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In the throes of planning your own wedding? Or know somebody who is? Angie Roe Photography has left no stone unturned with her comprehensive advice on how to select a wedding photographer that is ideal for you! 

We’ve all heard the stories, from that friend of a friend who never received their wedding images, or whose photos were just downright ghastly. But choosing your wedding photographer doesn’t need to be a harrowing experience, if you just keep the following five things in mind as you begin your search.

Ask Your Friends and Family For Referrals

Despite the rise of social media, and the abundance of wedding photographers that can now be found online, personal referrals are still (and always will be) the best way to find a photographer who will produce amazing images, and gel with you on the day. If your friends were happy with them, there’s a good chance you will be too.

Plus you can ask them lots of questions that you might not feel like asking the photographer directly, like whether they were cool and easy going, or loud and overbearing on the day! And if you’ve found someone whose work you love, but you don’t know anyone who has used them previously, try asking around in Facebook group forums, or searching for testimonials online – you’ll soon find out what they are like to work with!

Get To Know Them

This doesn’t necessarily mean meeting in person – I get it, we’re all time poor! But there are a number of ways you can get to know the photographer you are considering booking, before you part with that hard earned cash. Follow their work on social media. Read the comments and any reviews and testimonials. Give them a call, or Skype them for a chat. Or send them an email – all will give you an idea of what they are like both personally and professionally.  And then if it’s possible, arrange to meet up for a coffee and chat in person.

View Their Work

Most photographers will have a portfolio full of gorgeous images on their website, as well as individual client galleries, which show a larger number of images from recent weddings. Have a good look through their work, and ask yourself if the images look consistent (in both shooting and editing style), if they appear sharp and correctly exposed, and if the colour and overall toning appeals to you.

Then when you contact them, ask to see a couple of full wedding galleries, showing all images which were delivered to the client. This is the best way to see how they shoot a wedding from start to finish, and to get a feel for the storytelling aspect of their wedding photography.  It’s also a good way to get a feel for what ‘x’ number of images delivered looks like – you’ll soon realise that 300 beautifully edited images covering all aspects of the day, is way better than 1000 poorly edited images with parts missing!

Viewing their images online will often be enough to help you decide whether or not they are for you, but if you do meet in person, ask them to bring some example albums and/or prints along, so you can see what their work looks like in print.

Check Their Level of Experience

A glance at the portfolio on their website should give you an idea of whether or not they’ve shot many weddings, but if it doesn’t, ask them. Weddings are fast paced, and often throw curveballs, like rain (and sometimes lots of it!). Wedding photographers need to know their gear, and they need to be able to work quickly and effectively in stressful situations.  They also need to know how to direct and pose non-models like yourselves, so ask them how long they have been shooting weddings for, and roughly how many they’ve done.

Check What Equipment They Use

This is a great way to start an argument amongst photographers, who generally fall into one of two camps – either Canon vs Nikon, mirrorless vs DSLR, full frame vs cropped sensor, or whatever. I firmly believe that it is the photographer who creates the image, not the camera, so I don’t really think this is a big one for you to worry about. Whatever their choice of equipment, they are producing the beautiful images you have just seen on their website.

But what is important, is that they bring a backup of every piece of equipment they’ll be using to capture your gorgeous wedding images, on the day.  This means at least two camera bodies (I prefer three), two flashes, or lighting systems if they use lights, multiple lenses, batteries and memory cards.

And their camera bodies should most definitely have dual card slots. This allows your photographer to write to one card, and backup to the other, so if a card fails, your images will be safely stored on the other card. It also allows them to keep one card in the camera, and one elsewhere once they have finished the job, which reduces the risk of loss through theft or fire.  Which means your images will always be safe – phew!

So there you go, my five tips to get you started on the hunt for the perfect wedding photographer. Have a totally awesome day, and enjoy those photos, both on the day and in years to come!

