Archive for October, 2009

Things your Photographer wishes you knew: Part 2

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Hope you enjoyed the first installment of our series on what vendors wish you knew.  Today we will wrap up the photographer’s side of things with Things your Photographer wishes you knew: wedding day & after.

(This first point one was mentioned by nearly every single photographer that I asked for input so I am going to list it first here as well.)

*A better meal for the photographer is going to equal better pictures in the long run.  Usually by dinner time we have already worked a hectic 6-8 hours capturing every detail that you have worked so hard to put together. Now imagine how deflating it is to sit down to a cold, stale turkey (or worse salami) sandwich, a spotted apple and a dry cookie – you might as well give us a juice box too.  Some venues push the boxed meal as a savings to you but what is that $20 or so per person worth it in the long run?  Serving your photographer a hot, fresh meal will help them refuel and be in top form to capture the rest of your wedding – including all the fun of your reception!

*All that being said, we understand that some choices have to be made and if you are serving your guests steak and lobster, it may not be feasible to serve us the same thing.  If it isn’t, ask your caterer for less expensive – but still HOT – options for us – even a simple pasta with meat sauce is better than the dreaded boxed vendor meal.

*If there is room, please set up a vendor table in the same room you will be eating in.  If we aren’t in the same room and someone suddenly is moved to make an impromptu toast or there is a surprise you don’t know about (which means WE don’t know about it!), we are going to miss it and it will not be in your photos.

*Ask your caterer to serve us immediately following the bridal party.  Sometimes the lag in a large room can be upwards of 20 to 30 minutes from the time the bride and groom get their entrée until the last table is served.  If we are among those last tables, there is a good chance we won’t even have been served our entrée by the time you are ready to start making the rounds to different tables.  Serving us early in the process means we will be on the same schedule as you and ready to capture the next events as soon as you are ready for them to start.

*You have likely invested a lot of money in photography so please make sure that you have designated enough time for it on your wedding day.  Ask your photographer for input on the wedding day timeline – they know what they need so ask them!  If you have a planner/coordinator, they will likely do this for you but it should come up in your final photography meeting anyway.  Also, make sure that everyone knows where they need to be and when – don’t forget to tell Grandma to stick around after the ceremony for pictures or the family pictures won’t have Grandma in them.

*Some photographers absolutely refuse to work from a list of shots while others request one.  If we request it, please keep it simple.  If you hired us for our style, let us do our style!  A tedious list of formal shots is not going to tell the story of your wedding day.

*If you hired me because you love my photojournalistic style, realize that you cannot stop what you are doing to smile and pose for the camera every time you see me!!  That’s not photojournalism and you will end up looking like all you did all day long was stand like a soldier and smile at the camera.  If you want true memories, expressions, and personalities to come through in your photographs, then you need to enjoy your day and let your photographer do what you hired him/her to do.

*Please give me some creative license.  If I ask you to do something that might seem a little out of the ordinary or if I spot a location that speaks to me but it wasn’t on the original list or not what you had in mind initially, just go with it.  You hired me because you like my work and trust me, so give me the creative room to put my best foot forward and put you in the best light.

*With regard to how you look on your wedding day, some basic tips:
1.  Don’t buy a dress that accentuates areas of your body you don’t like – even Photoshop won’t fix that.
2.  Your makeup should be an upgrade of what you might usually wear for a night out.  You want to look like YOU, just a slightly ‘better’ you.
3.  If you are the same height or taller than your fiancé but don’t want to accentuate that on your wedding day, don’t wear heels.
4. Stop tanning several days before the wedding to avoid looking red, blotchy and dry.
5. If you have frizzy hair or hair that goes flat as the day goes on, the same thing is going to happen on your wedding day!  Pick a hairstyle that works with your hair, not against its natural style.
6. Leave the body glitter/shimmer at home.  It looks like white spots or sometimes even sweat in pictures.

