Awhile back my husband and I finally got a Saturday off together; we had taken the kids to lunch at our favorite S&B’s downtown and were juuuuust about to place an order when my phone rang. I answered and there was a frantic venue coordinator on the other end. “Hi Leia, are you booked today?” “Um, no. But I am about to have a date with a cheeseburger-why what is going on?” “Well, I have a bride here who’s photographer is a no-show; I need someone here in the next few hours.” “Wow! Ok! I’ll see you in a few hours!”
A wave of panic swept over me. Not for me, not for my situation, but for the Bride. How is she feeling right now? How did this happen? So. Many. Questions. My husband and I looked at each other, wide-eyed and in disbelief as I relayed what I knew of the situation. I have heard of stories like this. It’s so crazy that things like this happen. It would be like calling an Uber, and Marty from Back to the Future shows up. It’s so confusing and surprising- that you almost really can’t put the shock into words. All I knew is that we had to put our game faces on for this bride, and make her day right.
See, what most clients don’t understand is that not only are we wedding photographers, we are also unofficial therapists. We advise you throughout the day. “Should I put the garter belt on now?” “I feel like I’m going to throw up.” “Would my mother in law be mad if we did a first look?” “This is MY wedding, and I want to take pictures out in the rain.” “My MOH and I just got into a huge fight yesterday” “I don’t want pictures with my veil on, but my mother does” “My dad is bringing his girlfriend to the wedding and I DON’T want her in any of the pictures!!”
You name it, I’ve heard it ALL. We are professionals though, and we take great pride in helping couples through the day. We are either in a church or out in a field every week sometimes multiple times a week, believe me- we HAVE the experience. We WANT to make sure your day is a success. We want to see happy smiling faces, so when something goes wrong, we go into “fix mode.”
We arrive, talk with the Coordinator again, and then meet the Bride. To my surprise, she is calm, cheerful, and has the support of her bridesmaids. I’m relieved. I get her off to the side in private, get more details on the situation, and asked her how she would like me to proceed. Just walking into this, I have no relationship with the Bride. I have no idea what her wants and needs are, or her expectations. Typically I spend months corresponding with Brides. We’ve done engagement sessions or Bridal sessions, I’ve met their family. Today- I am literally walking into a wedding where we know no one. She assures me that she is just happy we are there, and to treat this as if we’ve been planning this the whole time. OK! I can do that!
Needless to say, the rest of the day went off without a hitch, and she was lovely to work with. I’ve only read about situations like this- but now I get to write about it.
It’s hard to know how to prevent this from happening in the future. I wish I could tell a Bride, “do this and this and this” and your wedding vendor will perform the way you had planned! All I can offer is this:
Make sure they are a vendor that has been around for awhile- it helps if one of your friends know them, or has worked with them. Make sure you check in with the vendor regularly. If you booked them last year, and it’s been 5 months since you heard from them- write them to make sure everything is still on track for your big day. I’m big on confirmation emails. I want to assure, reassure, and assure the bride again that I. Will. Be. There. We are ALL busy. I’m busy running a business, running my girls around like an unpaid Uber, and dealing with my husbands crazy truck-driving schedule. Yeah, I’m busy. So are you. You shouldn’t have to check in with me to see if I’m going to show up. As busy as I am, I’m serious about running my business and giving you PEACE of mind. So while I may not email you during the day, rest assured you may get an email from me at 9:30 at night after everyone has gone to bed- checking in with you, making sure you don’t need my help with anything, making sure none of your plans have fallen off the rail…. I’m here for you girl!
I hope you all have a very Happy New Year! Big fluffy hugs to all of my 2019 brides. We CAN’T wait!! :-)