Wedding DJ

Seven Essentials For On-Point Wedding Photos - A FAB Guest Post From a Photographer Who's Seen it All

This article isn’t about how to look natural when staring into your fiancé’s eyes or which poses are best for eliminating double chins (it’s one I affectionately call “chicken-head”). If you hired a professional photographer with a mind-blowing portfolio, they should take care of all that and make you look your best on your big day. It’s what we do. 

What I’m talking about below are the other things… the non-photo-related factors that can so greatly determine the awesomeness of your wedding images. These are the top seven things that you might not even realize can make or break your photos. 

1) Make sure you get good vibes from your vendors. 
In short, don’t choose your wedding vendors based on price alone. Now, I know cost is not a thing we can avoid. I want furniture from Pottery Barn, but I generally end up at Target. We all wish we could hire whoever we want, regardless of price. A vendor might have a "special deal only for you if you sign on the dotted line right this moment" but consider how much time these vendors will be spending with you, how credible they are and how much trust you are putting in them. I’ve seen DJs not show up, hair and makeup go hours late, florists bring the wrong color bouquets, videographers block the ceremony view from the guests, and I’m not discounting the great number of horror stories from my own profession as well.

All of those factors lead to a lousy, frustrating wedding day, aka less-than-happy looking photographs. Determine your budget for each portion of your wedding day and then look at several vendors in that range. Take the time to meet with them and see if you mesh. If you find the golden vendor that is unbelievably affordable, it could totally be the real deal. Just make sure you do your research and listen to your intuition.

2) Consider hiring a day-of coordinator
In this DIY world of wonder, it's easy to feel like everything can be done ourselves. You're the bride - the last thing you want is to be checking your timeline and coordinating deliveries on your own wedding day. In the absence of a coordinator, too often the photographer gets tasked with keeping everything on track during a wedding day, and I'm pretty sure you'd rather have us doing what you hired us for – capturing gorgeous imagery. Make it easy on yourself and hire a day-of coordinator to keep everything going swimmingly. Even better: hire a wedding planner, which includes day-of coordination. 

3) Have an unplugged wedding.
Picture this: Great Aunt Sally. iPad with hot pink case. Center aisle as you’re walking towards your groom… Photoshop can only magic so much. Virtually every wedding we shoot these days has rows of brightly colored phone cases lining the edges of the aisle. Have your officiant make a quick announcement before the ceremony asking everyone to abstain from photos during that part of the day. Not only will you have infinitely better photos, but your guests will get to experience the ceremony fully and without distractions. 

4) Consider your wedding location and the time of year (aka, weather).
In my hometown of Las Vegas, summers are hot… like hairdryer on high, in-your-face hot. If you get married outdoors in hot weather, it’s likely you’ll be outside for hours during portraits – which means you might be sweating off your makeup and your groom might be sweating through his jacket. This doesn't mean you have to change your dream location or forget that perfect summer date you've always wanted, just make sure you’ve prepared. Choose your dress and tux carefully to make sure you won’t overheat, plan a break to cool off in between portraits and the ceremony, have fans, cold water, seek out shade and ask your photographer to have an alternate indoor location picked out. 

5) Make sure your hair and makeup artists have wedding experience. 
We all have undeniably amazing, talented friends who are makeup enthusiasts and salon stylists, but it’s vitally important (for the sake of your photographs and for your own vanity) to hire stylists with wedding experience. Two words are sacred to those who have worked with brides: waterproof and windproof. Wedding days have unpredictable weather conditions and emotional outpourings are no stranger to a bride and her entourage. No one wants tear streaks through their makeup or hair flying in all directions in their images.

6) Avoid getting too tipsy while getting ready for the wedding OR the night before the wedding. 
Listen, I love a double-mimosa just as much as the next girl, but you want to "feel all the feels" during the first look and ceremony. Getting too tipsy means you'll be a bit numb through it all. And even worse, you might feel hungover and headachey throughout your own wedding day. All of that totally reflects in your wedding photos and the emotions we are trying to capture throughout the day. Wait till after you say "I do" to throw back a few shots of Fireball… and let us document the shenanigans that ensue.

