June 2017

Your Wedding Is Just the Beginning
Your wedding is simply the starting point of your new life.

People tend to think of a wedding as an end, however is should be viewed as a beginning of a new life with your partner.

Getting hitched to your significant other can be a fantastic move to make. While you may have been dating your partner for several years at this point, it is important for you to keep in mind that your wedding is the start of a completely different chapter of your lives together. Of course, a wedding can also add a ton of stress to your shoulders. You and your significant other are likely to bump heads once or twice throughout the process. How you handle these encounters will set the stage for your future as a married couple.

Since planning for your wedding can bring forth some tense situations, it is helpful to use this process as a way of working through your own relationship issues. If you do not address problems in the relationship before the wedding, then they are only going to get worse as the years go on. Take a look at a couple of these simple ways to use your wedding planning as a form of couples therapy and see how you can strengthen your bond while getting ready for your big day.

After the Wedding: Cohabitation

Times have changed. Once, it was common for a couple to live separate lives until the day where they joined in matrimony. The wedding would mark the first time the bride and groom would sleep in the same bed. Of course, this is a trend that has changed greatly. Nowadays, most couples live together for years before deciding to get married. Whether to live with your partner can be a big thing to consider before you go about the process of planning for your wedding.

Learning how to cohabitate in advance is very important. You do not want to marry someone and discover that he or she is a completely different person at home. Easing yourselves into domestic life together before the wedding can help you to learn about each other in new ways. Have discussions about things like household chores, bills, owning versus renting, and anything else that is important to you about your home. Having these conversations and trying your hand at cohabitation early can help you to see what you are in store for with your partner.

Disagreements Are Good 

You and your significant other are going to disagree a lot while planning for your wedding. There are very few instances where a couple comes to agreement on every little detail. While you might feel uncomfortable with disagreeing with your partner, it is very healthy to learn how to handle altercations. Your knee-jerk reaction might be to fight your partner on something as simple as the color palette of the reception, but there are much bigger issues in life that you are going to have to face together.

Learning to disagree early in the relationship can help you to build a strong foundation for your future. The moments that matter are going to be the ones that appear out of the blue and blindside you both. When the time comes to make an important and difficult decision, you want to be sure that you can turn to your partner and work through the problem without it devolving into an argument. Use your wedding planning as a chance to grow better at dealing with disagreements.

Many Years Ahead

A wedding marks a very big day for you and your partner. After you have tied the knot, you will be together for the foreseeable future. If you want your marriage to go well, be sure to get off on the right foot by learning as you go. Use your wedding planning as a way to handle disagreements, and you will discover new ways to work through your problems as a couple.

Sticking Close to Home for Your Honeymoon
There are plenty of places around Canada to spend your honeymoon.

When planning your honeymoon, it may be more financially sound to stay around your home.

Getting married can be an expensive endeavor. Even a small reception might wind up costing you way more than you anticipated. It might be useful for you to consider ways to cut back on your expenses. The costs don’t stop coming once the wedding has ended. Your honeymoon is also a financial hit. Instead of rushing off to some far-flung corner of the globe for your romantic getaway, it might be more exciting to take a look at what Canada has to offer.

There are some absolutely lovely destinations located across Canada for you and your spouse to explore. No matter what you enjoy doing on your vacations, you can be sure you’ll find something worth your time when you begin your search. To get you started, here are a few wonderful spots to consider for your honeymoon.

By the Bay

Many couples determine their honeymoon destinations based on what they are hoping to get from the trip. For some, the dream honeymoon is one that provides ample time to unwind. You and your new spouse want to spend time alone together. This means you could gain a lot from a trip to Ontario to relax at Georgian Bay. If you enjoy the thought of sitting in a lodge, watching the sunlight sparkle over the lazy waters of the bay, then this might be for you.

Immersing yourself in the splendor of nature has a way of revitalizing the spirits. There are tons of exciting activities to take part in during this trip as well. When you’re done with relaxation for a bit, take a boat out on the water and explore some of the islands located throughout the bay. Adventure awaits you when you decide to visit this amazing destination right in Ontario.

