The Diaries of a Bride-To-Bee Entry 3: Venue + Photographer

Is that wedding bells I hear?  No, not quite yet – those are just Christmas bells!  We are 8 months away from the big day and it’s been 2 months since I talked wedding planning with you last.  I had been on a roll all the way up until mid October and then I got a little bit burnt out.  No one warned me that that may be a possibility!  Last night I had a nightmare that our wedding day was here and I forgot to book a florist, a caterer, and I never found a wedding dress… literally I was minutes from walking down the aisle and was asking everyone “has the florist dropped off the flowers yet?” and “where’s my dress?” … Like what?  How did I forget these things until just moments before I was supposed to say “I do.”  Thank goodness it was just a dream nightmare.  It certainly put some fire under my butt and now I feel like I’m ready to get back into the swing of things!
Be prepared to change your original plan… + embrace it.

This goes for any couple, but especially couples with a long engagement.  I don’t even know if I’ve mentioned it in Entry #1 or Entry #2, but Austin and I both loved the idea of having an outdoor wedding and reception.  Somehow we decided on having our entire wedding and reception at my parent’s home and I ended up growing very attached to this idea… I went from “that could never work” to “we can make it work” to “what a beautiful place this would be to get married.”  You get the idea – it became very sentimental to me. 
 
Having a backyard wedding comes with it’s own set or pros and cons.  Some pros – it’s free and there are no annoying rules!  These two pros were huge for us.  We thought we could use the money we’d save elsewhere and I was thrilled to feel like I had full control over the vendors I chose and what time the party ends.  You’re probably thinking, “okay, great, so when does this change happen and WHY?”  Well, the cons began piling up and outweighing the pros.  I tried ignoring them for awhile because I thought so many other people have backyard weddings, so why can’t I?  Well, I can, but it comes with it’s own extra costs.  What if it rains?  Which in Ohio, there’s a high chance it could.  We would need to have tents.  There’s no way around it.  Whether it rains on the day of or not, we would need to rent tents to have as backup.  Some brides may not see this as a huge issue, but I wasn’t liking the idea of spending money on something I hated – yes, I hate the idea of having my wedding and reception under a white tent.
I STILL was ignoring all the cons, even the whole white tent thing, until one day, Austin’s mom called us saying she had an old family friend that owned a barn where sometimes weddings were held.  It seemed promising for a split second, and then we got there and I was feeling super “meh” about the place.  Not that it wasn’t nice, it was pretty awesome actually, but it was a gloomy day and he had a lot of very “country” looking decor in there.  It was simply impossible for me to imagine our plan in this new space.  I was pretty sure that the barn was going to be a no, but then I showed my mom the pictures and her reaction wasn’t what I thought it would be.  She thought it looked pretty great.  Ugh.  That made the decision even more difficult!  So I did what I had to do and I drug both my parents and sister out to this barn… twice.  Taking into consideration that we would have the venue all to ourselves for at least 3 days plus NO rules on vendors, alcohol, or when we needed to be out – major pros, right?
The thing with this barn is, well, it’s not that backyard wedding I envisioned us having – but it is warm, cozy, dry, whimsical, rustic, and romantic.  The space is limited and it may be tight if we have to squeeze our entire day inside due to rain – but the way I look at it is if we decide to stick with an outdoor ceremony, a little rain never hurt anyone… we can provide umbrellas, right?  Besides, rain on your wedding day is good luck.
So the barn it is!  I felt super uneasy about the decision at first, but it’s growing on me A LOT.  My vision actually feels a bit more clear, if that’s even possible.  Oh yeah, did I mention that there’s a pond where we can all release sky lanterns after sunset.  Aha – a perfect moment that will be!  Probably something that wouldn’t have been possible at my parent’s house.  So like I said… be open to completely changing your original plan and learn to embrace it!  I have and I’m feeling more excited than ever.  P.S. Don’t mind the crap photo of inside the barn… I took it the first day I saw it and they were having a Fall festival.
(images found on Pinterest)
Keep an open mind…
This goes hand in hand with the first part of this post.  After deciding on the barn, I suddenly became more open minded to new ideas and/or ideas that I was totally against before.  Take table cloths for instance.  I really really don’t like them.  I had my heart set on farm tables.  Well, now that our reception is going to be in a building made of wood, I’m a little more open to breaking that up with table cloths.  Besides, here in Ohio, average cost to rent a farm table is about $100 per table.  That in itself is enough to be more open minded to other options!
 
