When I got engaged almost a year ago, I really didn't know where to begin with wedding planning.
We knew where we wanted to get married, but that's about it. Luckily, a friend -- I call her my "wedding guru" -- soon offered to share her wealth of knowledge of all things bridal. When planning her own fabulous wedding in New York she kept copious notes about everything from music to make-up and flowers to photographers.
My wedding guru has great taste, so I felt safe relying on the fruits of her considerable legwork. I went with the band company and registry she recommended, and her invitation and program were the examples I used when designing my own. Imitation in the sincerest form of flattery!
I also hired the same photographer she used, which is one of the decisions I'm most pleased with so far. As celebrity wedding planner and author of "The Wedding Book" Mindy Weiss said in response to a previous viewer question about wedding photos, it's very important to get along with your photographer.
"Even if you are hiring the best, you may not like their personality," she said. "And I can guarantee that if you don't like them you will look awful in the pictures. A photographer is one of the most important hires of the wedding -- it is all you will have left for your memories. "
From the beginning I was impressed that my photographer (A. Perry Heller Photography) prefers phone calls to e-mails and wanted to meet us in person.
And as I get increasingly busy and stressed out with final wedding details, I'm incredibly grateful that the photographer went over the schedule, photo list and all the details for the day with me months ago. He said he's learned from experience that the bride and groom can focus on it more if you do it ahead of time.
Most photographers will plan on the standard list of family portraits and key moments, but Mindy Weiss says there are other photos that should also be on your list.
1. Getting-ready shots: The bride hanging with the bridesmaids and the groom with his groomsmen. Even if they're just watching a ball game it makes for great documentation of the day.
2. If the bride and groom are seeing each other before the ceremony, make sure there is a reaction shot the first time the groom sees the bride. "Reaction shots are my favorite," she said.
3. There should be a camera on the groom the first time he sees his bride walk down the aisle.
4. If the bride sends the groom a gift to his room and vice versa, a camera should capture that.
5. If you can fit it in the budget, it's always fun to have a photographer at the rehearsal dinner because of the speeches.
6. Even if you want mostly candid or documentary style photos, never forget to take the traditional family portraits. These traditional shots are so important and if the photographer gets too artsy they may miss them.
7. The moment after the bride and groom say "I Do" is so important. That look will be quick but monumental.
8. All the accessories of the bride make for great photos: shoes, jewelry, handkerchief, etc. All the items that you took time to select, and of course, the dress.