Our monthly installment of You Ask, We Answer. Where we answer all sorts of questions from our listeners.
Ask #1 - First Look - I don’t wanna!
We have already booked a photographer that we really like and I am sure he will be flexible, but I know he has to advocate for his needs in order to do his job well. I want to be respectful and make sure the request I am making is somewhat reasonable before I meet with him.
I also want to emphasize that while we, of course, value having photographs of our wedding, the photos are not really a priority of ours. […] I have ALWAYS pictured myself not having a first look. However silly, the romantic in me wants the two of us to see each other for the first time as I walk down the aisle. […]
If it is completely unavoidable, we will do a first look, but I really don't want to. So tell me, is it unreasonable to ask a photographer to take all of the photos needed after the wedding? And if it is reasonable, could we do outdoor photos of the two of us right after the wedding at a nearby location and then come back and do the rest of the portraits indoors. I want to be respectful of his craft (and most of his photos on his website are outdoors) but I also don't want to arrange my whole day around an aspect that is lower on our priority list than others.
100% you do not have to do a first look. The photographer is going to photograph your day - he will may input and thoughts about how it runs...but they will second to your plans. He will work with the day as you want it to be, and as you make the plans for it. Lots of people don't want to do the first look! Totally fine. Create an organized, logical wedding day timeline and give it to your vendors - all of them should have some version of the same timeline.
He probably prefers outside photos, but any professional wedding photographer is going to be adept at indoor photos and lighting as well. Usually it's just not what they show off on their websites.
I suggest you create the timeline by first deciding when you want the ceremony to start. Then work backwards and forwards from there. Here's a basic example - including when the photos can be.
- 3:30 - photographer starts - he can get some 'getting ready' shots with you at this time, if you want those. Probably has time to do a few minutes with you and your partner - if you will be at the same place in different rooms at this point.
- 4:00 - guests arriving, photographer taking photos of venue, some with bride and groom separately (maybe with wedding party or parents), maybe some of guests as they arrive
- 4:30 - 5:00 Ceremony
- 5:00 - 5:25 Photos with you and partner, parents, and wedding party. These are 'formal' posed photos. They can be done right outside the church - wherever the photographer wants, or in the church. Either
way - they need to start right after the ceremony - which means it will be helpful if all involved are aware of the plan and if there is someone else who can encourage all the other guests to go to the cocktail reception at this point. Remember to leave some buffer time between this and when you want to join the cocktail hour. Or if you want to skip the cocktail hour, you can spend more time on photos and have some alone time with your partner (recommended!)
- 5:15 - 6:15 - cocktail reception - you can join this whenever you want, just put a time limit on the post-ceremony photos and make it clear to your photographer. If you want him to get photos of the reception room or details, he will need to get there to do that by 5:45 in this case.
- 6:15 - end (9:30? 10?) - dinner and reception. Photographer will leave after his hourly contracted time.
Keep in mind that you don't have to travel far to get nice outdoor photos. I've seen couples literally pose for formals next to a dumpster behind the church, or in a grassy area by a parking lot because that is where the light is good for the photographer and he can frame it so that it looks wonderful. You may not have to travel to a park or something like that - talk to your photographer about your priorities (people over 'details', no first look, some outdoor formals, you don't want to spend all day posing, getting to be there for the second half of cocktail hour maybe...) and maybe he can suggest a place (and go visit the church, ideally) right there that he would be able to do good outdoor photos.
My fiancé and I are having a wedding near we live (Southwest Michigan), all of our guests are traveling in for the wedding. Most of my family has a 3 hr (or more drive). Most of his family is coming from New York.
With that being said, 2 of my bridesmaids (and all of his family) are based in New York. When it comes to all the pre-wedding events, how should those be organized? Like bridal shower, should my grandmother (who is hosting mine in Michigan) invite the family from New York? Should I reach out to his family in New York to see if someone is going to plan a shower for me? Is that tacky (or come across as greedy)? Same with bachelorette party? Should I invite those two to come stay with me for the weekend. They don't know each other, so they wouldn't be traveling together. Should I bring the 2 bridesmaids that live in Michigan (my sister and best friend) to New York? Or just take those two out alone?
I think that it might make sense to have a bridal shower or engagement party in NY - with so many of the VIPs being there. You don't need to inquire yourself, though. Talk to your fiancé...and are you close or on good terms and communicating with his mom or parents a lot during wedding planning? Tell them that your grandmother is hosting a bridal shower for you in Michigan and you would like to invite family from everywhere, even though you know they won't be able to come. Be transparent - tell them that you know a lot of people are in NY and you would love to have a celebration there too so that those guests can participate if they want to. I think having a bachelorette in NY is a great idea and that weekend could kind of be a weekend for you and your girlfriends, and also have a nice brunch or something thrown in so that family there can come to a shower for you. (Also - you could make it a thing that you and your fiancé do - a coed shower in NY, or an engagement dinner there, then make a fun weekend out of it.) BUT - you do need someone to host this stuff. (I know it's tricky - I literally asked a friend of mine to host a small baby shower for me when I was pregnant.). NYC is a great destination city and it's pretty easy to get to, I think you gals would have an awesome time. If no one steps up to actually 'host' a bachelorette party there, but a family member in NY does want to throw you a shower/party, you can pitch the idea of a girls weekend that get your bridesmaids out there and the shower happens as well. You can say that you want everyone to meet before the wedding!
