can spend and how many people you need to accommodate, you can begin looking at wedding venues and simultaneously, set your wedding date. It’s a good idea to have a general idea of what you want your wedding day to look like or a wedding theme. For instance, if you’re envisioning a black tie affair with chandeliers and vaulted ballroom ceilings, there’s no sense in visiting rustic venues. A barn venue can certainly be transformed into just about anything your heart desires, but it’s going to cost you.
Planning Step #5: Hire Photographer/ Videographer
Step five. This is where I come in. Please book your photographer (and videographer) out early. First off, we generally book out a year in advance. So, if you have your heart set on someone, make sure you grab them up quick. Secondly, by having a long-term relationship with your wedding day creatives, it increases the chance that your actual wedding day photos are going to be that much more incredible because these are not just people showing up with cameras. These are friends. And you trust them. And you feel comfortable when they give direction and get in your personal space with your lover.
I have to add that these are not how couples usually do things. They usually don’t opt for that wedding planner (step one) and rush to the nearest bridal dress boutique to pick out a gown. They lust for all the fun, exciting parts of the wedding planning which, more often than not, causes headaches, stress, and the need to pivot down the line. And, here are some additional tips from Brides.com if you don’t want to take my word for it.
Do yourself a solid. Take your time and do things in a chronological order that makes sense. Work with professionals who won’t let you down. And love hard.
Let’s “hangout!” I wanna hear about your love story!Schedule a virtual or in-person discovery meetup!
For more options, visit my “Let’s Connect” page.
I am a San Antonio-based wedding photographer and I cater to outdoor-loving couples who prefer to have all the realness captured on their wedding days. I am the wedding photographer for the outdoor adventurers, the romantics, the laid back, the snugglers, and those who wish to capture all their realness.
I am absolutely in love with capturing the kinds of weddings where there are more hugs than handshakes, the dance floor rumbles all night long, and chairs are pretty much rendered useless after dinner. Whiskey bottles are passed around, most of the wedding party has been best-best friends since kindergarten, Grams is likely to lose her shoes and your partner is much more emotional than you are. These kinds of weddings are my jam!
You can always call or text, but if you really want to get to know me, schedule a meetup!
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journeys and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
If you enjoyed this blog post and would like to get your hands on 20 FREE interactive wedding planning tools that every couple needs, please take a moment to access them here.
I am a published author (purchase my book here), a podcast host (listen here) (watch here) and a WPPI-C certified professional, full-time wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
When I’m not behind my camera, you can find me hiking, cycling, backpacking, camping, enjoying water sports, listening to music (Elvis and Prince), hunting for arrowheads, reading audiobooks, occasionally eating a few glazed donuts (my only weakness to sweets) and then re-starting my keto diet about every 10 days. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of.
The post, The Very First Steps to Planning a Wedding, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.
Why do some brides choose to wear a veil, and some do not? Well, it’s a decision as personal and picking the perfect dress, the ideal flowers, and the consummate first dance song.
What is all the meaning behind the veil and why should you consider wearing one?
[Tweet “To Veil or Not to Veil? That is the Question”]
Personally, I feel a wedding veil completes the whole bride look. Yes, a white dress usually is a strong indication that a bride is underneath, but not always. However, pair that white dress with a white veil and there is no question.
Traditionally, a veil symbolized virginity. Having the father lift a bride’s veil to present his daughter to her groom was a symbolic gesture giving permission for her to essentially give her virginity away. Seems kind of archaic now, right? However, today’s wedding veil has become nothing more than a symbol of the bride’s style.
To Veil or Not to Veil? That is the Question
However, if you’re still on the fence about whether or not to add a veil to your wedding day wardrobe, here are some pros and cons to help you decide:
- You’re more a traditional bride and you value traditions.
- Again, it just ties the whole bridal look together.
- You do want to partially hide your face as you’re walking down the aisle.
