Part of the way we serve our clients is by connecting them with amazing vendors and giving them all the planning advice we can. We’ll never be a suitable replacement for a talented coordinator but after hundreds of weddings, I have some insight you might benefit from. This help section will grow dramatically, but we gotta start somewhere so here it goes…
• VENUES •
Locking down a space for your event is often the first step in wedding plans. As you’re searching for your perfect venue, we suggest you ask a few questions to avoid some of the common pitfalls:
• Does it have rooms for my out-of-town guests?
• If not, how close is it to the hotels guests might use?
• Does it have a room we’d be comfortable getting ready in?
• If not, is it close to a location that is?
• What are the light and view like at the actual ceremony site?
• Will they coerce us to use certain vendors (caterer, photog, DJ…)?
• Do they have a liquor license? May I bring my own?
• Is it handicapped-accessible for any older or disabled guests?
• How’s the parking situation and is it convenient for my guests ?
• Will there be any unpleasant noises (such as a ceremony near an airport)?
• Are there good options for portraits on or near the property?
• If so, will it be private enough for us (away from guests, for example)?
• Do they have good options for inclement weather?
• Do they have the square footage we need (photo booths, live band…)?
• Do they have space or services for children who need to be babysat?
• Does it fit my style or feel I’m going for with my event?
• Does this venue have hidden charges?
• What restrictions do we need to know about (open flames, noise…)?
It’s our experience that the less driving and transportation logistics, the better. If you can get pretty, say your vows, have your photos, then party all on the same property, you’re definitely looking at a much more comfortable, stress-free day. It might cost you a bit more for the venue, but it might very likely be worth it. You might even get considerably more time with your vendors or not need them at all. Not having to rent a limo, for example.
It’s easy to get swept away imagining your perfect day while walking around a venue. Don’t forget, though, to read the venue’s fine print, step back, and really think about all those important details. Happy hunting!
• PHOTOGRAPHERS •
I’ll tell you a secret. If you’re considering discounted (or free) photography, you’re probably doing someone else a favor while putting yourself at risk. We’re also likely not the photographers for you because a low-budget studio we aren’t. Take this advice, then, as it’s intended; to protect you from trusting your images to someone who may be unable to properly make them for you – no matter their intentions.
• Are they full-time photographers?
• Are they insured (at least $1 million liability)?
• Will they hold your hand through each step of the process?
• Do they have professional equipment?
• Do they have back-up gear (lenses, bodies, flashes, etc.)
• Will they put together a custom shooting schedule of your day?
• Do they have a redundant off-site backup system for your files?
• Will they show you several ‘real’ weddings in addition to portfolio pieces?
• Are they able to produce quality photographs at night with nice lighting?
• Are they service-oriented (not the kind that shoot, burn, and disappear)?
• Do they have an assistant or second photographer with them?
• Do they perform custom image processing on printed images?
• Do they have experience shooting weddings (or your type of event)?
• Will they work with you and your vendors to make a shooting schedule?
• Do they understand how to use light in ideal and difficult conditions?
• Do they have examples of their images in many kinds of light?
• Are they flexible with your unique customs, ideas, and requirements?
• Will they go out of their way to make you comfortable on your day?
• Will your guests be able to see your images online?
• Are they willing to take unlimited photos during your event?
• Do they have quality books, prints and products?
• Do they work efficiently and professionally?
• Are the color and exposure consistent and pleasant throughout their albums?
• Will they treat you and your guests with respect?
Most – if not all – should be answered with ‘yes’. Studio 512 emphatically answers yes to each question and we’ve heard too many horror stories to not help you think through them. Yes, all photographers need to start somewhere, but they shouldn’t be in charge until they’re competent to cover your event correctly.
Notice how none of these points bring style into question. That part’s up to you. : )