Something Different for Your Honeymoon

Those born and raised in Canada are usually well aware of the beauty of the land. This is one of the reasons some couples don’t consider sticking close to home for the honeymoon. If you’ve already been on endless hikes through the woods and seen many of the sights the country has to offer, you may want to think about something a bit different. A trip to Yukon can allow you a totally new experience with a visit to Kluane.

Kluane National Park has a diverse and appealing geography that offers couples a wealth of different activities to explore. You and your partner can hit the trails and see Canada from an entirely new perspective by hiking through a truly remarkable environment. Thrillseekers will have the opportunity to kayak in a rushing river, scale some wild heights and engage with the natural world in a spectacular manner.

City Life

Where you visit in Canada for your honeymoon will have a lot to do with where you currently live. One might find the idea of a trip to Quebec City to be quite appealing. The hustle and bustle of the city might not be the right place for everyone to live but there is a ton of fun to be had during a vacation. You and your partner will be able to take in all of the sights of the city during the day and indulge in some amazing nightlife activities after sunset.

There are many wonderful destinations to explore right in your own backyard. Instead of traveling across the planet for your honeymoon, think about the fun that can be had here in Canada. Explore all of your options and you’re bound to discover an amazing trip.

Steps to Leaving a Family Legacy
 Leaving something behind for your loved ones, like a family legacy, will not only help them in life but will help them down the road.

A family legacy is a great way to have loved ones remember you and all that you have done.

May was National Leave a Legacy month, a public awareness campaign that encourages people to leave a gift to a favorite charity when they die. The idea was to support a cause that was near and dear to your heart with money as a lasting family legacy, kind of a footprint to be remembered by those in your community.

Most people hope that their life matters. Maybe you don’t have the money to leave to a charity. A financial gift can do a lot, but according to Billy Graham, “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” Although no one likes to consider their death, the best way to leave a legacy is to consider it now. Here are five things to think about when planning your legacy:

  1. What’s most important to you in your life?

Think about what you want to leave as your legacy. If your family were to think of you 10 years after you die, what would you want them to remember?

  1. Where did you find inspiration or transformation in your life’s journey?

Maybe you had a life-changing moment in a college class. Were you touched by cancer? What has made you who you are today?

  1. What blessings have you been given that you want to share with others?

These blessings could be tangible, for example, a set of chinaware given to you by your grandmother, or intangible, such as peace or kindness. If you have tangible items that your family doesn’t appreciate, think about who might use the objects. Check with local museums or charities.

  1. What causes are important to you?

Most people support at least one organization in some way. It could be a church or synagogue. Maybe you have a favorite 5K run you do each year. Your passion is your legacy.

  1. Who do you mentor?

Mentoring isn’t always a formal relationship. You can mentor people in your family, your church or your community just by being available. These relationships can last a lifetime, even after the period of mentorship is over. These people are your legacy.

Planning a Family Legacy

Your will is not a legacy, but it can be part of it. A written memorial can help your family know what you want after your death, but your legacy encompasses so much more. Whether you plan to leave a legacy or not, you will have a legacy. You may not ever think about how people will remember you, but they will remember who you were and what your passions were. You can’t really tell people how to think of you after you die, but you can leave ideas on how you want to be remembered.

Think about the people in your life who have passed on. Maybe you remember your grandpa smoking a pipe and telling stories. For some, it might be the smell of fresh apple pie coming from Aunt Mabel’s kitchen. Those are the legacies of your loved ones. It’s likely that Aunt Mabel never told you to remember her apple pie, but you did. Your children and grandchildren are likely to be the same way.

Those activities and character traits you pursue will be your legacy. What you’ve been dedicated to throughout your life is what you will be honored for. If you don’t like the legacy you are leaving, then it’s time to change your life. Maybe you will want to give money to a charity or leave a note to your family about something special to you. More importantly, think about relationships, faith and character. Are you living the way you want to be remembered?

The Destination Wedding and its Growing Popularity
A destination wedding on a beach has become fairly common as the scenery is beautiful.