 

About Angie Roe Photography: I’m an AIPP accredited photographer, based in the beautiful Avon Valley, just east of Perth in Western Australia, where I have been shooting weddings since the days of film. I love variety. Everything catches my eye. I’m a lover of light and colour, and my images speak of a relaxed, natural, storytelling style. I’m a documentary and lifestyle based photographer, specialising in fun-filled rural, backyard and DIY events, but with a secret fetish for the occasional formal do too!

Photographer: Angie Roe Photography

Image by Fabian Blank via Unsplash

Weddings take a lot of planning. And fair enough– there’s so much to consider! But not everyone plans past the day itself and there are a lot of financial aspects to consider once you’re married that might not occur to you amidst the hype of the big day.

So here are eight tips for tackling post-wedding finances and recouping some of the money spent on your wedding day:

Bargain with your bank

If you’re one of those couples who want to jump into the property market as fast as possible after the cost of the wedding is out of the way, you will probably need to consider taking out a home loan first. Make sure that before you do, you have a look online to find the most competitive deal or package – this could save you thousands in the long run.

If you do want to stay loyal to your bank when it comes to your home loan, shopping around online first is still important. It gives you a very strong idea of the market if you’re able to approach your lender with quotes from other businesses. This means you may have some bargaining power in the case that you’d like to negotiate your repayment terms.

Pay off your post-wedding credit card debt

A lot of couples consider expensing many of their wedding costs on their credit cards, but it’s important to remember that eventually you’ll have to pay this off. Create a financial plan or even a budget in order to ensure that once you’ve said “I do,” you won’t have to sacrifice other things just so that you can pay off your debt.

Honeymoon later

Although it may be traditional to head overseas straight away, you may want to consider having a postponed honeymoon. More and more couples are taking this option due to the general expense of weddings. This could give you the opportunity to save for the trip of your dreams, instead of potentially settling for somewhere that isn’t first preference, as well as saving up a bit of extra leave from work.

Inform institutions of name change

If you’ve decided to take on your husband’s last name or a hyphenated version, it’s important to let all of your financial institutions and utilities companies (and anyone else who may contact you) know that your name has changed. Also, a lot of people might not realise that most official documents (passport, driver’s license) need to be renewed to include your new name. Sometimes there can be a fee, so be prepared with cash so that you aren’t caught off guard.

Have the “money talk” with each other

Now that you’re married it’s important to be completely transparent with each other about your financial position and spending habits. You can decide to take out joint bank account or you can keep your finances completely separate (whichever suits your situation best) but it’s vital to keep open channels of communication. This should save you from any potential arguments later on!

Image by Joshua Ness via Unsplash

Write down savings goals

Setting goals with each other allows you to work together collaboratively in order to achieve a common target. Not only is this great for relationship building, but it makes saving easier as you’ll be working as a team and can share in the win together.

Sort out your wills & life insurance

Once you’re married, you may need to update a will or create one to reflect your situation. Also, if you or your partner work in a high-risk environment, you might consider taking out life insurance so that if something does happen, you’ll have the peace of mind your partner will be taken care of. If you already have it, you may want to up your policy– shop around and compare life insurance online.

Review your insurance policies

If you’re a couple that has a lot of collective health issues (or alternatively very few), a couples health policy may be better value for your lifestyle. Although a scary concept, it’s easy to find the right option for you and your partner using a health policy comparison tool.

Also, a lot of couples jump straight into wanting to start a family straight after they’re married, but something that might not occur to you to check is whether reproductive services and pregnancy are covered under your current policy and if there is a waiting period. While still unborn, medical costs should be covered by your private health insurer but once the baby is born, they will probably need separate cover.

Image by Mon Petit Chou Photography via Unsplash.

Ms Zigzag says: It is empowering to be in control of your finances and for both people within the marriage to be well informed and manage financial decisions.

Bessie Hassan is a Money Expert at Australia’s most visited financial comparison website, finder.com.au.

Cara and Jamie of Brisbane City Celebrants make a great team. Not only are they a duo in real life, they are also both marriage celebrants. Bringing to their profession a warmth and enthusiasm, which is reflected in the ceremonies they perform, Cara and Jamie are also passionate about working with others in the profession to assist and educate to deliver the best possible ceremonies for all couples. Ceremonies that touch the hearts of the couple and the guests and are engaging, are the most important part of the wedding day and can also set the tone for the celebrations to come. Come and take a peek into Jamie and Cara’s thoughts on all things wedding ceremonies.

