Thursday, October 30, 2008

Groom and Bride Speech at Reception

Do you think the Groom and Bride should give a speech at their wedding reception?


This is my take on it. All these guests came from near and far to be a part of your wedding. They have given their time and their money to be part of a day that you deem one of the happiest of your life. They came to share in the moments that you two have created. The least you can do is say thank you. I have been to a couple of weddings where they have no done speeches. Generally full on Chinese banquet style weddings, they don't really say thank you in the form of a speech but that is because they are standing at the door the whole night saying goodbye and thanking you personally.

Why wouldn't you stand up and say thank you? Even if it is like a 1 minute speech saying, "We just want to thank everyone for coming." That is all that is required. What, that is like 10 seconds of hard work? Is that too much to ask. Is that you can give. You ain't going to say goodbye to everyone so might as well do a one shot deal.

So for all you people getting married, say thank you. Please. Because if you don't, people will just remember that you got married and you were ungrateful.

Michael C Events is our caterer

So I am going to give a shout out to our caterer that we hired last week. Michael C Events is new to the business of catering at only a couple years young, but I can tell by their business savvy and creativity with food that they will have no problem building their client list. There are two high school friends from San Diego. One was in the medical field and the other a chef. Both saw the opportunity to start a new venture and were brave enough to take it. Now I am on this 20K budget so unless I got the typical boring ass wedding food, there was no way I could do a sit down dinner which is what we really wanted. We also wanted food that not only tasted well but presented well. So we got quotes from 6K for boring food to 18K for nice looking food. Now, we had a few in mind, Passion Fruit Catering, Primal Alchemy, and Michael C. They all presented us with menus that were creative and sounded delicious. So what do you do with 3 caterers? You pit them together to a battle to the death! Ok not really, you essentially negotiate and pit them together in an auctioning format. Well Michael C blew us away with his ability to compromise with us to drop our costs substantially from where we started. This only made the tasting more pressure packed b/c we needed it to be good. And it was. It was really good actually and compared to a couple weddings that we been to, crazy good. One of the crazy things about Michael C is the lack of service fees. Now this already puts him lightyears ahead of the other guys charging anywhere from 8-18% in service charges and still expecting gratuities. Props! When you first talk to Michael you will notice a couple of things - he stays up crazy late (I think he sent us a proposal at like 2am) and he is willing to work with you. Another thing that I liked is that he sent a hard copy of the proposal with his brochure and stuff. Very professional.

So this is my little shoutout to our caterer and even though we haven't gone through our event, I can highly recommend him just based on our experience with him. Check him out!

Michael C. Events
Michael Compean
(877) 625-6453

Friday, October 24, 2008

It is not Kosher to ...

wear a white dress to a wedding.

FYI This post is on behalf of women who don't like this.

From a guys point of view, we can give a flying u know what. But from a woman's POV, holy smacks. The shit hits the fan big time. So we attended out last wedding of the year and for the 2nd time of the year, someone decided to wear a white/off white/cream colored dress to the wedding. I am like whatevers, but my fiancee is like "Did you see that person wearing that white dress?" I am like "What, where? ohhh ahhhh." Yeah too bad she was more on the trashy side, but that is besides the point. So I thought she was the only one who actually knew of this little etiquette rule, but nope. The bride knew as well. Her candid response was "That bitch." And she went off on a rant, expletive after expletive. So to some people it does matter.

So after doing some "research" (like reading 1 site), I can deduce that the reason you don't wear white is because the bride is suppose to be the focus of the wedding and therefore the only one in white so can be easily spotted. (Isn't she suppose to be a big V if she is in white??) So I guess the moral of the story is just not to wear white. Don't steal the thunder just cuz you are lonely and depressed and will never have a chance to wear white at a wedding cuz you will never get married EVER and not even in your next life. Have a white dress that you want to wear to the wedding, well fix it. Dip it in cranberry juice, pour laundry detergent over it, roll in the grass, just don't make it white.

I have thought of some consequences to the women who wear white:
1) Bride calls you unthinkable names.
2) Bride shoots darts at your FACE with her eyes
3) Bridal party hates you forever (at least that night)
4) Photographer boycotts you from photos the whole night
5) U R NEVER FRIENDS AGAIN! BFF OVER 4EVR! (ok a little extreme)

Just don't wear white/cream/off white/bright white.

Please. If you want to live. Please. Just don't do it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Caterer Selected

So I flew into LA on Friday to meet with a caterer for a tasting. We were having the tasting at his business partner's house. If you have ever seen homes in San Mateo, CA, then you will understand this neighborhood. Not so nice outside, but all done up inside. It is like hidden gems. So we went through the whole tasting and the my biggest fear was that his food would suck. We have had the menu for a while and even though he changed it alittle, it was still A+. I know that he is just cooking for 2 people and the food is probably alittle more moist than it would be at a 160 person wedding, but I think it will be pretty damn good when W day comes.

