Registering for Happily Ever After

Yesterday I declared it a day to do nothing. Forget the to do list! For me, a do nothing day apparently involves cooking, watching tv, not wearing a bra or make up, not leaving the apartment, and setting up our wedding registry. Oh, and drinking an entire bottle of wine. (That part was an accident.)

You guys? I have found some wedding-related happy: the beauty that is a wedding registry. It combines two things I love: shopping and other people buying me stuff. And by me of course I mean us. Mr. Darcy totally wants that Kitchenaid mixer (if it means I’m going to make him delicious treats, it sure does). But really, it was fun for us to shop on-line and then just click ADD TO REGISTRY.

Things have lightened up here considerably since we booked our wedding venue which means we now have a date (Oct. 21, 2012 for those wondering) and can move forward with booking our caterer and photographer. HOORAY! We’ve got inquiries into both and hope to finalize them in the next couple weeks. Picking out a photographer is challenging. There are so many and you spend so much time with them on your important day so you want to like them. It’s like on line dating a bit. Everyone says- don’t scrimp on hiring photographers and we won’t but ohmygoodness it’s expensive.

I’m taking any downtime I can get because I’m 3 weeks out from my biggest fundraiser of the year. That means long hours, stress dreams, and putting all else on the back burner until it goes off without a hitch on March 20th. Things that keep me sane during this hecticness? Getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, going to dance class, laughing with Mr. Darcy, connecting with friends, and deep breaths.


18 thoughts on “Registering for Happily Ever After

  1. Hi Sizzle! I have a different perspective on wedding photographers based on my own wedding experience last year. We had commissioned one of our friends to photograph our big day (she is amazing) as well as having a few formal shots done as part of the package we got from our wedding planner. The day before we were scheduled to leave for the wedding (we got married on Catalina Island), our friend broke her foot and was unable to travel, not to mention unable to photograph a wedding while hobbling around on crutches. To say I was devastated would be an understatement… Photos were SO high on my priority list. PANIC MODE. We were able to arrange for another photographer to make it to our reception, but she couldn’t attend the ceremony due to the timing (and the boat schedule to the island… omg!). Anyway, long story short, the most wonderful photos we have of our day came from a few friends and family members who were right in the middle of everything with us. Having this collection of candid shots is absolutely incredible because we get to relive our day from so many perspectives. We were able to make a gorgeous album with their images (everyone seems to have fancy cameras these days, so high-quality shots were easy to come by). Our formal and professional photos are great, but it’s the other shots we value the most. So I agree photographers are such an important element in your planning, but even more important is having a system in place to collect the hundreds of images your friends and family will capture that day šŸ™‚

  2. As a wedding photographer myself (as a secondary business – I got into it because friends here couldn’t afford the local $5,000 on average, and then it’s just stuck), I agree that it’s like dating a little bit. The professional pictures, you want to learn their style and know whether or not you like it. Don’t let the photographer convince you that they’ll change their style to fit your vision. It doesn’t work that way.

    Make sure that if you like B&W or color dropouts, special effects, etc, you know where they price it. Some include them, some charge you your first born. Also find out what happens with the rest of the pictures. Most photographers will hold the pictures sort of “hostage” in hopes of future orders. I’ve been married over 16 years, and our photographer just got in touch recently and said that since he’s retiring I can buy the negatives for $1500. Yeah, bite me. So, make sure you know about whether or not after all is said and done you get custody of the pictures or not, or when (i.e. my clients get full sized pictures on DVD 6 months after. They can print to their heart’s content. But I do not give them out to anyone else. Some photographers will give out discs to the whole family, some won’t give any out at all.)

    Make sure that YOU know what you want, and that the photographer understands that. Get it in writing, the contract is essential. Also, make sure the photographer is 100% insured. For example, my insurance even includes omissions and failures – meaning say something goes horribly wrong? The insurance will even pay to re-stage the wedding. Your venue is going to require insurance, but you’re going to have to ask if they’re insured for ALL the details, not just knocking grandma in the head by accident.

    Don’t judge by price either, some are going to charge a ton and aren’t worth it (some are though, too), some charge little by comparison and are amazing. You can also ask for past client references, and they’re a good idea to talk to. Make sure that the actual photographer will be the one shooting the wedding, and ask who their back-up photographer is and look at their work too.

    Lastly, what Jenn said? Absolutely right. Make sure that people bring their cameras (and turn off that dang date stamp!) Ask them to set their quality to high, and give out little business cards (cheap) at the reception with the “thank you” parting gift where they can upload or send the pictures to you. I always encourage that, because even though I take on average 2500-5000 pictures during a wedding and reception, that doesn’t mean that I can be everywhere at once.

    That’s probably stuff you already know, but it’s a lot to deal with when you are trying to plan your wedding! Sorry if I bored you to death!

