Joyce Scardina Becker

WeddingPlannerLove’s very own Events of Distinction brings us today’s guest post which is two part series. We’ll feature Part 2 on Thursday! Thank you Joyce Scardina Becker, CMP for your post for our planning brides!

With a myriad of details to handle, planning a wedding can be very time-consuming for engaged couples, and spare time is often in short supply for brides and grooms who are busy establishing professional careers or attending school.

You should consider hiring a Wedding Planner if:

  • You don’t have at least 12 hours a week to devote to planning
  • You’re having a destination wedding
  • Your idea of being creative is copying a wedding that you saw in print or online
  • You have previously hosted parties where you spent the entire evening in your kitchen

Aside from saving you that precious element of time, there is another fundamental reason why Wedding Planners can be a tremendous benefit to you – they are experts at what they do. The more complex the details of your wedding are, the greater the skills that are required to implement these details flawlessly.  So, for the same reasons that many people hire professional accountants to do their taxes, many couples also hire professional planners to do their weddings.  The only difference is that weddings are much more fun than taxes!

Photos:  Sherman Chu. Wedding Designer and Planner: Joyce Scardina Becker, Events of Distinction.

What a Wedding Planner Can Do for You

Successful planning and execution of a wedding requires an understanding of many disciplines –including audio-visual, budgeting and financial analysis, food and beverage, design, entertainment, flowers, graphic design and methods of printing, hospitality law and contracts, lighting, music, photography, transportation, videography and wedding cakes. What separates the pros from the novices is a solid track record of producing hundreds of weddings, maintaining quality relationships with many wedding service providers and keeping current with the latest trends. This experience gives the Wedding Planner the foundational knowledge to effectively assist you with the research, design, planning and execution of your wedding, which includes the following specific tasks:

  • Developing a detailed budget for your wedding
  • Selecting the most suitable site(s) for your celebration
  • Recommending appropriate vendors that fit with your taste and budget
  • Scheduling appointments with vendors
  • Performing cost analyses of vendor proposals
  • Effectively negotiating contracts through an understanding of hospitality law
  • Organizing the planning process in a logical fashion
  • Understanding the flow of a wedding, and developing a detailed timeline for your wedding day, which enables the ceremony, cocktails and reception to run smoothly
  • Producing floor plans drawn to scale
  • Providing on-site management for your wedding day – overseeing all activities to ensure a flawless execution

To learn more about Joyce, visit her site! She’s got enough credentials to write a book—and she has! You can also find her on Facebook and twitter when she is not busy blogging! And of course, you can also find her on WeddingPlannerLove!

Thank you to Candice & Alison Luxury Weddings for today’s guest post! These ladies did a great job summing up what you should expect from your planner!

Candice and Alison WeddingPlannerLove

A good planner should be on top of all the little details the go into making every wedding special. There are many elements that require scheduling, delivery, placement and so on, therefore your planner should strategize on how best to implement everything as seamlessly as possible.

Candice and Alison WeddingPlannerLove

They should be aware of the bride and grooms schedule and keep them posted on necessary updates for example, when the limo has arrived, when guests start to arrive for cocktail hour etc. They should be present but behind the scenes for the duration of the wedding, quietly providing guests with necessary cues throughout the night.

Candice and Alison WeddingPlannerLove

They should also ensure key suppliers such as photographers, band members, caterers etc. are fulfilling the terms of their agreement and not otherwise distracted. Lastly a good planner should ensure the space is left the same way it was found.

Candice Alison WeddingPlannerLove

They should follow up with the couple after the wedding to provide them with anything that was left behind as well as to thank them and reminisce about all of the wonderful memories that were created.

Candice Alison WeddingPlannerLove

Thank you ladies for a short, yet to-the-point guest post! Visit Candice & Alison on WeddingPlannerLove.

Today’s guest post comes to us from Robert London Wedding Photography. Such great advice, thanks for sharing, Robert. :)

When your wedding day comes, it will be so overwhelming that your memory of the day may be a bit unfocused. The beautiful flowers you chose, the gorgeous dress (that you agonized over), the venue and table settings, all your friends dancing, even your hairstyle is a moment that you created and wish to cherish. Unfortunately it is just one day and it goes by so fast. This is why the photographer will be the one hire you make that is so important, not only will they be with you a good deal of time on this most important day but they are the ones who shall capture all those details that you have been thinking about for the past six months or more!

