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5 Common Mistakes Couples Make While Wedding Planning

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5 Common Mistakes Couples Make While Wedding Planning

Congratulations!!!! You’re engaged and everything is so exciting in your life right now! If this is your first time being engaged and planning a wedding…this process can be lots of fun…but you’ll also find out soon enough that things can get overwhelming and even stressful. There are so many details that need attention and decisions that need to be made…not to mention all of the money those details and decisions will end up costing you.

You’re going to probably reach out for help at some point to friends, family members, Facebook groups, Pintrest, Youtube, and Google…all of which can offer help and inspiration. This blog post will let you take advantage of a very different and UNIQUE source for helping you plan your wedding. That source is ME! I’ve been photographing weddings for almost 14 years…and in that vast amount of time, I’ve seen pretty much everything. I’ve seen almost every possible way a wedding can go wrong and I’ve condensed all of that in to the 5 most common mistakes couples make while wedding planning. I’ll go over each one with the hopes of preventing YOU from making the same mistakes I see couples making over and over so you can have a fun-filled, stress-free wedding day!

So let’s get to it!

Wedding Planning Mistake #5: Inviting too many guests

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This may seem like it doesn’t need mentioning, but you would be surprised how many couples make this simple mistake. When planning your guest list, make sure the number of guests you plan on inviting fits within the capacity limits of both your ceremony and reception venues! If your reception venue can fit 200 people and your guest list is 350…DO NOT send 350 invites out assuming that only 50-60% will rsvp YES. When your wedding day rolls around and you have 50 guests too many…it would be absolutely horrible to have to turn those guests away... some of whom may have travelled a great distance to be there for your wedding! Most venues simply can’t add 5 more tables at the last minute. Fire codes limit the maximum number of people allowed in the venue. A safer guideline would be to assume that 80% of the people on your guestlist will reply YES. Safer still is not sending out more invites than your venue can hold. If your venue can hold 200 people…do not send out more than 200 invites. Trust me…the last thing you want on your wedding day is to have to turn away a group of people who took time out of their lives to be with you on your wedding day because you sent out too many invites!

Wedding Planning Mistake #4: Not having a rain plan

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If you are planning an outdoor wedding and simply hoping that it won’t rain…you will be a nervous wreck the entire week of your wedding (especially in ND and MN)! Don’t waste your whole wedding day worrying if it’s gonna rain or not and ruin everything you’ve been planning for the last 6-12 months! Instead…have a solid “Plan B”. If the venue you are having your outdoor ceremony at doesn’t have an option for an indoor ceremony in case of rain…It would be a smart idea to start looking into companies in your area that rent tents. You may not want to put money down on renting a tent and lose that money if it doesn’t rain and you never use that tent, but the alternative is…not spending the money renting the tent and then it rains and you have nowhere for you and your guests to take shelter. Think of putting money down for a tent as insurance and a piece of mind (which, on your wedding day, is priceless). If you are planning an outdoor event, start looking for tents to rent 6-9 months in advance so you can be sure some will be available and you can budget them in.

Wedding Planning Mistake #3: Hiring a friend instead of a pro

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You’ve spent countless hours planning, not to mention thousands of dollars on your dress, venues, food, etc…and there will be no “Do Overs” on your wedding day. It’s vital that you hire professional wedding vendors, who know what they’re doing, to make sure your wedding day goes off without a hitch. Even if you are on a tight budget…your wedding day is NOT the time to let your friends “practice” their hobby. Your friend my have 10,000 followers on Instagram…but that doesn’t mean they can handle photographing a wedding. Your cousin may put together the best playlists ever and keep house parties bumpin…but that doesn’t mean they’ll make an awesome wedding DJ. INVEST money into hiring professionals for the most important day of your life and let your friends enjoy the day with you.

