Tuesday, January 10, 2012

{ Photos } Photographer Decisions

Over the last month or so, I had been researching photographers all over the Twin Cities area. It was almost as frustrating as looking for a venue, to be honest. You could look for years and year and year and never really have seen them all.

First I looked for style, then for price. If I liked the style, I bookmarked the website until I could check their price. It was early on that I realize that I couldn't do it all at once without driving myself simply insane.

Having originally thought we found a good match at the wedding fair, I now had a better idea of what we really wanted: a contemporary photographer who was fun, took great images that were unique and not old school posed; perhaps even a bit photo journalistic.

I narrowed it all down to three photographers and began emailing. One never responded to me (stop me if you've heard this one before... re: my wedding dress). Two responded immediately and enthusiastically.

The first vendor was out of town and unable to meed right away, so I scheduled an appointment with the second. On a not-so-special night, my mom and I met with the second vendor to talk over coffee. She was professional, friendly and we really liked her. Leaving the meeting, I just sort of had a feeling that I needed to talk to the other vendor before I made a full decision.

I was very happy I did. I had a phone call meeting with the first vendor and we hit it off right away. When I got off the phone, Carl commented "so are you, like, best friends now or what?". We decided to schedule the required engagement session with her; you know, to feel each other out and make sure everything jives and we like her style.

Working with Tracey was so wonderful. I was my normal uptight self and it took a little bit for me to relax, but we ended up with some really nice photos that we were quite happy with:

I'm happy to say that this end decision was very easy. On Monday, I sent out signed contract to Tracey Joy Photography, booking our wedding day. I couldn't be more excited to work with her and I can't wait to see our wedding photos through her lens. She was the perfect amount of directive (which, I admit, I need) and still like and fun the whole time.

My guy instinct to wait paid off, here! Sometimes, you just have a feeling about things!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

{ Attire } Dress Panic, Part Two

Uuuuuugh. I have been waiting to post this because I was hoping things would change, but they just... haven't.

I'm seriously stressed out, now. I know I have plenty of time, I know I don't need to worry yet... but this is starting to drive me insane.

Well, miracle of miracles, I made my THIRD call to the dress shop on Tuesday and they called me back that night at 7:00pm. I was a little frustrated that it took them twelve hours to return my call, but really I was frustrated that it took three phone calls over a month and a half to get them to call me back.

The owner made no excuses, claiming she had never gotten the messages I had left previously. When I confronted her on this, she simply said her husband (the front desk worker) had told her there was a message today, so she called me back as soon as her appointments were done.

Laughing like it was a non-issue that I repeated I had called three times now, she said that my shipment date for my dress had been pushed back due to the custom hem I was getting on the dress. Ok, that's fine... but why didn't I get a call to tell me about the delay?

Most of all, why didn't I get a call when she knew the first planned ship date, like she had promised me in September when I put my money down on the dress?

Not giving me any real answer for this, she just laughed and apologized for being so forgetful. I don't want the person handling my wedding dress to be forgetful.

She rushed through some jargon about dealing with vendors and told me that she would check with Da Vinci in the morning to see if/when it had shipped and she would call me back the next afternoon since it was too late to call them that night. I let her know I expected the phone call and we hung up.

Wednesday came and went. Thursday came and went. Friday came and went... and here we are at Saturday.

I have yet to hear back from the shop about their conversation with the dress vendor. This is four days later, now.

I feel like the Bridezilla is creeping out, but is it too much to expect that I have some communication from them, especially after they were the ones who promised it? Why do I have to take the time to keep hounding them about this?

I feel like I can't trust the word of this shop anymore. I'm already to the point where I have contacted the bridesmaids to tell them I'm not comfortable with them ordering their dresses there anymore. It's unfortunate, because this means more work for all of us going on a dress hunt again, but I just can't rely on the communication I am getting. What if something like this happens with the girls' dresses? I just am not ready to deal with this again, or to put that stress on them.

When we first went in, they were so firendly and so personal. It really felt like an independant shop that would take care of their customers because it mattered, and they cared. So now, this is where I am at. I'm angry, frustrated, and I feel like I have become a number and a credit card to this shop.

I guess all that's left to do is keep hounding them til I have the dress in hand, and then quit worrying.

That 'things always go wrong in wedding planning' thing is starting to show itself, finally. I guess I was about due for an upset!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

{ Planning } Getting Back on Track

Welcome to 2012! You know… this means it’s 7 months until the wedding. Wow. How did that happen? The holidays certainly made a lot of time zoom by.
Seven months… I got to thinking. I should probably check in on the check lists in my books! What am I behind in (because I know that I certainly am behind in at least a bit of planning…) So far the list doesn't look too bad:

  1. Draw up a guest list
    Uuuugh the guest list. Does this ever really get set in stone? I'm about 2/3 done collecting names and addresses and I just sort of gave up until the holidays were over. We'll call it a half check.
  2. Determine a budget
    The budget was another painful but easy task. I think we have a firm idea of what we are willing to put into the event, and my spreadsheet it helping track all spending so we know if and when we go over budget on anything. So far, a nice check in the box.
  3. Get engagement ring appraised and insured
    I let this one slide, even though it was, like, the second task in my wedding planning guides. Carl and I have an appointment with an independent appraiser for the 11th of this month, so we can call this in process.
  4. Set wedding date
    Well, we all know the saga that was setting the wedding date, so we can check this off the list for certain. It's nice to have a solid date that is ours... It has made planning and focusing so much easier.
  5. Book venue for ceremony and receptionWe, at least partially, let our venue determine our date. There was no use in getting our hearts set on a place when our date might not have even been available, so we went looking with an open mind. We're booked at the venue for our ceremony and reception, so that's another check!
  6. Hire a photographer
    The good news is that we have a contract in hand to sign with Tracey Joy Photography. I was sort of stressed trying to find a professional wedding photog, but Tracey was referred to me by one of my bridesmaids. We clicked on the phone, did a photo session with her and the rest is history. Check!
  7. Book and officiant
    There is some debate still open on this. Perhaps we want to have a friend get ordained and officiate. Perhaps the pastor from my family's church whom I used to babysit for should be the officiant... There are lingering thoughts in the air on this one, so really that means that nothing has been decided at all.
  8. Choose bridal partyAaaall done. This one was easy-peasy!
  9. Book rooms at hotels for out of town guestsYou know... I keep saying I'm going to call the hotels, and then I don't. I hate phones. I hate calling people. This task seems hard yet so very simple. Mer.
  10. Finalize guest list
    -sigh- see #1.
  11. Start designing invitationsI have ideas. Some thoughts. A vague inkling... Does that count?
  12. Choose save the date cards
    While I am determined to make them, I really like the idea, at this point, or ordering them. We want to get them out by the end of the month or at least before the end of February, so I guess I better focus on this one. Knowing people's addresses might help...
  13. Book DJ for reception
    We know who we want to book. Meet our DJ:

    Ok, crazy cat lady jokes aside, we do need to sit down and just send in our request for the DJ company. Another one that we keep saying we are going to do and then we just never seem to get around to...
  14. Begin looking at wedding gowns
    Done! So very done. I was done with this before we even had a date and a venue.

    Now it's just time to focus and get back on the planning train. Who's with me? Hopefully with the time I have now that he holidays are over, I will be able to get a move on some of these things. I would hate to fall too far behind and just end up stressing myself out more. I know me. I do that to me a lot. Lets add that to the list -- don't stress myself out. Think it'll work?