Robert London Photography WeddingPhotoLove

To make sure you achieve more than just pretty pictures I have created a list to help you weed through all the marketing garbage and mediocre photographers that may lose those memories – follow this guide so that all your memories will last forever.

1. First thing, do a little research, and become familiar with the different styles of wedding photography.

No two photographers would come out with the same images, but wedding photography broadly breaks down to three types, traditional or classic and photojournalistic (everyone was traditional 20 years ago). A traditional photographer is someone who is very involved in the day, producing mostly posed shots and will spend time arranging both people and details to look a certain way. A classic, or “balanced” photographer is one who combines aspects of both. The last type is photo journalistic, think of them as reality TV photographers they will document what happens seldom or never asking you to pose. So as you are looking through friend’s albums or magazines think of these styles, decide which you prefer and start looking for photographers who can fulfill that need, also if you hire someone with a balanced approach you should tell them which style you prefer.

2. At least have a general idea of your budget.

Pricing can vary considerable, and you do not want to waste your time with someone who is not within your reach. On the other side if the price is too good to be true, it is most likely someone who is not a real professional and you would be taking a big chance. I have a golden rule about this “cost is something that can usually be negotiated, quality cannot.”

 

3. Now you have lots of knowledge but how do you find the right person?

The first place to start is friends. They have already gone down this road and they might recommend their photographer or give you the name of the person they should have hired. If you do a search on the internet PLEASE go past the first page and more, the first page will be filled with larger firms with big marketing dollars behind them. Vendors can also be a good resource but be warned the venue’s preferred list is a source of advertising revenue for them and usually nothing more. A great source to find the perfect photographer is WeddingPhotoLove!

Robert London Photography WeddingPhotoLove

4. Narrow your choices down from the different websites but remember you are not hiring a web designer so do not go with someone just because you love their website.

Quality is sometimes hard to define in qualitative terms, but look for the story behind each image, one photo should make you want to see another. Finally make sure the essence of each wedding is coming through, that the photographer’s style is not overwhelming.

5. References are important and it is not a bad idea to call them but be warned the photographer is only providing the good ones.

Be ready with specific questions to ask, not just do you recommend them, one effective question I like is “did your guests like him and did he handle your family’s request well?” But, references are only one piece of the puzzle in the web 2.0 world we have today, now we have reviews on wedding websites and local vendor sites such as Yelp or Google Places. Also just search for the name, you will surprised what will come up good and bad.

6. Make sure they are not just a “weekend warrior” you want a professional photographer, someone who is doing this as their sole living.

Photography in this digital world is constantly changing, and you need someone who is dedicated to keeping themselves informed of the latest technologies and capabilities, this will ensure that you not only receive the best quality but also the most choices of products and services.

7. This is very important, ask the photographer do you shoot jpeg or raw?

If they say film move on,  if they are not willing to meet the learning curve, then what else are they not learning? To make sure they shoot in the raw format ask that you receive a copy of all the final raw files (put it in the contract). On the topic of files, are the jpegs and proofs watermarked or do you receive full size files ready to print? Many studios charge significantly extra for the raw files and/or non watermarked jpegs.

Editors note: Most photographers don’t give RAW files out since they’re unedited and can often look drastically different (and less professional) than the finished files. We don’t want to change our guest article, but keep in mind that releasing RAW files is rare and in most cases, it’s not necessary to get the originals, since you want the beautiful, finished images instead.

Robert London Photography WeddingPhotoLove

8. Ask to view samples of complete weddings and ask questions about that wedding.

Many studios substitute wedding images for staffs who are beginning, also this way you will get a feel for how they handle the stress of a complete day. I have also seen photographers who can create a wonderful “glamor” shot of the bride, one that is ready for a magazine but the rest of the wedding is very poor – just because you are a good photographer does not make one a good wedding photographer.

9. What is in the package?

You want no surprises, and you want to confirm that the packages are equal when comparing from one photographer to another. I mentioned the files earlier, but other concerns are how many hours of coverage, if you are having a large wedding you may need two photographers, how many proofs do you receive, will all the images be given to me and how, on a DVD, flashcard, downloadable, how long until I receive the images? Do not forget the album! A subject on its own which I discuss here: How to Create a Wedding Album but make sure they have available what you want, there are so many options these days and quality varies GREATLY.

10. And finally, we have talked about the packages, quality, and price now what is most important is the relationship you feel with the photographer.

