Tag Archives: wedding photography

Saving money by hiring a ‘friendor’

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I have been reading a lot lately about couples that are using what is being referred to as a ‘friendor’ in the urban dictionary it tells us that a friendor is:  A friend whose skills are employed as a vendor at an event or a wedding. Results may vary, as some friendors are highly skilled (as a DJ, photographer, baker, etc), while others are not. The bride & groom hired a friendor for their videography.

I know people who have both successfully and unsuccessfully hired friendors for their wedding, and I’m sure you all have too. We have all heard the horror stories of people who had their friendor do their wedding photos and they were disappointed with the style, or they didn’t see any images for a few  months, or worse still they hired the friendor and now they are no longer even friends. Sometimes there are occassions where having the friendor work on your wedding ends up costing you a whole lot more,  friendships suffer and so does your wallet.

I have been a friendor, and hope to continue to be one. I think that there are some great ways to ensure that you have a positive friendor experience.

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1. Be clear on what is expected on both sides.

Communication is key, make sure you talk about all things expected on both sides from the beginning. No matter who’s wedding I am asked to do, I always send them my contract, and all sign it so that we all know what to expect and  know where we stand. Obviously some of the details are different, and there are things that I change when it comes to my friends that are getting married. At least if it is all in writing there are no grey areas and no one is left wondering where they stand with anything. Be clear if you are the one that is employing the services of a friendor, tell them what you want and expect. That way they will not be left guessing on things too.

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2. Don’t expect a job done for free.

You know what you are like yourself, if someone wants something done for free, it takes a different line in your priorities than if you are being paid for a job. A lot of friends that I have conducted weddings for have said that they would have to pay for the services of someone else if they didn’t know me, and they don’t want mates rates, they just want me to be a part of their ceremony. I love this, and make sure that I do still give them a deal, but at the same time, I still feel appreciated and that my work is respected that they would hire me to do the job.  Being paid makes sure that your friendor still feels like they are working for you, but majority of the time they want it to be great, so they will work really hard on your job.

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3. Give credit where credit is due.

I married a couple at mates rates, and after the wedding they did a huge facebook post saying a massive thank you to all the people involved, the hairdresser, the make up artist and every bob and their dog was included and tags made to relevant pages. Do you think that I got a shout out? Nup. Nada. Zip. To say that I felt under appreciated is an understatement. The ruddy hairdresser that she would never see again got a shout out and a link to their page. This was my friend. I don’t expect you to thank me in the wedding speech or send me a tweet or rant about my services to all that people know. (Although people have thanked me in wedding speeches and, boy howdy it warmed my heart) but if you are giving a shout out to all the people that you paid full price to that are not your friends, an add to the list would be nice. Knowing how hard I work on all weddings, it was just a little hurtful is all.

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4. Make sure the friendor has the right skill set.

Don’t choose your friendor, just because they will be cheaper. If they make do a job and do it well and you’d hire them anyway then that is great, but if they are a chef and you are asking them to be a baker and it isn’t what they like to do or they don’t usually make cakes. It is a bit unfair to expect a cut price cake. Not only does that put your friend in a position, what if they don’t deliver what you had your heart set on. On the other hand if they are keen to make cakes and you’ve seen what they do before , by all means employ their friendor services. Don’t ask your landscape photographer friend to photograph your wedding if you haven’t seen any ‘people’ or ‘wedding’ shots that they have done before. Always make sure you have the right person for the job.

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In the majority of cases friendors I think are the bomb, they know you and care about you and generally want your day to be the best it can be, I think if you trust what they do and you would pay them to do it, they are the right person for the job. If they don’t have the skills or your asking them just to save a buck, maybe don’t they will probably be relieved, and it will probably save you some heartache. What do you think? Do you have any other tips or suggestions on hiring a friendor?

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A big Thank you to Love Journal for the use of their images on the blog this week. Check out their website and their facebook page.