It helps to consider adding “touches” of those unique things that you love.  I still love farm tables and the feel that they give, so my goal is to have farm tables for the escort cards, cake, and sweetheart table.  An open mind plus creativity can go a long way.
 
We booked a photographer + videographer!…
Finding a wedding photographer… something that brought me to tears more than once!  Being the planner that I am and the fact that I’m a photographer myself, I felt I was more than prepared to book our perfect wedding photographer.  Boy, was I wrong.  I was no where near prepared for what I was about to go through.  First things first, I already had a photographer I was gaga over for years.  So of course, I emailed her… only to find out she wasn’t available during the time of our wedding.  I shed a few tears, but then thought… maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.  My next option was a photographer who also happened to be a good friend.  She’s incredible at what she does, but we do have slightly different tastes.  I still trusted her abilities to document our wedding beautifully and not to mention she’s all around awesome.  So I emailed her… again, she was booked already!  I panicked.  I had a few other people in mind, but no one really stood out to me.  I began emailing away anyway.  Finally I stumbled upon a wedding photographer couple that I was really happy with.  We drove an hour to meet with the wife in person.  The meeting wasn’t great.  She was late, very quiet, and didn’t seem to show much interest in our wedding or what we had planned.  Austin and I both felt very awkward.  We had lots of questions, but she didn’t have any answers.  Every answer was, “I’m not sure about that, I’ll write it down and have to ask my husband.”  The meeting came to an awkward end and she said her husband would email us back with the answers to our questions.  I waited days and never got an email, so I emailed him and I got my answers along with him telling us that his wife didn’t feel we were a good fit.  I get it.  It’s important for photographers to connect with their clients, but the whole thing felt so wrong.  I was incredibly upset and shed yet again, more tears.  
“What now,” I thought.  Luckily I’m friends with some photographers who all graciously referred me to several wedding photographers they knew.  Overwhelmed, but feeling positive again, I began emailing away!  I finally found a couple photographers who were available on our day and definitely willing to work with us.  We decided on one that just so happened to have grown up in our hometown.  
We had the contract in hand and we were literally about to book, but a small voice inside my head told me to stop and try again.  By trying again, I mean, email that original photographer I fell in love with years ago.  So I sent her another email… explaining to her my situation, how long I’ve been following her work, and how connected I felt to it.  I completely put myself out there, but I was prepared to not get the response I wanted.  But I did.  After all those late nights researching wedding photographers, being turned down, the tears, sleepless nights (yes, a wedding photographer is important enough to keep me up at night) to end up right back where I started.  I must say though, it was all worth it and I’d do it all over again because we got the photographer we were meant to have… the one I’ve dreamed of having.  Did I mention she’s also a videographer?  Her videos are actually a huge part of why I fell in love with her work.  Yeah, I’d say it’s a win win.  🙂  If you’re curious who she is, it’s the fabulous Rachel Joy Photography.
What’s next…
We’re still working on booking the food for the wedding.  We were almost certain we found the right food truck, but then a new bride friend recommended I check out a couple others that she used for her own wedding.  It’s all in the works, but decisions will be made soon!  🙂
We’re also working on picking save the dates and wedding invites.  I ordered some samples and I also went through the steps of personalizing one of my favorites, just so we could get an idea of how much it’ll all cost – holy crap!  Never underestimate the cost of beautiful paper goods.
 
Oh and the dress… I bet you’re wondering about the dress.  Nope, haven’t shopped for one yet.  I cut it off at the online browsing that I shared with you in my last update.  I keep putting it off because I’m insecure.  But I know it needs to happen and that I will probably find something that I love and feel beautiful in.  Plans to actually make an appointment in December.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted on that one! 🙂 xo
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