*I am not a wedding planner or coordinator.  I have been asked/expected/ordered to do everything from coordinate the processional to call other vendors to see where they were to bustle gowns to cut and serve the wedding cake!  I am happy to help where I can but if I were doing those things, who is going to be doing what you actually hired me for – taking the pictures?

*Photoshop can work miracles but if you are expecting a miracle, please expect a price.

* I promise you I am going to take a lot of time to edit your pictures and make them phenomenal but please bear in mind, I have made the same commitment to other couples whose weddings were before yours.  I am going to take as much care with your pictures when it is your turn – calling me every 3 days is not going to make me move any faster (in fact, it will likely push you down the list!).  If I am more than a week late from my promised time frame, go ahead and check in but until that time frame is up – please be patient!

*You know how you can see happy and in love in pictures?  You can also see snotty, nasty, angry, upset, overwhelmed and whiny.  Which would you rather have come through in your pictures?

*Finally, be real, be you, be adventurous, be creative, be open, have fun, enjoy yourself, let loose, be nice, be in love, be happy and listen to the professionals you hired – they kind of know what they’re doing!

So there you have it – some of the things that Photographers wish you knew.  Thanks to all my photographer friends who contributed – great insight and very interesting!

Monday we will be learning a little bit about what Videographers wish you knew and watch for what Florists, Stationers, DJs/Musicians and of course, Planners wish you knew next week!

Things your Photographer wishes you knew: Part 1

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I got so many great, great items from photographers that I am splitting them into two posts – before you book & planning and wedding day & after.

Without further ado, here are some Things that your Photographer wishes you knew: before you book & planning.

*Please do your research.  Anyone can buy a nice looking camera and photoshop, put an ad on Craigslist and say they are a photographer.  But do they know how to USE that camera?  Do they know how to USE photoshop?  Just because someone says they do, doesn’t mean that is the reality.  Look closely at their pictures, ask to see more than one wedding, ask for references and make sure that you get a good vibe from them and they are telling the whole truth. Everyone started somewhere and was new once but do you really want to be this person’s guinea pig?

*Both bride and groom should attend the photographer interviews.  Even if the groom says he doesn’t care who you book, once the wedding is over and the pictures are all that is left, he WILL care.  On top of the end result, the photographer is going to be with you alllllll day long and if personalities clash, that is going to show in the pictures!  The best way to prevent that is to make sure that you click before you book.

*If I don’t respond to your email within 12 hours, please don’t freak out.  I often have on-location shoots that take me out of the office.  Sometimes I might even take a day off!  If you email over the weekend, don’t be shocked if it takes until Tuesday for me to respond – I am probably shooting over the weekend and then may take Monday off since I worked Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

*We charge what we charge for a reason – it is based on what we provide, our experience and how much work we put in processing your images and more.  Please don’t schedule an appointment with us if our lowest package is equal to your whole wedding budget and expect to negotiate us down.  It isn’t going to happen.  And please don’t say that “so and so studio” will do the ‘same thing’ for $1000 less and ask us to match – trust me, they ARE NOT doing the ‘same thing’ as we do.

*Trust your gut.  If you love a photographer’s pictures so much that you want to steal their sample books and show them to everyone you know, fair chance you will love your own pictures.  Go with someone you LOVE and trust they will create pictures for you that someone else will want to steal and show to everyone too.

*We love to hear that you like our work and that you want to book with us but until you have signed the contract and paid the booking fee those are just words.  Often we get multiple inquiries for the same date so if you really do like our work and want to book with us, please book with us now, not in a month.  On a similar note, if you do wait please don’t get angry or nasty with us that your date is no longer available because another couple booked it.  You made your choice to wait, they didn’t – simple as that.

*Please, please, please read your contract in full.  Don’t skip reading because it bores you because if you sign it, we WILL hold you to the clauses within.  Just because you didn’t read it all, doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to you!