- All you’ve ever dreamed about is your dad or groom lifting the veil off of your face on your wedding day.
- This might be the only time in your life that constitutes wearing a veil.
- They are really so pretty! And they can add much drama to your wedding images!
- Your mother and your grandmother got married wearing a veil, and you want to please them.
- You’re superstitious and you want to ward off the evil spirits. 🙂
- You are NOT a traditional bride and don’t really agree with being “presented” to anyone as a gift.
- You want to show off your hairstyle instead.
- If it’s windy and you’re having an outdoor ceremony and your veil is a longer length, it can become a fuss to keep it under control. (Pro tip: use magnet veil weights to help weigh it down.)
- You’re afraid a veil may do nothing but add frustration to your day.
- A longer veil does have to be babysat to some degree: as your passing through doors, getting in a car, taking photos.
- It’s just not your style.
Trivia: Do you know that traditionally there are three people who may lift your blusher veil from your face? Your father (before he leaves your side), maid-of-honor (before the final vows), or groom (after the final vows) may all lift your veil according to tradition.
Even IF you THINK you don’t want to wear a veil on your wedding day, my advice to you is to try one on after you’ve decided on your dress. There are so many different options from birdcage styles to 144-inch long cathedral styles. Make sure that you don’t want a veil. Many brides have actually changed their minds in the dressing room standing in front of the mirror looking at themselves wearing a veil.
**Some of the images contained in this blog post were shot under the direction and for assignment of Sara Griffin Photography. The images are copyrighted but used herein with permission.
The post, To Veil or Not to Veil? That is the Question, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.
I recently heard the term, “bridechilla.” It was new to me. I have heard the term “bridezilla” many times. Everyone knows exactly was a bridezilla is. Thankfully, I’ve never had to deal with a bridezilla. Nope, not once! And believe me, I am counting my lucky stars because I have heard some absolute horror stories from colleagues in the industry. Some bridezilla stories were so bad they caused the photographer to just quit the business. Yes, someone was so horrible to work with they actually caused another person to give up their career because they didn’t want to ever repeat that experience. So, I wanted to know more about this bridechilla. I was delighted to learn this new term.
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A bridechilla is a bride that remains calm, cool, and collected during her entire wedding experience. Bridechillas never use phrases such as “my day, the most important day of my life, don’t ruin my day, etc.” A bridechilla is not defined by her wedding. This is the standard for the new bride.
It’s every bride’s dream to be remembered as a beautiful, graceful and courteous woman on their wedding day. Yes, this day is YOUR day and this day is all about YOU. However, that doesn’t give you free reign to be a Jezebel when something doesn’t go exactly as you have planned it. The day isn’t about getting your way, being a princess or being bossy. There are sensible ways to deal every shortcoming that “may” happen on your wedding day. If you feel you are just completely incapable of reacting to minor (or major) catastrophes in a mature and respectable way, then hire a wedding planner to deal with them and keep your head wrapped in your veil.
How to be a Bridechilla
In light of that, I’d thought I’d put together a list of ways you can avoid being the bridezilla.
- Be prepared to make decisions. Being a bridechilla doesn’t mean that you automatically get to shrug off all the wedding planning details to someone else because you’re afraid of being labeled as a bridezilla. Your wedding is a declaration of who you and your fiance are together, who you are independently and the relationship you share. You can own who you are and why it’s important without being a bridezilla. Having an idea or opinion doesn’t make you a monster.
- Expect things to go wrong on your wedding day. I’ve never witnessed a 100% totally perfect wedding day. I’ve witnessed things like the bride’s cake leaning to the side in extreme heat, the groom using the officiant’s wedding ring during the ceremony because his own was left at home, the coordinator losing her phone with all the processional music on it and causing the ceremony to start 35 minutes late, and someone hijacking the DJ and singing a song while coaxing the couple to have a first dance BEFORE their actual first dance! Not one of these brides became a bridezilla. Not one. They all handled these wedding day bloopers with dignity and grace. Don’t panic over small details.