Remember, a photographer who frames everything perfectly, makes sure everyone is in focus, and gets every shot on your list may seem like a great photographer–however, if no one likes him/her that will show in the pictures. Even the most unobtrusive photographer still has a significant presence at your wedding; make sure that person is a guest you would invite.
I hope this list has been informative and will give you confidence in your choice of wedding photography, I discuss this subject in greater depth along with other related wedding articles on my website Robert London Photography

Robert London Photography WeddingPhotoLoveThank you Robert! You can check his profile out on WeddingPhotoLove!

A big thank you to Felicia Events for today’s guest post! If you are trying to decide whether or not to hire a planner, then this post is for you!

Photography by Monique

Photography by Monique

 

Why hire a Professional Wedding Planner? Imagine an orchestra without a conductor! A wedding planner is the one voice that makes sure all lines of communication are all in order. A Professional Wedding Coordinator is the leader of the team and makes sure every detail is taken care of from the very beginning to the end.

Planning a wedding can become a whole new undertaking within itself and with a busy schedule it can become overwhelming. There are wedding planners out there that do not cost astronomical amounts. Most wedding planners do offer different levels of wedding coordination. This is a luxury that is affordable because of the different levels of wedding planning offered. Hiring a Professional Bridal Consultant will give peace of mind. The vendors and venues will even appreciate a planner has been hired. Coordination and communication is a good recipe to a stress free wedding.

Photography by Monique

Photography by Monique

 

Make sure while searching for a Professional Bridal Consultant that the person is knowledgeable in budget planning, negotiate contracts, strategy planning to go along with the logistics for the wedding day. The list is endless of what a Professional Bridal Consultant can do. Check the planners’ experience, education and ask to see a portfolio. Be aware of prices and the average pricing within the area. All wedding planners start somewhere in their career but make sure if they can handle the expectations for the wedding day. Don’t just pick someone because of the price; make sure there is a common ground of understanding. Interview the bridal consultant because this is a business relationship that will be at least 8 months to handle a personal vision for the wedding day.

Photography by MoniquePhotography by Monique

 

Take a look at WeddingPlannerLove or The Association of Bridal Consultants for bridal consultants in your area. An educated bridal consultant in the industry is highly recommended. These bridal consultants strive to better their knowledge in the wedding industry.
Gambling is for the casino but not for your wedding day, be sure to hire a Professional Wedding Planner and don’t skimp on experience.

Aurora Meneghello Productions (also a part of Locally Grown Weddings) put together a great post for us today. It’s a double dose of  a shot list and tips. :)

 

It is the job of your wedding photographer to create a shot list for your big day. That’s why you are hiring them! However, it’s good to understand what your photographer will want to cover and how you can help her get the best pictures on your wedding day.

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

Here’s a list of moments your wedding photographer will probably cover:

  • Bride Getting Ready
  • Groom Getting Ready
  • The First Look (if bride and groom are seeing each other before the
  • ceremony)
  • Ceremony
  • Posed Family Photos
  • Wedding Party Photos
  • Reception
  • Escort Cards and other Details
  • Wedding Cake
  • Toasts
  • First Dance
  • Cake Cutting
  • Bouquet Toss/Garter
  • Guests Dancing

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

It’s very important to work with your wedding photographer to make sure your wedding is
captured in all its glory.

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

Here are some tips from my experience working on big and small weddings:

1. Hire a professional wedding photographer. Wedding photography is all about
knowing what is going to happen. The more weddings your photographer has worked
on, the more they’ll be familiar with the general way the event unfolds and he/she will
be able to prepare for each moment before it happens. They will also need to work fast
as there’s no time to learn on the job. A professional wedding photographer will be
familiar with their equipment, will be able to shoot in different lighting conditions
and will know how to maximize the time given to them. Practice makes perfect!

2. Talk to your photographer: even if your wedding pro has worked on hundreds of weddings, your wedding is unique. Make sure to let them know what elements you have incorporated in your wedding. For example, all photographers will take photos of your wedding dress, shoes, jewelry and rings. But let’s say you are wearing a pair
of earrings that your grandmother wore at her wedding. Your photographer might
want to spend some extra time photographing them and/or thinking of creative ways
to convey their emotional importance.

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

3. Choose a planner who is a good communicator. If you are working with a planner or Day Of Coordinator, make sure to be clear about how much communication they will have with the photographer. The photographer should have a very specific timeline and be prepped on the flow of the event. If your planner is not going to communicate directly and timely with your photographer, you will have to do it. Make sure your team is going to work together.

