Looking Back, What I Should Have Done Differently

I have told you many great things about my wedding so far.  We stayed in our small budget, everything was beautiful, ect.  However, no FBF wedding goes off without a hitch (nor do many of the $20,000+ for that fact!).  And now for a few not so glamorous details.  Looking back, there would be a few things I would have done differently.  But, really only one thing I absolutely would have done different.  And sadly it was a BIG thing….my photographer.

Here’s the sad tale. I’m a photographer, shot I can’t tell you how many weddings. While trying to stay in our small budget, I broke my cardinal rule and decided to go with a friend to do the photos……She lives in Wyoming (I live in GA). I sent her money in July to purchase a plane ticket. 3 days before my wedding she calls to say she never bought the ticket and was flying stand-by, but 99% sure she wouldn’t make it! Unfortunately, she did make it.

She put us 3 hours behind the day before the wedding, which means I was also WAY behind the day of.  If this was a wedding where I had a planner and a crew this may not have been such a big deal.  But, everything (the food and the decorating) was all supposed to be done the day before by myself, my fiancé and my Mom.  Plus, we had never even been to this cabin.  I had no idea where everything was even going to go!

She was rude to everyone, a few colorful words were used by many guests to describe her. BUT, after all the grief and stress she put on me that day, I thought I could deal with it as long as the pictures turn out great! To my coplete horror she FINALLY sent me a flash drive 2 months later. Over half are out of focus, overexposed, underexposed. And the other half she has lost! I am in complete dispair! I have no bridals, we have maybe 3-5 good shots of the two of us as a couple. We have none of the dances, or with our bridal party and are missing family photos. In total we have about 92 images from her that were usable.  It just breaks my heart!

I share this with you to hopefully help you from the same mistake I made.  I had a feeling that maybe I shouldn’t mix friendship with business.  I rarely shoot weddings for friends myself.  But, I quieted my fears.  I thought to myself, she will do a good job and it’s only costing about $700-$750.  You can’t beat that…..Yes, yes you can!  I should have stuck with my gut instincts and hired a strictly professional person.  All the while this woman was driving me absolutely crazy, but I felt I couldn’t really lose my temper because she wasn’t just an employee, she was a friend (a distant friend, but still).

There are two saving graces to this sad tale!  One, I had many guests who took some great shots! I am able to pad her shoddy work with some of their images.  And two, the important things still happened that day.  I still go to have a wonderful moment with Craig before the ceremony.  The ceremony was beautiful and we got married.

We’ll be doing some new photos on our anniversary.  But, I got the most important memories in my mind anyways!

I’ve already posted many of the ones I was able to use in posts and on the Facebook page. Here is a sample of why I’m heartbroken.

I wanted a “sneak peek” so bad.  Just a moment for the two of us before the ceremony.  They were all out of focus or overexposed like this one.  My Mom made this bolero for me.  She and I both wanted some photos.  The photographer took about 10….all out of focus.

 Sadly this is the best shot of us with our bridal party.

 This is the one bridal shot I have.  It was close to being good.  If she had just exposed it a little more.

 me and my girls.  Kept telling her the lighting was bad.  I was in the shade and they had the sun shining right in their faces.

because she put us so far behind, the ceremony started an hour late.  Which meant the sun was not where it supposed to be during the ceremony.  I picked that spot because of how the sun would shine at 3:00, not 4:00.  So, the whole ceremony has the sun shining right in our friend’s face and on me (and not in a good way as you see).

I don’t want to overload you on bad photos.  I’m sure you get the gist by now.  This is a visual presentation of what to avoid.  This along with the fact that she lost the card of some family shots, the dancing, the bride and groom shots, the shots we took with our Best Man and Maid of Honor, my bridals, and many others….. To which, she just shrugged off.

Make sure you intrust your precious memories to someone who will treat them that way.   Do you have friends that recently got married?  Ask them for referrals.  Check local business sites, the BBB, and blogs.  I’m someone who knows better, and I should have trusted my gut.  I hope that this helps you to do the same!


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