Top 2 Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer – It’s a decision you won’t regret!

Wedding Photography

The most precious day of your life is surely your wedding. You want to ensure that every moment of your special day is captured in a unique and beautiful manner.   I have heard from many couples after the fact about their poor decision in hiring a friend or family member to do the job.   Their failures and inexperience lead to your heart ache and disappointment, and unfortunately you will never be able to capture that moment of time again.  You have spent thousands of dollars to have a one-of-a-kind unforgettable wedding and when it’s over you have only your memories and your photos.  Don’t you want the assurance that those photos will tell your story – your every special moment – as splendidly as the day was.

So – here are two compelling reasons NOT to hire that family member or friend:

Commitment – Professional photographers won’t flake out on you like a friend or relative, because they are obligated by contract to be there. They have backup systems, cards and batteries.  They know that equipment can fail, but that won’t stop them.  They are ready for that.  They are dedicated to doing a great job for you because they depend on your referrals to pay their bills.  Full time professionals are committed to doing the best job possible.  Would you hire an amateur to pull a tooth?

Experience – Professionals have spent thousands of hours photographing weddings.  They know how to get the best shots even in tricky lighting.   Professional photographers in other genre can struggle with weddings – weddings are a beast!  It’s a fast pace day, you have to know how to handle tricky situations like Aunt Betty and her I-pad up in the air, and then top in all with amateurs not knowing anything about posing. Professional experience is invaluable.  Your friend or relative doesn’t have that “experience” to predict or anticipate a special moment, and they don’t have the dedicated concentration to stay alert for special moments – like a mother’s admiring glance at her daughter getting married. 

RESULTS! – That’s what matter.   I love when couples look at their photos from a professional and many times they are surprised at the many funny and moving moments the photographer captured that they never witnessed.  An amateur isn’t going to capture them, and you’ll never know what you’ve missed.

Your wedding day only happens once!  Keep those precious memories and moments alive by NOT compromising on photography.  Cut the size of the cake, or the guest list – but keep the professional photographer – because you can savor those images for a lifetime.

 

Your Wedding Planning Timeline

Planning a Wedding, Wedding timeline

 

Here is an easy to follow Wedding Planning Schedule that you might wish to print out and keep handy.  The secret to a stress-free wedding is being prepared and handling the scheduled tasks on a timely basis.  You should work with your partner on many of these tasks as it is his wedding too!  Most importantly, decide on a budget and stick to it.  If you follow these few steps, you will be able to enjoy a fantastic wedding!

 

10 months before wedding

□  Pick wedding theme/style, color

□  Plan budget, start a wedding folder or binder.

□  Make tentative guest list

□  Set wedding date & time

□  Book ceremony & reception location

□  Select members of wedding party

 

9 months before wedding

□  Pick DJ/Band & ceremony musicians

□  Book wedding day transportation

□  Book photographer and videographer and consult with photographer on scheduling your day to allow sufficient time for all photos.  Allow a minimum of one hour for photos of just the two of you.

□  Book florist

□  Meet with ceremony officiant

 

8 months before wedding

□  Order your bridal gown and Select Bridesmaids’ dresses

□  Send Your Save the Dates

 

6 months before wedding

□  Register gift choices

□  Finalize guest list

□  Order wedding invitations

□  Plan hotel and transportation for out-of-town guests

□  Order wedding cake

 

5 months before wedding

□  Wedding-night hotel suite for bride and groom

□  Plan honeymoon

□  Select and order wedding favors

 

4 months before wedding

□  Order groom’s attire

□  Select groomsmen’s attire

□  Send out-of-town guests invitations

□  Select wedding bands

 

3 months before wedding

□  Send out invitations to in-town guests

□  Finalize and book menu for rehearsal dinner

□  Finalize menu and drinks for reception

 

2 months before wedding

□  Purchase gifts for wedding party & parents

□  Plan reception seating

□  Plan itinerary for out-of-town guests

□  Finalize arrangements with DJ/Band, Ceremony Musicians, Florist, Cake Baker, Photographer and Videographer

□  Schedule Hair & Makeup Trials and Create a Wedding Emergency Kit

 

1 month before wedding

□  Get final fitting of your wedding gown

□  Get marriage license

□  Get name-change forms (if changing your name)

□  Confirm all hotel accommodations

 

1-2 weeks before wedding

□  Have rehearsal & dinner

□  Have bridesmaid’s lunch

□  Have groomsmen’s’ day out

□  Confirm wedding day transportation

□  Confirm guest count with caterer

□  Confirm time and location with Officiant, Florist, Cake baker, Photographer, DJ/Band, and Videographer

 

Congratulations!  It’s your Wedding Day!  Turn over all wedding planning activities to a close friend who you trust to handle any issues and just enjoy your day!!!

