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Avoid Wedding Stress

— 05/05/2020 by Monika Wertman —

Avoid Wedding Stress leading up to your Wedding Day by hiring the Right Professionals for the Job.

You have been planning for your wedding since you were a little girl.  In your mind, the day features blue skies with just a dappling of puffy white clouds, your hair and make-up is flawless and the entire day runs smoothly and exactly as you planned for years.  Every family member is happy for you and your bridesmaids are the best and most helpful friends you can imagine.  Everything goes to plan.

Over the years of capturing these happy occasions I can tell you that something will go awry.  Plan for it, because it will happen. I have seen anything from the DJ arriving 5 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start, making everything run 30 minutes late because he needed time to set up, to the bride realizing that no-one knew where the flowers are, so a last minute pick up had to be arranged.  We have captured an outdoor wedding that was supposed to be perfect and held by a pond with the bride arriving in an open, white, horse-drawn carriage that turned into a rained out indoor event, and a wedding a bridesmaid missed because she found herself in labor a month earlier than expected.  These are just 4 examples of minor to more upsetting incidents that can happen and the bride did not plan for.  From missing rings to a wedding license that had been placed in a random spot to a virus which led to postponed weddings so everyone attending would stay healthy, our brides who have dealt with these issues have risen above it all to still celebrate a wonderful day.  You ask how?

The answer is simple:  Each bride surrounded herself with a wedding party who cared and helped her through the disappointment of the rainy day, found the missing rings and license and sent someone to pick up the missing flowers. ​In the case of the postponed weddings, each of our brides had decided to hire professionals who helped her through the stress of rescheduling it all by making it as easy as possible for her.

In short, a great team by your side makes all the difference in the world.

It is important to have a team by your side for many aspects of your wedding day, including a selection of professionals, with experience in their chosen field of expertise and in particular weddings.  It all begins shortly after you get engaged.  If you are a planner, you will schedule your wedding at least one year out from the time your beloved other half asked you for your hand in marriage.  You may attend a bridal show or two to meet wedding vendors and begin to make a list of those you want to interview and get to know better.  At the top of this list you will either place your venue or your photographer.  Next in line is your bridal salon to pick your dress, then the caterer and florist and a bakery for your cake.  Some venues offer all inclusive packages for space, food and cake, some even have preferred florists they work with.  In most cases you make these choices separately from each other.  Somewhere in this mix you will also need to decide on music and who to hire for that aspect of your day.

We recommend the following order of importance, based solely on how quickly these vendors book up and become unavailable:

  1. Venue, this may be your church for the ceremony and a venue for the reception, or a venue to hold both the ceremony and reception.
  2. Photographer, we are in high demand and generally book out at least one year in advance unless you are looking at a Friday evening wedding.
  3. Bridal Salon to pick your dress, this is a fun process and alterations can take up to 6 months.
  4. Caterer, many caterers book weddings and events well in advance.
  5. Bakery, cake orders will generally need to be placed 3-6 months in advance, especially if your sights are set on a very popular bakery.
  6. DJ, 3-6 months in advance is a good measure for a DJ as they work with all sorts of events and not all of them have more than one employee.
  7. Florist, 3-4 months in advance is usually enough time to secure a florist.
  8. Hair Salon and Make-up Artist.  If you are planning on having your hair and make-up done professionally for your big day, these services need to be secured about 4-6 months ahead of time as well.  Ask if they will come to you, not all salons offer this little extra and even if they do, they may charge additionally for the service.

 

 

I gave you this list as a guide to go by to decide what consultations to schedule as soon as you have set a date and which can wait a bit.  Number one and two are interchangeable depending on your flexibility of importance for either one.  1-6 are an important part of the team of professionals who can make or break your day and why you need to choose them carefully.

I want to point out that it is imperative that you insist on meeting with all parties you consider hiring, in person.  Face to face consultations will give you a good impression on how well you will work with each vendor.  Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime occasion and choosing any of the vendors over the phone can lead to disaster.  If a vendor is ready for you to hire them over the phone, insist on meeting in person.  If you live a fair distance away, a Skype consultation is a good second option.  Let’s dive into what questions to ask to help you vet your prospective vendors beyond the first impression and the cost of their services.  Remember that the old adage of “you get what you pay for” is always true.  If your budget is tight, prioritize by importance, not by how much each service costs.

