Welcome back to another awesome Q+A with the talented, creative and knowledgable Valley & Co. Last month you commented with your burning wedding planning questions and Aleah and Nick are here to give you some more of their stellar advice.  Remember!  We’ll be back in December with more guidance and know-how from this dynamic duo so make sure you leave your question in the comments!

How do you pick a photographer that will be perfect for you? What questions should you ask them when you talk to them? What qualities should you look for? I have no experience in photography, but want fabulous pictures and just not sure what questions to ask to get the product I want! Thanks!

Choosing a photographer is a key piece to your wedding puzzle. The special images they capture will live on and you’ll look back on them 50 years from now. Selecting a photographer that you are comfortable with is incredibly important. Start by perusing websites and blogs to help you develop an idea of a style that you like. Ask your planner or friends for recommendations they trust and have work with. When you find someone whose style and you start a dialogue, you like you can send them links to those images you like to give them a better idea of the style you are going for. Be sure to ask a photographer about their backgrounds and how that plays into their techniques and style. What do they do for fun? What’s their favorite type of location for weddings?

Possibly our number one photographer interviewing tip: give them room to be creative in your conversation. They are artists and need room to be creative both leading up to and on your wedding day. Questions are fantastic and necessary when getting to know them to ensure you are clear about what you are getting and what you want, but clicking with their personalities is so important. Once you’ve had a nice chat some nitty-gritty specifics to be clear on:

How much coverage will I be getting on my wedding day? Will there be a second shooter {having coverage for both of you is invaluable}? How do you prefer to capture portrait shots? What about candid shots? How will you tell the story of our wedding day? Approximately how many edited images will I receive? What’s your turnaround time post-wedding? What are your copyright clauses for image usage?

If you can, set up a pre-wedding shoot with the photographer to ensure you gel and have fun with then. Laughter and silliness should be present! When it comes down to it, your photographer{s} is going to be with you during every special and intimate moment on your wedding day. When it boils down be positive that they put you at ease and that you and your fiancé enjoy their company.

Photo by by Jeremy Leffel

My fiance and I are planning on having a Friday wedding in order to get the venue we want (it’s already booked every Saturday next October). I was wondering if you could tell me if it’s still acceptable to have a wedding at 6 p.m. on a Friday or should we consider having it at 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. to give guests plenty of time to arrive. Thanks!

Friday weddings can be so lovely and a fantastic way to kick off the weekend. It also leaves the rest of the weekend to either enjoy time with visiting out of town guests or just relaxing as newlyweds! Being mindful of guests getting off of work early for a Friday wedding is a polite gesture however, we would work backwards with your timeline to make sure that you and your fiancé aren’t cutting the wedding too short by having it start later, like at 6:30 pm or 7 pm.

Start with your end-time of when your venue needs to be clear and work from there. Clean-up {as a rule of thumb} will likely take about an hour dependent upon the amount of décor or rentals you have {check with your vendors on this as well to ensure it’s ample for them}. If you’re anticipating fun entertainment and  toasts and traditions like cake cutting and then guests dancing the night away, three hours should do it for that period {you know your guests in this capacity – perhaps you don’t anticipate a lot of dancing so this can be trimmed}. Dinnertime typically takes about an hour and a half, when all is said and done. And the ceremony and subsequent transitional time {often cocktail “hour”} can take about an hour and a half depending on how long your ceremony is. With this being said, we’re comfortably looking at about six-and-a-half to seven hours.

It’s an equation to get to that point but even a half hour {or more if people are stuck in traffic or running late} can really make an impact on your timeline. Send out save the dates {signifying a Friday wedding and the start time} well in advance to let guests know your expectation of timing. If given enough notice, we’d recommend staying with an earlier wedding start time of six o’ clock so that your wedding can flow nicely with no time crunch.

What is the best way to incorporate a male bridesmaid? I want to be sure he isn’t confused with the groomsmen.

Male bridesmaids are becoming more and more prevalent in wedding celebrations and there are a number of ways to incorporate yours into the celebration while keeping him visible as part of your wedding party. Inviting someone to be part of your wedding party, whether male or female, is such an honor and making him feel unique standing next to you will speak volumes.

Gift him a tie and a pocket square that coordinates with the bridesmaids’ dresses, while keeping the looks of the groomsmen different. This will give him a distinct identification while standing out from the groomsmen.

On the wedding day invite him to be present with you while you prep for the big day. We’ve had a number of our brides have a male bridesmaid and we’ve encourage this. Start the day off with a brunch where he’ll be present and make him feel welcomed and not stuck in between the two parties.

Give him a special duty that also sets him apart: ask him to perform the task of escorting your mother or grandmother down the aisle. If he’s a musician ask him to serenade you during your ceremony by strumming the guitar.

With a combination of little gestures the appreciation will be felt and he’ll love standing beside you on your wedding day.

Photo by Ian Grant Photography

Thank you, Aleah + Nick, for another month full of incredible advice!  If you have a question or two that has been keeping you up at night make sure you leave them in the comments below!

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