Believe me when I say to you that your vision for your wedding day is beautiful. I know how long you have waited for this moment and you have so many ideas and want it to be perfect... and I want it to be perfect, too! I will bend over backwards to make your day perfect. Literally. However, there is one thing that I have that you likely do not: experience.
As a professional, I have likely had years of experience in whatever I do. I have likely photographed/DJ'd/coordinated/catered/designed cakes for tons of couples every single year. I have likely heard and answered all of the frequently asked questions. I have likely seen every scenario that can play out at a wedding. So when you want to hire me for your wedding, first and foremost, I AM EXCITED. I cannot wait to work with you because every wedding and couple are different, and I love them all the same. And you likely hired me because you have seen my work, and liked what you saw. Right?
There is strategy and technique behind my work that you like so much. There is years of experience that created those images. There are secrets to the way I do things that make me different from every other vendor.
So while I want to make your wedding day absolutely perfect, I also ask that you trust me.
I want to you trust me when I make recommendations to your timeline.
I want you to trust me when I asked you to go to this seemingly average photo location because I, too, have a vision.
I want you to trust me when I make small adjustments throughout the wedding day to get the best images.
I want you to trust me on problem-solving during your day so that you don't have to deal with it.
The bottom line is: don't hire anyone you cannot trust at your wedding. No matter what their price is, no matter what they offer you, no matter how good they are, if you don't feel like you can trust them, you'll never feel at ease. When you book the right vendor, you should take a deep breath and feel weight falling off of your shoulders. It should feel something like, "ah, I'm so happy we booked her. She will be so much fun to work with. She will be a huge help on the wedding day. She is one vendor I don't have to worry about."
Trusting your vendors takes so much weight off of you during the months of wedding planning. It takes so much weight off of you on your wedding day. It makes you at ease with all of the unknowns that will inevitably show up on your wedding day.
How to spot a vendor you can't trust:
1. Bad reviews online. Check Yelp. Check WeddingWire. Check The Knot. Check Google. Check Facebook! I understand that things happen and sometimes a client can be unhappy about something that was beyond control. But if multiple (upon multiple) reviews are bad reviews, avoid them like the plague.
2. First impressions. When you inquire or meet a potential vendor for the first time, they should be excited and engaged. If they seem like it's 'just another meeting' with 'just another client' that is having 'just another wedding,' they clearly aren't (and won't) be invested in your vision for your wedding day. These vendors are likely just in it for the money, and if they don't love what they do (like I do), they'll never care enough to go above and beyond for their clients (I will).
3. Straight answers. A lot can be said about a vendor who can give a straight answer without hesitation, especially on the 'tough' questions, like contracts or cancellation policies. It's never a good start if you ask a question about a policy, or give them a "what would you do if..." scenario and they can't give you a straight (or good) answer. Many photographers can talk the talk, but if they can't walk the walk, you should keep shopping. Honesty is key, here.
4. Experience. Now, before I go any further I want to preface this with the fact that everyone starts somewhere and there is a budget for every wedding. I started small and inexperienced and worked my way up from there, so I'm NOT saying that inexperienced photographers are bad photographers. I know plenty of young, amateur photographers who are incredible at what they do. What I AM saying is experience can give you a lot that a young vendor's sheer preparation cannot. Years photographing weddings has given me so many opportunities to work with clients on every place on the spectrum. I have encountered day-of emergencies. I have had to be flexible last-minute. I have had to deal with drastically altered timelines due to unforeseen circumstances. I have troubleshooted malfunctioning equipment during crucial moments. I have dealt with less-than-desirable photo circumstances. I have shot with terrible weather. Someone who has only been in business a year cannot speak to certain situations or be a resource for you, simply due to lack of experience. It's not because they're bad. It's not because they're ignorant. It's not because they're incapable. It's simply because they haven't "been there, done that" yet. And it can be hard to trust someone who doesn't know what they don't know.
5. Communication. I have heard horror stories from brides where for months leading up to the wedding, they can't get ahold of their vendors. I'm not talking responding a day or two late to an email. I'm talking repeated phone calls and emails to said vendor with absolutely no response. This is a HUGE. RED. FLAG. Either they are way too busy to be taking on you as a client or they just don't care enough to give their clients the attention they need and deserve. As a bride, I would be an absolute wreck, especially if I've already given money to said vendor.