The venue is an obvious important choice to make, a gorgeous place will make for great photos.  Beyond the visual implications, some other important issues need to also be addressed.  Consider asking the venue’s consultant the following:

  1. Where can my groom and I get ready?  (Most venues and churches have bridal and groom suites, special rooms set aside for this purpose.)
  2. Who will my point of contact be leading up to the big day and day of?
  3. Will my officiant and photographer be able to talk to you in person and see the grounds and facility before the wedding?
  4. What does the rental fee include? If food is included, ask if you may bring in your own caterer instead.
  5. Do we have a choice of a plated dinner or a buffet?
  6. Do you offer a payment plan?
  7. Will you take care of decorations or do I need to do that?
  8. Do you provide table decor, such as linens, plates, glassware and flatware?
  9. How early can the wedding party arrive on the day of the wedding and when do we need to leave?
  10. Who is in charge of clean-up?
  11. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

The photographer is one of the most important vendors, if not the most important vendor for your wedding.  Your wedding day only happens once, none of the moments can be recreated and your photographer needs to be able to capture them all without fail.  While you may be able to glean some of the information from the Photography Studio’s website, consider asking the photographers you are meeting with the following:

  1. What does your starting package/collection include?
  2. Can I have price lists for items not included in the packages/collections so we can plan our budget accordingly?
  3. Will you have more than one photographer capturing my wedding?
  4. What role does each photographer play the day of my wedding?
  5. Will you help me prepare a time line?
  6. Do you have recommendations on the flow of my wedding day?
  7. Are you comfortable with pets? (if you plan on using your dog in the wedding ceremony)
  8. Can I send you sample images I would love for you to capture?
  9. Do you want a list of family members we want photos with?
  10. Will you meet with my other vendors and scout the wedding venue?
  11. How often will we be in touch between the signing of the contract and the wedding day?
  12. Do you offer a payment plan?
  13. How much is the down payment and when does it need to be paid?
  14. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

A good and conscientious professional photographer who is experienced in capturing weddings will love that you are this detailed and will be in touch with you throughout the time in between signing the contract and your wedding day.

The Bridal Salon also finds itself on the top of the important vendor list for obvious reasons.  Picking your gown will be a fun experience if you choose the right salon for you. Here are some tips on how to choose and what questions to ask:

  1. Am I able to browse without an appointment?
  2. Is the staff friendly and courteous, not matter what your body type is?
  3. Does the salon have a variety of dress sizes on the floor to try on?
  4. How long are appointments?
  5. How big of an entourage may I bring with me to the dress appointment?
  6. How long will dress alterations take?
  7. Am I bound to the alterations department of the boutique/do I have to use the seamstress who is recommended?
  8. Do you offer a payment plan?
  9. Do you offer discounts to my wedding party if we purchase those gowns in the same boutique?

wedding gowns

The Caterer finds him/herself among a lot of competition, and it ultimately comes down to your budget, taste in food, and the overall theme of your wedding, on who you choose.  If you want to support a local, home grown business you need to find out how many years they have been catering weddings.  Local eateries are fantastic, but not all of them cater and may not have the right tools to do so or the required experience to cater a larger event such as a wedding.  Beyond those thoughts, consider asking some of the following questions:

  1. What is the cost per person?
  2. How much is the down payment and when is it due?
  3. Will you provide staff to help with set-up and break down.
  4. How much does set-up and break down cost if it is not included in the food price?
  5. Do you provide flatware and silverware?  (You may or may not need this depending on your venue).
  6. How many staff members will you provide for service during the event?  What is the cost?
  7. Do you have an off premise liquor license?
  8. How much do you charge for liquor per person and type of alcohol.
  9. If we hire you for our food, but want to buy our own liquor, are you able to serve it?
  10. Do you offer a desert option that would supplement our wedding cake?
  11. Do you bake cakes?
  12. Are you prepared to serve our cake and do you know how to cut it?
  13. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

The Bakery for your wedding cake or cupcakes will have their creation featured in your wedding photos.  This special center piece of your day needs to not only be delicious but also pleasing to the eye. Take advantage of bridal shows and try a few samples.  When you make an appointment to schedule a tasting, consider asking the following questions:

  1. How big of a cake do you recommend for x number of guests?
  2. I want to do cupcakes and a small wedding cake, how many flavors can I pick?
  3. Will you provide trays and displays for the cupcakes and our cake? If so, will you pick it up from us or do we need to get it back to you and when?
  4. Do you deliver the cake the day of our wedding or do we need to pick it up?
  5. Does the price of the cake include delivery?
  6. Do you offer gluten free cakes?
  7. How much is the down payment and when is it due?
  8. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

​The above set-up is from the wedding of a nurse and a fireman.  I loved the cute figures on the main cake.  Some bakeries are very creative when it comes to cake toppers.  This cute set was completely edible.

