I figured this post would be where I (finally) share my wedding photos and also answer a couple of questions we’ve gotten via instagram or just in our day-to-day life. So grab your popcorn and seltzer water. I’m going in.
Here are the only other things I’ll write about our day because honestly I’m talking too much about myself and I’m no good at it. Our day was perfect for us. We fought really hard to have the day we wanted. We compromised when we could, but we weren’t going to go into this for anyone but ourselves. Did I want to elope? Yes. If I had the chance again would I do this all over? Nope. I would still elope. I loved our day and it was fun but it was financially, physically, and emotionally draining. I’d say spending time with our friends and family in such a capacity was amazing once I was done being overwhelmed.
We prioritized our guest list and kept it to 110. All of our vendors had to be LGBTQ+ friendly because I am a pansexual woman and I could have married a woman and I needed these vendors to be ok with that. I needed them to support that. There was no bouquet toss, garter toss, money dance, etc. This day was for me about partying and being as close to not center of attention as I could be as the bride.
All our vendors were already in my mind and we hired pretty much everyone that was our first thought. We found out a few of the vendors I had my eye on weren’t inclusive, and that hurt, but we moved on.
Put your pricing on your damn website, by the way. I hate “ghosting” vendors or explaining my budget to people, so if you didn’t have your prices visible, I moved on as well. I may not have been your ideal client, but I thought I’d put that out there.
Q: How do you pay for a wedding yourself?
A: Ideally, you wait longer than we did. Give yourself time to budget, plan, and pay for what you want. We both have grandparents that aren’t in great health. I wanted to elope, Ean wanted his family there, so we just did the damn thing. We were engaged in November and married August 16th. We use Simple bank and we made “goals” of our expenses and every time we were paid our money was divvied up in those expenses. We made a goal we could realistically hit in 9 months and stuck to that. The dress debacle you’ll see below means that I had to pull out a credit card, but everything else was paid for up front. Thankfully, I also worked two jobs during this time. My photography business plus medical IT. Any extra money was set aside for the wedding. We also got some last minute help that was amazing, but I’d still say we paid for 80% of the wedding out of our own pockets. Which was important to us and made me feel proud.
Q: How did you propose trades with your vendors?
A: Two of them more or less approached me. However, I would only really do this with vendors I already have a working relationship with. That way they know that I’m not just looking to not pay and it doesn’t come out of nowhere. My make-up artist has expressed interest in a boudoir session before so I e-mailed her something like “I was wondering if you would be interested in a trade of a boudoir session for make-up services?” Then I proposed the monetary value (which honestly I just told her what it would include) and I made sure to tell her if she did not want to trade, I would pay for her services. I wanted Madee regardless. She was a priority and if she wasn’t interested in a trade I would have figured out how to make it fit in the budget. So be okay with that. As I already stated.
Q: How has being a bride impacted you as a wedding photographer?
A: If nothing else, it’s made me super aware of my interactions with clients. Wedding planning was fun as hell, but it was also stressful as hell.So if a vendor wasn’t communicating, wasn’t vibing right, and wasn’t making me feel good about our interactions, I didn’t book them. It has reminded me to be really intentional with the information I send back and to ask my clients how they want to communicate before bombarding them with texts/e-mails/phone calls. I inquired with someone who wouldn’t stop calling me and e-mailing me. Like 1-2x a day until I finally asked them to stop. I would never want to be that person. I was going to hire them, but then that super turned me off and I asked them to stop contacting me. This felt rude and I never do things like that, but there was a limit to how much I could take.
Q: How did you determine what was something you just wanted or something your guests needed?
A: I hope I interpreted this question correctly. Essentially, working weddings has made me see a lot behind the scenes. People don’t love cocktail hours and get bored. So we utilized ours for a room flip and had all photos done early. We didn’t spend money on wedding favors because I have forgotten to take one home from every wedding I’ve attended and when I photograph them I see them all over the place. Our flowers were beautiful and expensive and I didn’t want to throw them and I don’t love attention so doing things like introducing us felt like too much. Our guestbook was a piece of wood we got from Etsy for like $60 that everyone could just write on with permanent marker that way we could hang it up in our homes. We only had boutonnieres for my brother and my husband because they get ruined and wilty in the heat. The food didn’t need to be a plated meal because it was family style tables and we had whatever dessert we wanted because I don’t like cake. We did things the way we wanted to and that’s what mattered most.