This has probably been brought up a million times but we are having our ceremony at a chapel that provides a coordinator, organist and a security officer to stand outside (it’s a super popular place to visit and it’s closed on weekends for weddings) do we tip these people? Write them thank you cards? These services are paid for in our contact, but I feel like we have to tip everyone.
Yes! Tip them! It’s a small gesture, but it’s very nice and we encourage it for sure.
I would love to put up pictures from my parents wedding and grandparents wedding (both my sisters did that for their weddings) but my fiancé’s whole side of his family is divorced. Should I just put it out at my bridal shower instead? I wouldn’t mind asking my fiancé’s side of the family if it would be okay (they would give their honest opinion) or is it rude and inconsiderate to even ask?
I don’t think it’s inconsiderate to ask. If they’re remarried, just include pictures with their current spouse. If the mom and dad are single and unmarried, then it is probably a better idea to display their photos instead, it’s a nice compromise. You can just put up the grandparents. Regardless, it’s not rude to ask (unless they hate each other). It can be fun to look back at wedding pictures! Also, you don’t have to do what your sisters did!
I have also had three people invite themselves to my wedding. “I better be invited” or “when is it? We will try to make it”. I would love to be prepped with responses!
You might need to have a trite, simple answer. Be kind, but don’t let them invite themselves! You can always just smile and shrug. Don’t put yourself in a place where you said yes and feel bad for having to change your mind or end up with a table full of people you didn’t really want to be at your wedding.
My parents are divorced and my father is remarried. I don’t get along with his wife— AT ALL. His wife’s presence makes my mom uncomfortable. My father isn’t paying for the wedding. Is it fair to ask my father to leave his wife at home?
We feel you! But it is not fair, unfortunately. If you are inviting your father, then he should be able to bring his wife. If you love your dad and you want your dad in your life moving forward, and you want his presence at the wedding, you need to bite your tongue and grin and bear it. It might not be easy, and either way someone is going to be uncomfortable.
Don’t seat her with your mom. Don’t invite her to the intimate getting ready parties. But it will not soon be forgotten if you insist she does not come.
My parents are helping to pay for the wedding, and my fiancé’s aren't. This is partly because my parents can afford to more than his parents can, but also because his parents didn't really like me during the five years we were dating and now we don't feel comfortable accepting money from them. (They offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner but we don't want to deal with any strings attached). My question is, is there a way to thank my parents during the wedding reception without making his parents feel left out or hurt? We thought the traditional way would be to make a toast at the reception, but how do you only thank one set of parents when the other is sitting right there? Or do we just thank both anyways?
You could take your parents out separately and give them a personal thank you. You could also thank your parents during the toasts and have your fiancé thank his. Also, remember if your parents are helping back for this wedding, they are technically hosts, so they are allowed to stand up during toasts and make a toast to everyone, thanking all the guests. If they are comfortable with it, they can be the first to speak. It’s a nice way to honor your parents as host and no one will think it’s awkward or unfair.
I recently got engaged in December and being the OCD, Type A person that I am, I immediately started searching for wedding planning podcasts. I’m so glad I found TBWPP and I’ve been binging it for the past month. Thank you both so much for your advice, guidance, and funny banter. My parents will be paying for the wedding and we all agree that we need to hire a planner for a full service package, especially since my mom and I both have full time jobs. We’ve consulted with about 6 planners and have narrowed it down to 2. I think that both planners would do a wonderful job and both have been recommended to me by a friend in the industry. The full planning package for planner A is about $7,500 and the full planning package for planner B is about $15,000. If I had known planner B’s pricing ahead of time, I may not have scheduled a consultation because the budget my parents, fiancé, and I had decided on was $10,000 maximum for a planner. After our consultation with planner B, both my fiancé and I looked at each other and knew we had that “this is it” feeling from her. We felt like we had known her for years and she made us feel really comfortable. We didn’t necessarily have that feeling with planner A but I know she would do a great job, and it’s hard to not consider hiring her since her package is half the price. Also, both packages include the same services and both are reputable companies. My parents don’t want me to “settle” and want us to go with our gut so are willing to spend the extra money for someone we really love. Still, it’s hard for me to justify spending double on planner B’s package even though we loved her. I’m also scared of making the “wrong” decision and regretting it later in the process. Any advice?
As a small business owner, it can be really vulnerable to quote a price to your client. It’s great that you have a little wiggle room, and are willing to look at it deeply. At a certain point with experience, and understanding, planners can and should raise their price point. If you are feeling called towards a certain planner, and the parents are willing, we really think you should go with them. Speak to references, ask questions, do your research, and go with your gut!
An additional pro of hiring a full service planner is that they are prepared to help save you money! They have good connections and relationships with vendors, etc.
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