*Please hire a professional planner.  Don’t trust this once in a lifetime day and all that money to a friend or family member who ‘loves to plan events.’  Again, Craigslist is probably not the best place to look for a true professional unless you relish being a guinea pig.  Having the help of a planner will make your life, my life and all your other vendor’s lives so much easier before, during and even after the wedding.  Even if you can only afford an hour or two of their time, having someone get you on the right path is so very valuable and will really make the planning process so much easier.

*Plan your wedding with purpose – from the dress to the details to the vendors your choose, make sure that there is meaning behind each decision you make.  It will make looking at those amazing pictures that I am going to take for you that much more special in 20/30/40 years.

Check back tomorrow for Things that your Photographer wishes you knew: Wedding Day and After.

New Series: What vendors wish you knew!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

I obviously run into a lot of vendors in the course of planning weddings with my clients.  Just as in any line of work, you get to be friendly with certain people and talk often turns more casual.  We chat before client meetings, at weddings, networking events and sometimes when we go out to lunch.  One thing that I have noticed over the years is that the talk often turns to things that we wish brides knew or things we wish we could tell them.

Keeping education in mind, I put a call out to various vendors in Columbus, Cleveland and even some friends in other parts of the country asking for their best tips or things they wish they could say.  Over the next few days we’ll be featuring the best of those responses (and I got A LOT) from different vendor types.  As a disclaimer – some of these are pretty blunt but that is what I asked for – honest, blunt, realistic things that every bride should know.

I hope the series is interesting, entertaining and most of all, educational!  We would love to hear your feedback – feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line.

A HUGE thanks to everyone who contributed to this series – I am not going to name names but trust me, you would recognize them and as it turns out, they have a lot to say!

Stay tuned for the first installment tomorrow morning!

Local Twists on the Candy Buffet

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

I love candy buffets at weddings – they give the guests something sweet to munch on during the evening and to take home and look very cute, colorful and coordinated.  But I have done a ton of them at weddings over the years and I think that might be the problem – I have done a TON of them over the years and I am ready for something new!  Here are some suggestions for alternatives to the ever so popular candy buffet – all with a local Columbus twist!

Jeni’s Ice Cream –  Jeni’s ice Cream is a local Columbus favorite – local ingredients crafted into unique flavors handmade in small batches right here in Columbus.  They have a cart they can bring out to weddings and events which is always a HUGE hit with guests!  Their on site minimum is $800 – that includes 4 flavors of ice cream, a Jeni’s staff person to set up and serve the ice cream, dishes and spoons.  That covers up to 125 people and each additional person is $4.  It would be a great addition to any wedding but especially a summer wedding with an outdoor element – nothing like a dish of Salty Caramel on a warm summer night under the stars.  Give their Kitchen a call at 614.488.3224 – they’ll take great care of you!

Al’s Delicious Popcorn – How about a popcorn buffet instead of a candy buffet?  Another local favorite, Al’s Delicious Popcorn has been around since 1985.  They handcraft over 60 flavors of popcorn right here in Columbus.  They have flavors that range from the traditional (butter, cheddar and caramel) to the more unique (bacon & cheese, watermelon and Kahula).  The set up would be the same as a candy buffet – large jars labeled with the flavors and bags or boxes for the guests to select their favorites!  Al’s 1 gallon bags of popcorn range from $2.75 for original popcorn up to $8.25 for their cheese and sweet flavors – comparable to what candy would cost in the long run.  You can try all the different flavors at their Bethel Road location – a fun date for you and the fiance!

Brezel – Instead of a buffet of some kind, you can always incorporate treats in the form of a late night snack.  I have seen cookies and milk, pizza, sliders and donuts but right now I am loving the idea of big, hand rolled, flavored pretzels.  Brezel is a local Columbus company that makes ridiculously good, hand rolled soft pretzels.  Their specialty flavors include jalapeno and apple cinnamon in addition to original.  I asked the owners Marie and Brittany about custom flavors for weddings and this is what they had to say:

We’re happy to work with the bride and groom to create a custom pretzel flavor. Our prices for this type of work depends mostly on the cost of specialty ingredients and packaging considerations, but we do offer some adjusted pricing on bulk orders. We are very flexible. All of our pretzels are handmade. If a couple can dream it… we’ll try our best to create it!