Choosing a Theme or Color for Your Wedding

Color Combinations for Weddings, BrideStLouis Wedding PlanningCongratulations to many of you that are newly engaged.  It’s an exciting time in your life and we want you not to stress over the task of planning your wedding.  While it is probably the biggest event that you ever orchestrated, just take it step by step like we discussed last week.

Remember that BrideStLouis.com can help guide and support you through your wedding planning journey with our easy wedding directory featuring thousands of premier wedding and bridal businesses.  In fact, we have over 2000 vendors listed in over 62 different categories.  In addition, our blog posts are always original, timely, and plentiful!  You can review over 450 blog posts that cover every detail of weddings by various categories as well.

Our new 2018 Free E-book “Wedding Planning for the 2018 Bride!” will be ready in just a few days.  Let us know if you would like to receive a copy by emailing us at bride@bridestlouis.com.

So, one of the first steps besides the budget is to choose a theme or color that best represents you – the bride and groom – as a couple.  There are many ways of doing this, like choosing a shared interest, favorite hobby or leisure time activity.  I’ve seen Lego Weddings, Book Theme weddings based for favorite books, Movie Themes, Country Weddings – you name it!  Some couples love to dance and they base their reception on that.

Some couples just choose a style – like Old World Elegance, Fairytale & Romance, or perhaps Seasonal Themes depicting their favorite time of year…a Winter Wonderland or a Fall Harvest Wedding.   A Harry Potter theme has happened as well as The Great Gatsby.

And then there is color.  Color can reflect your style and personality as well.

White – Purity, Innocence and Fresh Beginnings

Yellow – Wisdom, Happiness, Intellectual Energy

Pink – Love, Beauty, Fun Personality

Red – Strength, Health, Vitality

Blue – Youth, Peace, Tranquility

Green – Harmony, Balance, Flexible & Unique

Silver – Calmness, Elegance

Gold – Wealth, Power, Tending to Extravagance

Black – Sophisticated, Controlling, Perfectionist, Dominant

So – what’s your color and theme?  Be sure to share with us your ideas and we will post our favorite on Facebook next week.  Our favorite as voted by our staff will win four FREE tickets to our next bridal show at The Foundry Art Centre on February 18th, 2018.  Send you comments to Bride@BrideStLouis.com.

Making the Most of a Bridal Show

 

Many brides tell me that they are thoroughly overwhelmed the first time they attend a bridal show, so I thought it might be good to lay out a few guidelines to help you make the most of your time.

Here are tips to get the maximum benefit from any show:

Before you go to any show, print several sheets of adhesive address labels with your name, contact information, AND wedding date.  If you have not yet set a wedding date, add something like Spring 2018.  Quickly peel off a label and stick it on an inquiry sheet at any booth that you would like to receive additional information.

Bring your checkbook – you just might want to book or hold a date.  High demand dates go quickly.  September and October dates book quickly here in our area.  It’s prime wedding season, and many vendors like venues and photographers book a year out!

Bring family and friends you trust, and whose opinion matter.  But be careful of the size of your group because too many opinions, and you could be overwhelmed with indecision.

Invite your groom, but take him only if he wants to have a voice in this part of the wedding planning.  If this is not his thing, don’t torture him!  (Note:  Bring your groom along to our January 21st My Dream Wedding Bridal Show at The Christy Banquet Center and try out some complimentary dance lessons provided by Dance Pizazz.)

Know what you are looking for and what’s your budget.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

Be ready with phrases such as, “I’ll think about that.”  And always give yourself a set amount of time and make a decision.  One of the biggest causes of stress in wedding planning is not making decisions on a timely basis…and then things start to really back up and you’ll find yourself in a spin trying to finalize decision.