 

 

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Things that guests hate at a wedding

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I know that I am always saying that your wedding is all about you and it should reflect what you want. It’s true it is your day and it should be what you want it to be. Just for a moment though I am going to chat about the things that guests hate at a wedding. It’s not to say that you can’t do what you want and have these things as part of your day but just they are just some things that I have heard or read about people complaining and therefore something to consider.

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Not knowing where they are going

I know with this day and age people have GPS and they have their google maps and their phone, but even then sometimes these things can be unclear. If you are having your reception in a building this doesn’t apply so much. Even so, if a guest can quite easily find where they are supposed to be, lack of signage or anything to direct them can cause panic. If you are getting married in a garden or somewhere that is open to the public, provide a map or have someone near the entrance so that your guests know where to go. It is a great way to stop people becoming part of the processional too, you can have someone who can tell people to wait if the bride has already arrived. This is a great job for a wedding planner if you are having one too.

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Going home hungry

This is a big one. Now not for one moment am I saying that you need to feed people until they are sick and if you are choosing to have just a cake and champagne affair there is nothing wrong with that, but don’t do it at dinner or lunch time. If you are planning just to have snacks or cheese and crackers, make sure that it is timed appropriately. Most people wont eat lunch or dinner before going to a wedding function if it is expected to go over lunch or dinner. If someone has their company requested for an afternoon tea, they will not be expecting a main meal. It’s then their own issue if they don’t eat lunch before they arrive. It’s just sad to hear that people say that they went to the McDonalds drive through after a wedding dinner as they were still hungry, especially when you know that the couple have spent a fortune on their venue and the meal for all of their guests. I know that I attended a wedding about 3 years ago at a beautiful function centre. I don’t remember what my meal was, but I remember it was lovely and I left feeling full and content. It isn’t that often that you remember exactly what you ate a bit down the track, but you do remember the wedding where the food was terrible and you had to make yourself some toast when you got home because you were so ravenous. Unless it is something that is really original and something that was brilliant. (see the blog about Courtney and Tim’s wedding, now that was some memorable food!)

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A badly spent budget

This ties in with the last one I guess. If you have spent thousands of dollars on the centrepieces for the tables that people are sitting at, but they only have 3 small portions of finger food. They may feel that the decorations were lovely but that they went home hungry. People won’t remember what they ate but they will remember if the food was good and filling. People will only remember that it was good, maybe skip some of the more expensive things that are overlooked and make sure people have enough to eat.  It isn’t always about the expensive sit down meal, but thinking of ways to get the best amount of quality for your budget.  When I had my wedding I decided that I wanted a sit down meal over finger food. That meant that money had to come from somewhere. We could have invited double the amount of people to our wedding if we had a finger food option, but I wanted better food for less people.  Some of the loveliest weddings that I have been to have had some outside the box options for catering. Marika and Joel had some amazing tapas served at their wedding and then had people come in and cook up huge delicious serves of paella.

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A reception that takes place HOURS after the ceremony

Again, I’m always one for using a professional photography, in the end that is one of the only things that you have left of your day, but a good photographer shouldn’t need numerous hours between the ceremony and the reception, if you want all kinds of fancy photography, in different locations maybe think about a first look photo shoot or talk to your photographer about the options on what you can fit into the time frame. One wedding that I attended had 3-4 hours in between the wedding and the ceremony. It is just very difficult to expect people to hang around or spend their time drinking at a pub close by, especially if they are from out of town and not too sure where to go or what to do.  A lot of the time your guests are dressed up and not really wanting to go and do a spot of shopping between.

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Being forced or pressured to dancing

This is something that I personally hate. I love watching the couple do their first dance together and understand that there are a lot of people who love to dance. That is wonderful. It’s when the MC or other guests at the wedding try to make you dance that it really makes me cross. I’m not against dancing and sometimes will love to get up and have a dance, but when the music is pumped so loud that you can’t speak to any of the other guests, this is really annoying as a guest.

