While not necessarily a true trend, there are still a lot more couples opting to hold smaller weddings and receptions, a nod to the still-struggling economy. Of course, there are also brides and grooms who are opting for a more intimate ceremony and celebration, which is often the case with second (or third) weddings.
Regardless of the size of the guest list or the venue, photos that capture the special moments are always a big part of the day. So while you may not necessarily “catch a break” on the price of a wedding photographer, you can be assured of high-quality pictures and a more relaxed atmosphere while posing. And that’s worth it.
“The smaller weddings do tend to be more intimate, with just family and some close friends, but it completely depends on your dream for your unique wedding,” Deborah O’Brien, a professional wedding and portrait photographer based in Ridgefield, said. “I do think that some brides and grooms are opting for smaller weddings to save on the cost, but in terms of photography, a Saturday wedding would probably cost the same regardless of size because the photographer could book any type of wedding on a Saturday, and only be in one place at a time. I think the true savings financially are in having Friday night or weeknight weddings, when we don’t tend to book as steadily.”
According to O’Brien, there may also be a savings if your wedding is a sit down meal without dancing, as it is possible to hire a photographer to shoot until the group sits down to eat, which may be fewer hours.
“If that is the case, I still like to come early for ‘getting ready’ photographs, stay through ceremony, formals and cocktail hour, and then get a posed photo of the couple near the cake, which is usually set out early.”
“We specialize in small, intimate weddings that are more focused on the marriage ceremony than the party,” Susan Swick Morrow of Swickpix in New Canaan, said. “We also specialize in Justice of the Peace and maximum three-hour weddings so that we basically are photographing the ceremony and pictures of the small group that is in attendance.”
Morrow feels that people getting married for the second time tend to focus more on the ceremony and closer friends and family.
“I have also been photographing plenty of second weddings,” said O’Brien, “which tend to be smaller in size and include the kids. I love doing them as it is so special for the two families to unite. In one wedding that I photographed, the DJ played ‘The Brady Bunch’ theme as the kids were being announced. That got a good laugh! These smaller, intimate weddings are just as important to get beautiful photographs, as the photographs incorporate the newly-created family.”
Morrow offers the following tips for brides-to-be:
• Determine your “must have” photos and bring the list with you when you interview photographers.
• Does your photographer have back-up equipment and who is their back-up should they not be able to show up the day of your wedding?
• How do you want to view your final photos over the years? Prints, Slide show, book, jpegs. Check with both sides of the family to see what they hope to have.
• Be clear, ahead of time, on your photographer’s policy around ownership of jpegs, print prices and packages.
• What style do you like? Formal with 3-D lighting? Photo journalistic, or creative?
• The bride should have a practice hair, make-up and veil session ahead of the date to make sure this is how they want to look.
• Have/pay someone (not a guest or wedding attendant) on location when the bride and bridal party are getting ready, to run and get the missing/needed item that couldn’t be anticipated.
“Having seen too many bridesmaids return in a pool of sweat after retrieving a safety pin, this is a huge help,” Morrow said. “The day of my wedding, I put on my shoes and they were way too big. My helper called and drove to the bridal shop to pick up another set of shoes.”
It’s your day and you can do a lot, with a little.
Both Morrow and O’Brien have been professional photographers for more than 20 years.