- Learn to delegate! You don’t have to carry the burden of planning the entire wedding fully on your own shoulders. Your bridal party is there to not only look beautiful at your side, they are also there to help you plan and prepare. Don’t be afraid to enlist their help or help from your family.
- Listen to other people who are close to you. Your family and close friends have the same emotional investment in your wedding day, so they will likely see when you are in danger of going over the top. They will know if you are losing sense of perspective. If they tell you you are going overboard, they may have a point.
- Take a break when you need to. When it stops being fun and starts to become more like a job, take a small break. Scheduling time to do anything that is not related to your wedding planning is a great way to avoid becoming a bridezilla.
- Set limits for yourself. This includes financial limits, timing limits, and practical limits. For example, you can decide to only spend an hour a week browsing through wedding catalogs or wedding planning websites. You can give yourself a deadline to choose certain vendors. And with regard to financial limits, remember that you don’t have to exhaust your entire budget.
- Don’t compete with other brides. This day is NOT about competition. Plan the day for you, your fiance and your families. That’s it.
- Don’t talk down to any of your wedding day vendors or guests. Treat everyone with respect, no matter what has just happened!
- Always remember to include your fiance in the plans. This day is about him too. Give him a chance to speak and hear him out. This day is only the start to your marriage. You can’t have a great start if you’re obsessing over napkins.
- Remember WHY you’re having a wedding. If at the end of the day, you are married to the love of your life, the day was perfect.
The post, How to be a Bridechilla, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.
How do you choose trustworthy wedding vendors? In the span of a week, two bridal shops abruptly closed their doors in the San Antonio area—one after filing for bankruptcy, the other for non-paid states sales tax for over a year. The two closures left a long string of brides in a panic and rightfully so. These brides were left scrambling trying to figure out what they were going to wear down the aisle on their wedding day.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of brides being left abandoned before the big day. I’ve heard of wedding planners doing the same thing… and photographers. So in an industry where you are paying for most of the big ticket items up front months in advance (or sometimes more than a year), how do you protect yourself against fraud or a flaky business owner?
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Tips to Choosing Trustworthy Wedding Vendors
Here are some helpful tips to help you choose vendors who aren’t going to fail you:
- Use vendors that have been referred from family and/or friends
- Always check reviews—the good and the bad
- Be aware that some wedding planning websites showcase “featured” businesses; this is nothing more than a paid spot—they pay extra to have that spot, it doesn’t mean that they are more trustworthy, it just means that they are spending more money to try to get your attention
- Use Google, Google knows everything
- You can research the Better Business Bureau, though not many businesses seek accreditation these days
- Meet the vendor in person before hiring; use your intuition
- Before hiring, check the State Sales Tax Records to make sure the business is in good standing (Before switching to LLC)
- No sales tax permit usually indicates that a “business” is not a legitimate business and just operating as a cash-under-the-table outfit; not a good sign
- Every business that performs a service is obligated by the State of Texas to charge sales tax
- [Edit: There is a small selection of vendor categories that may not be obligated to pay sales tax based on the actual services they provide, i.e., wedding planners. However, most wedding day vendors are indeed obligated to pay sales tax.]
- What is the professional appearance?
- Is this a part-time or full-time gig for them? (Part-timers generally have other full-time jobs and that means less time for you.)
- Do they have business cards?
- Do they have an actual website or just a Facebook page?
- Do they have a storefront or in-home studio, or do they meet you at Starbucks?
- Are they operating as a sole proprietor? (Not a huge red flag, but a possible concern.)
- Again, do they pay state sales tax? (Failure to pay sales tax is a huge red flag; clear indication of not operating their business properly.)
- Is their business listed on the county business tax records? (Another indication of how serious the business owner treats his/her business. This is also another tax they should be paying annually.) (Bexar County CAD Search)
- Are they insured? (Another huge red flag if they are not.)
