My own wedding was an eye opening experience. I want to share with you 5 Things I Learned As A Bride. I always joke and say that God put me through a ton of trials with my own wedding so that I would be a better photographer for my own clients. Here are five things I learned and how they changed the way I run my own business, that you need to know before you say “i do!”
- Brides want to feel like their wedding day is the most important day in the entire world. And they want each and every person they encounter on a daily basis to feel the same way. Yep. I said it. Every bride wants to be treated like that, even if she doesn’t admit it. It is hard not to get wrapped up in all of the crazy emotions of wedding planning. This not only applies to her family, but her friends, and even her wedding vendors. That’s right. No bride wants to call one of her wedding vendors and have them say they are too busy with other weddings, or have a vendor cancel a Saturday meeting at 10pm on a Friday night. Surround yourself with people who truly care about you on your wedding day.
I didn’t feel like our wedding day was a top priority for all of the vendors involved, and felt like we were often put on the back burner to their other clients. After realizing this as a bride I made a vow to myself to never let a bride feel like her wedding wasn’t special to me. I also made the decision to limit the number of weddings I accept each year so that each and every bride can receive the personalized experience she deserves. I only accept 10-12 weddings each year, and try to only book one wedding each month so that every bride and groom has my full attention in the weeks leading up to their wedding.
2. Picking a Photographer is HARD. I am a wedding photographer and it was such a hard decision. I figured out a few very important lessons. First of all, find someone whose pictures you LOVE. Don’t settle with someone you “like” you will have to live with these pictures your entire life. If you have to give up a few table decorations or even those fancy linens to get the photographer you really love, then do it. I promise you won’t look back at your wedding and regret not having enough decorations on your guest’s tables. Second, once you find someone whose pictures you love, go meet them. Thats right, meet them face to face. Grab coffee with them, or stop by their studio. When you meet them ask to see images printed out on a large scale, and most importantly, look at albums. You want to make sure that you get along with your wedding photographer and that your personalities mesh well. After all you will be spending more time with your photographer on your wedding day than anyone else, and they can truly make or break your wedding day. Talk to your photographer about what they do through your wedding day, will they be by your side the entire night. Do they get right up in the action on the dance floor and capture all of those crazy moments, or do they only grab a few shots.
When picking a photographer I had to choose someone that was within our budget and even so we ended up with a minimal coverage. I viewed our photographers blog posts however I did not request to view entire galleries. I will never forget calling my photographer shortly before my wedding and when I asked questions I felt like I was brushed off because they were “too busy” with other weddings that month. In that same conversation I was also worried because I was told they only needed around 10 minutes for pictures of me with my bridesmaids…at this very moment I freaked when I asked if they only took one picture and the response was well yeah pretty much. I knew that I wanted all of the fun pictures with my bridesmaids, laughing, serious, walking, all of those things I do with my brides! If I would have looked at full wedding galleries I would have known what exactly to expect. I normally schedule 30 minutes for bridesmaid pictures on a wedding day so you can see why this was such a big shock for me. The first time I met our photographer was on our wedding day, it was like having a stranger there. I didn’t get warm fuzzies, and I certainly didn’t feel like they were really there “for me.” When I arrive at a wedding I am just like a friend arriving, because I take the time to get to know each one of my wedding couples. I want to make sure that on their wedding day I am not just their photographer, I am like a friend that happens to also be an awesome photographer.
One thing I have to point out is that on my wedding day I felt like I had to look for our photographer at the reception, and we didn’t get pictures with many guests that were special to us. I make it a point to always stay right with my bride and grooms on their wedding day, each collection includes two photographers. I always stay with the couple and the other photographer will capture all of the guests mingling and guests dancing. My goal on a wedding day is that my couples should never have to ask for a picture on their wedding day, because I am already there to capture it. As they walk around and meet and greet guests I am always there so if they want a picture with any guest, they can just turn around and smile. The only time during the wedding day that I take a short break is while the bride and groom eat, I will grab a quick bite to eat and always try to stay within eyes reach so that if anything happens I can jump up and grab the shot. I have recently attended a few weddings as a guest where the photographer sat down at the reception while the bride and groom were greeting guests or dancing, and it made my cringe. I knew there were so many moments they missed and I felt terribly for my friends who would never get those moments back.
3. Make sure you do an engagement session. An engagement session is so important for your wedding day, it not only helps you get to know your photographer and your photographer get to know you. It also helps you get comfortable in front of the camera. On your wedding day your photographer will know exactly how to pose you, how to make you laugh, or even how to capture that look that your fiancé gives you. You and your fiancé will also transform into “models” at your engagement session and it will help you realize how awesome you really look in pictures even when you may feel awkward posing and snuggling up close for pictures.