So strike that off the list and I will blog about him later so other people can get into the mix. All I got to say is good food and great price.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Do you actually do this mess everyday?

Wedding planning is suppose to be a long endeavor or at least that is what people think it should be. Should it? Not really. If the Groom was planning it, it most likely be done in like a week. Granted it might happen at your local town bar with people tossing bar nuts at you, but hey it will be done. My cousin planned her wedding in 3 months. Why do you need 1 yr+ when it has been shown to be done in 3 months. It wasn't not half ass wedding either. Had a custom dress, outdoor venue overlooking the Golden Gate bridge, huge Chinese banquet, cake and the whole nine yards. It was still probably one of the most picturesque weddings I have been to. So it can be done.

This brings us back to our original question: Do you actually plan everyday? Look at wedding stuff everyday? I must answer No and Yes. No I don't plan everyday. I think after we found our venue I basically shut it down for 2 weeks. This stuff is exhausting yo! Talking to people, emailing people, acting like they have a chance in hell when they don't. All that BS takes hard work and having to keep it on the down low at work. But alas I will admit I look at wedding stuff EVERY-FREAKIN-DAY! Now granted this gift given by the WWW and something called RSS Reader. So just by reading my RSS reader I also run into wedding blogs and wedding photographers that I follow. So I have fallen into the trap that I never would have thought. Going from a city hall wedding with no rings to someone who looks at the multi-billion dollar industry daily. They have sucked me in head first and it is like getting your eye stuck in a vacuum, it's never going to let go.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

No more photogs to be found

I am officially out of photographers to find. I have found all the people that I possibly could have found with the resources available to me. I have found really good ones and really bad ones. Hopefully I end up with a better than good one for a great price. Only time will tell. Let the interviews begin!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Search for the photographer is still...

going on. I think my downfall is too much research. Just when I think I am done, I think, hmm...I wonder if there is more. So I search out for more. Find some through photographers' blogs and other site. I just went on the Wedding Bee boards and was referred to wedding wire. Crap, another source. So going through 160 photographers so far, I got about 10 that I would consider. Now off to the races again.

One thing that is good is that I will have a monster list of photographers that I consider better than just average and borderline pretty good where most of them are under 3K for the fixings minus albums.

The list will be another resource for budget brides in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wedding Photography, My Thoughts

After looking at the good, the bad, the new, the experienced; I have seen a few things that would make me more prepared to become a fulltime photographer. Here are my thoughts:
"Wedding photography is 50% composition, 25% post processing, 25% marketing"

You can always tell who is new by their web presence. Now a lot of photographers have BluDomain as their site creator and host provider. Ain't nothing wrong with that and it is a great way to get a web presence. The only problem I have with is the lack of branding. When you load a site you know that it is BluDomain by 1 of 2 things: there is a star as the website icon and the title of the page isn't branded. I know most people aren't the most web savvy, but you have to be in this day and age because people aren't going to pick up the phone book and call around for a photographer. People are not going to contact someone unless they know what they can do. Also, most of the top photographers have a blog. It keeps the audience engaged. You post the newest of the new and let them see how your style and skills are changing and improving with each wedding. This is a great tool to interact with your customer base. The best part of about having a good web presence to hide the lack of experience. If your site is crazy good, then people might think you are a seasoned vetern who knows what they are doing. For example, Jasmine Star, has only been shooting solo for 2 yrs, but her sites look like she has been doing it for awhile. Get some portfolio building shots from being a 2nd shooter with some of the big dogs and then use them on your site. Another thing is being personable. Everybody loves and remembers a photographers who gives the impression that you are inviting and friendly. They can get the same feeling through a website through videos or goofy pictures.

Another way you can tell is by the post work. The newer photographers can't achieve what the better photographers can achieve because their skills in Photoshop and Lightroom aren't as good. There are plenty of actions available to aid you in creating a style that will appeal to lots of customers. Spend the equity and by Kubota, Totally Rad, MCP, or Red Leaf actions. The creativity and time savings that these give you can take the presentation of your photography to a whole new level.

Composition is the key to a great wedding photographer. You either have it really good or you have it so so. Train that eye and you too will be pulling in 25k a wedding.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Do not use ...

