Tips

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.

Wedding Invitations: Tips and Ideas
Retro Floral Elements- illustrations for wedding invitations.

Getting your wedding invitations in the mail with plenty of time for family and friends to respond is key to having a good turnout at your wedding.

If you’re one of the many couples planning a summer wedding, you’re probably thinking about getting your wedding invitations and save-the-date cards out after the first of the year. The invitations set the stage for your wedding. It’s the first opportunity you have to share the style of your celebration. You’ll want to have an idea of what type of ceremony you’re having, classic or modern, elegant or casual. When you order your invitations, you’ll want to consider other wedding stationery, such as menu cards, ceremony programs and thank-you notes, that carry your motif and colors throughout the event.

Making Your Wedding Invitations

Here are some tips and ideas you’ll want to keep in mind when you make your invitations:

  • Choose your wording carefully. Learn the rules of how your invitation should be worded. Traditionally, it’s the host of the celebration who is listed first. If you are dealing with multiple sets of parents, you may choose something different to honor everyone. Don’t put too much information on the card. Print separate enclosure cards for directions to the venue and travel information.
  • Don’t include registry information in your invitations. Put it on your wedding website and tell your family for when guests ask.
  • Order invites and other stationery together and early. This saves you time, money and stress.
  • Double or even triple check everything that is printed. Have two or three different people look at the proofs to ensure nothing is missed, misspelled or incorrect.
  • Get creative with fonts and coloring, but make sure the invitation is readable.
  • When ordering invitations, count mailing addresses, not guests. But remember to add a few extra invites to avoid having to run a reprint later on.
  • Send an invite if you’ve sent a save-the-date card. Even if you know the guests cannot attend, send the invitation, because not doing so implies that the guest is no longer invited.

Deadlines

  • It’s recommended that you send invitations about six to eight weeks prior to the wedding, but 10 weeks is becoming the norm in these busy times. You have to remember not to send invites too early, because people forget to RSVP. Sending invites too late doesn’t give you enough time to get responses to tell your caterer an official head count.
  • When putting an RSVP deadline on the card, give yourself a few extra days between the real date and the date you tell people. For example, you have to give your caterer a head count on June 1. Make the RSVP deadline on May 24, a full week earlier. If you have to spend time calling people, you won’t be so stressed. Giving people a short time to respond makes them take care of it quicker. You might even choose to move the date up even more.
  • Help your guests respond to invites with all the information that you require. You might be surprised how many people forget to write their names on the reply cards or just forget to respond at all. Discreetly number the reply cards to correspond to the list of guest names, or consider pre-printing a label for the reply card.

Making Your Wedding Invitations: Outside the Envelope

  • Don’t use address labels on the envelope. Hand write them yourself or ask your bridal party to help. If you’re concerned about making mistakes, just get a few extra envelopes. The hand-written address makes the invite feel more personal.
  • Get a glue stick to seal the envelopes without damaging the invites.
  • Be careful about the outside of the envelope. Use a dark-color ink to address the envelopes to make sure it can be read.
  • Check the correct the postage before you mail. Take one envelope with the reply cards inside to the post office and have it weighed and examined. To be sure that the clerk got it correct, mail an invite to yourself before you send out the others.

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