4. Choose a photographer whose style you like: some couples like fun photos and lots of candid photos, other couples like a more romantic feel and lots of details. We often think of photographers as documenting a wedding, but even the purest photojournalist has a special way of seeing the world. Once you have the right photographer, let them know what you like. I always spend time with couples I work with to find out what’s important to them. For example, some couples are very much into family photos, some love detail shots, some want a picture of their high school friends who flew into town from far away. Make sure to let your photographer know what you love. This
way you can collaborate on the part of the shot list that is unique to your wedding.

Aurora Meneghello Productions WeddingPhotoLove

James Paul Correia Photography wrote today’s guest post. Thanks James, this is a wonderful source for brides.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Now that you’re engaged you must be busy planning the details of your big day, from flowers and invites to vendors such as photo and music. With all that is going on it can be easy to overlook this unique stage of your lives. It’s a time filled with anticipation, joy and love; capturing this moment in your life can often be just as exciting as your wedding day.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Whether you are keen on having your photo taken or not, the numerous benefits of taking part in an engagement shoot (popularly referred to as an e-shoot) may not be immediately apparent, so here are a few reasons you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity for that pre-wedding photoshoot!

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 1. Get yourself some sweet photos!

Sounds pretty obvious, right? But as time inches closer to the big day you start to find yourself getting busier and busier. Early in the engagement is the perfect time for an e-shoot; while the excitement of the proposal and visions of the future are still fresh in your mind, that emotion will be clearly evident in your photos.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Sure you’ll have photos on your wedding day, but this is different! Your wedding is the day planned for a party with your family and friends, but this shoot is all about YOU. While the wedding day will flash before your eyes, the e-shoot is slow paced and allows you to really soak in the time you have together. Grabbing those raw emotions just between the two of you is a rare opportunity and you’ll be glad to have this to look back on when you’re old and grey. Also, wouldn’t it be great to have some fab photos of you NOT in wedding threads? Wedding gowns and tuxedos aren’t exactly our everyday attire.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 2. A chance to let loose and get creative.

You have an opportunity to take some truly unique photos, different from any you’ve had before, so make good use of it! Start with the location and pick a place that means something to both of you. It can be where you got engaged, a first date or just a very memorable date, where you met (maybe your highschool/university). It can be any place that puts you at ease, something familiar that naturally makes you feel good, such as the zoo, a beach, or even your regular coffee shop. Where ever you decide, make it mean something to you.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Don’t forget to get creative! You can create a theme (bake some cookies together) or bring props (maybe you are Scrabble junkies). Whatever it is, think colorful, let loose and tap into your imagination.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 3. Your photos are actually pretty useful!

Speaking of creativity, your photos aren’t limited to the confines of a picture frame! Many savvy do-it-yourselfers are using their e-shoot photos in many crafty ways. Use them for save-the-date cards, receptions seating charts and table indicators, wedding programs, guest books, or even just a really awesome coffee table book for home.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 4. Practice for the big day.

Chances are you haven’t had your photos taken by a professional before, so how do you know what to do? On your wedding day you’ll be surrounded by cameras, not just the one you hired. With everything that is going on during the day, it’s great to have one less thing to worry about.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Whether you are camera shy or a photogenic vixen, the e-shoot is a great opportunity to instill confidence and build comfort in front of the camera. It can be daunting to have a camera follow you, it happens to all of us, and it’s best to get that anxiety out of the way in advance. In no time, you’ll stop focusing on the camera and more on each other. Your nerves will calm and your stress will float away. Your interactions with each other will become more natural and you’ll learn to avoid the innate reflex to stiff up and smile directly into the camera.

If you want to really make it a true dry run, try coordinating your e-shoot with your hair and makeup trials; it will allow you the chance to see how they show up in photos.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 5. Letting your photographer get to know YOU.

Not only is it good practice for you, it’s also a great trial run for your photographer. It allows him/her to see how you interact; to learn if you are timid or big on the PDA. They will learn about your personalities, whether you are goofy or serious, and how much direction you’ll need or want. It’s a great time to learn about your love story, chat about your wedding plans, and push to see how affectionate you can get in front of the camera. The opposite is also true, you’ll be able to communicate what you like and don’t like, as well as your preference for angles, expressions, lighting, and editing styles. All this will allow them to tailor the photos to make your images more personal and memorable.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 6. Getting to know your photographer.