Any of these would be delicious additions to your wedding reception and I love that they all support local Columbus businesses.  Enjoy!

Family Pictures: Then and Now

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

The last time that we had pro pictures done of Miss Ellie was over a year ago at her 1st birthday party.  Since Ellie just turned two in September, we scheduled her two year (and one month) portraits for last weekend with Alison from Grogan Studios.  Beyond working together and sharing studio space, Alison and I have become friends and have lunch with our kids every so often so Ellie is super comfortable with her and actually posed for the camera – my kid is a ham, what can I say?  Anyway, all that posing paid off because Alison captured some amazing photos of Ellie and our family – including the little girl that is due in February – both at our house and as we traipsed around the Columbus Zoo!

There is a great sneak peek on the Grogan Studios Blog so I won’t share them here but as I was looking through the pictures, I realized one looked super familiar – the first picture is from our 9 month portraits and the second is from our 2 year portraits.  Same kisses, same reaction just a few more teeth in Ellie’s smile – I love it!

ellie13

ellie14

Thanks Alison – we love the pictures and can’t wait to see the rest!!

Special Diet Considerations

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Seems like there has recently been an uptick in the news reports about different allergies, diet restrictions and eating styles out there.  Chances are you will most likely have someone at your wedding who has a special diet consideration.  Here are some of the most common groups you may run into:

Vegetarian: Quite simply, vegetarians don’t eat meat.  Some will eat certain types of meat like fish or chicken but most will not eat red meat at all.  Offering a simple vegetarian option like pasta with vegetables or stuffed peppers can make your wedding much more enjoyable for the ‘veggies’ attending.  Vegetarian options don’t have to be boring at all and your chef can work with you to make sure your non-meat eating friends leave as full and happy as those of your guests who love filet.

Vegan: Vegan takes vegetarianism several steps further.  Vegans do not eat any animal products at all – that includes eggs, dairy and processed food containing gelatin since it is derived from animal products.  This obviously makes planning a menu a little more tricky but the dishes will, on the whole, be similar to vegetarian options but will avoid things like goat cheese on the pasta.  While most chefs and caterers are well versed in vegetarian fare, vegan can be a little more difficult.  When in doubt, consult with your vegan guests about what their preferences are and they can give some suggestions as to what will work for them.

Nut and Fruit Allergies: we are seeing more and more allergies to nuts and fruits popping up.  Sometimes these are so severe that even having the nut or fruit in the room can literally kill the person with the allergies.  If you have a guest with a peanut allergy, it is more than likely a child and their parents will be extremely vigilant about making sure they don’t come into contact with peanuts but if you can plan a meal without them, that would certainly make their lives much easier.  Peanuts aren’t the only offenders, pine nuts (main ingredient of pesto and often found intact in salads) and almonds are also high allergens.  If you know about a guest with these allergies, have the caterer prepare a plate without these items specially for that guest.  If the allergy is life threatening, select meals that avoid them altogether – cross contamination can be hard to avoid in a busy kitchen and while paramedics are really nice, they will show up uninvited to your wedding if they need to save a life.  I mention fruits because strawberries are also a high allergen for some people.  Also, if someone is allergic to almonds, they are probably allergic to peaches too – same family.

Gluten Free: if you are unfamiliar with gluten, you aren’t alone – gluten itself is something that many people have never heard of!  Gluten is contained in any food with wheat in it and it can cause big issues for people with celiac disease or a wheat allergy.  It is truly surprising when you look at how many different foods contain some sort of gluten – even something like gravy made with a thickener other than cornstarch is off limits for someone eating gluten free.  Most people who eat gluten free don’t advertise it, they just work around it and eat whatever might be available (I have seen more than one guest eat undressed salads as their main and only dinner) but if you know of the allergy and can give them a gluten free option, you will probably be a hero!

