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Is Wedding Photography and Video Worth the Cost? Behind the Scenes of a Studio Owner's Wedding

Discover what it’s like when an industry insider gets married and how they choose the right wedding photography and video team.

The magic ingredient that almost exploded my heart…

I’ve been the owner of Little’s Photography a well known, highly praised, successful photography studio for over 20 years. I thought we were successful because we were talented and willing to work hard to be the best we can be. It wasn’t until my own wedding on February 26th 2017 that I discovered it wasn’t our photography experience or talent that made us that - it was something else completely.

Rocco, who is truly the man of my dreams, surprised me on Thanksgiving day. He got down on one knee, asking me to marry him in front of my whole family. I had never experienced anything like it. My Mom, Dad, Sisters, everyone… thrilled!

The high from that event lasted all through the holidays as people, especially facebook, kept it going by congratulating us and showering us with love.

One wise woman told us then, “Men get married, Women have weddings.” Although I laughed it off then, it turned out to be true. He wanted me to have what I wanted and so did I.

Then the Wedding Planning Overwhelm Set In

Two months later not a single step was taken towards actually getting married. We live busy lives and had just recently adopted a beautiful little girl. Here is Charlie Sue.

Every time I even thought about planning a wedding, the overwhelm came over me like a heavy fog. There are so many things to consider, do, handle and PAY FOR! Holy Camoly!! I really started to understand these couples who are engaged for 5 years and say, “We are just waiting for the right time.” THERE IS NO RIGHT TIME. Then one day, he sent me a text message and it simply said, “I want to marry you as soon as possible.” Something about that text was so romantic. It lit a fire under my ass and I got inspired. That very day we picked a date and it was only 5 weeks away. Yes, there were many who asked me if I were crazy. It seemed perfectly logical at the time. “It’s just a wedding I thought.”

It’s Just a Wedding, Right?

Very soon I came to realize the benefits of having 6 months or longer to plan a special event like your wedding.

  • First, you get to compare prices and services for wedding vendors.
  • Second, you get to spread out the cost of your wedding packages with each vendor.
  • Third, you get to obsess on Pinterest and drive your Fiance crazy with color pallets and details.

When you own two businesses, have a toddler, and are an active part of the community and planning a wedding in 5 weeks you have to choose powerfully and immediately. There is no room for 2nd guessing. This is how I got a whole new perspective on the wedding industry that I had been a part of for so many years and the reason that I am writing this article.

Learn to Ask the Right Questions

Wedding vendors are an entire subculture that I never knew existed. Some of them even made little jokes at my expense when I didn’t know how to answer their questions. One caterer for example, asked me what I wanted on the menu. I had no idea. This isn’t Thanksgiving where I know what to serve because I’ve been eating it all my life. What was I going to say, “Ummmmm how about Lamb and Pistachio Meatballs?!?!” I needed him to give me options.

Then there was a slew of incomplete conversations. By this I mean, they tell you everything, or so you think, and then later you get more important info that was left out the first time. Like we had the most beautiful venue, a sprawling ranch in South Florida, and we were excited to be the first people ever married there. But it wasn’t until the week before we were faced with renting extra toilets for our guests. Oh yeah OSHA has rules about the number of people versus the number of toilets. Didn’t you know? Me either. I couldn’t have my guests using porta potties! No, no, no, it had to be the fancy rentals. Cha-Ching!

Now that I’ve experienced this as a bride, I have learned to have a follow up call or meeting with each of your wedding vendors to review all action items and walkthrough items for your wedding day or request that your wedding planner share the conversations they have had with the vendors. Here is a great list of last minute questions to ask your wedding vendors.

Yes! Cha-Ching!

EVERYTHING added up so quickly. Man… it’s expensive to have a beautiful wedding. According to an annual survey done by The Knot, the average cost for a wedding in the US is $35,329. Plus, I live in South Florida, in Fort Lauderdale. The average cost for a wedding in my area is a whopping $48,596!