- Are they members of professional organizations?
- Do they seek continuing education or are they accredited in some way?
- How long have they been in business?
- Ask to see verification of liability insurance
- A legitimate business owner should be insured by a private insurance carrier—not a mere benefit from a professional organization
- You want to have recourse of action should something go wrong
- Don’t be afraid to ask for references—both professional and personal
- When you do decide to hire, get it in writing… every last detail, with every last vendor!!
In regard to specific products:
- Buy what you can that is already on the rack/in inventory instead of ordering and waiting months for delivery
- No one will know your wearing last year’s dress
- Keep in contact with your vendors—I’d suggest a monthly call/email after ordering or booking to ensure everything is going smoothly; keep a log and document all conversations
Ultimately, you could be left high and dry no matter how long someone has been in business… no matter how pristine someone’s reputation is… and no matter how on top of things your planning is. In the end, the whole day is really a just huge gamble. You’re gambling on the weather, whether everyone will show up on time, whether your hair will turn out right, if you’ve practiced your vows enough, if none of the flowers will be wilted before the ceremony begins, if the officiant will remember your name and if you know all the steps to your synchronized dance.
You just have to make the best of whatever happens and this includes choosing the right wedding day creatives and vendors to help you put this whole day together. Do your due diligence to pick the ones that are most likely to do the best job for you. Good luck!
The post, Tips to Choosing Trustworthy Wedding Vendors, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.
I’ve written my 17 tips for the maid of honor, 16 tips for the bridesmaids and 16 tips for the groomsmen, now I give you my best tips for the best man!
Compared to the maid of honor, your job is simple really. Your two basic functions are to plan the bachelor party and make sure the groom has whatever he needs. In a nutshell, that’s it.
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Tips for the Best Man
- Keep a clear line of communications open with all of the groomsmen and let them know all dates, times and locations for events that they are expected to be present at. This will include showers, fittings, rehearsals, etc.
- Rally the guys together and organize a great wedding gift for the groom—something functional that he can use as a married man. You can gift this at any of the showers, the bachelor party, or wait until the actual wedding reception.
- Help to arrange accommodations for all of the out-of-town groomsmen.
- If your wedding day attire includes pocket squares or actual ties (not the clip-on variety), make sure you know how to complete this task prior to the wedding day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen groomsmen scrambling for someone in the know on the wedding day. This is your chance to be a hero!
- While we’re at it, learn how to put on your boutonniere too!
- Be a great escort for the maid of honor and keep in mind that this doesn’t automatically qualify her as your date for the night.
- Write a killer speech for the groom. Make it personal with real stories funny enough to make him laugh out loud yet not send his mom to the ladies’ room in embarrassment.
- Dance with the groom’s mom!
- Above all, remember to behave and do your best to keep the other groomsmen in line as well. Alcohol has a tendency to make people do crazy things.
The post, Tips for the Best Man, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.
I’ve written my 16 tips for the bridesmaids and 16 tips for the groomsmen, now I give you my 17 best tips for the maid of honor!
Metaphorically speaking, if the bride is the quarterback, you are the center. You too must memorize all the plays and make sure they are carried out to perfection. And as the bride is planning to make that 99-yard touchdown pass, you are guarding her on your hand and knees from a three-point stance. You are the buffer zone, the shock absorber, the safety line and the free fall net. Your sole objective is to become her second right arm, supply a constant stream of positive support and shield her from as much stress, drama and circus-like behavior as possible. Planning a wedding is a HUGE endeavor and you are a crutch… a very important crutch. You are about to become her on-call counselor, her party-planning assistant, her shopping companion, her sounding board. Very likely, this will become your second full-time job.
