Questions Blogs Tell You To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

If you want to skip over all the stuff below and go straight to the FAQ page, click here.

Wedding planning is hard. I always though, I know everything it will be easy. Well, I know nothing, except that I hate wedding planning. I now have a lot more empathy for all of the couples I talk to about the whole planning process. Everything from all the questions, and concerns that wouldn’t be there if you didn’t google, but you have questions so that’s what you do, and trying to stay on budget, which is likely put together before you even had the slightest clue what things cost.

Every time I meet or skype with couples they have this list of questions, its almost always the same list, give or take a few questions. You can find it on any website or blog dedicated to helping you plan your wedding. The most popular ones being the Knot or Brides. Now I used to laugh (in my head of course) when this list of questions came out and people started asking them, because to me this stuff seems either basic or irrelevant. However, when I started planning, I realized I had no idea what to ask, or how much anything other than photography costs. So naturally, I googled, and I’m sure my questions seemed ridiculous to all these vendors that I know and work with regularly. Now I know how it feels to be on the other side. During this whole process what I’ve found to be very frustrating is website with little to no information on them. I’m busy I don’t have time to e-mail every single vendor for more information, and I’m not going to phone them, I like to see it written down to reference back to!

So to try to alleviate some of these frustrations for others, at least when it comes to photography, I made a FAQ page, with answers to all of these questions that blogs put out there telling you to ask. Well not all of them, some of them are really silly in my opinion. And I’ve added some of my own that I think are more important to ask!

A few of the ones I am not adding to my FAQ page and my honest opinions on them. (I should warn you before you read this, I am a brutally honest person, and its never meant to be mean, more really dry not that funny humor/common sense.) So my official list the answers are much nicer than the questions below.

What do you think distinguishes your work from that of other photographers?
Look at my website, look at their website, see a difference.

Do you have a portfolio I can review? Are all of the images yours, and is the work recent?
This is actually a good question to ask most photographers, because I know some that show work from years ago, and while it might be good, its also good to see recent work. However, if you made it to emailing them to ask this, I would have hoped you had seen their work on their website. I am a very naive and trusting person so I like to think that everyone is honest and only displays his or her own work.

Do you shoot in color and black & white? Infrared? 
Part 1 legit question, but look at my website. Part 2, what the heck is infared?

Can you put together a slideshow of the engagement session (along with other photos the couple provides) and show it during the cocktail hour? What about an "instant" slideshow of the ceremony?
No but a friend of yours can. And if you would rather I spend time quickly editing and making a slideshow than taking photos during the rest of the day I can have one ready for you at the reception. 
This is a stupid question. No one needs things that instantly. Personally I would rather my photographer focus on capturing moments, and people and memories than fussing with slideshows. I would also rather wait longer to have my photos back and know that my photographer took their time to carefully edit them rather than rushing through it.

Have you ever worked with my florist? DJ? Coordinator, etc.? 
Probably not, most of the time it’s a no. But I don’t think it matters AT ALL. None of those things affect my ability to do my job. Most of the time I work with new vendors and that’s how we learn and grow and how we are able to handle just about any situation we find ourselves in. If we shot the same weddings with the same vendors in the same venues over and over again, it would get very tiring and uninspiring. And I personally love to find inspiration in my surroundings, so new settings and people really excite me and push me to do my best. 

May I have a list of references? 
No. You don’t want people emailing you while your on your honeymoon to ask about your photos, or while you are busy with your family etc. I wont give out your contact info, just as I wont give out other brides. Also, google me, there are reviews there and on wedding wire. 

Are you photographing other events on the same day as mine?
Seriously? Do you work like 20 hours in one day? When we shoot weddings its usually for 8, 10 or 12 hours, I would only shoot another one after that if I was paid many millions and given caffeine in an IV.
Although there was one exception where we shot 2, 4 hour weddings in one day, but they knew each other and referred each other and I checked with both of the first that they were sure it was okay.