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Having no place to sit

When it comes to your reception, even if you are having a finger food type affair, most people want to be able to sit so they can chat and enjoy other peoples company, it is difficult if there are a very limited number of chairs as most people will do the right thing and leave them for elderly guests or guests with special needs. The only other thing than having no where to sit is having to sit near people that you don’t get along with and that is a topic for a whole different blog post.

What is something that you really hate when attending a wedding?

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A very big thank you to Kirralee for the use of her stunning photos on the blog this week. Check out more of her work on her blog here and you can find her on facebook here.

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Why I became a celebrant

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I have been asked on a number of occasions, why I became a celebrant. The main reason is that I was inspired, and not so much in a good way. I love a good wedding, (who doesn’t really?) and I have a degree in Photography, but wedding photography wasn’t really my passion. I love photography and I love a wedding but that was it. I didn’t like all of the things that go along with being a wedding photographer and lets be honest, it takes a love and an art to be a great wedding photographer, not every brilliant photographer is even a good wedding photographer. But I digress, back to the topic.

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I attended a wedding ceremony, and it was… I don’t want to say terrible, or horrific, or as one person said “the worst wedding I’ve ever been to”… But it had potential to be lovely, and it just wasn’t. It wasn’t the couples fault. There were things that clearly they didn’t think of or that the celebrant hadn’t  mentioned. I’m not too sure what the celebrant had to say either it may have been really nice things, but it wasn’t memorable and I couldn’t hear all of it.

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Firstly, the celebrant arrived early as any good celebrant should. They set up a table away from where the ceremony was being held and just waited. There had been no wedding rehearsal.  ( I know this as someone close to me was in the bridal party) the celebrant had the perfect opportunity then to tell the Groom and Groomsmen what would be happening, where they would need to go for the signing of the register, but none of this occurred. They just stood there.

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The ceremony was in an area that was open to the general public, and it was a hot hot hot, stupid hot day. The celebrant didn’t speak to any of the people in the area and tell them that there was going to be a wedding taking place or to ask them if they would mind just staying out of the way while the ceremony was on. (It is always a good idea to think about the general public that might be around if you are getting married in a public place and check if their are permits that you need to get, as it is much easier to ask them to move on if you have booked the area)

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No one could hear the celebrant, the guests were standing a little way away from the ceremony (maybe 3-4 metres) and there was no PA system. I heard a bit of what was going on when I got up close to take photos. No PA system mixed with the fact that there were people in the area going about their day, made it almost impossible for guests to hear. I know a wedding is about the couple, but why have guests come along if you don’t want them to be witness to the promises that you make.

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The confusion that ensued when they had to sign the marriage register baffled me. I remember driving home and talking about it with my husband saying, if the celebrant had just explained it to the groomsmen when she first arrived they could have told the bridesmaids what was happening and it could have at least looked a bit seamless.  I was upset and annoyed that things weren’t perfect for the couple. I really hope that they thought that it was and they weren’t too upset or that people didn’t whinge and moan about it to them. I was also quite baffled that the celebrant would have been paid a considerable amount of money to do the job. She didn’t seem to love what she did or be excited or happy for the couple. I then told my husband that I thought I could do a better job than that. He responded saying ‘why don’t you? You love weddings’. The next week I started looking into the course, and the rest as they say is history.

I just want to make people’s day about them, and have the wedding that they want. I must admit I do love it when guests come and tell me that they thought the wedding was wonderful, or just really suited the couple. I love what I do and always want it to be the best for the people that have chosen me to be a part of their day.

A big thank you to all the photographers who have captured me doing what I love, and letting me use the photos. Check out some of their work.

Thank you to : Amy Schultz, Kirralee, Ateia Photography, and Sarah Churcher!