Many people choose exotic beaches to hold their destination wedding. Generally you will want to pick a place that most, if not all of your attendees will be comfortable and will have fun.

The Destination wedding has been growing steadily in popularity for many years. At first glance, the thought of rushing away from Canada toward an international spot might be an expensive one. In truth, destination weddings are far easier to plan and do not require the same level of financial commitment. To be successful with your wedding, you will need to make sure you go about the process in the right way and consider a few key elements.

Times change and trends change along with it. While weddings have been happening all over the world for quite a bit of time, the ways weddings happen always shift in style and scope. For many years now, the trend for weddings has been to throw a large and somewhat lavish event. Even small-scale weddings can wind up costing a fortune due to the way many couples go about their events. Now, many people are turning away from this trend and opting for something more personal and affordable. Not all couples will benefit from a destination wedding but it can be interesting to learn some of the pros.

Keeping the Destination Wedding Cost Down

A wedding has a habit of being a costly endeavor. You need to rent a venue, find caterers, think about decorations, hire entertainment, bring on a photographer, and that is only the beginning of it. You might be spending frustrating amounts of money on everything from stamps for your invites to the tips you give to the servers at the end of the reception. Instead of dealing with all of that, you can condense all of your expenses in one swoop. A destination wedding limits your options in the best ways possible.

For example, if you decide to go to Costa Rica for your destination wedding, then you might want to stay at a specific resort. This resort probably sees a lot of weddings throughout the course of the year, and it may offer some excellent packages for you and your guests. This means you can find a venue, caterers, entertainment, and hotel rooms in the same place. On top of all of this, you will be surrounded by the lush views and cool breezes of Costa Rica. 

Fewer Guests 

Something to be mindful of with a destination wedding is that you will need to keep your guest list low. This is a perfect idea for couples who do not have extensive circles of family and friends. Unfortunately, you also need to make sure the people you are inviting are able to afford the trip. Keeping your own costs down for the wedding is one thing, but you will be asking your guests to shell out a lot more money for your event than they would have at home.

Before you start to make all of your plans, sit down with your significant other and come up with a realistic list of who you would like to be present for your wedding. Reach out to these people and speak to them about your idea. If it seems like most people wouldn’t be able to make the journey for your wedding due to financial constraints or scheduling problems, then you should probably consider another option. You could always go away somewhere tropical and inviting for your honeymoon.

A World to See 

There are many different reasons to consider a destination wedding. With such a big world out there to see, you and your partner simply might want to start your married life in a new location. Before you get ahead of yourself, be sure to consider the specifics of your event and whether you’re making the right choice for you and the people you care about. In the end, make the decision that will help you and your significant other to have the special day you both desire.

A Religious Tour of Calgary
Having been built in 1883, St. Mary's Cathedral in Calgary is one of the oldest churches in Canada.

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Calgary is a fantastic place to start your religious tour.

If you’ve seen the movies “Doctor Zhivago,” “Unforgiven,” or “The Revenant,” you have seen the landscape of Calgary. Most people are familiar with the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day rodeo and exhibition, or one of the many other festivals in the city. It’s a cultural mecca, home to ethnic restaurants, venues and museums.

Calgary may not be recognizable for its contribution to the religious fiber of the nation, but it has some beautiful churches that are part of the history of the city. Here are some of the best places to explore this heritage.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

The foundations for St. Mary’s were laid in 1887 and the building was completed in 1889, but the church began in 1873 when Father Constantine Scollen founded the first mission in southern Alberta. The Resurrection Glass Panel is a stunning piece of stained glass art.

Central United Church

The original building was dedicated in 1905 and was decorated in antique wood and walnut while he walls were made of sandstone from local quarries. Just 11 years later, the interior was destroyed by a boiler fire and would be refurbished. The church then reopened in 1917. At one time, this congregation had about 3,500 members, the largest congregation in the United Church of Canada, but the growth declined in the 1960s.

