Shannon and I met yesterday at lunch for our final wedding planning get together. I love her! Seriously, Shannon you are the best! Shannon even suggested my favorite place without me having to suggest it… WINNING! I always try to plan a meeting with my brides about a month out from the wedding to go over all details and answer any last minute questions. I do my best to meet in person but sometimes it happens by telephone or Skype dates. Either works for me really, but I do love getting to see my couples as much as I can during the planning process. For me I don’t get to see them enough, and I really love my couples so much so yes I mean this! I’ve been very lucky to have met some amazing couples and to be included in many of their wedding days. Shannon & Erik are definitely favorites of mine.
Shannon and Erik are adventurous and love to have fun. This is a great example (See their engagement session below) of having fun and being yourselves in front of the camera. On top of being super fun, and to think they both told me they were awkward in photos! PSSSH please you guys haha. Shannon’s OCD and eye for detail match mine = match made in heaven. I loved going over every detail for the wedding day with her and the fact that she had all of it written down/typed up and ready to go. This really makes the execution of all the plans come together nicely and in an orderly manner. I promise doing this extra organization is going to save you on your wedding day and the days leading up to it. Investing in a wedding designer or coordinator is also a great asset to your wedding experience. I can’t express this enough. If your budget doesn’t allow for hiring a wedding designer or coordinator it’s a great idea to search out family and friends with experience that would love to help out and have expressed “if you need anything just let me know”, seriously take them up on it. Shannon’s venue Bandit’s Ridge is a favorite of mine and Donna and her team are fabulous! Bandit’s Ridge offers different coordinator options in their packages and is a huge benefit in booking this Venue.
With Shannon and I meeting (as well as my other brides) a month before the wedding we are able to finalize and review the timeline for the day so that I know exactly what is going on and if there is anything out of place during the day as far as shooting during best lighting times, we have that time to make updates and move things around if we need to. I’ve been very lucky to be included in Shannon’s wedding planning pretty closely. I love that! Every detail has been thought of and shared and it has made this experience that much better. Since I have photographed the venue previously I was able to share suggestions with Shannon for her timeline and design which not only provides Shannon and Erik with a better photography experience with their images but it also helps my team and I be prepared for our set up during each part of the day as well as the curation of a beautiful memory. Having all details about the wedding including designs does help me prepare for setting up the day of the wedding and gets my creative juices flowing for all of those gorgeous images.
Another wonderful thing about the wedding consults is getting to know the other vendors that my team and I will be working with that day. It is SO important for all of the vendors to communicate and be apart of the same team. Working with a Videographer, Coordinator/Designer, DJ, Florist, & Desert Artist, & Caterer is extremely important to me. The Videographer(s) and my team have to be on the same page as far as shooting location and positioning, that way no one is in the others shot which ultimately isn’t only frustrating but also unfair for the couple who won’t receive the best product or service from either party. I love working with Videographer(s) as a team and both flowing creatively together. The DJ is important to work with because they are calling all of the events/shots. Being friends with the DJ is the first thing I do when I arrive to a wedding venue. I simply ask ” Please do not let anything happen without me”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been switching out a lens and setting up a light to get ready for the next round of events and they are announcing them before the gear is ready… this means missed shots which is no fun. Thankfully with educating my couples on this prior to the wedding as well as their vendor meeting with the DJ has helped tremendously with this. Not to mention I work frequently with a preferred DJ friend and we are a great team and always lean on one another for the timeline and announcements before things happen. Thanks for being so awesome Greg! The florist, Caterer, & Desert Artists are a key to this day and to the beautiful detail images. I need to make sure that everyone is set up on time for photography of the details. If someone is running behind it’s important to have that information so that the timeline can be updated and time not lost. I love sharing images with all vendors and building those relationships.
Last but not least. Planning of the details themselves. I’ve asked my brides to have all of their details as well as the grooms details put together and ready as soon as my team and I arrive. Details are the first thing that gets photographed and having this organized is a huge time saver. It also has a list so nothing is forgotten or left out. Like hangers for all clothing articles that aren’t plastic… BIG. Those plastic hangers do not do the investment of the garments you’ve invested in justice. Even if you grab a pack of wooden hangers from target, they photograph much better than the generic plastic ones. Invitation suites, this is probably the number one most forgotten thing on the wedding day. Once they get sent out and returned, who really thinks about them? I promise it’s important to remember and that is why it’s on the top of my list during the meeting. This is just behind the list of family & bridal party names for photographs, that’s how important it is to me HAHA. Having your ring cleaned the day before or leading up to the wedding. Your about to be husband has invested quite a bit in that beautiful piece of jewelry so why have it all dull and lotion gunked when it’s being photographed? Get that ring cleaned everyone, let’s sparkle!
I hope this information of what goes into a month prior consult helps you in your planning or you as a photographer to help educate your clients and make your wedding experience even better! I promise since making a point to make this happen, only benefits EVERYONE who is apart of these awesome days. Enjoy Shannon, Erik, & Jax’s photos below. What a fun day in Richmond we had! I can’t wait to go back.