7) Hire a professional event DJ.
Using your iPod playlist or asking a friend who has speakers to play DJ creates all sorts of unnecessary stress for you on your wedding day, but you might not realize how difficult it also makes it for your photographer. In order to photograph things smoothly and get great shots of your guests going crazy on the floor, we need a DJ who… a) knows the flow of weddings, b) is an experienced emcee and c) knows how to motivate people to bust a move. I can tell you first hand: I’ve been pleasantly surprised with a premature grand entrance while setting my gear down in the other room, and I’ve sadly seen weddings clear out right after dinner because the music did not get guests dancing.

Pics + Post by the FABULOUS Kristen Hansen, Owner + Photographer, KMH Photography

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ The BEST Advice from the BEST Wedding Vendors in Boston!

Bridey, today's post is like hitting the jackpot of wedding planning. SERIOUSLY. If you are recently engaged or are in the midst of planning your wedding, stop what you're doing, and focus because you are about to be educated by the BEST in the wedding biz! I asked some of my absolute FAVORITE vendors in the Boston area to share the best piece of advice about planning a wedding, and these peeps? Well, they completely spilled the beans. I mean... There is so much wedding planning goodness in this post, that I could fucking chew it!!!

I rarely say cheesy shit like this, but this is a must read!! So, are you ready to learn? Ready to say, "Thank you, Bitchless Bride!!" Good! You're welcome! 

Wedding Planners:

When you are newly engaged, you tend to become inundated with information overload and it can be daunting to say the least.  My advice to newly-engaged couples is to forgo the route of hiring all of your vendors until you’ve secured the right, professional, experienced wedding planner. Some couples feel it’s best to hire a “day of” coordinator and do the rest themselves, only to learn how much money could have been easily saved by avoiding costly mistakes and uneducated decisions along the way. The right planner should be your guide, your educator, your confidant, your representative along the way and you need to put your trust into this person as they do this every day and truly look out for your best interests from the start. 

Paula Marrero ~ Marrero Events 

My advice to new brides: Don't panic, it's all overwhelming at first but it's important to book the top 3 first-top priorities (if you're not working with a planner) are to find your venue, photographer and band--then breathe!  I also advise brides to wait to design the space until about 6 months before the wedding... You'll be able to have a couple months thinking about ideas, pinning on Pinterest , etc... I find that so many of my clients go in with one idea and once they've relaxed and see what is out there or trending in their wedding year they change their idea of what their wedding looks like--so ultimately they get what they want instead of what they thought they wanted--big difference! 

Amy Kimball ~ Amy Kimball Events 

Invitations:

Invitations are the introduction of your wedding to your friends and family; they set the tone for the event. You can’t just get a quote as there are a lot of factors to consider such as quantity, quality, type of inserts, type of print, etc. There is a lot more involved then most people realize. So, plan accordingly.

Mara Weiner ~ Allure Invitations

Cake:

Be your own "bride" ...don't worry about what family, in-laws, friends & co-workers want for YOUR WEDDING. Follow what YOU have wanted & dreamed about. 

Paula Kirrane ~ Icing on the Cake

Entertainment:

Once your venue is booked, the next step is to lock in your entertainment. In order to get the best DJ or band out there, you have to book well in advance. Remember, first and foremost? Your guests are going to remember if they had a good  time. That’s why good entertainment is vital.

Always ask your entertainment vendor about their other recommended services. This is how you get the best deals without making a laundry list of phone calls. They may already have what you need and could save you time and money without sacrificing quality.

Mike Amado ~ Entertainment Specialists

Photographers:

Lately couples are asking me if they should do the "first look". My answer is always YES! The first reveal is always so sweet. The moment is far more emotion and allows for a more intimate/private moment with just the couple. 

