Thank you for reading our blog and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to you!

In a few more days we’ll present a slideshow of our favorite images from 2009, most likely by Wednesday.

For now, we’re writing this post about wedding planning in general and how it relates to photography – our experience in the last five years gave us a unique perspective on what our clients went through the entire process and hopefully, this will give you a better “guide” to wedding planning than what other wedding magazines will show.

There are three things that are the most important after your engagement as far as wedding planning goes:  the date, the budget, and the location.   Everything you decide depends on the three things.

The date – if you need to book a photographer, we need your date 🙂  There is no way to “reserve” a range of dates.  While vendors such as baker or florists can do multiple weddings, most wedding photographers can only do one wedding per day and some times, one wedding per weekend.  The availability is based on the date and the location.

The location – generally, this just has to be the location of the wedding (city, state, etc.)  and not necessarilythe actual ceremony and reception.   Once you have the date and the location, most vendors can show you the availability and also the cost.

The budget – This is where things get tricky and this is where you need to decide what you want to empahsize on in your wedding.  This is the area that we don’t feel is our place to get into, because it really depends on what is important to you. Is it the dress?  the cake?  the photographer? 🙂  etc.

The simple 7 steps we’ll recommend is the following:

1.  Pick the date and location and the budget – these should go at the same time.  Everything pretty much depends on this first step.

2.  Photographers – of course, I am somewhat biased – but, wedding dates book up fast.  We must have received 10 inquiries for May 1st and half a dozen for other dates in May after the date is booked.  It all depends on who the photographer is, and what you’d like in your final product.   I’d recommend that every bride look at a COMPLETE WEDDING SLIDESHOW or two or three, from beginning until end, to judge how good the photographer is throughout the day.  That’s the only way to gauge our ability to produce and the consistency of our product.  You simply can’t have a bad day as a wedding photographer.  Do you want more portraits or more photjournalistic approach?  Does the photographer catch the not-so-obvious moments, or just the garden variety type?

3.  Planners/coordinators – some venues have planners, some don’t.  The thing about wedding planners is this – their recommended “list” of vendors might not be what you want.  In fact,  a lot of wedding planners and coordinators’ photographers’ list are photographers who produce the work that they like and not necessarily what you’d want, style wise.  Planners like to emphasize on details (that’s what they do), so the photographers they recommend will be ones who emphasize on details – and if you’re looking for a photojournalistic photographer, most likely it won’t come from a planner.  I’m speaking in generalities, but a lot of times, that’s what planners do.  Again, it may not be in the budget, but a coordinator/planner is a nice thing to have on the wedding, especially if they can coordinate the family members afterwards for the family formals so that we don’ t have to spend a lot of times on them.

3.  Cake/Dress/Florists – If you have a planner, you’ll probably get a list of the vendors as well.  Again, this all depends on the budget and how you want to appropriate (i.e. how much do you emphasize on the vendors), so we won’t go into that.  If you want to get a list of the vendors we worked with in the past, feel free to email us.

4. Entertainment/DJ/Band/Hawaiian dances 🙂 – This again, depends on the budgetand what you’d like at your wedding.  A great band adds to the atmosphere of the wedding and it’s a guarantee that the guests will go wild on the dance floor, same goes for a great DJ.

5.  Themes – this is where you can bring out your favorite wedding magazines and try to figure out what you want to have in your wedding.  And it can affect #3 and #4.   Special cultural weddings is important here.  This is where you should get an idea of what you need and speak to your photographer about it, particularly for ceremonies that are not of the “norm”, if there is such a thing as a normal wedding 🙂  Personally I believe each and every wedding is unique and should be reflected in the photos.

6.  Timeline – we just need the generic timeline – the rest we can get at the reception with the DJ or if you have a band or coordinator, then we can get it from them as well.  It’s good to speak to your photographer about what you need in terms of portraits, etc. so that appropriate “time” is allocated, as well as the appropriate time of the day for the best light.

7.  Don’t stress out if you only have a couple of months.  We have two couples in 2009 who decided to get married within 2 months of the wedding day, and both had spectacular weddings.  One had a planner and the other couple did not, and honestly, I didn’t see a difference in the schedule, etc.  Both were great and unique in their own way.  If you have 6-12 months, then you have a bit more time – but don’t wait if you need to make sure a particular vendor (photographers and venues) is available for your wedding day.

Hope that helps out a little – if you have any questions, feel free to ask us.

2009 favorites slideshow coming soon in a couple of days.

Best wishes for the new year,
Tony & Hazel

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