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Tips for the Maid of Honor
- Gather and absorb as much wedding information as you can. You should be able to field questions from guests right up to the wedding day. In fact, early on, word should be put out to come to you first. This will not only save the bride a lot of time (she’s busy doing other things), but relieve her of a lot of stress as well. Be available by phone, text, email, and in-person. If you do receive questions that you can’t answer, keep a running list and take them to the bride in batches—assuming they are not time sensitive.
- You will be the central intelligence line to all the other bridesmaids and the best man/groomsmen.
- Be available 24/7—especially to the bride. You will need to be open to listening to everyone’s concerns about the wedding. Be judgment-free.
- Offer to go on any wedding appointments the bride may have such as dress shopping, cake tasting… especially cake tasting, venue scouting, flower selection, etc.
- Attend all of the wedding events and encourage all of the bridesmaids to do the same. You were handpicked for this job for a reason. Don’t disappoint.
- If you don’t know all of the bridesmaids, plan a fun activity where you can start to build a relationship. This will make the showers, bachelorette party and wedding day more relaxing if you have already have a friendly foundation.
- Plan to do the same with the groomsmen. The better all the bridesmaids know the groomsmen, the better.
- Stress to the other bridesmaids that you are second-in-command to the bride. This isn’t to be snippity, but rather to alleviate stress on the bride by having a chain of command.
- If at any time you see drama brewing among the other bridesmaids, put a damper on it asap. Don’t participate in the drama and don’t take the drama to the bride. Just do your best to resolve the issue and bury it.
- Set a budget for each event and expect a few incidentals. Things will get expensive… especially without a plan. Unless you plan to go broke, stick to your budget.
- Plan the bachelorette party and take responsibility for this bash. Give all of the bridesmaids options about when, where and how much it will cost. Don’t assume everyone has the same budget to spend. If necessary, be prepared to cover some unexpected costs. Make sure to honor the bride’s wishes about what she wants/doesn’t want (ie. male dancers, alcohol, etc.).
- Don’t be afraid to delegate. If you feel that your plate is becoming too full, enlist the help of the other bridesmaids. Ask for help when you need it.
- Record the gifts at all the showers. As the bride (and groom) opens the gifts, write down who got her what to make ease of the thank you cards later.
- Write an awesome speech for the toast. The earlier you start on this, the better. Include lots of history and personal antidotes. And practice, practice, practice. The last thing you want to do is choke on the wedding night.
- Even in the darkest days of wedding planning, keep the bride laughing. When things are super stressful and undoubtedly overwhelming, find a way to make light of the situation and make the wedding planning as enjoyable as possible for the bride. Always remain enthusiastic and optimistic.
- Assist with any post-wedding duties. Just because the wedding has come and gone doesn’t mean your job is over. Offer to clean up the reception decorations, sort through wedding gifts, babysit the dog during the honeymoon or write thank you notes.
- Above all, remember the day is HER day!! Do whatever is necessary to keep the peace, avoid catastrophe and prevent anything with the even tiniest resemblance of a meltdown from happening. You can achieve this by smiling, being kind and giving, and adoring HER.
The post, Tips for the Maid of Honor, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.
I had a conversation with the mother of a groom who told me that they had not received the final images from her son’s wedding. This wedding had happened more than a-month-and-a-half prior to our talk. Did you hear me? More than 45 days had passed since the wedding, and the couple still had not received their final images. In addition, this mother was told that it would be a full 90 days until the images would be delivered. That’s three months! That’s one-quarter of a year! That’s unbelievable!
[Tweet “19 Reasons Why Your Photos Aren’t Ready”]
Have you ever wondered why on Earth some wedding photographers take so long to deliver the images to their clients? I put together a list of all the reasons I have heard over the years. I also put them in the same order of occurrence that I believe they happen in the real world.
19 Reasons Why Your Photos Aren’t Ready
- To put it plain and simple, your photographer is a procrastinator.
- Your photographer is not a full-time photographer and also works another full-time job. They don’t have enough time.