Wedding Planning Mistake #2: Getting trashed the night before the wedding

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Your wedding is tomorrow!! Yippie! You’re so excited and to make things even better…you get to be with all of your closest friends and family at the groom’s dinner! This is where many couples make a mistake they always regret! Drinking WAY too much the night before the wedding can turn your wedding day into a disaster. I’ve seen couples that hired me for 6 hours of photography coverage show up 3 hours late because they were sick from the night before. On top of that, alcohol makes your skin flush red which is VERY unflattering for photos. (sometimes…even Photoshop can not help). Coming in 3 hours late puts all of your hired wedding vendors behind and that can exponentially slow down your entire timeline…even bring it to a halt. If you were supposed to be a the salon at 9 am and didn’t get there until 9:45…that not only puts your hair and makeup back 45 minutes…but that compounds on top of all the other events on your timeline. Now makeup starts later, which means getting dressed starts later, which then means flowers get pinned on later, and so on and so forth! It can be a total disaster and I’ve seen it happen more than once. So have fun at the groom’s dinner the night before but skip the drinking if at all possible. You will have such a better wedding day if you avoid this common mistake…and you’ll have the entire wedding evening to have drinks with all of your friends.

Wedding Planning Mistake #1: Not Hiring An Experienced Wedding Photographer

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You may have been dreaming of your wedding day since you were a little girl. You’ll spend countless hours between now and our wedding day planning every important detail. You’ve spent hundreds (maybe even thousands) of dollars on your dream dress and thousands more on the venues, music, flowers, cake, decorations, and other key elements. It only makes sense that you INVEST in preserving all of those dreams, hard work, and money by hiring an experienced photographer who specializes in weddings!

Your dream day is not the time to hire an up-n-comer or hobbyist because you want to save a few bucks. Concerning photography, price is usually directly proportional to quality and experience (I.E…YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR). If you hand over the enormous responsibility of preserving your wedding day memories to someone who may have only photographed 1 or 2 weddings because they are super cheap…you will find out soon after your wedding WHY they were super cheap! And at that point….there’s nothing you can do…your wedding has already taken place. You can’t go back in time and do it again.

Think of it this way…you wouldn’t go to a primary care physician if you needed open heart surgery (would you?)…I bet you would search for the most experienced cardiologist around…someone who specializes in hearts and you can trust to give you the best care possible. Both are doctors, but one is WAY more qualified to help you with your special needs.

One Value that an experienced photographer who specializes in weddings offers you that others don’t is “PEACE OF MIND”…and on your wedding day….that is PRICELESS!


There you have it! 5 Common Mistakes that couples make while planning their wedding. Your wedding should be super special and the more you do in the preparation stage to squash any common mistakes…the more time you can spend having a blast on your big day! I really hope that these 5 tips helped in some way!

Want more info about MY wedding photography/video services?? Click below to reach out and say “HI!”

5 TIPS FOR FINDING THE PERFECT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOU

5 TIPS FOR FINDING THE PERFECT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOU

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Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now comes planning your big day! There’s so much that goes into wedding planning and it can definitely start to get stressful fast! This quick blog post is going to focus on hiring your wedding photographer and how to make sure you choose the right one for you and your wedding. Let’s face it…you’ve probably already searched for wedding photographers in your area via Google or Facebook and were overwhelmed with the hundreds of choices! If you are reading this, I’m guessing that you want your wedding to be the most special day of your life and that preserving those memories is VERY important to you. If your wedding photography is something you place a high value on, then finding an experienced PROFESSIONAL wedding photographer is a must.

So how can you tell if a photographer is an experienced pro who you can trust with the most important day of your life, or an inexperienced hobbyist? Many sites online such as WeddingWire, The Knot, and Martha Stewart Weddings offer articles titled something like: 20 THINGS TO ASK YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER BEFORE HIRING THEM…or something similar. Then you read it and it’s all generic questions that really don’t help you weed through all the photographer to find the few good ones. You’ll see basic questions like: “How many weddings have you photographed?” “How long have you been in business?” “Do you have a portfolio I can view?” “Can I see a shot list?”…etc…

Couples who haven’t gone through this process before don’t really know what to ask a professional photographer so they ask these generic questions because that’s what Martha Stewart said to ask…when in reality…those questions don’t really help you at all. Let’s face it…you should be able to look at a photographer’s website and see their portfolio, how long they’ve been in business, blah blah blah. How does that help you figure out if a photographer is right for you?

