The most important vendor you can hire is…
If you ask me the most important vendor on your list, of course, I’m going to say a Planner. I mean, I think I’m required to by some planner law I signed up with at some point. But seriously, the most important vendor, in my opinion, is the photographer. Now I know a lot of other vendors are going to be upset with me on this and say, “yeah but without good food…” or “without a place to have the wedding..” “MUSIC! the MUSIC is what makes the party!” I know, I know. All vendors matter…But if I had to pick just one….hear me out.
Here are the facts
You have the most beautiful wedding planned. The entire experience is going to be absolutely AMAZING! You and your awesome planner (shameless plug) have spent months to get to this point. Your venue is breathtaking. The food is going to be to die for. The cake is a masterpiece. The music is going to be off the hook and your decor is a dream. And for that one day, everyone is going to be in complete awe! And then everyone goes home, lives their lives and moves on. When asked about your wedding, they may remember a specific thing they ate, or incident. But not much more. When you ask how everything went they may pause and say “it was all fabulous!” but can’t give you anything specific.
A year passes and you ask those same questions. They may remember, vaguely. They will know if they had a good time or not and that’s it. But then you get the photo album out. “OOOOHHHH!!! I remember that cake!” “OMG, the entree was amazing!” “That was the best time on the dance floor!” “You looked incredible!” “Oh, I loved your decor” See, it’s not until they look back at the pictures that it jogs their memory; that they remember all the details of ALL your vendors and what an amazing experience they had. See where I’m going with this? They may not even completely remember their planner (gasp!) until they see a picture that triggers a memory.
Why a photographer though?
Pictures and video recreate your day over and over for years to come. You want to make sure you have the best shots to remember it all! Now I’m going to admit something. And it’s just
blasphemy. When I got married I did not hire a professional photographer. I know, you are thinking, “but Erika…how can you have fallen to that?” Yes, I am ashamed, and it’s the one thing I truly regret with my wedding. I relied on family and friends to take pictures. Do I have some very interesting and colorful pictures? Um. you bet. But if I had to change one thing, it would have been to spend the money on a real-life professional photographer to capture all those moments that I’m never going to remember! But your friends and family took pictures, you surely remember enough from those! Well yes and no! First, you have to understand my friends and family, so…pictures are questionable at times. And I would really have loved some NICE pictures of ALL the family groups, and my flowers, and dress, etc.
Hopefully, you are seeing my point by now. Even my vendors have got to see the value in having their services memorialized in pictures for eternity!
Well, what do I need to know about a photographer?
So how do you go about finding one of these professional type photographer people? Again…your planner can help you find one. Or you can go to your local Wedding Association (www.bitterrootweddingassociation.com), Chamber of Commerce or ask around to see who your friends or co-workers have used in the past. When you are looking for a photographer you want to make sure you have a connection with them. There are a lot of them out there…you are bound to find someone who you click with. Now, why do I even say you have to have a connection with them? Well, you are going to be spending some time with them. You are going to be sharing some pretty intimate and personal moments with this person, so you want to be comfortable. AND when you are comfortable with the person taking your pictures, it’s going to show in each photo.
I asked a few photographers that I work with what are some things that they wish their couples or people knew. Every single one said they wanted the person or couple they are shooting to have fun, relax, and trust them when they ask you to do something that may seem or feel a bit odd or unnatural. Listen to the direction that they give, and don’t be afraid to be yourself during your session. Some of the most fabulous pictures came when the person didn’t know they were being shot at that particular time. They are professionals and they know what looks good and they know how to bring out the best in their subjects.
Now, at this point, you are all about hiring a photographer, but you are thinking. “But Erika, they are so expensive!” Are they? I’m going to say it. You get what you pay for! Unless you have a friend that is a professional photographer that has volunteered to do your wedding for free and no be a guest, then go for it. But if you don’t have that situation available to you, work that budget to make it happen! Any photographer that I have worked with has had a payment plan. And a lot of them have a package that will fit what you are looking for. I 100% believe that it is worth every cent. I have yet to have a wedding where the couple regrets hiring a photographer! Look at the pictures to the left. Now, look at the pictures to the right…it’s worth it!
*I do not receive any kickbacks or was in any way paid off for this blog post. This is my true and honest opinion, and I’m sticking to it.
**Feature image by Ashley Caitlin Photography