I shot a wedding in Mexico once.
My travel agent, along with a few other souls concerned for my well-being, made it a point to repeatedly tell me that when I left the airport I was to completely ignore everyone trying to talk to me, sell me things, or steal my kidneys, and keep walking outside until I found My Person. Because My Person was going to take me safely where I wanted to go. All those other folks? Not so much.
During the planning stages of your wedding, you’re going to be thrown into a giant, glittery pile of an entire industry trying to sell you things. Some legit, some shady. Your job is to ask questions, contact references, and do your homework until you sort through the noise and find the vendors that will help bring your love story party to life. Because while you may not end up in a bathtub full of ice with no kidneys in Tijuana, there’s nothing quite like realizing what you were promised isn’t what you ended up with on your wedding day due to some underhanded individuals out to make money.
To help you safely wade through the BS you’re about to encounter by those Educated Beyond Their Intelligence in the wedding industry, here’s a few thoughts to keep in mind as you prance towards your wedding day;
1. There are no rules in the wedding industry. Absolutely none. Anyone can be any type of vendor within twenty-four hours. A few friends leaving reviews, a few fancy business cards, and BAM! A wedding vendor is born. Research your vendors.
2. If WeddingWire and The Knot were humans, they’d be slurring drunks in a bar, flinging their numbers at anyone that would take them, groping at anyone within reach. Great vendors have their awards, and terrible vendors have their awards. Trust them at your own risk. ( You can read more about that here )
3. Most wedding traditions have ridiculous origins (Google it), and it’s 100% OK to ignore them on your wedding day. Some of my happiest couples walked each other down the aisle, helped each other get ready, and never tossed a garter or bouquet. Your wedding is a celebration of your love story. Celebrate however fits that best, regardless of tears shed by those not getting to have an opinion about your day. #daww
4. Watch out for venues/vendors that claim rights to your wedding photos in their contracts. This *usually* comes from degenerate, lowlife types that want to use the photographer’s work without giving them credit, typically unless he/she pays for it. Shady, right? Aside from giving the rest of us reasons to laugh them out of business, it’s also illegal. Bonus points for taking photos of their contracts and sending them either to me or your wedding photographer.
5. Experienced vendors get booked far in advance, and a lot of the vendors you’ll want are currently looking like a steak in a shark tank to everyone else wanting your date. December through March is insanity in the wedding world, so if there’s a vendor that you want, book them early.
Lastly, since a picture truly *is* worth a thousand words, here’s an example from a commercial shoot in Arizona of what a good portion of the wedding industry does from December through March.
Research your vendors.
And cover your donkeys.