IF your wedding photography is super important to you and you want an experienced trust worthy professional… if you follow my 5 pieces of advice below, you can easily narrow down your potential photographers and save yourself tons of time and stress.

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So…without further adieu…

Here are a few key tips to help you determine if you should trust a particular photographer to photograph your wedding are:

  • Check for reviews  on places like Google Business, The Knot, Wedding Wire, Facebook…etc… Also check the photographer’s website for reviews and testimonials. See if past clients rave about trusting their weddings to that photographer. If there are no reviews…either that photographer hasn’t shot enough weddings to accumulate any, or the ones they DO have are negative and they don’t want you to see them.



  • Ask the photographer if they have liability insurance. A photographer who has liability insurance takes their business seriously. You can be sure that they are an ACTUAL professional and that they are aware that they need to protect their clients (and themselves) from any misfortune. What happens if 2yr old Timmy trips over a lightstand and gets seriously injured?? A professional who has insurance is one that gives you piece of mind on your wedding day and that’s one less STRESS you need to deal with.



  • Have they had their work published in print or on recognized wedding blogs? You can rest assured that if recognized blogs or magazines are willing to showcase that photographer’s work on their site or magazine, that they are a choice you can trust with your big day. Most publications have strict guidelines for submissions and they get thousands to choose from each day! If your potential photographer has their work published on wedding blogs or in magazines…it’s a sure sign that they know what they are doing.



  • Ask to see examples of Full Weddings (at least 75 pics) from 3 different weddings they’ve done and ask that at least one of those is an INDOOR WEDDING. You are looking to see how a photographer’s work looks when the lighting is challenging. Shooting outdoor weddings is a bit easier due to the abundance of natural lighting (from the sun). There is a lot less for a photographer to worry about and it’s easier to produce high quality, smooth, flattering images. But what if your ceremony, or reception, is indoors?  Church lighting is never ideal and reception lighting is almost unworkable for some photographers who do not have the know-how to use their own “off camera” lighting. Look for shots from inside a church during the ceremony and some from the reception (First Dances, Cake Cutting). If these images are not crisp and clean, then ask yourself if they can handle your wedding day.



  • Meet with them in person before hiring them to see if you “CLICK”. Whoever you decide to trust with capturing your wedding day memories will be by your side more than any other person during the day (quite literally). From hair and make-up to the reception dance floor, your photographer will be attached to you the entire time. So…this may seem obvious, but you want to make sure that person is someone you get along with, have shared interests with, makes you laugh, helps you through stressful moments, and is calm/cool/professional. Set up an in person meeting with them just to chat over coffee. If distance prevents meeting in person, set up a Skype (or Zoom) call. Think of it as a blind date. You are trying to see if this person is a good fit to invite into your life on the most important day ever! If they annoy you or butt heads with your personality, it will most definitely make spending 8 hours with them on your wedding day, miserable. AND…if any wedding vendor refuses to meet with you before you hire them, it should be a HUGE red flag! Save time, money, and stress and move on to the next possible person.

There you have it! 5 Tips For Finding The Perfect Wedding Photographer For You. Finding the right photographer for your wedding day should be fun and exciting…not a stressful frustrating hassle. Use these 5 tips to instantly narrow down the mine field of photographers to the select few that can be trusted with the giant responsibility of preserving your wedding day memories!

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If you would like more info on MY wedding photography/video services, just click below to reach out and say HI!



Grand Forks | Fargo Wedding Photographer: 5 Reasons Why An Engagement Session Is A Must!