Whether your wedding is a few months away or an entire year, our bridal shows will help you pull everything together.

Welcome to 2018!

Welcome to 2018!

Congratulations to everyone who recently received an engagement ring, and to those who have started to plan their wedding.  We thought it would be a good time to post this survey we did last Fall with previous couples who were married about a year ago – discussing what was good and what they would do differently.

We call this the “REAL truth about Weddings in Retrospect” by couples looking back after their first year.

We’ve talked to 12 couples who were married about a year ago and asked them, in hindsight, what they thought about their wedding, what they would do differently, and what was their biggest disappointment.  Some of the weddings were large, elaborate affairs while others were smaller, more family oriented weddings.

Because most couples who are planning a wedding have no experience about planning and paying for a wedding, the number one answer that was the biggest concern for all couples was the actual cost of their wedding.  Eleven of the twelve couples said that it ended up being way more expensive than what they anticipated.    Most of them said that as their wedding day approached there was a lot of anxiety about having enough money to pay for everything as planned.  There were always extra expenses that were not anticipated.   Nine of the 12 couples said that if they had it to do over again, they would scale down the wedding about 50%.  One of the couples is still paying off the debt from the wedding – it’s a sore point as they want to save for a house.  Two of the couples felt that, while it was expensive, it was a once in a lifetime event which they would do over again in a heartbeat.   One of the brides loved every minute and expensive detail of her wedding at the time of the wedding, but now regrets spending so much of her parent’s money, as it caused a hardship on her family.    Had she and her parents talked more openly and truthful about the costs, she could now look back with better feelings about her wedding.  In hindsight, she feels that she was “selfish and overbearing” asking and getting everything no matter what it cost.

When asked about specific details on expenses, many mistakenly assumed they had to, for example, have a LIVE Band, or they HAD to have the Tall Centerpiece displays.  It was the expectations from others that lead them to spending MORE money than they needed to on certain items.   Interesting.  One couple that had a very simple wedding, did what they wanted and not what others felt they should do.  It was fun, and they enjoyed planning and working out all the details for a small, intimate wedding with about 50 guests.   They then had money left over for a fabulous honeymoon.   That’s a trend that’s really smart.

Other than concerns over money, most couples agreed that their wedding was the best day of their life.  Yes, they would change some things and focus more on what matter to them.

One thing they all agreed upon – they all thought the day passed by so quickly!

So, what does this all mean to you?  As you are planning your wedding, make sure to communicate and discuss your ideas, budgets, and desires.  We are a firm believer in making your wedding YOUR best day ever – being the kind of wedding that’s right for you.  Let’s us know how we can help you achieve your goals.  We love hearing from you.  Write to us at bride@BrideSTLouis.com.

Evaluating Your Relationship for the Long Term – Is he really the one?

Photo Credit: Rich Hawman, Elan Images

What makes for a great date and a great time may not be all you need for a long term great marriage. Check out these factors to see if your relationship has all the right stuff:

HUMOR

Does your guy make you laugh and lift your spirits?  A sense of humor can help you through some tough times and difficulties. 

CARES ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK and VICE VERSA

Does he really listen to you and consider your feelings?  Do you feel comfortable talking to him about problems that you have.  Can you trust him in difficult situations?  Does he show empathy, sincerity, and caring?   Good communication skills goes both ways.  Can you discuss your differences without becoming defensive or sarcastic?  Do you work together to find a solution?

BALANCE

Being together 100% of the time is not necessarily a good thing.  It’s important for each party in the relationship to participate at their own interests, sports, and hobbies.  It’s all about proper balance – a zealous personal interest might result in too much separation and less focus on your relationship. 

SHARING

And now just the opposite.  Do you share interests and hobbies?  Do you both like to travel, bike, read…whatever?  While opposites attractive, you need some type of “common interests” to keep the relationship alive and interesting.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY

Are you both ready to take responsibility in this new relationship to make it the best it can be?  Maturity in a relationship calls for modesty, some humility, and a balance self ego.  It’s now about “we” rather than “me”.    

If you scored a 5 – say “YES” march down that aisle!!!  You found a winner!