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Further thoughts on unplugged weddings

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I have blogged before about unplugged weddings and have heard a lot of discussion on the topic. I recently conducted a wedding where the couple were very specific about having an unplugged wedding. Before the bride entered the ceremony site I said :
(Groom) and (Bride) ask you to all  to please take a moment to check that your mobile telephones and all of your electronic devices are switched off. Please do not spend the ceremony today watching through a phone or camera, please be in the moment, give it your attention fully and enjoy what is a very special and sacred moment in (Groom) and (Bride’s) lives.

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After I said these words, I heard murmurs throughout the guests, one even said. “Really? That’s weird” to the person sitting next to them. I didn’t really know how to feel about it. It doesn’t bother me if they think that I’m weird or what I’m saying is something that they find weird, but I didn’t know how to feel on behalf of the couple. It was their wishes not mine. I really don’t mind if people take a million photos or not a single one. The day isn’t about me. It is about the two people that are exchanging vows on the day. The people that are becoming married that invited them to the wedding, that have asked it. I was annoyed that their guests didn’t respect what they wanted. Admittedly the ‘that’s weird’ girl wasn’t one of the people that continued to photograph throughout the ceremony. There were numerous people and not just a couple of sneaky quick pic’s. (Although I’m sure the very experienced photographer that they hired, got enough shots for everyone) People still continued with lots of flash photography.  If I was going to be rude enough to continue to photograph when the people who’s wedding it was had expressly asked not too, I think I would at least turn the flash off the camera so that it wasn’t blindingly obvious.

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Should this sort of thing be printed on programs? I’m not sure if this is something that needs to be told to people in advance, on the programs or possibly on the invitations. Or a chalk board that the page boy carries.

Should I have been annoyed on their behalf? Maybe it is just because I get to know these people and I want things to go exactly how they want it. I just hope that they were ok with it all. Was my wording not clear enough? Is it something that needs to be spelled out more than that? Have you been to an unplugged wedding? What are you thoughts?

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Thank you again to Betty and Keith from Untamed Images, for their lovely images on this weeks blog. Have a look at their website or follow them on Facebook to be kept up to date with their most recent weddings.

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Meet your vendors

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This is so important. Meet your vendors. It may sound like common sense or you may think that you can find out everything that you need to know from an email, but I cannot suggest strongly enough to meet the people that are going to be a part of your big day.

Of course send emails, call places and request that people get in touch with you online, but don’t leave it at that to make your decision. I get a lot of people emailing me asking how much I charge for a wedding. Which is fine, by all means get a price range, but why have you contacted me? Did someone recommend me? Did you see me conduct another wedding? did you find me on facebook? this blog? There must be some reason that you have contacted me, doesn’t it make sense not to meet me and see what I can bring to your day. I don’t think you can learn too much about how a person will help you in an email.  I understand that everyone has a budget, but I think that it is vitally important that you are happy with the person that is going to be conducting your wedding. You should feel happy and comfortable with them, and I don’t think you can find that out just by asking “how much do you charge?” in a email.

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It is the same with the other aspects of your day. Meet the wedding coordinator at the venues that you like. It can make a huge difference in your day. I’m sure you won’t care if the venue you like is going to be an extra $200 if you have a coordinator that makes you feel good about the way you want your day to run, compared with someone that makes you feel that you have to do things exactly the way that they always do it. I’ve spoken to couples who have chosen their venue and paid, then the coordinator leaves and they are forced to have someone else look after them. It has changed the whole feel of the experience and some have even said that they probably would have not booked the venue if they had have known that the other person would take over.

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It’s the same with flowers, your dress, everything. Photography is a great example, no one is going to care if they paid a couple of bucks more as long as they are comfortable with who is taking their photos. It will be obvious in the shots. Sometimes saving $50 is never worth the saving. It costs you more in headaches if there are issues along the way.

Meet with the people that will be involved with your day. How do they make you feel? Do you feel excited about the wedding that you have planned? Comfortable with what they will bring to the table for your day? If yes the they are probably a good fit. If they make you question what you have dreamed for your day, or make you feel not quite right, keep looking. The perfect person for your perfect day is out there.