Grand Forks | Fargo Wedding Photographer: 5 Reasons Why An Engagement Session Is A Must!

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If you’re recently engaged and starting the amazing journey of planning your wedding…Congratulations!!! The engagement phase in a relationship is so exciting and you’re probably going to get sick of answering the questions that all of your friends and family members will throw at you (I.E….How did he pop the question? Have you guys set a date? Can I see the ring? etc…) Let’s be honest though…Telling the story of your proposal will probably never get old!

Now, you may be the type of person who has Engagement Photos as the first thing to do on your list…or you may be the type of person who thinks, “We don’t need engagement photos because we already have tons of pics of ourselves on our phones!” You might even be somewhere in between maybe wanting some engagement photos but having so many questions in your head. No matter which of these molds you fit into, I’m going to give you 5 Reasons Why An Engagement Session Is A Must so you can document this amazing time in your lives and be able to look back decades from now and relive everything with your precious family you’ve built over the years! So here we go….

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Reason Number 5: Awesome Photos

Most couples would be shocked that this isn’t the #1 reason to get engagement photos taken (more on this later)! Every couple needs amazing photos (that aren’t cell phone selfies) for save-the-dates invitations, and announcements. Most couples love their engagement photos so much that they can’t wait to show off a gorgeous piece of Wall Art or a keepsake album. Plus you can elevate your social media game with dramatic and bold PROFESSIONAL images that will set your pages apart from the pack. Hopefully, this time in your lives happens only once…so make sure you invest in a pro who will help capture your unique love!

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Reason Number 4: Being Your Best Selves

You waited your entire life to get engaged! Now that you’re finally here, it’s your time to SHINE! So be sure to make the most of it! Go a little outside of your normal everyday “look” and put your very best selves forward! Wear that stunning dress and pair of heels you’ve been wanting to try out. Get your hair and make-up professionally done. Have your partner stand out in that suit and tie you love them in. You will most likely get multiple wardrobe changes, so why not use one to look (and feel) like movie stars for a short time and live it up?

Close your eyes right now and imagine it’s 10 years in the future and you’re sitting down looking through your engagement photos. Picture one of the images in your head. Do you see yourselves in t-shirts and jeans in front of a brick wall? Or do you see yourselves in a Killer black dress and black heels with your full bodied hair blowing in the wind laughing as your fiance in his black suit and tie holds you tightly as you sit in front of the beautiful sunset? When you look back 10 years from now on this very special time, how do you want to see yourselves?

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Reason Number 3: Intimacy

During your engagement session, you will get the chance to cuddle, hold hands, hug, and even kiss your fiance. It’s such a wonderful experience and many couples leave their engagement session even closer than they were before! Use an engagement session to enjoy being intimate with your future partner and build an experience for both of you to remember as one of the many you will have together!

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Reason Number 2: Gaining Confidence

As you look though other peoples’ engagement photos online to get ideas and inspiration, you may notice that they all look like models who have been posing for photos for years. You may get thoughts in your head like, “My photos will never look like that!” or “I never take good pictures because (insert insecurity here)!” Guess what? More often than not…those couples you’re comparing yourselves to felt the exact same way! A lot of couples are either shy or insecure in front of the camera and that’s totally OK! The last thing you want to feel on your wedding day, though, is insecure. That’s why it’s important to have an engagement session…so you can get some experience in front of the camera, and working with your photographer, so when you see your photos (if the photographer did their job) your insecurities will melt away leaving you stress free for your wedding day. Picking a photographer who is easy to work with and guides you every step of the way will help you build confidence and soon, some future bride will be looking at your photos online thinking that YOU were probably some model who’s been posing for pictures for years!

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And The Number 1 Reason That An Engagement Session Is A Must: To Build Trust With Your Photographer!

