This is a note to all the couples preparing to wed soon. It’s based on my experience in wedding photography both here and in Kenya. As a photographer, I get to meet and work with many other vendors such as makeup artists, florists, wedding planners, priests and many more.
Before the wedding day:
Four months to the wedding:
At this time, you are still sourcing for vendors and previewing portfolios if not yet signed up for most of them. You call your vendors, get the quotes and take your time comparing quality and price. You speak to friends for more ideas. The dream wedding effect is still on. You still believe you can hire Garry Fong to be your photographer and Sarah Haywood as your planner. But wait…!
Three months to the wedding:
This is the time reality starts to kick in. You have had your wedding fundraiser or done saving for it; you are now working under a budget and not fantasy anymore. You are now under the mercies of your funds. You can now pay your vendors and lock the dates. If you’re lucky enough, you still get to hire your favorites. It’s at this time that your calendar starts to have more dates circled for meetings, tastings, and engagement photos which you probably postpone three time :-(
Two months to the wedding:
Your calendar is full, your phone starts to ring every 10 minutes and texts come every five minutes. Vendors are disagreeing on some issues…the photographer want full access to the church on wedding day and want to use off camera flash. The church is saying you can’t bring light strobes due to safety measures. You want to work with both of them and they must agree on some working plan…but they call you although you know nothing about the strobe the cameraman is talking about. While still at it, the hotel calls asking for DJs contact and their copy of insurance :-( The DJ is like….ahhh leave them alone, they’re always like that. You’re left scared if they’ll deny the DJ access on your wedding day …hehehe (they can never). You get angry and you direct all vendor questions to your wedding planner. :-) Yaayyy!! You solved it! That’s why you’re paying your planner anyways…. :-) But wait…!!
One month to the wedding:
It’s official….you literally feel like calling off this wedding. The wedding planner is calling you every 5 minutes and needs instant answers and guidance to feed the vendors with information. You start thinking why the wedding planner can’t just do everything and just call you to wake you up on your wedding day…fun ha! Nope, it’s your wedding, and the planner wants you to have it your way, not their way. Although they help you plan, they can’t make crucial decisions for you. Wait, you think that’s stressful, on top of all that, three bridesmaids have been denied some time off from work…. :--( Two want to do their own makeup and one is requesting to be late and just meet you at church ceremony….uh! How now? Why is a wedding so fun to do?? You ask….But wait!!
One week to the wedding:
Everything is in place. The bridal party is excited and ready to drop that mega entrance dance. The parents are here from overseas, the outfit is home, and all vendors are in one page :-). Beautiful!
The wedding Day
After years of wishes and months of planning, everything boils down to this day; your wedding day. Now, you are at your vendor’s mercy. The wedding planner takes full control. You and your partner have little or no access to cellphone. The planner’s competence starts to show up early in the morning. They must make best judgments and decisions the fastest way possible.
Very rarely the wedding day gets disrupted in the middle of the day. How it starts determines how it ends. In 100% of the weddings I have photographed with a few anomalies, those anomalies that affected the day happened between the makeup time and the ceremony. Either the bridesmaids were late for makeup, or the clergy took more time than planned spreading the good word. If you could have that well looked into and a couple of people designated to maintain easy flow in those two departments, I can assure you that your wedding will flow as planned!
Note that this is the day that all your vendors want to showcase their A game. They will do anything to stand out; they will sometimes change plans if they notice some inconsistencies affecting their quality or standard. The wedding planner might suggest a photo shoot by the roadside on the way to reception to save time; the photographer might disagree and pull the contract on the planner showing the consequences that would follow if that happened. All this time, you are not aware of what is stealthily going on three meters away from you and your partner.
Trust me, you will sit at the high table and you will not notice your best friend from Florida present in your wedding; but you will see something going wrong but do nothing about it, hopping that someone will fix it. You will see a lot of people but will not remember who came and who did not….oh wait! You will, thanks to the photographer. The photographer who was denied enough time by the planner as agreed in the contract; the photographer who was told by the priest they can’t use flash during certain times of the ceremony but still found a way to brighten your images; yes, that photographer you auntie from Muranga was so mad about because he did not take a picture of her with those pretty flower girls.
To finish, the wedding day is a day that your friends and family witness unfold; but you, the couple, will only look at the pictures and video as you aaawwww the moments. Please give the photographer enough time to document your wedding regardless of the situation. The transport guys will say their time is up and have to leave while you have only taken one picture at the photo session location, but they charge per hour and can be compensated for the extra time they spend waiting for you. The wedding planner might say the program states a certain time to get to the reception, but remember obeying that program denies you the memories of your most memorable day. However late your wedding gets, be sure to give the photographer enough time to document your memorable day. It’s the only thing you’re left with….Pictures!