Have you done any that were similar to mine in size and style?
I don’t know why this matters, if you have 1000 guests or 4 guests, usually the only part that changes for us is the length of the family photo list. And style, your décor doesn’t affect me doing my job so that doesn’t matter either. 

And this is a VERY good question that I’ve only seen on one list, but its my favorite question:  Do you cope well under pressure and what about any emergencies on the day?
I feel that I shine best in this category. My whole life has been a series of “what can go wrong will go wrong” (don’t worry that’s for me personally, not for my clients!) So I have always had an attitude of you cant change the past but you can move forward. Also I call it “the curse of the creative brain” I am the least organized human being around. I know every Saturday for the next 2 years. For each couple I have booked, I know what date it is, and the city its in. But ask me if I have any shoots or meetings in the next two days and I will have no idea until I check where I wrote it down. However, this also means I do really well under pressure, if I could I would have my university profs vouch for me on this one. Start at the last minute, everyone else thinks its crazy and wont work and it ends up being a huge success. I’ve also seen a LOT of things, being at as many weddings as I have I feel like I’ve seen it all, or almost all and so far there hasn’t been a situation I haven’t been able to handle! From unexpected weather, misbehaving animals, children, adults etc, buttons falling off jackets, there was once a brides zipper on her dress broke in the morning, just as she got into it. I spent about 35 minutes sewing her into her dress! And that’s only because I know safety pins wont hold that weight and there is no other option, but I know that because a bridesmaid once had that happen at a wedding and I just stored that info in the back of my mind!

Anyways, here is my official FAQ page for perspective clients to help ease any queries or check off boxes on a questionnaire! 

I have a separate FAQ page for clients that have booked with me, that has a bunch of questions I get asked in the months leading up to the wedding!

 

Birds & Honey Office

As seen on: Style Me Pretty

Scans by: PhotoVision Prints | Black + White Abstract Print: Picasso | Breathe Deeply + Nice Human Print: Chelsea Petaja | Bucket List + Marry Me Print: Read Between The Lines | Custom Rumi Print In Gold Frame: The Stationery Bakery | Desk + Shelving Space: Ikea | Gold Painted Animals: Vintage/Thrifted | Gold Shears: Nate Berkus For Target | Gold Striped File Folders: Kate Spade | Hot Pink Candles: Free People | Not A Player + Creme De La Creme Print: By Luciana | Styling & Design: Birds & Honey Events | Tassel Garlands On Magazine Wall: Steph Shives Studio | Tassel Garlands On Wall:Studio Mucci

From Mona: Being your own boss and working from your home is one of the greatest feelings in the world. You get to make your own hours, you can plan time ahead for special occasions/vacations and not get turned down  but there are some downsides to this as well. Sometimes you can get in a funk when it comes to structure and feel “not so glamorous” working in your sweatpants everyday. I never wanted to feel like a slob kabob so I made it my mission to design a space that not only made me happy but would make me show up to work looking my best.

Being a wedding planner and designer I am constantly surrounded by all things gorgeous 24/7 when it comes to my beautiful clients so I like to stay inspired for them even when I am working from home. I have always been drawn to soft pastel inspired colors so I wanted to make sure that my office was surrounded in those hues. I am also obsessed with any and every kind of fashion magazine so I dedicated an entire wall for my favorite magazine covers!

Are you recently engaged and planning a wedding? Justine Milton, Calgary based destination wedding photographer is currently booking for 2016 & 2017 dates! We book weddings all over the world & love to travel so no matter where your wedding is taking place, if you love our style, give us a shout! We only take on a limited number of weddings each year to ensure we are giving each couple our absolute best! If you would like to chat with us about possibly photographing your wedding, get in touch with Justine here: e-mail me

Softer Side of Bollywood

As seen on: Once Wed

Scans by: PhotoVision Prints | Styling & Design by: Birds & Honey | Dress Designer: Lazaro
Hair & Makeup by: Connie Quiza Makeup | Floral Design by: Amy Anderson
Bridal Salon: Delica Bridal | Ribbon: Silk & Willow | Model: Harveena Dhillon

