Friday, February 10, 2012

The apple falls...

Early last summer we went to a local orchard to inspect it as a possible wedding venue. They had just remodeled the inside of this huge barn and it was honestly gorgeous - totally the sort of place I would want to have our wedding.

But then we met the wedding planner. 

The event organizer, the wedding representative, the person with the keys to the rooms you want to get in. Whatever the title, this person is the gatekeeper for your wedding venue, and they can make or break your experience. 

We were there a few minutes early, and she was busy with another couple - which is entirely understandable. It's a Saturday in the summer, of course you're busy. So, at her instruction, we had a look around. We looked, and looked. And 15 minutes later, when our appointment time had come and gone, we had a seat and just waited for her to finish. (And honestly, it's a barn. There's not too much to look at. Oh my, look at that wooden wall - simply stunning.)

When she finally finished with the other couple, she came over and greeted my fiancée with a warm hug, "Oh GOODNESS! Congratulations! Thanks so much for coming!" and then turned to me with a sour smile and muttered "Hi." in the manner you would greet someone who used to give you wedgies when you were in elementary school together, but it's years later and you can't be bothered to confront them about it, and you don't want to be impolite.

But, if my memory serves me, I had never given her a wedgie previously. BUT I SURE AS HELL WANTED TO NOW! She continued to gush at my fiancée and ignore me, to the point where my fiancée became uncomfortable and was shooting me nervous glances and trying to deflect questions to me, to show that she wanted me involved in the conversation. 

We left shortly after, and the wedding planner went to crawl back under her bridge. To this day, I don't know why some wedding vendors treat grooms as if they're puppy-kickers. If you're not willing to be polite to someone who wants to give you money, then perhaps you should rethink your choice of career in customer service.

And really, I love puppies.

We just made the last payment for our wedding venue. It's way better than this place was, an order of magnitude cheaper, and the wedding coordinators are at least unoffensive. Keep looking. You'll find the place that fits you.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bed, Bath, and Bitterness

Even after I filled out all of my information on their stupid clipboard - not because I wanted to, mind you, but because I have some sort of aversion to saying no to these people - and the woman called me to verify she had the right email address. My email address, I should add. 


I didn't want to register for your high-thread-count sheets and Margaritaville blenders anyway! 

Sorry. I had to get that out of my system.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Offbeat Grooms

There's a great guest post on Offbeat Bride today: Grooms and the Wedding Industrial Complex
Here's an excerpt:
...the "Wedding Specialist" introduced herself to me and shook my hand. She then turned around and started walking us back to the conference room without even acknowledging Alex. During the consultation, she addressed all the questions to me, without asking Alex his opinion on anything. 
That's been my experience in most things. At one venue, my fiancée even thanked the event coordinator afterwards for acknowledging me, since she had been the first to actually do so.

I'll leave you with a bit of advice. Don't shoot your fiancée in the eye with a Nerf gun.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What if I don't have a good side to photograph?

There are few areas of wedding planning that I have any authority to talk about, which is odd seeing that I started a blog to do just that. Most of the time, I'm spouting off whatever random gibberish shakes out of my head, but I can at least pretend to know a few things about photography.

It's easy to pick out a good photographer if you know what you're looking for. You don't need Ansel Adams to photograph your wedding (and it's a good thing, because he's dead - and he mostly shot landscapes) but you still want someone who will make you look good on film. Or in pixels. Or whatever you kids are making photos out of these days. Fucking holograms, I don't know.

Rather than bore you with technical details (which I can do, just ask my fiancée) I'll give you a few things that burn my cupcakes when I look at wedding photography. Put these on a wedding bingo card and go to a bridal show. See who wins.

(I'm using photos that I have taken at weddings. Or of my cats. Or of my cats at weddings.)

Black & White Photos with Color Accents

Sorry Valerie.
You'll see this one a lot. 90% of the time it will be the flowers. Or something else that's red. It's not the mark of a bad photographer, but it's overdone to the point of nausea. It can be done tastefully, but just because something worked stylistically in Schindler's List, doesn't mean it will work for your wedding. Actually, that's pretty good advice for the rest of your wedding too.

Bad White Balancing

This one actually does make you a bad photographer. Or at least a bad editor. White balance can make you look like a zombie if done badly. Or people might wonder if your entire wedding party had jaundice on the day of the wedding. Different lights have different temperatures. Photographers need to adjust for those. Bottom line, if you see a wedding album where everything is a little too yellow, just keep walking. You can see the subtle differences in the cat pictures below.

This is one of my cats. His name is Voltron.

Overly Vintaged Photos

Also known as too much Photoshop. Or the Instagram addiction. Or... submit another clever name in the comments if you think of it. This is another style thing. A little goes a long way. 

You may want your wedding to look like it's being shot on film - but in that case, you should just find a photographer who still shoots on film. Or uses film as an adjunct. A wedding that I went to earlier this year had a second photographer who shot on a Holga for part of the time, and it pumped out some great shots!


A flash is an essential part of a modern wedding photographers kit, but it's also the most dangerous. Dark reception halls and big, white dresses can make for a BAD TIME.  You probably won't have a horrible shot like the one on the top-right, but you should look out for subjects that are a lot brighter than the backgrounds, with shadows directly behind people and objects. Also look out for shiny skin or fabric that looks unnatural. If they don't bounce the flash or diffuse it, you'll get some weird results like this.

In the end, you're going to want a photographer that doesn't suck, fits your style, and doesn't require you to mortgage your kidneys to pay for their photos. I personally look for photographers who have people who look like REAL PEOPLE in their display books. I'm a fat guy, so I look for photographers who can make fat guys look good. You might be ugly. Look for a photographer who can make the inner beauty show in an uggo.

Don't want a photographer? Don't get one! Buy a bunch of disposable cameras and put them on the tables. Get a photobooth. Have all your aunts and second cousins mail you their photos or upload them to a photo sharing site. There's no rule that says you need to have professional photos at your wedding - but if you want them, I hope this helps you out. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.