• Weddings

    At-A-Glance Wedding Planner Checklist

    So you two are getting married? Why not do everything you can to make it a wedding to remember? Here are the items you will want to consider carefully while formulating your wedding plans:

    Secular or Non-secular?

    Decide whether you want a simple civil ceremony or a church-affiliated wedding.

    This should be a straightforward decision, but if you run into a snag on this point, don’t worry; you can work it out. It’ll just be the first of many compromises!

    If you want a church wedding, make an appointment to talk to the church representative that handles such things and go from there.

    Money

    Weddings cost money. It’s one of a handful of life-changing events, and an investment to make it everything you ever wanted it to be is appropriate.

    Talk it over. Come up with a dollar figure and start gathering estimates. Once you two have decided how much you want to spend, however, don’t go over that amount. This is the first big investment you’ll make, and you want it to be a pleasant one.

    Get Informed

    Make your list of “must-haves,” such as wedding gown, invitations, flowers, rings and reception. Then call for estimates on each of those items.

    If your estimates total less than your wedding budget, you can go on to items on your second-tier list, your “wanna-haves.” This list would include such items as a hairdresser, a photographer, a stag night, a hen party and professional music, both for the wedding ceremony and the reception.

    The Moment You’ve Waited For

    Did you forget the honeymoon? Not likely!

    You may look at the costs you’ve racked up on paper so far and despair, thinking you’ll only have money left over for a night at the bowling alley! If that’s the case, go back over all your lists and prune. Or give yourselves more time to save the money you’ll need to create your perfect experience. The honeymoon, after all, is the consummation of the marriage. Make it a time to remember forever.

    Bon voyage!

  • Weddings

    Most Important Things Your Wedding Photographer Must Offer

    You’re getting married, right? Congratulations! And, you want your wedding day to be as perfect and beautiful as you’ve always dreamed. But, if you choose the wrong photographer, your day may be a lot less than perfect and you may not be satisfied with the images your photographer captures. Bummer. So, how do you choose the right photographer?

    Here’s how. Make sure your wedding photographer offers you these five things. Then you can relax and feel confident the love, special moments and important details of your wedding day will be captured in beautiful images for a lifetime of memories.

    1. Do you like the photographer’s work?
    Look at a fairly good selection of the photographers wedding images, not just a few photos on a web site. It’s best if you can see at least an album or two and a proof book of a complete wedding. The albums probably represent the best of the photographer’s work, and the proof book shows all the typical images he or she captures during a wedding day. How do the images look to you? Are they pleasing to look at? Does the lighting and the color look good to you? Is the photographer’s style what you are looking for? Most of our bridal couples are looking for a mix of photojournalistic images and classic posed traditional ones. Make sure your photographer is capable of, and comfortable with, taking the style of images you want for your wedding. If you don’t like the photographer’s work, there is no need to consider them further. Also, make sure the work you see was done by the photographer who will photograph your wedding. Some studios will show you a lot of good work from various photographers, but will not guarantee you will get the photographer whose work you like the best. Sometimes, a husband and wife team like ours is the best way to be sure the photographer’s work you see is the work you will get.

    2. Do you like the photographer’s personality and mannerisms?
    Is the photographer confident, easy going and not a nervous ninny? Does the photographer have a good sense of humor? Remember, the photographer will be present through most of your wedding day, interacting with you, your wedding party, your family, and your guests. A demanding, inflexible, and uptight photographer can make your day unpleasant. I know you don’t want that! Make sure you and your spouse-to-be get along well with the photographer you choose. If the photographer is going to have a second photographer help at your wedding, meet the assistant photographer and make sure you feel comfortable with them also. To get to know your photographer before you choose them, it is really important you meet with them personally. If it is physically impossible to meet with the photographer, you should make sure some of their testimonials from previous clients make you feel comfortable with the photographer’s personality.

    3. Does the photographer have a strong sense of commitment to photographing your wedding and a professional work ethic?
    Does the photographer use professional cameras, lenses and flash systems? Does he or she have at least some lenses that will produce good images in low light situations (f2.8 aperture)? Does the photographer use a soft box over the flash and keep the flash above the lens on both horizontal and vertical photos to minimize shadows in their images? Does he or she always bring a complete set of backup equipment, or bring a second photographer with another set of equipment, to every wedding? How will the photographer and their assistant be dressed on your wedding day? Ask them. Hopefully, they will professional enough to arrive dressed in a tux, suit, or dressy dress. Although, if your photographer is a man and he says he’s coming in a dressy dress, you might worry a little about that :-). You should get the feeling that your photographer is dedicated to making sure your wedding day is wonderful, and that all of the love, emotions and important details will be captured in images you will be able to enjoy for the rest of your life.