A softer side of Bollywood

We hoped to create a minimalist shoot that embodied a modern, effortless South Asian bride. A little bit of wind and a breathtaking bride were all the elements we needed as inspiration for this Bollywood inspired editorial. Most south Asian brides are accustomed to bold and brighter tones of deep red and pink tones when planning their weddings, but we wanted to showcase a softer,  more muted touch for the modern bride. I find so much beauty in simplicity and showcasing softer, neutral palettes. There is still an element of the bolder homage to the beautiful culture of the bride with her stunning jeweled Lazaro gown while the florals balance everything out. The beauty is truly in the movement of the bride as she is walking towards a new adventure in her life and how the wind delicately blows her saree, her hair and the stunning silk and willow ribbon in her bouquet. 

If you don’t already follow us on instagram, be sure to check out all of the vendors from this shoot: @miltonphoto @birdsandhoney @conquiza @asanderson1 @lazarobridal @delicabridal @silkandwillow

Are you recently engaged and planning a wedding? Justine Milton, Calgary based destination wedding photographer is currently booking for 2016 & 2017 dates! We book weddings all over the world & love to travel so no matter where your wedding is taking place, if you love our style, give us a shout! We only take on a limited number of weddings each year to ensure we are giving each couple our absolute best! If you would like to chat with us about possibly photographing your wedding, get in touch with Justine here: e-mail me

Edmonton Old Timers Cabin Wedding

Scans by: PhotoVision Prints | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Old Timer’s Cabin | Wedding Dress Designer: Truvelle Bridal | Bridal Boutique: Delica Bridal | Bridesmaids Dress Designer: Donna Morgan | Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Derks Formals | Caterer: A Cappella Catering | “Let Love Brew” Beer Cozies: You’re that Girl Designs | DJ: DJ Bradley James | Floral Designer: faBLOOMosity | Stationery: Minted | Chair and backdrop rentals from: Elegant Touches

A few words from Katie, the bride: For our wedding we were going for an overall romantic feel with lots beautiful flowers, greenery, candles, and neutral colors. We wanted it to feel warm and cozy inside the cabin, and it turned out just to be that! We added some rustic accents that played well with our venue and really enhanced the already beautiful Old Timer’s Cabin.

What were your top 3 moments from your wedding: Getting Married! – The best moment of our wedding was the moment we said I do and made it official! I was finally marrying my best friend that day.

Speeches – the speeches that were prepared for us by our parents and the Best Man and Maid of Honor were incredible. I couldn’t have asked for better people to be in our lives and it really made us feel loved. There was definitely a lot of happy crying happening in that room.

The Party/Dance – the party and dancing never stopped all night and it was great to see all our guests letting loose and having a great time. We truly wanted our wedding to not only be about us but to be about our family and friends, and celebrating a great day and making more memories together. The party went all night long!

Are you recently engaged and planning a wedding? Justine Milton, Calgary based destination wedding photographer is currently booking for 2016 & 2017 dates! We book weddings all over the world & love to travel so no matter where your wedding is taking place, if you love our style, give us a shout! We only take on a limited number of weddings each year to ensure we are giving each couple our absolute best! If you would like to chat with us about possibly photographing your wedding, get in touch with Justine here: e-mail me

The Lake House Calgary Wedding | Mark & Stephanie

Scans by: PhotoVision Prints | Venue and Catering: The Lake House |Flowers: Flower Artistry
Cakes: Whippt Desserts and Catering | Bridal Attire: Lazaro | Grooms Attire: Hugo Boss
Wedding Jewellery: Tacori | Stationary: By Invitation Only | Hair and Makeup: Red Bloom

Mark and Stephanie met in the summer of 2006 working at Shawnee Slopes Golf Course, but didn’t start dating until the summer of 2008. They were both University students at the time, working there for their summer job and somehow connected – most likely over their mutual love of animals. Mark was on his career path to becoming a vet (or so Stephanie thought), and Stephanie was just finishing her political science degree.

