What I wish I knew when I got married! {Saint Augustine | Jacksonville Wedding Photographer}

Now, I’m going to have to choose my wording on this carefully because tone is hard to figure out through email, blogs, facebook, texts, etc. I know that I can read an email one day and think one thing and the next realize maybe I was wrong. It’s easy to do, it happens. Especially in a world where social media, email, texts messages, and blogs have taken over our ways of communicating. So please, know that this post is nothing more than thoughts that have gone through my head the last week or so and trying to find the best way to price my wedding and portrait sessions for everyone involved.


Hire a wedding planner! I didn’t, I wanted one but thought this was the spot to ‘save some money’. It wasn’t. I bet I wouldn’t have cried at my rehersal when the priest changed how we thought our ceremony would go {it’s an emotional and stressful time, we’re all allowed a few tears!}. My wedding planner would have known way in advance the way we wanted our ceremony to proceed. I bet the morning of our ceremony, the church would have been opened up for us to get ready at the correct time instead of an hour late even though we confirmed our arrival time the night before.

 One of my least favorite things from our ceremony was that the musician playing while the guests were seated and the ceremony, he would not play until he was paid. Everyone was trying to find a checkbook to pay him because he never mentioned that he had to be paid prior and he didn’t want to come to our rehersal, even though my husbands parents invited him to the rehersal dinner. Also, I didn’t know the check was all ready for him sitting in an envelope on one of the seats and have you ever seen a bride in her undergarments trying to find a checkbook of some kind? Not easy. I know a wedding planner would have been on top of that and my stress level would have been diminished.

 Most importantly, the wedding planner would have guided us to the vendors they trusted through years of experience and the about to burst onto the scene vendors we maybe would not have been able to afford in a few years. Example for you, our dj. We paid him an arm and a leg, well not really. But we paid him A LOT! We wanted music playing during the cocktail hour, it didn’t happen. We wanted a total of four hours of music, I think we had between 2.5 and 3 hours. The ‘big’ things during the reception {toasts, cake cutting, garter, etc} were done very quickly and granted, we had a morning wedding, so people weren’t going to dance the day away. But, if I had a wedding planner, she/he would have been confirming with all the vendors the timeline we would have created making sure everyone knew where to be at what time. He/she would have been working to slow down or speed up the reception so that everything ran smoothly. Seriously, a wedding planner is your best friend when you need someone to count on! They get your ideas, thoughts, and visions past every pushy mother-in-law/best friend/aunt/uncle/cousin. And that is someone you want helping plan a wedding when it is an overwhelming experience!

If you’re in the Jacksonville area, you must check out Southern Charm Events, Made of Honor Weddings, and The Wedding Assistant. They are all fantastic to work with!


Every vendor you use will have expenses you do not think about and you don’t even want to know how much time and money they put into equipement, editing, creating, etc. Obviously, I’m a photographer. I’m new to the business and to the wedding world, so obviously I do not think that just because someone is new means they must not be worthy of someone’s time or business. New vendors can be a great way to save a little bit of money and still get amazing results. Example, our wedding photographer was Nate Root. He was just venturing into doing weddings as the main photographer after second shooting for another local photographer. And you know what, he is and was amazing. He now shoots with his wife and their pictures are remarkable. They now travel the world photographing weddings as well as weddings local to them. Pretty amazing the difference five years can make. If we were to get married today, I probably would not have been able to afford him. But we have his amazingness framed on our walls because we knew Nate and we completely trusted in his ability. But Nate wasn’t new. He was like I am now, or I think anyway. He had, as do I, professional equipement, back-up cameras and lenses, extra batteries and memory cards, knowledge of how a wedding runs and how to deal with things as they come up during the wedding day. He was, even then, nowhere near amateur or a hobbyist. But just to give you an idea of what a professional photographer may have to help them succeed:

Professional quality camera and lenses {and backups! Just in case}

Plenty of memory cards and batteries to last during a six to eight hour event {about average wedding coverage}

lighting equipement

second shooter or assistant

Editing software {I’m a Lightroom and CS5 kind of girl!}

Renewing the companies LLC or Scorp, etc every year

Insurance, license……

And don’t forget, vendors pay taxes too! Income taxes and sales taxes and probably a CPA or lawyer to help them along the way as they venture through the business world.

I know if sounds like a photographer makes a ton of money. I don’t, the super famous ones do, but for the most part everyone does it for the passion of the perfect picture, the perfect moment captured that makes a couple laugh, or cry, or that they finally find a picture they didn’t realize existed five years later while unpacking boxes after a move. That’s why people become photographers and wedding photographers. You should read this blog from Heather Lilly Photography. It’s very informative and she explains it very well!


Almost nothing else matters except that at the end of the day you’re married and if something does happen that makes you cry, or stresses you out, the most important thing is that you will be married to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and one day, you might even look back and laugh. And another thing, while the budget is always important because debt is never fun, if it’s important enought to you to fight for, get it for your wedding. Don’t look back and cringe because you couldn’t ‘afford’ something or thought you could live without it. If it’s a vendor you must have, they might have some wiggle room to help aid in the bottom line or maybe you do not need their biggest and most expensive package. It’s worth a shot!

Have a good weekend everyone!