    4. Does your photographer have the experience to anticipate all the good things that will happen on your wedding day, and the experience to deal with the bad things that could happen also?
    An experienced photographer will have photographed enough weddings to anticipate and capture special moments during your day, and the important details that may easily be missed by a “newbie”. An experienced photographer also knows that things do go wrong sometimes and will be able to anticipate and deal with them, often without you even knowing that something went wrong. That’s why a complete set of backup equipment is necessary. My little kit of duct tape, extra cables, pen knife with scissors, and band-aids has been a life saver several times.

    5. Does your photographer offer you the right value? Not the right price, but, the right value?

    If your photographer doesn’t have all of the above four characteristics, it may not matter what their prices are. If the Toronto wedding photographer has all four, that’s a big part of the value they offer you. In this case, the price should be less important. Just make sure your photographer will provide what is really important to you and is upfront with you about costs for everything you want. Someone who offers a “low” price up front may sound attractive. But, things change when you find they charge extra for every location stop, for the digital image files, for a studio set up at the reception, and so on. A photographer who charges twice as much, but includes almost everything, can often be a better value for you.

    So, there you have it. Choose your wedding photographer based on the above five factors and you will go a long way toward having the wedding of your dreams. Good luck and congratulations again.

  • Engagements

    What Women Really Experience Before the Wedding: Engagement

    The flowers, the dress, the caterer, the guest list. Our focus during engagement is obvious – the ever so important details in planning the perfect wedding. Yet if we can manage to tear ourselves away from the 5th revision of the seating chart for just a moment, we realize that engagement is one of the most significant psychological transitions in our lives, packed with an assortment of tangled emotions and conflicting feelings. Inside the newly engaged woman often lie fear, anxiety, sadness and loss. It is these important internal details, so largely ignored by conventional wedding guides and planners, that an engaged woman must face and confront if she ever hopes to arrive at the altar fully prepared to enter into a healthy marriage.

    Feelings of loss?
    There is no other time in your life when you are truly giving up one identity for another. The transition is more complex than simply taking a new last name, a literal change of identity and a decision that brings with it its own set of questions and anxieties. You are also giving up your symbolic identity as a single woman, even a child. Women often worry, “I’m losing my youth,” or, “I won’t be able to relate to my single girlfriends.” A stage in your life, the only stage you have ever experienced, is ending, and many women experience feelings of loss as a chapter closes on their lives.

    What if…
    As one chapter closes, another begins. A chapter of commitment and togetherness. This new stage brings forth feelings of joy and excitement, but fear and uncertainty are also involved. You are entering into a partnership with another human being, causing your future’s happiness to rely so heavily on the actions of another. Needless to say, this realization can expose feelings of fear. What if our marriage doesn’t last? What if he cheats on me? What if I cheat on him? What if the passion fades and we grow apart? What if something terrible happens to him? These questions can penetrate the veneer of even the most outwardly joyous bride.

    Am I making a mistake?
    Popular culture and society seems to conveniently ignore these questions and uncertainties. As engaged women, we hear a barrage of “congratulations!” and “what will your dress look like?” when we announce the big news. Even those closest to us neglect to recognize the importance of more internally probing questions and advice during our engagement. As a result, many women begin to question their readiness for marriage. Any feeling less than euphoric is deemed as indication of making a mistake, as we have been conditioned to believe that anxiety and confusion are a reflection of “not being ready” or choosing the wrong partner. Thus, instead of accepting and discussing these feelings, we distract ourselves with the wedding planning and ignore our internal emotions.

    Harness and Accept your feelings!
    In reality, these thoughts could not be more normal. In every other major life transition, simultaneous feelings of loss and gain are not only expected, but encouraged. When you graduated high school, when you graduated college, when you moved away from your hometown, when you left your first job for a better opportunity, those around you understood and sympathized with your conflicting emotions. But did those feelings of sadness and loss hinder you from taking that next step and succeeding with flying colors? Of course not. You allowed yourself to address and analyze your thoughts, and then you proceeded with the change. This is exactly what you need to do during your engagement as you prepare for your journey to the altar and marriage. Realize that feelings of sadness and anxiety are normal, allow yourself to feel these feelings, and discuss and analyze them with those around you. Don’t allow your friends and family to focus on the wedding planning process to the exclusion of your internal struggles.

    The engagement stage involves more than simply planning a big party. It involves introspection and emotional analysis. It involves open communication with your fiancé, family and friends. It involves acceptance of fear and sadness. Once a bride realizes the complexity of this transition, she can address her emotions and move forward in planning for both a fabulous party and a successful next chapter in her life.

    For a complete guide to keeping your sanity while creating an elegant and memorable wedding celebration, visit engagement photographer Toronto, your ultimate wedding planning resource.