- Your photographer didn’t charge enough money and now feels resentment for working all these hours.
- Your photographer is really inexpensive, or rather really cheap, and has to book multiple weddings per weekend to run their business. They don’t have enough time to edit all these weddings. They may have to wait until the busy wedding season is over (after October) to find any time to do any post-production.
- Your photographer is too cheap to outsource this task to speed up their workflow.
- Your photographer doesn’t charge enough for their work and can’t afford to outsource this task to speed up their workflow.
- Your photographer doesn’t believe that good customer service skills are vital for a good customer experience.
- Your photographer is lazy.
- If you heard your photographer say, “Oh, I’ll photoshop that,” a lot on your wedding day… well, that’s probably what they’re doing. Not taking their time to make great captures in-camera is costing them a lot of time in the post-production stage.
- Your photographer is trying to create the illusion that it takes a long time to complete the images and therefore should be as expensive as he or she is charging you.
- Your photographer lacks adequate software to make global adjustments and batch exports.
- Your photographer doesn’t have a good understanding how to utilize their software.
- Your photographer doesn’t have adequate knowledge about post-processing.
- Your photographer is not excited about your images. They are mustering up the creative energy to work on them.
- Your photographer may have a misunderstanding with their second shooter and the second shooter may be unwilling to release the images. This happens frequently when there is no written agreement between those two parties.
- The photographer is looking to pay you back for something. Maybe they thought you were a bridezilla.
- Your photographer may be frantically trying to recover images from a corrupt memory card. (#17 and #18 stem from the inability to back up your images on site and not utilizing a camera body with dual card slots.)
- Second Worst Case: The photographer may have lost some (or all) of your images and they are scared to tell you. (I actually second shot a wedding where the main photographer lost a bunch of 4GB cards.** She eventually found them, but spent weeks making up excuses about delays in image processing and telling them to her clients.)
- Worst Case: (I actually hear of this more often than I should.) You’ve been scammed and your photographer ran off with your images.
The Truth About Your Wedding Day Images
I’m going to deliver the truth here. It doesn’t take all that long to post-process your wedding day images. If a photographer has the appropriate software, is reasonably skilled (both in capturing and processing) and is self-disciplined, they should be able to turn out wedding images within 30 days. Period. Most wedding images just do not require the same level of editing that a portrait session does. Well, I say that, but that also depends on how the images were shot and whether or not they will ultimately be printed and on what medium and how large. Some of the images from your wedding day may need more attention and much more detailed retouching, but most of the images do not.
Generally speaking, wedding images need to be culled (the bad ones thrown out), color corrected, straightened and maybe slightly re-cropped. I usually always also make minor adjustments to shadows, highlights, contrast, vibrancy, saturation, levels and sharpening, but the software I use allows me to make these adjustments quickly and efficiently. Usually, I can cull and edit 1,600 images (my average for eight hours of coverage with a second shooter) somewhere in ten to 16 hours. I prefer to do this in a straight stretch, or over the course of two consecutive days, so that my editing stays consistent. Depending on my schedule after I shoot a wedding, it might take me a few days to block off a solid day to work on one project.
Again, images that do make it to your wedding album or will become wall art will require more detailed post-processing and a higher level of editing.
Out of curiosity, I reviewed the very first wedding I was paid to shoot. (Thank you, Amanda and Andrew!) That was in 2011. It took me 37 days to deliver the images. Gosh, even then and without the proper software—#11 applied to me—I could still beat a 90-day turnaround.
My Average Wedding Day Image Delivery
I went back to look at the last couple of weddings I’ve shot that I was the primary shooter and researched how long it took me to deliver the final images to the client. Here are the results:
- Wedding on June 18, delivered 12 days later
- Wedding on August 3, delivered 8 days later
- Wedding on October 3, delivered 12 days later
- Wedding on October 8, delivered 10 days later
- Wedding on October 15, delivered 15 days later
- Wedding on October 17, delivered 19 days later
- Wedding on October 22, delivered 19 days later
My Guarantee for Delivery of Your Wedding Day Images
To recap, I currently guarantee, in writing, that my clients will receive their processed wedding images within ten days! And for the record, all of my wedding albums have been delivered within four months of the wedding… and they’re coming from Italy!! 🙂 If your wedding photographer isn’t going to deliver customer service along these lines, keep shopping.