As plans often change, Mark is now a geologist for an oil and gas company and Stephanie works as an Education Coordinator for the Alberta Health Services.

Mark proposed while the couple were living in Edmonton, on November 28, 2013. Mark was finishing up his Geology degree, so Stephanie was very surprised as she did not think they would get engaged until Mark was finished school. Mark had planned on proposing a few weeks earlier when the ring came in, but Stephanie just to happened to be sick. Mark patiently waited and every day would ask Stephanie if she wanted to go outside for a walk with the dog, but everyday she said no (it was winter in Alberta and Stephanie had a really bad cough). Finally, Mark couldn’t wait any longer so on a typical Thursday evening, Stephanie in her sweats on the couch, Mark put the ring on their dog’s collar and sent her over to see Stephanie. She realized after a couple seconds, as Mark came around the corner and got down on one knee, that there was her dream ring, on Koha’s collar!

Wedding planning began very shortly after. Stephanie chose her bridal party immediately (she basically already had the whole wedding planned in her head). Cassandra, her little sister was her maid of honor – no brainer. Krista and Amy were her two closest friends and Stephanie has known them both since about 5 years old. And finally Ashley, Mark’s sister and basically a sister to Stephanie over the past 7 years.

Mark on the other hand, knew who he wanted to be in his party, but as usual, putting things off until the last minute, finally asked his groomsmen about 4 months before the wedding. Derek would be his best man, whom he met through Stephanie when they first started dating. His cousin Ryan, University buddy Jeremy, and Greg, who he also met through Stephanie at the onset of their relationship.

As for bridal party gifts, Stephanie decided to buy the girls something they could wear for the wedding day, so she went with Kate Spade stud earrings in light pink, to match their dusty rose colored BCBG bridesmaid dresses. As pink is Stephanie’s favourite color, she also bought each of the girls a small bottle of sparkling rose and each a different shade of pink nail polish. Stephanie’s most favourite part of the gift to the girls was the super comfy kimono robes from Piyama.

Mark also bought the groomsmen accessories for the wedding day. A skinny black tie by Calvin Klein and they were each given different stripe pattern socks. Mark decided that the groomsmen also require a handy dandy book called, “The Art of Manliness.” Finally, each of the groomsmen received a bottle of their favourite liquor.

Mark and Stephanie agreed to not buy each other gifts for the wedding as they had just bought / adopted the newest member to their family a couple months earlier. Stephanie’s dad dubbed Koha (their three year old Boston terrier) the ‘engagement dog’ (instead of a ring) during his speech as they bought her when they moved to Edmonton together. Sauce was the ‘wedding dog’ as she was supposed to arrive right after the wedding, but they brought her home a few months earlier. Back to the gift, although Mark was not supposed to give Stephanie a gift, he surprised her with the cutest Marc Jacobs Boston Terrier shoes. His note with the gift was “So you can have Koha and Sauce with you all day today.”

For a wedding favour, Stephanie and Mark decided to make a donation to Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), because of their mutual love for animals. In order to incorporate their own pups in the wedding, Stephanie decided to bake sugar cookies and decorate them as Boston Terriers and attach the donation note to the cookie packaging.

The wedding day turned out to be perfect. The weatherman was saying thunderstorms and showers throughout the day, but the rain didn’t start until everyone was indoors and cleared up just in time for some outdoor sunset photos. It was the perfect day! It was hard for Stephanie and Mark to choose a favourite part of the day, because everything was so perfect. The best thing about the day was the general feeling of love. There was so much love in the room all day long! The food, cake and drinks were pretty amazing too. And then the dancing. Stephanie told their DJ when they had their meeting that she would not be leaving until the lights came on – she loves to dance! Mark and Stephanie stayed until the very end of the night and do not regret it for a second.