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Thank you again to Love Journal for the photos on the blog this week. Check out their website and facebook page for lots more amazing images.

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6 Reasons to have a Wedding Rehearsal

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Why have a wedding rehearsal? Not all couples think that a rehearsal is important, and depending on how you define rehearsal, sometimes I agree. For me a wedding rehearsal is not all about practicing what will be said on the day, there is no need for any of that. You don’t want to go over your vows, you don’t want them to feel overdone, and don’t want to go through the whole ceremony by any means.  You don’t even have to have your rehearsal at the location, although that is really helpful, sometimes it just isn’t practical to do so. The important things are.

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1. Knowing where everyone is going to stand.
This is really important. Where is everyone going to stand on the day? Even just knowing this takes so much pressure off on the day. All of your attendants don’t need to be at the rehearsal. There are 100 reasons why they might not be able to come, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the 2 most important people on the day know where they are going to stand, and that in itself is reassuring. Even when a rehearsal isn’t possible. I’ve met with couples at a cafe and we draw up a little diagram.

2. Practice walking to your song, or time the walk along the aisle.
Working out when to start walking towards the ceremony. It is a good idea to see how long the song that you have chosen to enter to will go for and if you have enough time to get from point A to point B. Do you need a separate song for any attendants? This is a great time to work all of this out.

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3. Where will the sun be on the day.
This is something that people tend not to take into consideration. Think about were the sun will be at the time of the ceremony (doesn’t matter too much if you are in a chapel) make sure that you are not going to be standing in a spot where the sun will be blaring in your eyes as you try to make promises to the love of your life.

4. Will everyone fit in the area that you want the ceremony to be in.
This is important if you have a few attendants each and you are getting married in that lovely little chapel that you’ve always had your heart set on. Make sure that everyone will fit and they know roughly how close to stand to the next person. Its a great way to make sure that everything will look good in your photos. (Some people even invite their photographer to the rehearsal so that they are happy with the layout too.)

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5. Helps Dad or whomever is walking you down the aisle, know what they are doing.
This is a big job, and if the person walking you down the aisle isn’t sure what to do this can be awkward. At the rehearsal we can go through if your Dad shakes hands with your husband to be, or gives him a hug. It lets Dad know to give you a kiss and sit down, not just stand around not knowing where he is supposed to go after he gets you safely to the end of the aisle. (Having a rehearsal doesn’t guarantee that your Dad won’t get so emotional on the day that he forgets what we practice, but at least we tried)

6. Helps me to know who I need to save seats for on the day.
I have no problem telling people that seats in the front row are for your family, but it helps if we have worked out roughly how many chairs will be in the front row and how many you need for your VIP part of your family.
Have you been part of a wedding that didn’t have a rehearsal and you felt a bit lost or have you attended a wedding where it was obvious that no one really knew where they were supposed to be?

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Thanks once again to Untamed Images Photography for the photos on the blog this week check out their website and facebook page for more of their work.

 

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Great wedding photo App

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I have previously blogged about Social Media and weddings, but at a wedding that I conducted in April (see that Blog here), Chloe and Sean used a fantastic wedding photo sharing app. I had heard about them before but never used one. It was really easy to find, download and sign up. It’s quite user friendly and had a layout that is a little bit like instagram.

They gave their guests a card at the ceremony that had all of the information on it. You could also set it up and send it out with your invitations. It sent me an email after I signed up, suggesting that you put up photos from hens days and other photos of the happy couple. This app is called Wedpics, and is available from the AppStore on your iphone.

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I’ve written previously about phone apps and social media use at your wedding, but I think this is a great way to share your images amongst your guests and friends without everyone seeing them, especially people that are not invited to the wedding. Another wedding that I attended used a hashtag on instagram that all of the guests could use so that they could share and collect images.  Have you been to a wedding that had a great app or a way of sharing all of the photos from the big day?

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