Achievement Unlocked: Photographer

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

When last I ranted wrote about the thoughts and search for a wedding photographer while planning a budget-minded wedding I was faced with seemingly few choices:

  1. Spend half our entire budget on a wedding photograher (conventional wisdom)
  2. Pay what we could afford but not be able to actually choose our own photographer (going with a photography group)
  3. Wait until a couple months before the wedding and try and score and up-and-comer on Craigslist or Facebook (last ditch before handing a friend my camera and hoping for a decent photo or two)

Seriously, that’s what the landscape looked like.

But I’m a little more stubborn than that, and I started searching afresh for someone out there who took good, no-nonsense photos without charging an arm and a leg. To do that, I did something a lot of people don’t: I went beyond the first page of search results. I clicked on every link listed in the WeddingWire photography directory and about midway through I found my glimmer of hope: Pink Shutterbug Photography.

Not only did she take straightforward photographs without a lot of over-processed filters applied, but she’s personable, quick with an email reply, and understands that not everyone has a photography budget of $2500+ but that everyone deserves decent wedding photos.

What makes her able to offer such affordable wedding packages is that she’s primarily a family photographer. She might do only one or two weddings a year, but she tells me she likes it that way–she gets to enjoy the shoots more than always wrapping up one to go straight off to another.

After a few dozen emails back and forth, we met for an in-person meeting and signed the contract then and there. I couldn’t see finding someone a better fit for our budget and we got along swimmingly. Better yet? She includes an engagement session in her package–great opportunity to work together before the actual wedding day–and delivers strictly digital files, just what I was looking for.

She wasn’t the only photographer I reached out to, of course. There was another who did her best to work with our budget but it meant one shooter for half the hours and no engagement session and was still 50% more than we really wanted to spend. We could have made it work, but I’m glad we didn’t have to.

Our engagement shoot was in January, and I’ll go into more details in another post, but here’s the teaser collage she posted on Facebook, just to give you an idea of what you can get if you really look hard enough:

It can’t be all about price, of course, but when you’re on a tight budget, price can’t be discarded from the discussion entirely. What lengths were you willing to go to, to find the vendors you needed?

Bridal Show Tips, Part 1

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Bridal Show icon with lights and velvet rope

A bridal show is no different, really, than any other trade show or convention you might go to for a hobby or work. There are people trying to make sales, a lot of them have brochures, some have little freebies, and many are sponsoring giveaways as a way to build their mailing list.

So far, for this time down the aisle, I’ve attended 2 shows and have 2 more on the near horizon. By the time it’s all said and done, I’m sure I’ll have attended an easy 6-10.

Why? Because there’s always something new to learn!

Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way that will make your experience at a bridal show more effective and rewarding.

  1. If you can help it, don’t go alone.
    It helps to have a buddy for this sort of thing, be it your fiance, your mother or your maid of honor. This buddy can not only help you in practical ways (holding your tote bag while you search for that pen you picked up at the other table, giving his or her 2 cents on a vendor that you were dazzled by but they weren’t, and making sure you don’t miss something good–like cake samples) but also they are indispensable in the subtle subterfuge of avoiding certain tables.
  2. Avoid eye contact unless you want to be hailed.
    Remember, these folks are here to try and make a sale–if not today, then sometime in the next few months. They want to talk to you, impress you, and try and sign you up for their mailing list–and they’ve probably paid a hefty table fee for the privilege. You’re there for information, yes, but if there’s someone you just don’t want to talk to, don’t make eye contact. You don’t have to be rude, but you also don’t want to get cornered.
  3. Dress the part.
    I’m not saying you have to dress to the nines or even wear white! But for vendors looking to make a sale, it’s very possible you’ll get taken more seriously if you’re dressed nicely, not in a rumpled t-shirt and a pair of flip flops. Books, covers and judging all come to mind, but we’re talking the ways of the world and years of conditioning don’t wash away as easily as hair products.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes!
    With the exception of  shows held at actual wedding venues, many expos are held in convention centers and under a thin layer of carpeting (if you’re luck to have that) will be concrete. And your feet will be killing you if you table hop for 2 hours in spike heels. Just don’t do that to yourself. Comfy flats or a nice low-heel or wedge will keep you standing pretty when all the seats for the fashion show are already taken when you get there.
  5. Pre-register, if possible, for VIP entry.
    Some shows offer early entry if you pre-register, others offer an extra drink ticket or a special gift. Early entry may mean getting a chance to have a good talk with that caterer you’ve been dying to check out or a 1-on-1 with a complementary makeover before everyone else gets there.

Pretty Book and Flower Icon


Learn anything new, yet?
Come back tomorrow for the rest of my tips;
there’s bound to be something to help you!