Even my own wedding photography team was going to cost me a pretty penny. These are very talented people who give it all they’ve got. And, I already knew I wanted all the best products my studio had to offer. When I started adding it all up, even at my cost, I seriously had the thought, “This is too expensive!!! Do I really need to spend all of this money on wedding photos and video? Maybe I’ll just have my sister (a talented photographer in her own right) shoot it for me as a wedding gift.” I’ll admit that thought dominated me for a few days. I almost went that route, Thank God I didn’t. Nothing against here, but asking a friend or family member to do it as a gift is a BAD IDEA.

The Wedding Photography Experience

My team treated me like a client. They invited Rocco and I in to our Fort Lauderdale studio and gallery and they led us through a conversation about our wedding day and specifically about the wedding photography and the wedding video. There were two photographers, two videographers and my office manager. This was a brand new experience for me. I was actually the client. They asked questions and when I didn’t have the answers they helped me find the answer. They made suggestions and looked for red flags but in a way that didn’t scare me but helped me get clear on what was important and what wasn’t. I left that meeting confident and impressed with my own team of highly trained professionals. But that wasn’t the magic ingredient that surprised me.

The Big Day

Our wedding day arrives, and I have to say, it was perfect. The ranch where we were getting married, Marando Ranch and Farms, was so alive and beautiful. The details all came together, the weather was beautiful and I was peaceful and relaxed. I spent the morning with my sister at The Ritz Carlton on Fort Lauderdale Beach. The Ritz Carlton is a beautiful location for a wedding or for some pre-wedding pampering. Then the afternoon getting ready with my mom, dad, daughter and bridesmaids.

The Little’s Photography Experience

Then that magical time just before the ceremony everything started to take off like a magical ride. It was truly dream like for me. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

I only remember seeing the photographers briefly. I knew they were there but I was never interrupted by them. They blended in seamlessly with the events that were happening. I remember having the thought about 2 hours into the wedding, “This is all going so perfectly. I’m so happy I have my team here to capture it all.” I had such peace knowing that I could just enjoy and look forward to seeing it all again after it was over. Even now as I remember, it brings tears to my eyes. To think of all those couples who have had this magical day but did not hire a capable photography team… it breaks my heart because once it’s over you can only re-live fragments in your mind. And your friends are going to show you poor quality or unflattering pictures from their cell phone shots. YOU DO NOT WANT THAT! Trust me. Your photography team needs to capture the essence of the day. They need to capture how you were feeling, what you were seeing, and how others saw you.

What is the Magic Ingredient?

I told you in the beginning that I thought we were well known, highly praised and successful because we were talented and highly trained. But that wasn’t it. When I saw the pictures and especially when I saw the short film that was produced, I got it!

It was love. Love for people. Love for happiness. Love for connection. Love for the craft. Love for the special occasion. That is the magic ingredient of our team... Love. That’s what had them talk me through the details. That’s what had them stay in the background and not selfishly interrupt the special moments like a bull in a china shop. Love is what had them select what to show me afterwards. They looked at it all with a loving heart and when I saw what they captured, my heart almost exploded! I will be forever grateful for the details that were captured. The way my dad looked at me, the way my mom held my hands, the way my sister was committed to all of it going smoothly, and most importantly, the way I felt during my vows. It’s all there. Every last detail, forever.

Don’t cheap out on the photography and video. You want the best you can get. You will never regret it.

Take 3 minutes and watch this wedding video. The very last scene sums it all up in a twirl!

Here are some of the other keepsakes I invested in:

1) Signature Guest Book

2) Thank you cards

3) Keepsake 5x7 wooden box of Favorite Shots with easel

4) A large photo proof box for all good pictures to have a home and not just be on my computer. It is much more fun to flip through especially for my 4 year old.

5) Wedding Album (is still in production). Here is a sample of what it will look like when completed.

Check Out More Weddings by Little's Photography

If you want to learn more about why South Florida has loved Little’s Photography for over 20 years, contact us! We would love to speak with you. Or if you would like to see more samples of our work from weddings in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and South Florida, click here to see our online gallery.
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  • We love our clients and they love us
  • Great portraits can only come from a great experience
  • We are artists, not just employees
  • Family owned and operated since 1996
  • We use two professionals in your family shoot
Little's Photography

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Phone: (954) 563-0444
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