Some brides envision this grand moment when they are walking down the aisle, and the groom is sobbing… However, in reality, in a traditional formal setting with 200 people looking at you… The groom often looks like a deer in head lights. Not at all the magical moment you think it will be! So yes, do a first look! 

Lauren Killian ~ Person + Killian Photography

Don’t do a winter e-session! People look freezing, and are super uncomfortable. Nothing like having dirty snow and branches coming out of everyone's heads! Wait until the spring when the temperatures are higher, and the trees start to bloom. I highly suggest April-November.

~ Anonymous Photographer

Cinematography:

1. Make sure that your photographer and videographer work well as a team. Even better, choose a team where your photographer and videographer have worked together and enjoy the experience.

2. Ask your prospective wedding film maker how they operate during the wedding day. Will they have lights on their cameras? Will they be on the dance floor circling the couple during the first dance? Will they stand behind the officiant during the ceremony - Or will they stake out spots based on experience and fade into the decor?

3. Ask your toasters to limit toasts to under 5 minutes. 3 is even better. There’s not much they can say (that won’t be dumb or embarrassing) after a couple of minutes.

4. Invite your guests to leave their phones and cameras in their pockets or purses. You’re paying for pros to document your wedding - don’t let the amateurs get in the way!

5. When considering wedding cinematography, check out the sound  as well as the images of potential pros. Capturing pristine sound of your grandfather’s blessing and knowing how to integrate it with music and image, is a complex art form. Don’t settle for pretty pictures if you already have a photographer you love. When it comes to film making, sound is 60% or more.

6. If you desperately want a top notch film maker to capture your wedding, and have a limited budget, consider one of the following:

a. Grab pics from the HD / 24 Frames per second of the video capture and forego the photographer.

b. Hire the film maker you want and see if you can work out a payment plan that works for you.

c. Opt for the best film maker you can afford, ask them to produce a short highlights now, and wait until you’ve financially recovered to have them edit the feature film.

Naomi Raiselle ~ Generations Cinemastories 

Florist:

The Best way to trim your budget is to trim you guest list (it literally makes every line item more affordable - period, the end)! (AMEN!!!!!!)

If you "absolutely love and have to have peonies" - know that you absolutely MUST select a wedding date in May or early-June!

Bring as few people to each and every appointment that you book ... the less opinions, the less stressed out you will be!

~ Anonymous Florist

And there you have it... You're welcome, bridey!!! Now, all you have to do is listen to the professionals trying to help you.

Image via The Perfect Job

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Why it's Important to Hire a Wedding Planner

You know how I perpetually say that wedding planning always comes together in the end? Well, I lied. Wedding planning always comes together in the end if you have a fucking fabulous wedding planner like me, but if you don't, then you might be in some trouble. So, for all of you "newbies" or newly engaged brides, sit down and listen to me. Actually, why don't all of you, brideys, have a seat. Because after this past weekend, I clearly have some more educating to do.

It's no secret that I am a big fan of hiring a wedding planner to orchestrate your wedding plans. Be it a wedding planner who will help secure all of the details from start to finish or a "day of" wedding planner who jumps in a few weeks to a month prior to the big day, or a something in-between the two, but allow me to say it again. BRIDEY, HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER! Just do it. You know why? Because I single-handedly saved a wedding this past weekend. I did. Go me.

Okay... So I am being a touch melodramatic, but here's what happened. I was working with a truly amazing couple. Really, I swear, I'm not writing this with an ounce of sarcasm! Anyway, they were so amazing that several guests wanted to say a few words (or many, many words) about this amazing couple, and as lovely as that was, it was fucking up my perfectly sculpted timeline of events for the evening. And the DJ kept allowing these people to take the mic without clearing it with me first (great guy, but not in my network of trusted vendors)... NOT COOL! 

Most of you probably don't think that this is a big deal. I mean, what's wrong with guests who wish to take the mic for a few? Well, it becomes a chain reaction.