Lantern Community Church

This church has a lot of history. It’s over 100 years old, with a majestic pipe organ and what might be the best acoustics in the community. It’s home to many more events than just Sunday service. The most interesting aspect of this congregation is that one Sunday each month, instead of holding service, they go out into the community and do things for their neighbors.

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

This Catholic church is much newer than most, built in the late 20th century. It is more modern, but still a beautiful building. The church is currently undergoing renovations, which indicates the congregations plans to be here a long time.

St. Bonaventure Church

This Roman Catholic Church has been here for many years, and it hosts beautiful windows and statues that are examples of the connections between art and religion.

Knox United Church

Know Presbyterian Church started out when Reverend James Robertson preached in the local saloon. The men decided Robertson needed a better place to worship, and the church found its place in the town. At one time, the congregation shared a tent with the Methodists. Knox has a Casavant organ and a strong musical program. It hosts many musical events open to the public.

Calgary Alberta Temple

This stunning building is the third temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built in Alberta and dedicated two years later. Group tours are available by appointment, but you should at least visit the outside of this church to experience its magnitude.

St. Thomas More Parish

Another newer parish in the community, this church held its initial meeting in 1979. The new church building was completed in 1985, with Bishop Paul O’Byrne blessing the church at its opening mass in October. The stained glass windows are more modern, which allows you to see how art has changed through the years.

Explore Calgary Through Its Churches

While driving through Calgary, take a look at some of the churches and how they are designed and built. It’s a great way to examine how the churches have contributed to the community and will continue to add value to the city.

How to Honor Lost Loved Ones at Your Wedding
It is always great to have a moment to remember lost loved ones and celebrate the memories that you shared with them.

Remembering lost loved ones at your wedding is a great way to honor the lives that they lived.

A wedding is a special and joyous occasion for most people. Still, the events can be tinged with a bit of sadness in certain circumstances. When close loved ones or a relative has passed away before your wedding, it can leave a void. While coping with your sadness is a personal journey, there are ways to use your wedding to honor those who would have been there for you. A wedding is a celebration, so you want to avoid bringing down the mood too much. Luckily, there are several methods you can use to pay respect to those who have gone on.

It is very important to consider a few details before you come up with a plan for how to honor your lost loved ones. When someone has only recently passed away, the wound can still be quite raw and hard to deal with. Be sure to avoid upsetting your guests, especially if the person who has passed away was very close to the people in attendance. You will be able to properly pay tribute without ruining the overall celebratory mood of your special day when you use tact and caution while planning.

Incorporate a Memento For Your Lost Loved Ones

There are several natural ways to honor the people who have died during your wedding. We always carry the people we have lost with us in some way. You can take this sentiment to a very literal degree on your special day. Taking an article of clothing that once belonged to your departed loved one and incorporating it into your wedding attire can help you to add an emotional touch to your ensemble. This can be as simple as tying a ribbon from your grandmother’s hat around your bouquet or as complex as having a father’s suit re-tailored for a groom.

You also can incorporate mementos into the ceremony and reception in other ways. Instead of adding articles of clothing to your own outfit, you might want to think about adding different little touches. If the person who has passed on loved to play poker, for example, add a playing card to each of the centerpieces during the reception. The cards can even have a personalized inscription paying tribute to your departed loved one. These small adjustments to the décor can be subtle and still incredibly powerful.

A Simple Reminder

You also might want to think about adding a simple message about your deceased loved ones to the wedding program. While not all weddings feature programs, those that do can benefit from using some of the space to display a special sentiment. It can also be an interesting idea to consider speaking with the officiant before the ceremony and asking about different ways you can have the names of the departed incorporated into the readings. There are several easy ways to add in a moving tribute without having to weigh on the lighthearted atmosphere of the wedding.

Photos can be a good idea, too. Creating a touching collage of photos of you and the departed can create a nice walk down memory lane. You may also want to consider adding just one framed photo to the table where the guest book and table cards are located. This allows guests to pay their respects to the departed upon entering without feeling too emotionally upset by the reminder. Strike a balance that works for you and the situation, and the results will be effective.