Elegant Estate Wedding

Scans by: PhotoVision Prints | Venue: Kingwood Center, Ohio
Day of Event Coordinator and Styling: Birds and Honey | Event Coordinator: Umbrella Barrel
Catering:  Blue Ribbon Catering & Mazah Mediterranean Eatery
Floral: Bride’s Family and Friends | Videography: Little Tree Studios
Cake: Blanca Guerra | Wedding Bands: Store5a | Bride’s Makeup: Columbus Wedding Makeup
Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music: Isaiah Wu, Daniel Wu, Stephan Spottswood 
Henna: Bindu Verma, Creative Calla Corner | Calligraphy: Plume Calligraphy

About the lovely couple, from the bride, Madison: I met Michael in the 7th grade, I must have just turned twelve.
Michael walked in the side doors at our church group and I knew he was new. He had big “mushroom” like hair and a lanyard out of his cargo shorts. I welcomed him to the group and left before he was swarmed by the other middle school girls. That was the start of our friendship.
My Teta, grandmother, told me once that the beautiful relationships start as buds and then bloom. I can tell you she was right about ours, except that maybe the blooming part took a little longer than Michael might have liked.
Michael and I’s relationship consisted of me dodging his throws during dodge ball (unsuccessfully) and visiting Steak and Shake on Wednesday nights until my parents sent me to Worthington Christian for high school. Michael was one of the two people I knew at the school. Michael walked me to class on my first day and nearly every day after that.
During our first class together (Spanish), we talked about guitar, Michael told me how he only played electric and he’d never sing in front of people. I told him that I liked acoustic and he should sing and play, I told him I’d play with him. A week after, Michael was playing acoustic and singing “Better together” with me before school… I should have known.
Slowly, we became best friends. We studied together, challenged each other, distracted each other in class, called one another with broken high school hearts, sang in choirs, planned each other’s dates, debated theology, played in bands, attended each other’s sporting events, grew to love the same friends and ate lunch on the floor of the hallways together.
Michael and I were teased by everyone in the school. The girls on my soccer team would spot us and giggle. At our senior gala  everyone clinked their glasses as a friend started a toast by saying, “Dearly beloved we are gathered here today…” (I was so embarrassed that I can’t remember the rest). It didn’t help that I wore a white dress and Michael a black suit… (Note: Michael asked me to spring gala the first day after Christmas break).
Two days before graduation, as we were sitting on the front of my car after his baseball game he looked at me and told me he “loved me and wanted to marry me”. I responded by telling him I didn’t feel the same way and I wanted to forget he’d ever said anything so we could just keep being friends (ouch, I know. Michael doesn’t remember this so either he blocked it from his memory or I thought it instead of saying it out loud. You might say that moment is a bit of a blur for both of us.)
… Yes, graduation was awkward.
Michael says this phase in life should be titled, “The escape from the friend zone”.  I’m stubborn but Michael is persistent. Soon flowers would show up in my dorm room, letters would be sent, and no matter what function I went attended – Michael would be there too.
The phrase “distance makes the heart grow fonder” couldn’t be more true.
Michael moved to Terre Haute, Indiana – 254 miles away –  our first year of college while I stayed in Columbus. Before the first month of undergrad was even over, I realized I missed him terribly. Michael became a constant pixelated face on my computer screen. (Sorry, Amber (my college roommate)). We’d talk till 2 in the morning, meet each other’s new friends, and of course – study. Michael played baseball at his university and I made a visit to him in Indiana. When I got there to see him, he picked me up and spun me around, I knew something had changed.
November 23, we starting dating outside of La Chatelaine, thus began our four year long-distance relationship. (And there was much rejoicing by all of you). During those four years, Michael grew a beard, cut his “mushroom” hair and learned to eat spinach. I finally got my A in calculus and learned an umpire wasn’t called a “ref”.
We studied on Skype for hours on end (sorry for all of you who’s internet connection suffered as a result). We decided that we wanted to love Jesus most and each other second. We drove to each other’s universities for weekend trips. We had picnic dates on the river bank in the summer. We started ONELIFE, now POINT, together. We hiked. We grew with the Lord. We danced on top of the roof. We lost loved ones. We (I) tried to make Michael mad at me, but it never worked. We invested time on our campuses. We jumped the fence and snuck onto the baseball field after dark. We valued our friends. We built things, Michael a robotic foot- me a company. We learned about each other’s cultures. We looked at mountains we wanted to visit. We began to love each other’s families. We traveled. We learned how to cook.
We wrote letters. We prayed together. We fell in love.
Remember those mountains? On the morning of my birthday, Michael gave me a map with the mountains circled in it. We headed out to Colorado a month later. There on the last day of the trip, in a valley quite like the photos we exchanged in college he said, “Remember I told you I loved you and wanted to marry you? I mean it more today” and with that he asked me to marry him.
(And obviously I said yes, though I just stood there in shock for a few seconds and forgot there was a ring involved). (And yes, he asked my dad first).
Growing up together is an odd thing. The boy I met in middle school isn’t the man I’m marrying today. And, I’m positive I’m not same girl either. This has been our first year living in the same city as a couple. Michael is back in Columbus at Ohio State for his doctorate in biomedical engineering and I’m trying to change how society connects with charity through a social media app.
We are more than happy to have put Skype to rest and be 10 minutes away from each other again. This year we’ve ran races, hosted dinner parties, made business plans, explored Columbus, planned our wedding and best of all – seen each other every week. (EEP!)
So when you see us walking down the aisle, I hope you feel the Lord’s blessing as we do.

