We have something very special to share today! This post kicks off a series of wedding expert guest posts here on the Jim Vetter Photography Blog. It occurred to me recently that I know so many great wedding vendors and they all have so much valuable insight and advice they can share. So, I’ve gathered some of the top bay area wedding professionals to share their top tips for having an amazing wedding.
The first of these talented and experienced wedding industry specialists is indie vintage gown designer and blogger, Amy-Jo Tatum. I met her a few years ago when I was searching for awesome vintage gowns for an inspirational styled bridal shoot. I fell in love with her gowns (seen below) as well as her vintage vivaciousness. I think you will love her t0o! ~ Jim Vetter
Hello! My name is Amy-Jo Tatum. I’ve worked as a bridal gown designer since 1984 and seen so many changes not only in wedding fashion but trends and societal codes as well. When Jim asked me to do a guest post for his blog I was totally jazzed as well as honored. Jim might blush here while I’m giving him a plug–but here goes: He has all the traits of the quintessential photographer and working with him has always been a stress-free and pleasurable experience. Add to that he’s tops at coordinating the time factor–his and yours– most essential in capturing great images on your wedding day. That said, I’m going to continue here with a few more insights about finding stellar qualities in a photographer and what my brides have told me over the years about what they liked and didn’t . . . .
By engagement time, many of my clients/brides already know their photographer through friends and/or family–someone who’s already hooked up in their network. But not always. My husband and I fell in love with our photographer years back at a wedding fair. We took one look at her work and knew her style was exactly what we were looking for. I can’t stress enough how important finding the right photographer is. These images will be family keepsakes a hundred years from now so choose your shooter carefully. These days the web is a treasure trove of wedding blogs and images I know can be totally overwhelming at first. Info overload aside, you really need to zone-in on the photographers and style you like. By the time you’re ready to interview candidates you’ll have a clearer picture of how you want your wedding shot.
Look for Great editing. I find the best photographers know when to stop with all the special effects so the picture looks natural. Think of a great make up artist and how and where he/she knows just where to enhance. For me over edited pics are the equivalent of digital paintings–great for a Grace Coddington editorial but typically not the thing for chronicling a wedding.
Easy. Yes, you need a shooter who’s easy to work with. Primadonnas behind the lens last about as long as disposable cameras.
Timelessness. Is your photographer too trendy? Ten, fifty, a hundred years down the timeline will these pictures look too dated–Instagramed? Photographers who stand the test of time are the ones who create pictures that generations later, the viewer recognizes something familiar and timeless . . . .
You’ve come a long way baby! Think back to all the restrictions there used to be on weddings starting with the dress. Can you believe some women (though not as many as there used to be) are still asking if it’s okay to wear a white gown without being a virgin? Add to this once upon a time you couldn’t bare back, arms, decolletage, legs, etc. in a proper church wedding. You had to be covered up and veiled almost completely. The result was those cookie-cutter satin uniforms of yesteryear they called, bridal gowns. Thanks to a new generation of women saying, “I’m gonna wear what I want when I tie the knot,” a wedding can be on the beach in the sand, bride sporting bare feet. It can also be in a barn in a polka dot dress with your groom in spurs. The point is, you can pretty much do and wear whatever you want as long as it’s all about you and your true love on your wedding day.
Look for easy to wear. Go for natural and micro fibers if you can. It’s going to be a long day so opt for something that breathes well. I once read a great Yelp review on a designer who created a gown so comfortable the bride didn’t want to take it off . . .
Wear what you want. If you fancy a red dress go all out and find a custom designer who will indulge you. If you’re lucky you’re only gonna do this wedding thing once so you mind as well wear the dress you want . . .
The Etiquette Police have passed on. Those old dowagers who wrote and kept the books have left their mark via grand dame actresses like Maggie Smith reminding us women like this really did run society. It used to be the season you got married dictated almost everything about your wedding: Whether your fiance wore a morning suit or if those bridesmaids could wear pink in the dead of winter. All I can say about sporting colors, wearing formals and even carrying an out-of-season bouquet is, you and your groom need to do what makes you happy. I’ve seen some very beautiful pastel winter weddings and grooms in relaxed attire in grand ball rooms and it all worked. The key is, it’s all about you guys . . .
Most important tip of all: Eliminate Stress. Yes eliminate. Relax. You’ve planned this out a long time and want to share your joy with everyone! I know weddings can be like one big family reunion and what family doesn’t have it’s own special tremors that rock the scale? But if you tune into the right headset from the start, you’ll realize this is all about you and your life partner–not them or any outside influence like a cake not being delivered or the officiant being late. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what goes down at your wedding but how you handle the marriage. And by the end of the day you’ll already be married. What more could you ask . . .?
Amy-Jo Tatum is an indie bridal designer of vintage-inspired gowns and accessories. When she’s not in her design studio, you’ll find her blogging about bridal fashion on her blog, Bride Chic