How long have you been Celebrants?

Next year we will celebrate 10 years of being Celebrants! We were inspired to create modern, personalised and authentic wedding ceremonies, after our very own wedding (yes we’re a married couple!)

When we first started out we were amongst the youngest Celebrants in Brisbane. Instead of replicating what was already being done, we carefully assessed every part of the ceremony planning process, asking ourselves how can we improve the experience for brides and grooms, at each part of the process. This resulted in innovative, streamlined processes designed to create an easy, stress-free and thoroughly enjoyable experience for our couples.

Even now over 9 years later, we continue to identify and implement new ways to improve the experience we provide our couples.

We began ‘Celebranting’ during the weekends around full-time jobs and soon after our passion for creating modern, seamless and thoroughly enjoyable ceremonies, resulted in a level of demand that enabled us to become fully self-employed, available for weddings 365 days a year!

Our passion for weddings has also led us to explore other passions connected to the industry.

Hearing all about and sharing magical marriage proposal stories every week, inspired Cara to launch her creative outlet Amazing Proposals assisting ‘proposees’ with planning and creating their own unique and memorable marriage proposal. We also developed and have just launched the Brisbane Celebrants Directory supporting the local Celebrant community.

Image by Vellum Studios

What does being a husband and wife celebrant team add to your celebrancy?

Being in this together has been so beneficial to us both and also to our business and clients. We are always bouncing ideas around, like ‘how can this component of the ceremony be improved/ streamlined?’ We’re continually looking for new unique ways to improve the service we provide to our clients to ensure a smooth, stress-free enjoyable experience from the very first contact.

Do you perform ceremonies separately?

Yes. Jamie recently performed his first double wedding (e.g. 2 x couples marrying in turn) and while we could have each performed a ceremony, they decided to have him perform both ceremonies.

When we were newbie Celebrants we use to attend each other’s weddings to assist with music and equipment etc, which was a fantastic opportunity to provide each other with honest feedback and suggestions while we found our feet.

Image by Dreamlife Photography

Do you feel you both have different styles and ways of delivering a ceremony? Has your style changed over the years?

Our style has evolved and our public speaking confidence has improved significantly over the years as we’ve gained more experience presenting ceremonies, reflecting in genuine, authentic and heartfelt ceremonies.

We have a very similar style, modern, seamless, upbeat and professional. We’re also both really strong on alleviating any potential hiccups by being super thorough on the day from triple checking the pronunciation of names, to ensuring the signing chairs are clean and the groom is well equipped with tissues – just in case!

What makes a memorable wedding ceremony?

A wedding and vows that genuinely reflects the individual couple. Simply put, this just ‘feels’ right and guests really connect with that.

What about including pets in your ceremony? Have you seen some unique ways of doing this?

We love our pets, so when our couples talk about involving them in their ceremony we get so excited. We’ve had a best man pretend to lose the rings, then dash off around the corner and return with the couple’s dog, to the surprise of the bride. We’ve also seen lamas and horses with fresh floral lei’s!

Image by Tenille Fink Photographer

What are some questions bridal couples should ask when choosing their celebrant?

There are several important questions to ask to help you establish if this is the best Celebrant for you. One of the top questions would have to be:

Will I get to proof my ceremony wording before the wedding day, and if so when?

We believe it’s really important for couples to see and proof their ceremony before the special day for a number of reasons:

–       You know exactly what to expect on the day. You know how the ceremony flows, allowing you to relax and connect with each other. Knowing exactly what to expect will really help with reducing any pre-wedding nerves.

–       You have the opportunity to make any changes/edits you wish, so the ceremony really reflects you as a couple.

–       There will be no unwanted or awkward ‘surprises’ on the day.

–       You can confirm or edit any pre or post wedding announcements that you need the Celebrant to make (e.g. announcing that it’s an unplugged wedding or advising the guests where to gather before the reception commences).