  3. As someone who has photographed weddings, and has been to many weddings, one thing you might want to ask potential photographers is if they use an assistant, or have a co-photographer. If you plan to have a larger wedding it’s good to have more than one pro with a camera, because there is a lot of action, especially at the reception. Also it is fun to have the ceremony shot from different angles. If you can get a photographer behind the officiant, with a view of the bride and groom’s faces and the all the people behind, capturing your expressions as the vows are made, that is better than the “shots down the aisle” of your backside!

    Have fun!

  4. Yay for the wedding plans going well so far for you! I just did the whole registry thing last weekend in-store = sore feet. Crate&Barrel had really nice /expensive couches that my fiancee wouldn’t let me add to the registry. šŸ˜¦

  5. wow, all this photog info is FASCINATING! i’m not planning a wedding but i’m still filing it all away just because it’s good info šŸ™‚

  6. The best wedding photographer experience I’ve seen is a husband and wife team (they are in Spokane and will travel, if you’re interested), because it seemed like they could each concentrate on the important stuff that way. It wasn’t an assistant always needing direction from the main photog, they were both the main photog. And since you spend so much time apart before the ceremony, it was nice that they were there to capture the separate bride and groom parts, in my opinion, as well as different angles of the ceremony (b&g shots as well as attendants).
    And, by all means, get a contract that allows for disaster plans, as in photographer got food poisoning the night before the wedding and had no one to send as back-up. Bummer.

  7. I already sent you a list of questions I used to filter through the photographers I deemed worthy of talking to. One other piece of advice, if you really place a high importance on photos: set a budget and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, be willing to up it by 10-20%. We had a very aggressive photography budget, but after weeks of searching (and interviewing!) was not finding what we were looking for. We upped our budget (knowing we’d have to scrimp more in other areas) and were able to match our needs with a photographer. It was the best money decision I made while planning our wedding!! But, of course, for now, just breathe. =)

  8. I have to say – Jenn up top is on to something. Even if you have a great photographer, you may find that the candid shots your friends take are almost just as neat. I’ve had a mix of emotions about how our pictures turned out, but the bottom line is that we have enough to fill a book with lovely memories of the day. I’m sure no matter who you end up with, you’ll get some priceless pics.

    I totally agree about the registering – it is SO much fun. Was totally a highlight for us. I’ll never forget Mr. W acting like he could care less, then going totally nuts with the little scanner gun. Prepare yourself though – when all that stuff starts rolling in, you’re going to have to reorganize your kitchen like five times! šŸ˜‰

  9. I have no comments on photography…we spent a lot for our tiny budget, and that wasn’t a lot. I have no regrets, and we have some lovely pictures.
    As for your registry…SQUEE!! I loved reoutfitting my house, and getting towels that weren’t hand me downs. I even got the $40 can opener that I didn’t think anyone would buy us. I ended up boxing up many of my kitchen hand me downs and donating them almost immediately after our wedding to make space.

  10. yay for the registry, that part was so fun for us. i mean seriously i wish i registered for more ridiculous things, because it’s fun to register for things you wouldn’t buy yourself but other people totally can, haha.

    also, good luck with the photog. it really isnt’ a cheap process but definitely do your research and you can find someone that’s worth it. i also recommend only getting an album for yourself and not for families. if you get all your images on a disc you can make your own and save yourself a lot of money that way, i did that and thank goodness! they turned out great for our parents and saved us about $300!

  11. Glad you are having fun shopping and have the venue down so you will not be as overwhelmed with the fundraiser! I did some posts last month about things that were important to me, and about half of your “keeping sane” list is on it (dancing, eating healthy, time with friends).

  12. Hooray 10/21!!!!!!! I’m glad you’re taking a little bit of a breather on wedding stuff for the next few weeks. With the photog – I’d love to know who you’re considering. There are so many great ones, but you’re right – so spendy. If you want to brainstorm, I’d love to be a sounding board. Though, it sounds like you’ve got it all under control.

  13. I didn’t register for anything. My mom said it was something only “rich” people did. That’s changed, of course, with every company from Home Depot to Wal-Mart to Macy’s setting up registries. As a consequence, I got three electric can openers to join the one Esso and I bought ourselves when he was still bach-ing it, and two food processors–the exact same make and model. Sigh. I wish I had registered.

    Oh, and Oct. 21? Great date! Ours is Oct. 23. (It’ll be 19 years this year) Congrats again!

  14. Yay!! A date!! Yay!! Sorry I’m late on the commenting but work has been RIDONK. Doesn’t it feel awesome to have a date?? It’s one of the big reliefs. Registering your gifts IS SO MUCH FUN! I actually took Alice with me, not Matt. She was WAY better at providing advice than Matt would have been. (Shhhh, don’t tell him I said that.)

  15. It’s been a few weeks since I last read your blog and OHMYGOODNESS! CONGRATULATIONS! I hope your wedding turns out to be everything you (and Mr. Darcy) want it to be and yes, do not scrimp on the photographer. It really is about the one tangible thing you will be left with (other than your spouse, of course!) and you don’t want to look at them and have regrets about who you hired. I wish you and Mr. Darcy a lifetime of happiness.

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