The DJ will add a fun element to your wedding if you hire the right person for the job. Here are some tips about what to look for:

  1. How responsive is the DJ you contact?
  2. What kind equipment will he or she provide, i.e. lights, how many speakers, microphones for speeches, etc.
  3. What is included in the fee?
  4. How flexible is the music selection offered?
  5. Is the DJ able to meet special requests for your wedding day, i.e. the bridal song, your entry to the reception music, first dances.
  6. Will you be able to have your theme accommodated?  (We shot a wedding at a ball park last year and the entry music had overlays of a personalized baseball announcement for each person and pair of the bridal party.)
  7. Will guests be able to make requests?
  8. How much is the down payment and when is it due?
  9. Is the DJ willing to meet and talk to your photographer and coordinate your timeline.
  10. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

The Florist is delivering another visual aspect to your wedding that will be captured in many of your photos and featured in some. You should consider meeting with a couple of florists in person to discuss what you are looking for and gauge their creativity by asking leading questions such as below:

  1. I would like to reflect the season of our wedding in my flowers, what do you recommend?
  2. Do I have to choose flowers or can you make arrangements from greenery and succulents?
  3. Do you work with fresh flowers only or can I incorporate dried flowers?
  4. Can I order my bridal bouquet and boutonnières but loose flowers for my bridal party?
  5. Do you deliver and what is the cost for that?
  6. What does the cost of bouquets depend on?
  7. When do I need to order everything and what is the down payment?
  8. Do you offer payment plans?
  9. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees?
  10. If we have to reschedule during a different season, can we change the floral arrangements we originally ordered?  (these are valid concerns in our current state.)

The Hair Salon and make-up artist complete the list of professionals generally hired for a successful wedding day.  You are the star of your special day along side of your partner, and both of you will be in a lot of  pictures.  Your wedding day will be exhausting and professional hair and make-up will last all day if you hire the right salon to add to your team. Your first instinct may be to hire your usual stylist to do the job.  Before you do, find out how many weddings this salon has done.  Do they specialize in special occasions or do they focus more on cutting and styling hair? Here are a few things to ask:

  1. I would love to have you take care of my wedding party and myself on my wedding day, will you be able to handle (insert your bridal party number) of us?
  2. Do you travel to our location?  What is the cost involved?
  3. Will you bring more than one stylist?
  4. How many trials does my bridal hair and make-up include?
  5. How much time do we need, to get all of us ready?
  6. I want my photographer to capture some of our getting ready time, are you comfortable with that?
  7. What types of hair are you comfortable with?  (This question is especially important if your bridal party is a mix of ethnicity as most salons have a mix of talent they can draw from and need to know who to send to you to give you the best results.)
  8. I am not comfortable with heavy make-up as I do not wear it often, but I realize I need to have some as I will be in a lot of pictures, will you be able to help make me feel beautiful without overdoing the make up?
  9. I want matte finishing spray to set my bridal make-up, is that something you can do?
  10. Finally, ask hair related questions, especially if you are going to a salon where they have never done an updo for you.  Trials are important, as your hair needs to hold all day and maybe exposed to adverse weather.
  11. What is the process if we need to reschedule our wedding?  Do you charge rescheduling fees? (these are valid concerns in our current state and unprecedented.)

Here at Wertman Photography we are in unchartered waters concerning the current crisis, but well experienced with weddings as we shot a great number of them over the years.  We, like many others, were faced with our spring and summer brides who had to postpone their weddings this year and we worked with each couple to make sure they did not have to worry about their images.  Each vendor will have different challenges when it comes to rescheduling, so ask that question.  We do not know how long this virus will affect our nation and our every day lives.  It is best to be prepared and have everyone on one page and on your side.

I hope you can use these tips to help you find the right professional wedding team for your personality. Remember to prioritize what is the most important aspect of your wedding day outside of marrying the love of your life and budget accordingly.   Please call with any questions you have for me and my team of photographers and I will will do my best to help.   I would love it if you decide to include us in your special day.

Check out our wedding gallery on this site and email us to set up a consultation to find out more.