Custom Caters and Catered Affairs

These two vendors gave us pretty reasonable bids on catering our wedding. Custom Caterers was actually lower than Catered Affairs although they used Catered Affairs' chef to cook all the food. So the deal is that Catered Affairs is a husband & wife team who main point of sale is Alycia Yescas. If you Google her, she comes up as a thief in one listing, pretty funny and that should have also given us a clue. Custom Caterers is some kind of splinter cell run by Nicole. So not only do they charge for tastings, I think $15 per person, the food sucks.

You meet them at Alycia's restaurant (don't know how that thing stays open) and she starts pitching you the concept and the idea, etc... Then the food starts rolling out, this is where the gets bad, more specifically, the food gets bad. My fiancee said that she had force the food down her throat and the bullshit into her ears. She should have asked for a refund. Actually she said that Alycia should have paid her for enduring the torture of the food. Can you imagine, you are eating this nasty nasty food and all the while Alycia is trying to sell it to you. Maybe Alycia should taste her food before she serves it. If it was a bad day, then it was a nuclear disaster. Hiroshima all over again. Stay away!

Sorry Nicole, your shop goes down with the big boat by virtue of association.

You got to be kidding me.

So during my time emailing photographers, I have gotten some big quotes and some more budget quotes. Some of the people that I have emailed I knew that they would cost a lot of money, but little did I know how much some of these photographers are charging. Here is a sample email that I got from one photographer:
Thank you for your interest in Joe's Really Good Photographers. As of right now we are available on 9/12/2009. We customize every package
after we discuss your needs, but just to give you an idea of our
services I'll list a typical wedding packages below:

Joe Photographer
Engagement Session
Rehearsal Dinner Coverage (up to 4 hours)
Wedding Day Coverage by Joe Photographer and 2 assistants (up to 10 hours)
The Japanese Album (100 images)
Online Proofing with Pictage
Bound Proof Books
Package Price......$25,000
So this guy charges more than my whole budget and his photos aren't even that good! Talk about bloody murder. I could hire 2 photographers from my top list and still come out ahead. What a douche.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Negotiating with Caterers

I must admit, I am learning as we go. I have no clue how much I can negotiate with caterers. I basically took their price and then filtered from that point on. If they were too much, then I moved to the next person. Well in comes a caterer that we put a deposit down to save the date. He gave us a fairly large bid and I basically discarded him, but he was persistent and agressive. So we switched from full sit down to a buffet in order for him to come more in line. Well the future Mrs went to an event for which he was catering for and he asked "What will it take for you to hire us?", so the Mrs' responded "I really want sit down and another hors d'oeuvre." And I put the rest down:
Caterer "How about if drop 1k off?"
Mrs "No"
Caterer "2K"
Mrs "No"
Caterer "3k"
Mrs "No"
Caterer "Ok, how about XXXX out the door"
Mrs "Ok"
Caterer "Ok I will draw it up"

So essentially the guy went down double digit percentage points in a matter of minutes. The question how much are these people really making.

So now I got one bid in that isn't your normal wedding food, but a little something more, but I haven't even tasted his food. So to not put all my eggs in one basket, I started emailing more caterers. They send me menus, prices, etc... and I just give them a quick glance, but don't really care about formulating a menu. Then I reply, I want this that this and that and want it for this price (of course less than the other guy) and wait for a response. They either say this is the best we can offer or actually beat it. Man now that I have a baseline, I can skip all the BS and get to the beef.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Over at Broke Ass Bride, she talks about the best idea ever! Bridesharing! What is it? It is a way to save phatty bux on your wedding. Essentially, chicks get together, talk about a possible style of decor for the wedding and then one bride has their wedding and then the other bride gets the stuff after. AWESOME! Can you imagine, half the cost, shoot get like 15 brides and you got 1/15 the cost! Money saving baby!

Compromising on Art

When you are on a budget, you have to make compromises. One thing I thought wasn't possible was to go under 5K for a photographer. I just thought that is how much it cost. The wedding photographers range anywhere from 6K-20K for your great day. Is it worth it? Hmm...maybe. Well because I am a cheap ass, no it ain't. But if I was Joe Blow Millionaire, then heck yeah I would drop some coin on Villa, Becker, the Bebbs, Jessica so some people like that.

So I have gone through Project Wedding, WPJA, WPD, and friends and come down to a list of 60 photographers that are acceptable and start within our price range. From that I am down to about 49, half of which haven't returned my emails, so say half of those are out of range, I will end up with about 30 photographers to choose from. From what I have been looking at, there is a complete difference between those who start at 4k to those who start under 3k.

After looking at over 100 photographers, once you hit their website you can just tell if they cost bux or not. Just the website is fantastic. The picture quality is great. It is in the details, got to tell you, it is in the details.

This is probably one of the better sites that I stumbled upon: Jasmine Star