**Some photographers have the theory that they should shoot your wedding on a bunch of smaller-sized memory cards… like 4GB. However, this causes them to constantly change cards because they fill up so quickly, especially if they are shooting in a RAW format like they should be. They may even have to change cards in the middle of your wedding ceremony and miss precious shots. The theory is that if they lose a card or if a card becomes corrupt, they only lose a small number of images as opposed to all of the images.
I live in the camp that I shoot on either 32GB or 64GB memory cards. I can shoot your eight-hour wedding coverage and never have to change my memory card. I can shoot in a RAW format all day long. I don’t have to fumble around changing cards all day, risk missing key parts of your special day, keep track of multiple memory cards, and determine which ones have your images on them and which ones are still blank. And, I can do all this without even the slightest worry of corruption or loss.
What if my card does become corrupt? My camera bodies have two separate memory card slots. When I take a picture, the image is simultaneously written to both cards so an instant backup is made on site. If one card does become corrupt, I already have an exact copy. I shoot RAW to both cards (something else that a lot of photographers choose not to do.)
I have absolutely no worries that I’m going to lose your images due to a corrupt memory card, by accidentally overwriting your images or losing or misplacing a memory card on your wedding day.
The post, 19 Reasons Why Your Photos Aren’t Ready, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.
A few weeks ago, I offered my 16 best tips for being a fabulous bridesmaid! Here are my 16 tips for groomsmen you will want to share.
[Tweet “Tips for Groomsmen”]
- Again, I’ll start with the obvious. The bridesmaids are not your dating pool for the night (or leading up to the wedding night). Be a respectful gentleman. Don’t be that stereotypical frat boy trying to “hook up.”
- Don’t make any sarcastic remarks about getting or being married. Keep all the jokes, puns and one-liners to yourself.
- Chances are, the groom isn’t going to be real clear with instructions or expectations. It’s a guy thing. Early on, establish a clear line of communication with the bride or the maid of honor. Rather than all five (or 12) of the groomsmen trying to communicate, it should be the best man receiving all the instructions and passing them on to the rest of the groomsmen.
- If you’re a groomsman and reading this, you’re probably wondering what on Earth is there to communicate about. Well, there will be all sorts of details along the way that you will need to know about. In addition to the bachelor party, you will need to know about wedding showers, tux fitting appointments, and the rehearsal dinner. You may be expected to prepare a toast or learn a special dance.
- Do offer your help to the bride and groom. Be willing to say yes when asked for help.
- If you don’t already know the bride-to-be, spend some time getting to know her before the wedding day. Plan a fun group outing. It will make the wedding day run smoother and a lot more fun if everyone is familiar with one another.
- If at any point, you are not clear on what the
groombride expects of you… ask. It’s better to clear the air with straightforward instructions than to create awkward moments because of a reluctance to step forward. Actually, there should be lots of conversations early on about what each groomsman is expected to do.
- If you happen to be the best man, chances are you will have many more responsibilities. Accept them with honor. And, don’t lose the ring!!
- Attend as many of the wedding showers as you can—all of them is ideal.
- And yes, even though you are in the wedding party, you are still expected to buy a wedding gift.
- Look your best! Make sure you have a fresh cut and clean shave on the big day. Your hands and nails should be groomed well. Shoes should be shiny, clothes should be pressed and shirts should be tucked in. If part of your attire is a bow tie or pocket square (or both), make sure you know how to properly wear these things before the big day. YouTube® has tons of tutorial videos.
