This week we chat to 2 blogging brides to be, Karis and Sharlene about plans for each their special days and also how they found their perfect wedding photographer.
Firstly congratulations on your engagement! When and how did you get engaged?
Karis: October 2009. We had an evening out planned but I was unwell. So at last minute he put together a dinner. I’d noticed he’d gone to some effort with the table. The food however was terrible, we laughed about it, normally he’s such a good cook! He disappeared behind the table, came round to me on his knees and pulled out some paper, he began to read me a letter. The Groom’s a musician and often writes little notes, the kind of guy that writes me poetic clues for an Easter egg hunt. The letter recalled special moments throughout our 4 years together, it also made promises to our future and then he handed me a box, I didn’t expect to see a ring. He asked me to marry him. It was a complete surprise!
Sharlene: Dinos proposed in November 2012. He planned a romantic weekend away in Rome and I didn’t find out until we got to the airport. It was very romantic. He had the ring in his pocket and he proposed in front of the Trevvi fountains the night we arrived in Rome. It really was an unforgettable moment. He didn’t get down on one knee so the moment was kept private considering we were in a crowded place. I was so surprised he managed to arrange all this without me finding out, I had no clue! What was very sweet that the only person who knew was my Dad as he asked for his consent before proposing, it had been arranged for months!
Sharlene & Dinos on that surprise proposal weekend away in Rome
How is the all wedding planning going?
Karis: It’s good, now that a few things are booked it’s a little easier. I still have lots to do and make though. I’m sure when I hit the 6 week countdown it will all get a bit more hectic.
Sharlene: Wedding planning is fun, I think I’m on track with everything, apart from my dress which I really need to find! I have a very laid back approach about it all, I’m sure I will be stressing out the last few months leading up to the wedding, but I am currently relaxed and the planning is in a good place.
When it comes to searching for your wedding photographer how did you approach this?
Karis: A few different ways: Google, when visiting venues (I always asked for their recommended supplier list), real weddings featured on wedding blogs, Gumtree for local photographers & I did find a photographer I almost booked. Then I found Your Perfect Wedding Photographer via Twitter. Everything became so much easier, thanks to you guys I found photographer based in Bristol, a place I wouldn’t have even considered looking and it really is perfect.
Sharlene: Finding the photographer was very overwhelming, there are so many to choose from. I actually found my photographer at a wedding fair. Wedding fairs are great because you can look through their portfolios and get a good idea of their style. What’s great is you get to meet the photographer at first instance so you can find out what their personality is like, and the type of photographer they are. I also looked through a lot of wedding blogs, Google and preferred suppliers from my chosen venue.
How did you decide on your budget for a photographer?
Karis: I researched and contacted a lot of photographers, the price varied from £580 – £2350. A family member is a professional photographer so she gave me lots of advice and recommended a few. Many of the photographers I liked were around £2000. I had to be strict and allow no more than £1500. I was very lucky to find an amazing photographer for under £1000.
Sharlene: Unlike Karis, during my research I found a lot of photographers were coming in around the same price. I first researched photographers who were local to my venue. I am getting married in Norfolk so I thought it would be cheaper finding a local photographer than using a photographer from London for example. This wasn’t the case though. I think a good photographer is really important so we were willing not to make any savings in this area. We ended up booking our photographer for £1,500 which seemed to be the going price.
Dave & Karis at our recent preshoot – Photo Credit Joab Smith Photography (www.joabsmithphotography.co.uk)
When it comes to finding your perfect wedding photographer what did you look for?
Karis: Everything! I began my whole wedding planning process researching wedding photographers. When looking at a portfolio I wanted to see creativity. If a picture can tell a 1000 words then I wanted to feel empathy with the emotion captured; the child in awe, the proud parent, the face palm, laughter from the speeches between guests, the enjoyment, the tears, the happiness -all without the people knowing the photographer was there. (Ok I could have said Reportage but I was looking for so much more than just a style). Capturing a moment that a blink of an eye would have otherwise missed is really special! I also wanted to see variety in the album, vibrant colour, black & white and those soft romantic edits & unexpected focus – a tall order, which is why I think it took me so long.
Sharlene: I didn’t want a traditional photographer with your normal posed snaps. Like Karis, we were looking at creativity and action. I like natural shots and we really want those little moments captured. We also wanted to make sure that the photographer had the right personality to talk to our guests. We will have quite a few guests attending so we needed to make sure our photographer is going to be able to handle a large group and get them to do what he wants.
What tips would you give to other couples looking for a photographer?
Karis: Figure out how important your photos are to you, ask yourself where do they rank in your budget? I had someone tell me “just go with your instinct” – I think there is some sense in this. Your wedding photography is a very personal choice, I think once you have communicated with the person behind the camera you’ll know if they are the person you want to share your special day with. When you’ve decided, take time out to reflect, go back to the photos at a later date and see if you still feel the same – I did this and changed my mind with a photographer I was set on, I’m glad I did. I think any couple should also use your website, you make it so easy.
Sharlene: First decide what type of photos you want from your wedding. I didn’t realise at first but there are so many different types of photographers. We decided on a contemporary photographer with a background in Fashion. Try and meet the photographer before booking, or at least speak with them over the phone to get an idea of their personality and ways of working, this swayed our decision when we chose our photographer.
Finally you have set up your own wedding blog, tell us about this and why you started it?
We write over at PracticalEverAfter.co.uk, prior to this we were reading wedding blogs in search for inspiration. We’ve blogged individually before and love the online community. We wanted to uncover the world of weddings for ourselves – it’s very cathartic and it’s a great industry to be a part of. We are in a unique position as we happen to be getting married a month apart, and have been best friends since play school. This was a complete coincidence and despite being close we never planned on getting married around the same time. It’s an amazing experience to plan our own weddings, but to support each other too! We have two very different budgets and two very different weddings, one with a Greek twist. Documenting this on Practical Ever After we’ve had a very warming and overwhelming response, which inspires us both!