Raise a Glass 

There are many different ways to use your wedding to honor the departed in your life. When all else fails, you might want to think about simply raising a glass and toasting to those who have passed away. Find the right fit for your big day without compromising the joyous celebration of the event, and you will be able to show your proper respects.

Remembering Volunteers
When finding volunteers, make sure to keep all of your options open.

Volunteers can come in all shapes and sizes.

It was in 1943 that National Volunteer Week was first conceived to recognize the contribution women made to the war effort. Women worked just as hard as the men who were serving in the military but received no compensation for their efforts. After the war, the week declined in popularity until it was revived in the 1960s. Volunteer Canada delivers National Volunteer Week from April 23 to 29 to identify and recognize those volunteers who contribute to the community without a formal role or position.

The Value of Volunteers

While you may know that volunteering has a powerful impact on your community, you may not recognize specific benefits. Here are some of the ways volunteering works:

  • Promotes active participation in society
  • Gives everyone a voice in the community
  • Strengthens your community
  • Increases the ability to deliver services to those who are in need
  • Promotes general well-being and a sense of belonging
  • Connects people to the causes they care about
  • Offers duties to the volunteers

Statistics About Volunteering

Volunteer Canada reports that in 2013 Canadians gave close to two billion volunteer hours. That’s over 38 million full-time jobs for which organizations do not have to provide a salary.

Senior adults give, on average, about 223 hours each year. While this definitely benefits nonprofits, it also has a positive effect on seniors by reducing stress-related illnesses, increasing self-esteem and preventing isolation.

Volunteer Canada studies volunteers. In 2013, the organization found these characteristics of today’s volunteers:

  • They have goals of their own.
  • Volunteers want to see results.
  • Volunteers are self-directed and do not want to be micromanaged.
  • They have many different interests, and while they bring professional skills to the table, many volunteers want to use different skills when volunteering.

Choose To Be a Volunteer

It might be difficult to figure out where that time is coming from in your busy schedule. Consider this: When you are volunteering, you can really connect with people. It’s not simply busyness in which you feel like you’re just going in circles. Many employers have agreements with employees who want to give back to the community. Talk to your boss about finding time or support within your job.

You don’t have to volunteer with people to make a difference. Animal rescue organizations need help. Maybe you like books or nature? Find a group that supports something close to your heart, and ask to help. If you need help finding an organization, Volunteer Canada has many resources and can point you to local groups that match your needs.

Paula Speevak, President and CEO of Volunteer Canada, wrote, “In addition to honouring the 12.7 million Canadians who volunteer in non-profit organizations, during Canada’s 150th anniversary, let’s embrace all the wonderful ways people care. Care for each other and for the earth; from helping neighbours to mobilizing networks to raise awareness and funds for issues that matter to them.”

If you are part of an organization that uses volunteers, make sure to recognize their efforts, not only in April, but all year long. Remember how much more your group can do because you have volunteers who are making a difference.

 

Responsibilities of a Wedding Guest
A great wedding guest can make or break your wedding experience.

To be a great wedding guest, make sure that you are polite and courteous.

April showers bring May flowers, but for brides, April showers bring June flowers. Summer is a popular time for weddings, so you might start getting invitations from your friends who are getting married. To survive wedding season, be the best wedding guest you can. Here are a few tips to help you:

  • RSVP by the date requested. Do not put the invitation aside for a few days, because you’ll forget. Don’t make the couple track you down for an answer.
  • Look at the invitation to see who was invited. Do not invite anyone yourself. If your children aren’t mentioned on the envelope, they are not invited to the wedding. It is customary to invite partners, but if you aren’t married or in a long-term relationship, you may have to go single.
  • Show up if you RSVP “yes.” Barring an emergency, don’t change plans at the last minute. The caterer will charge the couple for your plate, whether you show up or not.
  • Do not talk about the wedding with friends who may not have been invited. This means on social media too. You don’t want to come off as boasting or make others feel bad because they were not invited.
  • Be on time for the ceremony. Better yet, be there 10 to 15 minutes early to get the lay of the land. When you arrive late, you disrupt the flow of the ceremony. If you do arrive late, wait for a break in the action to sneak in.
  • Dress appropriately. If the invitation says “semi-formal,” don’t wear jeans. For a beach wedding, dress more casually. Don’t wear white.
  • Put your phone on silent during the ceremony. Let your babysitter know your phone will be off for a half-hour to forty-five minutes and promise to check immediately after.
  • Don’t take pictures during the ceremony. Respect the wedding photographer.
  • Ask the couple if you can share pictures on social media before you do.
  • Send the gift, if you do, to the home of the bride or groom. Don’t make them deal with more stuff at the reception.
  • During the reception, sit where the bride and groom have placed you. Make conversation with those around you. It’s only for a couple of hours. Your phone will wait.

What About the Rights of a Wedding Guest?

Wedding guests also have rights that come with their invitation:

  • You can expect to receive an invitation if you received a save-the-date card.
  • You have the right to decline the invitation if you cannot attend. No explanation needed, just say, “Thank you, I’d love to be there, but I can’t.”
  • You can ask the couple if you need clarification about your invitation. Maybe you want to make sure you understand the dress code or are confused about the plus one.
  • You have a right to not send a gift at all. You also have up to a year to send a wedding gift.
  • If you do send a gift, you have a right to expect a timely thank-you note. You might want to give the couple a few weeks after the wedding to wrap up all their duties, but if you don’t receive a thank-you note within three months, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask if they received your gift.
  • You should take advantage of the open bar, but don’t overdo it.

Have a Good Time

A wedding is a celebration, and you should have a good time. Thank the host and hostess, typically the bride’s parents, before you leave. Don’t be offended if you don’t get a few minutes with the bride and groom. One of the best things you can do as a wedding guest is to be flexible and gracious, no matter what happens at the ceremony or reception.

Who Was Saint Elmo?
Saint Elmo's Fire was also a movie released in 1985.

Saint Elmo’s Fire is a phenomenon when a glowing ball of light occurs because of an electrical discharge in the atmosphere.

Pop culture often has references to objects or people of the past. You might have heard of the movie “Saint Elmo’s Fire,” a 1985 coming-of-age drama from the Brat Pack genre. Maybe you know that Saint Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. David Foster and John Parr composed and wrote the song “Saint Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” for Canadian athlete Rick Hansen to use in his mission to raise awareness of spinal cord injuries. The song went on to be used for the movie of the same name.

Do you know what Saint Elmo’s fire is? It is a phenomenon in weather that sometimes appears on ships at sea during a thunderstorm. A glowing ball of light occurs because of an electrical discharge in the atmosphere. It typically happens at the top of a sharp or pointed object, like the tops of the sails at sea, but it can also occur on aircraft wings, chimneys and spires.

How Did the Phenomenon Come to Be Known as Saint Elmo’s Fire?

To understand the roots of St. Elmo’s Fire, you have to know about Erasmus of Formia, who was also called Elmo. No one knows what year Erasmus was born or died, but it’s thought that he passed away around 303 A.D. He was Bishop of Formium, Italy, during a time when the emperors persecuted Christians. Erasmus hid for a period of seven years before being counseled by an angel to return to his diocese.

On his return, Erasmus met soldiers who questioned him. When he admitted his faith, he was brought to the Eastern Roman Emperor Diocletian. Christians had been discriminated against in the Roman empire before this time, but Diocletian had Christians tortured and killed. He was tortured before being put in chains and placed in prison, but he escaped with the help of an angel.

Arrested?

Erasmus is said to have raised up the son of an important citizen in Lycia, which brought him to the attention of the Western Roman Emperor Maximian. Erasmus was again arrested for his faith. Maximian forced Erasmus to go to a temple of an idol, but when he got to the temple, a fire came. Erasmus was tortured in a barrel of protruding spikes. After his release, he was healed by an angel before experiencing more tortures, from which he was always healed. Finally, Maximian threw Erasmus into prison, expecting him to die of starvation, but Erasmus escaped.