–       Last but certainly not least you can be assured that the Celebrant hasn’t got you mixed up with another couple and gets both your love story and your names correct.

We suggest asking if your Celebrant will email a draft of your ceremony wording for your review and ask them when you can expect to receive this.

Try to avoid having your Celebrant send you through your ceremony to review too close to your wedding date.

On the weeks and days leading up to your wedding, couples are typically flat out, getting all the little details finalised. You will barely have time to really absorb what you have been provided, let alone have time to plan, write and include your own segments, such as sharing the story of how you met. So the earlier in to the planning phase you can work on and finalise your ceremony the better.

For more of Brisbane City Celebrants ‘Must Ask’ questions, view our previous Polka Dot Bride article here:

10 Questions To Ask When Choosing Your Wedding Celebrant

Image by Naomi V Photography

How can you tell from a celebrant’s website if they might be the right celebrant for you?

Do the photos of them in action on their websites reflect the kind of ceremony you have in mind? Do the couple look connected, are the guests engaged?

We highly recommend viewing video clips of Celebrants in action on their website, this is the best way to gauge if the tone in which they present the ceremony is suited to the atmosphere you have in mind for your special day.

Do you encourage couples to personalize their ceremony as much as possible? What sort of assistance are you able to give the couple in this regard?

We absolutely encourage personalized, genuine ceremonies. We meet with all our couples and discuss every aspect of the ceremony from which pre wedding announcements they would like to include, if they would like to acknowledge marriage equality in their ceremony, through to how they would like to be announced at the end of the ceremony.

Image by Pelizzari Photography + Film

How much contact do you have with the couple before the wedding?

We are always readily available to answer any questions our couples may have and we like to give our couples a call the day before their wedding to reconfirm all the finer details (ensuring times and locations haven’t changed) and answer any niggly little questions they may have.

Do you believe that rehearsals are a good idea, or do you find that spontaneity works the best on the wedding day?

We have increasingly found that many couples believe that a rehearsal takes away some of the magic of the day, so as an alternative we have created a rehearsal tutorial style video exclusively for our clients which talks them through every little detail of how they can expect the ceremony to flow on the day. This has been a huge hit with our clients!

How do calm the nervous bride and groom before the ceremony?

We believe there is a very fine line between nerves and excitement, so we focus on the positives and reassure them that they can relax and we will guide them through the ceremony.

What advice do you have for the bridal couple during their wedding day?

Trust in the professional suppliers you have carefully selected, enjoy being surrounded by everyone that is special to you, and get some time out together on your special day.

Image by Tenille Fink Photographer

We’d love some advice for the groomsmen and bridesmaids. What are the most important things for them to do for the bridal couple?

On the day be proactive when it comes to thinking of anything they may need before they actually realise they need it, to save them worrying/organizing things on the day. Offer to take any duties/ chores they have off them so they aren’t feeling busy or stressed with the small stuff.

How do you spread your knowledge of celebrancy to new celebrants? Do you believe that this is an important part of your job?

We believe everyone deserves an amazing wedding ceremony that is also legally valid whether they are our clients or not. So we created a public Facebook page called Celebrants Australia with a couple of fellow passionate and knowledgeable Celebrants assisting us as admins. This is a great place for communicating new information, any changes from BDM or the Attorney-General’s office and providing ‘refresher’ snacks of information to Celebrants to help increase knowledge and raise the bar of the profession.

What interests outside your careers do you like to involve yourselves in?

Outside of weddings we are passionate about our fur family, travel and renovations – and each other!

Living in Queensland, can you let us know some of the more unusual places to visit for a honeymoon in your State?

Palm Beach and Magnetic Island are amongst our top picks for less known about romantic honeymoon locations.

Thank you Cara and Jamie for sharing your story. You’ll know that you’re in the best hands with Brisbane City Celebrants – both Cara and Jamie are dedicated to providing the best possible wedding ceremony. To find out more about Brisbane City Celebrants visit the website.

Headshot image by Poppy Lane Photography.