It’s great to have your photographer get to know you, but it’s more important that you get to know THEM. Get a taste of their shooting style and learn how they direct you. It will be very similar to how they direct you on the wedding day so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Chat with them about your wedding plans and get tips about planning out the schedule. Your photographer has seen it all and probably has a ton of advice on how to organize the day and minimize rushing and delays.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Lastly, think about this, you will likely see your photographer more than anyone else on your wedding day … including your fiancé! The e-shoot is a perfect ice breaker to transform your photographer from a ‘stranger’ taking your photos to a ‘friend’ taking your photos. Establish a relationship with your photographer (and all your vendors for that matter). Get to know his personality & hobbies to the point where you feel comfortable enough with them that you’ll look forward to spending time with them on your wedding day.

James Paul Correia Photography WeddingPhotoLove

By the end of it all you’ll be ready for anything the day throws at you, you’ll have some fantastic photos and you’ll be pumped for the big day! Keep Smiling!

Thank you Jackie from VT Enchanted Events for today’s guest post!

VT Enchanted Events WeddingPlannerLove

For many engaged couples, it can be a scary and difficult process to hand over the control to someone else.  After all, this is your big day and you have put so much thought and work into it, why on earth would you give all your ideas and visions to a complete stranger? Let me be the first to say as a wedding planner we are not here to take over. On the contrary, we are here to become your partner in planning.  So before you dismiss the idea of a planner don’t think of us as someone who is going to take over your dreams and visions but someone who is going to lend that extra hand where it is needed.

VT Enchanted Events WeddingPlannerLove
Photo by Paul Reynolds Photography.

The right planner can do many things such as:

  • Helping to choose the right vendors that match your needs, wants, and budget.

  • Helping you follow through with your visions of colors, patterns, and lending advice on new ideas.

  • Coordinating. This can start from the very beginning to the very end. As planners we are here to help you with the flow of your wedding that means making sure all vendors are on time and all your needs and wants are in place.

  • Picture perfect, planners go in the day of and set everything up the way you have talked about. Your planner and you have made a precise design and it is now up to them to carry it out with the tablecloths, place settings, flowers and so much more. It is your time as now you the couple get to sit back and enjoy the day and let it all unfold.

  • My personal favorite part of being a planner is being there for the bride & grooms to be. We create these great partnerships with each couple and within each partnership will come support, strength, and our immense devotion to making sure that you have the day that you want.

Best Wishes & Lots of Laughter!

Learn more about VT Enchanted Events on WeddingPlannerLove or visit their site.

 

 

Today’s guest post comes from the wonderful duo at Asteria Photography. Thank you Caroline and Dan for contributing, our planning brides will find your post very helpful!

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Sometimes if it sounds too good to be true, it is. When shopping for a wedding photographer price is something you should never skimp on. In no way am I saying that you should spend thousands and thousands of dollars, but be wary of “good deals.” Sometimes the reason a photographer is only priced at $500 is because they’re only worth that much. There’s a good chance that you might have some guy show up at your wedding with a camera that’s barely better than a disposable and has no idea what he’s doing. If you spend time and energy planning your wedding, you’re going to want better shots than mediocre pictures that don’t reflect who you are and the work you’ve put into every tiny detail for your big day!

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Another important aspect is the photographer’s personality. It seems like that’s something that really shouldn’t matter. It’s their talent that’s most important, right? Well, partially.. yes. But if you’re laid back would you want someone who’s going to force you out of your comfort zone and make you feel awkward all day? Or if you’re really outgoing would you want a really meek photographer? You have to find someone you get along with and feel truly comfortable with. Hiring a studio that offers two full-time photographers for your big day is a definite benefit in this respect. Our studio works well because I’m really energetic and enthusiastic and love getting people excited too. My partner is very laid back and reserved and balances me out. We have a good system going because we’re so different, but we love the same thing… and that’s making people happy.

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Speaking of making people happy… that’s another important quality to look for in a photographer! You have to hire someone who LOVES what they do and wants YOU to love what THEY do. You want someone who’s not burnt out on doing weddings, someone who is doing this because it’s their passion and they aren’t just trying to pay their bills.

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

 And most importantly, SIGN A CONTRACT! That’s the most important thing you can do because it protects you. If your photographer doesn’t show up on the day of your wedding and you don’t have a signed contract, what can you do? I know people that’s happened to, and that kind of added stress is definitely not something anyone needs right before their wedding!

Asteria Photography WeddingPhotoLove

Good luck to everyone And don’t forget to remind yourself to enjoy your big day! It goes by too fast if you don’t stop to take it all in.