Erasmus Still Preaching

Erasmus did not let the Roman Empire stop him from preaching. He went to Illyricum, which is modern day Croatia, and continued to convert people to Christianity. At his death, legend says that his intestines were wrapped around a windlass, the winch that lifts anchors or heavy weights. In one story, before Erasmus died, he is said to have continued preaching to sailors even after a lightning bolt struck beside him. He is widely associated with the sea due to these two legends.

About 25 years following Erasmus’ death, the Christian Emperor Constantine reversed the persecution of the Christians, returning confiscated property and making Christianity the preferred religion of the region. If Erasmus had lived in a later time, it’s possible that he would not have been a Christian martyr.

References to Saint Elmo

If you read “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” in high school or college, you might remember this reference:

“About, about, in reel and rout, The death fires danced at night; The water, like a witch’s oils, Burnt green and blue and white.”

In literature, St. Elmo’s fire is associated with a bad omen or divine judgment. The reference appears in “Moby-Dick,” “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “The Tempest.” The next time you hear an allusion to St. Elmo’s fire, you know more of the story and can appreciate its history.

Wedding Photographer: Tips for Choosing The Right One
The proper wedding photographer will make your ceremony one worth remembering.

When choosing a wedding photographer, make sure that they are experienced and professional.

You’ll probably spend more time with your wedding photographer on the day of your wedding than any other professional or person. Although many wedding magazines recommend that you ask about equipment and style, it’s more important to choose a photographer with whom you can relax and who will provide what you’re looking for. Here are seven tips to help you select the right person.

  1. There are probably hundreds of listings in your area for wedding photographers. Browse through their portfolios and find three or four with images that you like. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, set up a time to meet with the photographer. Make sure you’re meeting with the person who will be at your wedding, not a sales person/consultant or the owner of the studio. You’re putting your wedding memories in the photographer’s hands. You have to like and trust this person.
  1. Don’t choose a photographer for these reasons:
    • He or she is family or the friend of a family member. Just imagine if something goes wrong. You have to face this person at family reunions for the rest of your life.
    • The venue made the recommendation. There are some venues that actually allow vendors to pay to be on the “preferred list.” It’s marketing, not preference.
    • The wedding photographer is running a sale. Good photographers have to invest in professional equipment and pay taxes and insurance. If they’re offering a deep discount, you have to ask yourself, “Where are they cutting corners?”
    • They’re popular and booked out for 300 weddings this year. Think about the logistics of doing 300 weddings in one year. Who knows who will be actually taking pictures of you on your wedding day?
  1. Ask what you get for their services. On average, you should expect 50 to 100 photos for each hour the photographer works.  Who owns the rights to the photographs? How will you get reprints? How many of the pictures will be edited in post-production?
  2. Will the photographer do a first-look session? A first look is when the bride and groom spend a few minutes alone together before the ceremony. It helps to get the jitters out and lets you have that real moment of seeing each other in private. Your photographer can capture those raw emotions before the ceremony and then you can enjoy the cocktail hour after the ceremony.
  3. What happens if the photographer is sick? Although it is unlikely that the photographer you choose will get sick, you should know what the contingency plan is.
  4. Find out how much experience the wedding photographer has. Don’t simply look at years in business, but consider how many weddings the person has actually shot in that time frame. Someone with five years of experience who has only done 10 weddings may not compare to someone with just one year of experience who has done 50 weddings over that time.
  5. Do you get a contract that clearly outlines the details of the services? Be extremely wary of photographers who do not have a contract that offers pricing, resolution terms and cancellation terms. This is for your protection as much as theirs. Once you have a contract, any verbal statements that change the terms of the contract should be obtained in writing.

Choose Your Wedding Photographer Sooner Rather Than Later

You may need to book your photographer right after you choose the date of the wedding. However, don’t panic if you don’t get your first choice. You may be able to get a referral to someone with a similar style who doesn’t have a full schedule. Should you tip your photographer? While most photographers don’t expect tips, most will appreciate one if it is given.