How Being a Bride Impacted My Career
If there is one single thing that impacted the experience I give my clients, it was being a bride. I’ve learned a few things in my own experience that has really changed the way I see things when I’m working with other brides, and I feel that I can be more empathetic to certain situations now that I have experienced it first hand! Here are five key things I feel that I have learned through my own wedding process that has shifted my thinking as a wedding vendor.
5 Things I Learned As A Bride That Impacted My Career As A Wedding Photographer
1. Family photos are so important.
I’m going to tell you guys a secret. Generally speaking, family photos are one of the least favorite parts of the photographer’s day. It’s also very little fun for the bride and groom if they have an extra long list. Over the years of photographing weddings, I’ve grown to like this challenge, and I’ve got a system down that has been really helpful in keeping people happy! But even with a great system, there is still a lot of pressure to be as quick as possible while also keeping people happy and getting great photos!
After I experienced being a bride, I realized that almost nothing mattered more than our family photos. Why? Because, we have not all been together and taken a nice family photo in over five years. In those five years, we’ve added six people to the family (new kids and new spouses). My brother lives across the country, and for him to be there with us was something we all treasured and wanted documented (as a group).
Understanding this from a new perspective has really affirmed my systems and helped me to photograph these groups with more joy, knowing that these people are going to be hanging these photos on the wall. Sometimes, these are the first of photos to be printed, because of how special they are! I printed our family photo before I made prints of any of just my husband and I.
2. The more guest photos, the better!
Just about every single person at our wedding was extremely near and dear to us. Nearly every couple has to make painful cuts on their list for each of their guests to have a seat at their wedding. Getting my photos back and seeing candid moments of our favorite people in life having fun at our wedding, or even the smiles at the camera while they were sitting at their table during make me happy!
3. Brides are busy. Like, really busy.
Planning a wedding is another part-time job. Really. Something that was really stressful for me when I was getting married was fielding a million questions (some of them that were so pointless, too), and also the never-ending homework.
I’m always looking for ways to be as efficient as possible now, while still giving my clients the experience they deserve. One thing I’ve realized that helps is scheduling a meeting to go over final details, rather than sending a long survey of questions. Adding homework to the long list is a bit overwhelming sometimes, so just blocking off that time to go over things together is great! If we have our venue walk-through closer to the wedding, I just do it all while we’re there to save them time. This also helps us to get to know one another a little better, since we are working on it together, which makes everyone feel more comfortable together on the big day!
4. Quick email responses are HUGE.
When you’re a bride and you send an email to a vendor that has already taken your money to deliver services, but you don’t hear back from them for 1-2 weeks until you email yet again, there is nothing more frustrating or stressful. It’s in those moments that you wonder, “They’re ignoring me. Are they even going to show up?”
It’s my goal to always be the vendor who gets back to people quickly, to make them feel valued, and to let them know that if there is one person they can depend on, I’m it! I’ve learned while planning my wedding there are no excuses for an email not getting an response.
Keep in mind, wedding vendors are usually very busy with multiple weddings on the weekend, so if you email on Friday, give them until Tuesday to get back to you. The general rule is 24 hours on a business day in the wedding industry, but 1-2 weeks is unacceptable.
5. I’m not just taking these photos for the couple, I’m taking them for their whole families!
There are a lot of people at weddings who are SO excited to get photos back. Bridesmaids want to post those photos they got alone with their close friend or sister. Mom wants that picture with her firstborn son on his wedding day. Parents want to send grandparents prints of the couple. I’ve learned that it’s not just about making the bride and groom happy, though they are my first priority! But, if I can make other people happy while making the bride and groom happy, more people win! This is why I love grabbing extra pictures of mom and dad during dinner or grandma while she is sitting in the front row at the ceremony. People treasure all of the moments in-between (I sure did!!).
Thank you all for following along with my #jennajosephbridalexperience! It was so fun sharing all of the things I’ve experienced and learned through my wedding planning process, and I sincerely hope I’ve shared some valuable information with all of you!
If you want to read the whole series, you can catch up here:
Week 1: How I Asked My Bridesmaids
Week 2: The Two Most Important Words of Wedding Planning
Week 3: Finding A Wedding Venue
Week 4: Choosing My Vendors
Week 5: I Thought Planning My Engagement Session Would Be Easy!
Week 6: 8 Little Wedding To-Do’s That Weren’t So Little (…for me
Week 7: Effective Wedding Communication Changes Everything
Week 8: How I Set Up My Wedding Photos For Success
Week 9: My Wedding Day Part 1 – Getting Ready
Week 10: My Wedding Day Part 2 – The Ceremony
Week 11: My Wedding Day Part 3 – The Reception
Ceremony Venue: Corona Del Mar Community Church
Ceremony Music: Marck McKay, Lindsey Cargill, Jullian Hernandez
Officiant: Steve Salomon
Reception Venue: The Wyndham Hotel Irvine
My Wedding Photos: Rachel Jay of France Photographers
Day-of Coordination: KC Designs
Styling, Florals, Calligraphy: Carla Kayes Floral Design
Bridal Hair: Jessie Kenney
Bridal Makeup: Raeleen B. & Co.
Groom’s Hair: Erin Heck
Tuxedos: Friar Tux
Bridesmaid Gowns: Rent The Runway
Custom Wedding Gown: Jennifer Sitchler of Eden Couture
Cake: Have Your Cake and Eat It
Cupcakes: Kiandra Chun
Donuts!: Krispy Kreme
DJ: Daniel Caban
Cinematography: Nearly North Visuals