I would love to share my thoughts and process for selecting our photographers, Jeff & Leaha, and why we chose to fly them cross-country from New Jersey to sunny San Diego, California! Traditions have changed over time and looking for the perfect photographers is now crossing state lines and photographers are traveling across the country to shoot weddings! We had the pleasure to meet Jeff & Leaha at Tony’s cousin’s wedding in Texas almost two years ago. Having the ability to see them work on the spot was incredible and showcasing their work with the same day slideshow – really blew us both away! I felt this need to talk to Leaha, she just has that beautiful character that you feel you want to know her. We immediately connected, she asked if I was married, while pulling my left hand up to see if I had a ring :) …my response “No but I hope to be engaged sometime soon!” (Tony & I had been dating for over 6 years at this point and were talking about it for the last year or so ;) To that Leaha remarks, “I want to shoot your wedding!”
After getting home from Texas and being so impressed with all POPography did for Tony’s cousin I immediately started following their blog and Facebook page – I had to keep watching and be ever impressed by their work. I will say, Leaha puts up a fabulous blog…I mean I love to see her photos from various weddings, engagement sessions and such, but I also really enjoy reading her various tips and expectations for your wedding day!
BOOK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER EARLY IN THE PLANNING PROCESS
Low and behold about 6 months after Texas, Tony asked me to marry him on the beautiful sands of Coronado Beach in front of the majestic Hotel del Coronado! Literally one of the first things that we did after getting engaged was to reach out to Jeff and Leaha. I strongly felt a need to secure our photographer. In my mind, it was the most important vendor we could book! After all, photographs are the one thing you’ll have after your wedding to capture all of those beautiful and fabulous moments! I was not intimidated at all about flying a vendor in, especially a photographer! Remember, everlasting images! So we started long-distance chats over email and phone to get to know each other a bit better and let me tell you, connecting with Jeff & Leaha was the most easiest of things – they are so real and beautiful. We wanted to be their friends from the beginning and voila- we sealed the deal to have them fly out to California!
BUILD A RELATIONSHIP AND STAY IN CONTACT WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER (In most instances, you will meet for the first time the day before the wedding)
In the meantime, wedding planning is happening. Leaha would check in from time to time and we’d touch base with one another. We also had friends asking how everything is coming along…I can not tell you how many friends, both guys and gals would launch into making sure to find a really great photographer. So many people seem to have watched the budget too closely and scrimped when it came to their photographers and disappointment was what was left. I was proud to say this was not going to be us; we had the best photographers lined up! A few months before the wedding we worked closely with Leaha to give details around our wedding which she in turn creates a schedule for your wedding day, with your guidance and blessing of course – this was a huge help and we shared it on with other vendors asking about the plan for the day. For us, we wanted everyone at our wedding, including our vendors, to feel they are a part of the day, not just in a professional capacity but also to have fun and enjoy all the moments with us! We encouraged Jeff & Leaha to fly in early and join us with our family and friends for dinner the day before the wedding. We wanted them to get to know our family/friends and us and really feel comfortable. We also encouraged them to stay a bit after as well as we were hosting a pool party the day after our wedding at our venue, the Lafayette Hotel. It was so wonderful; they did come in early and stay for the pool relaxation and fun! We had an absolute blast with them, getting to know them and welcoming them into our family!
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WILL BUILD TRUST FOR WEDDING DAY
A few more points if I could…the day of your wedding… Allow for whatever may come! Remember that awesome schedule I told you about that Leaha helped me create…I never once looked at it on my wedding day, it didn’t matter because Jeff & Leaha were on it! They were never watching the clock (at least not that we ever saw) and kept the day going on without us even thinking twice. We just went along with whatever they had to say/suggest and if there were times we needed to add a bit more time to get a stellar shot in, we did it! You’ll never get those moments back, so take the time to do what you feel is right, let the photographers capture the beauty and most importantly, just go with it!
DO YOUR WEDDING YOUR WAY!
A wonderful idea we actually read from Leaha’s blog was about an Unplugged Ceremony – LOVE this!
So we asked everyone to respect our wish to have an unplugged ceremony where they leave their cameras and phones in their pockets and handbags. We wanted everyone to be present in the moment of our vows for the ceremony and not be worried about getting a particular photo. After all, that’s what we hired Jeff & Leaha for and also we really didn’t want to lose the beautiful faces in the photographer’s pictures with cameras and cell phones all up in the air and in the way. We had a fun crafty sign telling people about this and also had our pastor mention it before he and Tony came in together. Trust me, no one missed out, our photographers captured the ceremony beautifully and we’ve been able to share those images with everyone through PASS!
This may go without saying but I feel the need to point it out…Don’t be afraid to do what you and your groom want…it is your day after all! Don’t feel you have to have certain things a part of your day just because it’s tradition. Make your day about you…for us we did a First Look and found it to be the most beautiful time for us! It’s a private time for us to see each other for the first time and take our time to have that moment while capturing some beautiful photos! The ceremony still had us so excited and we just loved every moment – really the first look and ceremony gave us two special moments for us! Not to mention, the first look helped in getting us to the fun after the ceremony more quickly!
We did not do all things traditional at our wedding…we did not have a wedding party, it was our wedding day so we had just us up there but still were surrounded by our amazing friends & family while we got ready. Friends actually appreciated that they didn’t have to buy a dress/accessories and all that goes into being a bridesmaid. We did not have a cake cutting, instead we had cake pops – because, well they’re just super yummy and everyone loves them and we didn’t feel shoving cake in each other’s faces was for us. There were other traditional things we decided weren’t for us as well…we don’t regret a single thing! We created our day for us and that is all that matters. No regrets! Have a wonderful time planning your beautiful day, it’s such an amazing journey! And when it comes time for your wedding day, enjoy every aspect of it and don’t be afraid to FLY in the best photographers possible! Hands down the best decision we made for our wedding was to bring Jeff and Leaha out to San Diego!
From one bride to another,
See Mindy & Tony’s Wedding –> HERE
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