Pregnant Women: the mother of all special food considerations (pun intended)!  Pregnant women are advised to avoid a lot of different foods – what a pregnant woman actually decides to avoid is up to them.  Many pregnant women avoid caffeine so having some caffeine free soda like Sprite or 7-up on hand as well as decaf coffee is always a nice change from water.  Soft and unpasteurized cheeses are also no-nos for pregnant women due to the risk of a specific type of bacteria – this means avoiding blue cheese, goat cheese, gorgonzola and brie altogether.  If you have an entree with those ingredients and you notice that a pregnant guest has selected it, you might want to give them a head’s up letting them know so they can either change or you can request it be made for them sans cheese.  Cold cuts (that are actually cold) and certain kinds of fish are also off limits to pregnant women.  Most pregnant women are good about avoiding what they need to so don’t stress too much but again, if you can offer them something delicious and suitable for their new restricted diet, you will be making 2 people (one really tiny) very happy!

It may seem like a lot of work to try and accommodate all the different diet considerations but if something is truly life threatening to one of your guests, it is quite vital to take it into consideration.  Remember, your wedding guests are just that: GUESTS – treat them as such!  Happy menu planning!

A little bit of bragging

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Not going to lie – I am bragging just a little bit here.  Sorry ahead of time but I have to share!  Let me start by saying that I had a really great day last Saturday, October 3.  Aimee and Ryan’s wedding was amazing – it really could not have gone better.  They loved everything and it was jaw droppingly gorgeous plus they are just the sweetest couple with great friends and families.  So imagine my complete joy with I checked my email when I got home and found this blog comment waiting for me from Dale – the father of the bride from Molly and Scott’s wedding.

Hey Emilie,
I just read your blog about Molly and Scott’s wedding and want to thank you for the wonderful and beautiful words. As the father of the bride, I was obviously concerned that EVERYTHING would go smoothly and just the way I had imagined it to be for Molly and Scott’s special day. When Molly first said she wanted a wedding coordinator – and that she had found the BEST and EXACT person she wanted to work with – I honestly felt it was a waste of money. (Sorry to be so frank, but that’s how I felt!) As you know, I shared these feelings with you as we went through the months of planning. And as you will CERTAINLY remember, as the big day drew closer, I repeatedly told you that YOU WERE THE BEST MONEY WE SPENT ON THE ENTIRE WEDDING!!! What a super, incredible job you did of bringing the wedding together, just the way Molly and Scott had envisioned it. I am a perfectionist and I could NOT have done a better job than you did with every single detail of the event. If anyone is uncertain about your abilities, please have them call me and I will happily answer any questions they have and will assure them you can pull off the impossible! We had nothing to worry about the day of the wedding and were able to enjoy every single minute, all thanks to your attention to details. Again, thank you so much for all you did – at such a reasonable rate – to make it all happen with such beauty, perfection, and FUN! You are the BEST!!!
Dale

Again, just another reason I love my job – my amazing couples often have pretty amazing families.  Thanks Dale – this was the perfect ending to an already perfectly wonderful day!!!

New Gallery on EDEP!

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

robinette0503

Rachel and Eric by Gauper Photo

Pictures from my summer weddings are rolling in and I am finally wading through all the amazing shots – I have worked with some fantastic photographers this summer and am so excited to share what they captured!  First up is Rachel and Eric – if you remember, this was my wedding with great chemistry!  You can read the recap by clicking on their names and see their wedding day in pictures by going to the “what we have done” section on Emilie Duncan Event Planning’s main site.  Enjoy and I will be back very soon with more of our fantastic couples!

Sorry magazine junkies…

Monday, October 5th, 2009

modern bride 2elegant bride 2

Some sad news today in the world of Bridal Magazines – publisher Conde Nast announced today that it would be shutting down both Modern Bride and Elegant Bride (as well as Gourmet and Cookie).  Sad news for bridal magazine junkies as we lose more eye candy.  In other news, Conde Nast also owns Brides magazine and announced that Brides will be published every month rather than every other.