After being in the wedding industry for a few years now, I have seen it all (well, maybe).
Part of the reason my clients recommend me, is that I’m not *just* your photographer. I have been through dozens of Quad Cities weddings and can quickly offer advice on timelines, vendors and many other aspects of your day. I also don’t just deliver your images and say “see ya.”
Recently, one of my brides asked me: “Kelly, what is your best advice for my wedding day? I don’t want to screw this up.”
My immediate answer is:
- Have a solid timeline
- Hire professionals ONLY . . . (even if this means spending more)
- Remember, you can’t do this over. You don’t want to have regrets. TRUST ME!
Unless you are working with a planner, my top priority as your wedding photographer is to be sure your timeline is solid. It may seem that the most obvious reason for this is to be sure I have enough time to capture the epic photos you see in my portfolio . . . however . . . YOUR wedding isn’t just about ME.
For most couples, their weddings have been in the works for many months or even years. It’s a big deal and being prepared is vital for your sanity. On a wedding day, the most stressful moments happen because of a badly planned timeline or poor vendor choices. This is almost always the case when things go wrong and a bride or groom (or momma) starts freaking out. Unless you’ve been married before, you don’t know how to budget your time, or know what “most people” are doing.
Perfect example: One of the first weddings I shot, a bride severely underestimated the time needed for one hair and makeup artist to work on seven bridesmaids. (The hair/makeup artist was also inexperienced and did good work, but did not do well under pressure). Needless to say, the timeline ran really behind and everyone was legit freaking out.
Another time, a bride chose a very inexperienced videographer. Not only was he rude, but he slowed down the timeline in a huge way. His inexperience and lack of “people skills” left many people in the bridal party stressed and annoyed. That is definitely not the experience anyone wants to have on their wedding day.
That saying “you get what you pay for” isn’t always just about the quality. You are also paying for the experience and a professional who knows how to deal with the challenges and time constraints of a wedding day. As a photographer, I know I must be able to work quickly. This is true for your other vendors as well. Remember that you aren’t just paying for a service, you are paying someone who you get along with, who cares about you, and is experienced in the wedding industry.
After learning quickly about the wedding industry, the timeline is now something I cover with my brides . . . and you know what? I almost ALWAYS find mistakes in the initial timeline. There are so many little tidbits of time people can’t account for, because, well, they just don’t know!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve suggested to a bride that she move her wedding ceremony to an earlier time, or start the reception a bit later. You would be amazed at how an extra 30mins here, or an extra hour there can make a WORLD of difference in how your wedding flows. At the end of the day, YOU are in charge. I can only suggest what works, what doesn’t usually work, and how to be as stress-free as possible.
My other piece of advice? Only hire professionals for all of your vendors. Any professional who has been in business for awhile will know the wedding drill and you shouldn’t have to worry about them messing with your timeline. It may seem tempting when you run across a vendor with “too good to be true” rates, but remember, you may not be hiring a professional or someone who deals with weddings. Nowadays, all someone needs is a Facebook page and they have an insta-business. Cheap rates are a dead giveaway that they probably aren’t paying taxes, probably aren’t licensed, and definitely not insured with liability. That’s scary.
In conclusion, I take my weddings very seriously and treat my wedding couples how I would want to be treated. Plus, I firmly believe that the better working relationship we have, the better your day and photos will be.
After all of your planning, you 100% deserve the best. It’s time to have fun! Let’s get you on my calendar.