My husband and I opted to skip the engagement session. We planned our wedding in four months, and since we were paying for almost our entire wedding ourselves we decided to bypass the engagement session to save a little bit of money and we felt like scheduling it would have been too hectic. Our wedding day was the first time we had pictures taken together by a photographer, and even though we scheduled a full 45 minutes for portraits of the two of us after the ceremony I felt like our photographer didn’t fully utilize that time because they were uncomfortable posing us and it was difficult to loosen up since we didn’t know them very well. I have to admit, that since our wedding just over two years ago, we have had our pictures taken three times. Twice with the fabulous pet photographer in Houston Robyn Arouty and once with the fabulous Julie Paisley in Nashville. I am still dying to put my wedding dress on again for pictures. Each of my wedding collections includes a mini complementary engagement session so that I can make sure every couple has a chance to get comfortable in front of the camera. It also helps me to get to know my couples so that I know exactly how to make them laugh, or smile, or even just how to get them to snuggle up and get close without feeling strange.
4. Get a wedding album and print your pictures. Don’t tell yourself that you will order one later, or that you will make one yourself. Lets face it, it is really hard to go through all of your own wedding pictures and pick images for an album. The whole “I will get around to it one day” will take over. Trust me. When you select your wedding collection, go ahead and choose one with an album because a high quality archival wedding album is truly your family’s first heirloom and will be in the family for generations to come. Also, print your pictures. Go ahead and order a portrait or two of you and your husband on your wedding day for your walls. Each and every time I visit my grand parents house I love looking at all of their wedding pictures on the walls and I am always in awe of how gorgeous each one of them are. What will our grand kids say one day when they walk into our houses? Let me see that USB? One thing that is certain in this world, technology will change and eventually corrupt. Those gorgeous archival quality prints will last for generations, and serve as the perfect reminder of one of the best days of your life each and every day when you look at it on your wall.
Would you believe me if I said that I still haven’t ordered a wedding album of our own pictures? Yep, thats right. I have ordered countless albums for brides and grooms…I have their digital files backed up 3 times…but I don’t have my own wedding album, or my own wedding pictures backed up. I started to give each and every bride a wooden keepsake box with a set of 70-80 prints to tell the story of their wedding day along with a USB drive containing their images. I know that each and every couple will walk out with those images printed.
5. Surround yourself with people that truly love you. From your bridal party to the guests that you invite. This one is a hard pill to swallow. I watch countless brides with bridesmaids that seem to care less about their wedding day, girls that show up late for hair and makeup or even girls that stand at the alter with an annoyed look on their face. Choose friends or family that are your best of the best for your bridal party. Invite people you know well and really want to celebrate this important day with. All too often I have a bride or groom turn to me and say “I have no idea who that is.” But they still have to walk around and spend time greeting everyone at their wedding, it is your wedding day ultimately so only invite who you really want to invite. Do not let your family pressure you into inviting guests you would rather not see.
I choose to have three of my best friends as bridesmaids and niece as a junior bridesmaid, and passed up my two sisters. I will tell you this girls, you will find out who your true friends are when you are getting married. My bridesmaids showed their true colors through the wedding planning process and even on my wedding day. They were catty to each other and couldn’t put their own self aside for one day to just be happy for me. I see the same thing happen so many times at weddings, and I feel for the bride because I know exactly how she feels. Your bridesmaids are supposed to throw you showers and take you out for your bachelorette party, and be the one to help lace up your gown and tell you you look beautiful in your wedding dress…all too often I find myself jumping into that position to help a bride on her wedding day when her bridal party falls short. My husband and I agreed to try to only invite close friends and family members that we both knew, because I didn’t want to have to spend my entire wedding day playing meet and greet..I wanted to have fun and dance and enjoy this day with my new husband!
As much as I wish our wedding day was absolutely perfect in every day, but looking back I wouldn’t change it for the world. I know that these things 5 Things I Learned As A Bride made me a much better photographer for my wedding clients. The other evening I was updating the reviews page for my website and it made me tear up a little. I realized that my past brides and grooms get it. They see that I want nothing more than for them to have an absolutely perfect day, and that I will do just about anything to make sure of it. This is my why. This is what makes me spend weekends away from my family and keeps me going during a long wedding.
I would love for you to comment on this post and tell me what you learned as a bride.
Make sure you also stop by and check out 3 Things You Should Ask Your Wedding Photographer. I took all of those crazy lists of questions you find online and created 3 simple questions that will answer all of those for you.
Now booking 2016 and 2017 weddings. If you are getting married I would love to set up a time to chat with you about your wedding day. Feel free to give me a call at (832)598-8715 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karinda K Wedding Photography specializes in wedding, engagement, and bridal photography in Montgomery, Texas and surrounding areas including but not limited to The Woodlands and Houston.