We have been blessed these past ten years with a story that has turned into the most beautiful bloom.

Lake Como Villa Balbianello Wedding

Scans: PhotoVision Prints | Ceremony: Villa Del Balbianello | Event Planner: Veronica Frasca
Reception Venue: Villa Flori | Dress Designer: Sottero and Midgley | Florist: Figli Dei Fiori

A few words from the fabulous couple: David: My favorite moment was standing at the altar with my bestman at my left, waiting for my bride to appear in one of the most beautiful places I’d ever stood, Villa Balbianello on Lake Como. Was I nervous? No, I definitely wasn’t nervous. In fact, I suddenly couldn’t understand why that seemed to be so common in weddings. Sometimes to the point where the groom keels over backward at the altar and passes out cold- What’s the deal with that?
Soon after everyone was seated, the lone violinist changed his tune to our song, “Elvis Presley – Can’t help falling in love.” Guests turned around in their seats to watch as my bride entered the Loggia. My eyes were locked, unblinking as she slowly walked the aisle. There she was, my bride. Absolutely stunning. Breathtaking. Lake Como had faded to a mere hazy back drop behind her. That was my wife. My life partner. My person. And suddenly, I couldn’t feel my legs and I understood how keeling over was possible.

Nellie: One of our favorite details had been a private exchange of our personal vows, which we exchanged on the morning of our wedding. Instead of reading them that day, we decided to trust one another not to read them after we exchanged them. We are going to wait until we celebrate our 1 year anniversary to see if we lived up to the promises we made one another over the course of our first year together as husband and wife.
I was gifted a pair of vintage earrings from almost husband, as my “something blue” for the wedding. He purchased them from a jeweler in the town of Bellagio on Lake Como. They were my first pair of earrings he’d ever given me and I plan to pass them down to our daughter/in law to wear on her wedding day.
The Weather: Before we left the states, we got a weather forecast for the week: scattered thunderstorms and a 90% chance of rain. To be well prepared, we sought out the most picturesque umbrellas a bride and groom could have. On the day of the wedding it was sunny and only slightly cloudy, we all kept our fingers crossed. I stepped off the boat, walked down the aisle and stood across from my soon-to-be-husband under the Loggia at Balbianello. As soon as we began our vows it started sprinkling rain and moments after we kissed for the first time as husband and wife, it stopped raining! We couldn’t believe the impecible timing. Just in time for us to walk down the aisle together and exit the Loggia to take photos on the grounds! During the last 5 minutes of our photography session it started sprinkling again and we got to put our umbrellas to use. We got the best of both worlds and it was then that I realized, rain or shine, anything was manageable with my husband by my side.