- Want to really up your game? Learn to pin on that boutonniere. There are never enough ladies available to do this when the time comes.
- Keep a secret—a secret plan that is! Plan something epic, yet tasteful, for the bride and groom. This can be a song parody, a secret song dedication, a skit, or a slideshow. If you really want to make it memorable, include the bridesmaids!
- Have fun at the reception, but remember to drink responsibly. Don’t hit on the bride’s mom or barf on any of the bridesmaid’s dresses.
- Although I’ve never personally experienced this, I have read many horror stories. Don’t be a sexual-harassing jerk to the female photographer. It’s not cool AND you could cause them to walk out on the bride and groom. Many photographers have clauses in their written agreements that stipulate if this happens (by any wedding guest), they are instantly released from their contractual obligations. This means, they walk out whether in the middle of the ceremony or the cake cutting.
- Usually, at the end of the reception, a lot of things need to be packed up and hauled away. Make yourself useful. Take off your jacket, roll up your sleeves and put yourself to good use.
Tips for Groomsmen
A bride and groom have every right to expect their groomsmen to behave well at their wedding. As a member of the wedding party, almost just as many eyes are on you as are on the bride and groom. You are, in a sense, representing the lucky couple and they have handpicked you to play this part. Don’t let them down. Represent them well and with pride.
The post, Tips for Groomsmen, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.
I recently read a Facebook post where another nationally-known photographer posted about attending a wedding. She said that at that wedding, the photographer used flash during the ceremony. She also said that the second shooter wore jeans and a tee shirt, but that’s another topic. I also just recently attended a wedding and both the main and the second shooter were using flash during the ceremony. This got me to thinking. How often does this happen? And, are brides aware that this is going to happen?
[Tweet “Do you Want Flash at your Wedding Ceremony?”]
A wedding ceremony is a beautiful thing. It should be as sanctified as humanly possible. Random bursts of bright lights does not lend well to this. At all.
Flash at your Wedding Ceremony
So, do you want flash at your ceremony? Do you even need flash at your ceremony?
My answer is no. In my professional opinion, flash should never be used during the actual wedding ceremony. Any professional photographer you hire should be fully capable of capturing images that are correctly exposed without the use of artificial light—especially with the modern advancements in today’s camera processors.
Before you sign that agreement or pay that retainer, ask. Do you use flash during the ceremony? Do you use flash during the ceremony in even extreme lighting situations? You should actually be concerned how your potential photographer photographs the entire ceremony. Ideally, you want to hire someone who is very discreet… someone who doesn’t linger in the center aisle or block your guests’ view. You want to hire someone who captures your day without ruining your guests’.
The sound of the camera shutter clicking is obtrusive enough. Don’t further the disturbance levels by adding obnoxious bursts of light and unprofessionally-dressed photographers who walk down the center aisle and block everyone’s view. My 2¢.
The post, Flash at your Wedding Ceremony, first appeared on Ata-Girl Photography Co.’s website and blog. Please feel free to comment here, or share this post with your friends via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please email me if you have any questions about this article or want to share a neat idea for a future blog post with me.
Hi, I’m Tammy.
I'm a San Antonio-based wedding photographer for outdoor-loving couples who value real moments.
I am a San Antonio-based wedding photographer and I am absolutely in love with capturing the kinds of weddings where there are more hugs than handshakes, the dance floor rumbles all night long, and chairs are pretty much rendered useless after dinner. Whiskey bottles are passed around, most of the wedding party has been best-best friends since kindergarten, Grams is likely to lose her shoes and your partner is much more emotional than you are. These kinds of weddings are my jam!
Since 2010, I have excelled in helping each of my couples plan for one of the very best days of their lives! I’d love to share my very personalized wedding experience, my super-human organizational abilities, and my U. S. Army combat skills (when needed) with you too.
I want your wedding day to be as perfect as you do! I am all in with my whole heart!