You don’t want the first time you work with your photographer to be your actual wedding day! If you’re not used to your photographer’s methods or techniques, you may be distracted, or even annoyed, by them on your special day. Plus, your photographer is the one person who will be right there by your side more than any other person (even your fiance)…so it’s SUPER IMPORTANT that you feel at ease around them and even enjoy it. You don’t want to find out on your wedding day that you can’t stand your photographer’s personality…TO LATE…you’re stuck with them for at least 8 hrs now! Consider an engagement session a “Trial Run” on building trust with your photographer. If you’ve worked with them before your wedding and know WHY they do things a certain way and get to see how awesome your photos turned out…then you will be totally at ease come your wedding day because you now TRUST your photographer. That trust is how your photographer gets the best wedding day images possible!

So…as you’ve just read, an engagement session is WAY more than simply getting photos taken. It’s an experience where you get to be your best selves, gain confidence, get intimate, build trust with your photographer, and YES…get some amazing photos of one of the most special times in your lives! So find that perfect Photographer for you (click HERE for my tips On How To Find The Perfect Photographer For You) and schedule an engagement session so you can experience everything you just read and get one step closer to having that perfect wedding day! Congrats!!!!

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701 741 1407




Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: North Dakota Wedding Show At Naastad Acres - 2019 Bliss In The Barn

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: North Dakota Wedding Show At Naastad Acres - 2019 Bliss In The Barn

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Late last Fall, I was having a talk with JoAnn who is one of the owners of Naastad Acres in Hatton, ND and we had an idea of putting on our very own wedding/bridal show right at Naastad Acres. It didn’t take long to decide that we wanted to bring that idea to life and so…Bliss In The Barn was created!

Over the next few months, we got together with some of the area’s leading wedding professionals and, together, we all started planning Bliss In The Barn. We wanted to do something unique where brides-to-be could not only talk to wedding vendors about products and services, but could also see those products and services “in action” during Bliss In The Barn’s 4 different styled mock weddings!

After months of hard work, April 14th finally came and we were so pleased with how everything turned out! We learned a lot throughout this process and we are already figuring out improvements for next year’s event because, after all, our goal was to create something that will be around for years to come!

We had 26 top notch wedding vendors, 48 V.I.P. brides, a V.I.P. Experience, 4 styled mock weddings, and even a Grand Prize that was valued in the thousands of dollars! And we can’t wait to do it again next year….and even bigger AND better!

All of our event’s wedding vendor’s were so amazing and you can see some of their incredible work in the photos below! Our vendors included:

Naastad Acres wedding venue and HOST

Shawn Morrissey Photography Wedding & Engagement Photographer/video

Sadie’s Couture Floral & Event Styling Wedding Planning, Floral, Event Design

Brooke’s Floral/Events/Styling Floral & Event Styling/Design

Tip Top Tux Formal Wear Rental

Kristen’s Bridal Wedding Dresses & Formal Wear

Katie Aasen Photography Wedding & Engagement Photographer

Paola’s Pastries Wedding Cakes/Desserts/Bakery

Ground Round Food/Catering

The Pedal Health/Fitness/Wellness

Rodan & Fields Skin Care/Eyelashes

Generations Salon Hair/Spa

Signature Jewelers Jewelry

Jadie Shue Hair/Make up

Point Paradise Stables Horse & Carriage Rental/Stables

Dance Man Dan DJ/M.C./Reception Entertainment

Hud Sun Wellness Health & Wellness

Abbergail Graphic Design/Stationary/Invitations/Save-The-Dates

Oh For Heaven’s Cakes n’ More Bakery/Wedding Cakes

An Elegant Affair   (Decor and rentals

Harmon Entertainment   (DJ and Music)

Bon Voyage Travel   (Travel Agency)

Herbie The Photobooth Camper owned by Gathered - Boutique Rentals & Events     Moorhead, MN

Deitrich Bus Service Bus Rental

Heart & Soul (Live Musicians/Band)

And a very special THANK YOU to my models before the event Klaudia & Nick Holkup who are a past wedding couple of mine and I enjoy working with again and again!

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If you were one of our Bliss In The Barn Brides and are in need of a photographer/videographer for your wedding…I would love to sit down with you and hear all about it! Let’s go grab some coffee or drinks and chat!!

 

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: North Dakota Wedding Show At Naastad Acres

Grand Forks Wedding Photographer: North Dakota Wedding Show At Naastad Acres

Grand Forks Wedding Venue Naastad Acres



2019 Bliss In The Barn Bridal Expo

Naastad Acres, Hatton, ND

April 14th, 2019 12pm-3pm



April 14th is less than a month away and we are working hard on making sure everything will be ready for our 2019/2020 brides who will attend the area’s newest, most unique, bridal/wedding show.

Bliss In The Barn will take place in Hatton, ND at Naastad Acres on Sunday April 14th from 12pm-3pm. If you are beginning (or in the midst of) your wedding planning journey, then this event is being brought to life JUST FOR YOU!

Come out to Naastad Acres on April 14th and from noon until 2pm, you can visit with nearly 30 specialized wedding vendors who have come together to help you find the perfect pieces to fit your wedding planning journey! Then from 2-3pm, you will become a guest at the venue for 4 different stylized weddings where you will actually get to witness some of our amazing vendors in action so you can see how certain aspects of your wedding could be handled!

There will be booth drawings unique to each vendor and a very special Grand Prize Giveaway at the end of the event that you won’t want to miss! Below is a list of participating vendors:

Naastad Acres wedding venue and HOST

Shawn Morrissey Photography Wedding & Engagement Photographer/video

Sadie’s Couture Floral & Event Styling Wedding Planning, Floral, Event Design

Brooke’s Floral/Events/Styling Floral & Event Styling/Design

Tip Top Tux Formal Wear Rental

Kristen’s Bridal Wedding Dresses & Formal Wear

Katie Aasen Photography Wedding & Engagement Photographer

Paola’s Pastries Wedding Cakes/Desserts/Bakery

Ground Round Food/Catering

The Pedal Health/Fitness/Wellness

Rodan & Fields Skin Care/Eyelashes

Generations Salon Hair/Spa

Signature Jewelers Jewelry

Jadie Shue Hair/Make up

Point Paradise Stables Horse & Carriage Rental/Stables

Dance Man Dan DJ/M.C./Reception Entertainment

Hud Sun Wellness Health & Wellness

Abbergail Graphic Design/Stationary/Invitations/Save-The-Dates

Ramada Inn Grand Forks Evens/Receptions

An Elegant Affair   (Decor and rentals

Harmon Entertainment   (DJ and Music)

Bon Voyage Travel   (Travel Agency)

Herbie The Photobooth Camper owned by Gathered - Boutique Rentals & Events     Moorhead, MN

Deitrich Bus Service Bus Rental

Heart & Soul (Live Musicians/Band)





Don’t Miss Out On Our Awesome V.I.P. Experience!

We will be offering a unique VIP experience for the first 48 brides who register to attend Bliss In the Barn (Yes…there are still some spots available)! As a Bliss In The Barn VIP, you will get to come out to Naastad Acres an hour early (11am) get a swag bag and sip on champagne while getting a Private group tour of the beautiful Naastad Acres venue and property. Then you can meet with me (Photographer Shawn Morrissey) and get some fun photos with you and your entourage that you can share on social media and then see a small bridal photoshoot where I’ll demonstrate (and educate) how I work with real brides and you can see the final photos later in the show!

This extra experience is only for the first 48 brides how register to attend…so if you want to be one of our 1st VIP’s ever…DON’T WAIT! Sign up below NOW!



Don’t forget to like/follow our Facebook Page so you can get updates:

Bliss In the Barn Facebook Page

We hope to see you April 14th at 12pm for the very first Bliss In The Barn! Please share this post with anyone who is engaged! Thanks and we’ll see you soon!