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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 your 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 photographers 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…

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…TOO 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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5 Tips For Better Engagement Photos / Grand Forks Wedding Photographer

Congratulations! You are engaged! Now-a-days, engagement photos have taken on a life of their own. Couples use engagement photos for Save-the-Date announcements, wedding invitations, wall art for their homes, gifts for family members, greeting cards, photos to display at the wedding reception, photos to view in wedding slideshows, social media updates...You name it!

So...how can you make sure that your engagement photos stand apart from the rest and leave friends and family members talking about them??? Follow these 5 tips and you'll be on your way to get some truly unique and memorable photos.

1.       Comfort is Key

Being in front of the camera can be a little unsettling sometimes…especially when you are asked to show intimacy with your fiancé in a public place. To make this insecurity a “non-issue”, set up a consult with your potential engagement photographer before your photo session. That way, you can ask questions, talk about ideas, and most importantly…you can see if you all “Click” and will be a good fit to work together.

Hiring a photographer who you can get along with and who can make you feel calm and “at ease” is VERY important…especially if you decide to hire them for your wedding day because they will be with you the entire day!

2.       Location, Location, Location!

Meaningful places help make engagement photos all the more special…but don’t be afraid to think outside the box here. If you want your photos to be different, then you can’t shoot in all of the same locations as everyone else. If your city has a landmark that EVERYONE has their photos taken at, avoid it…plain and simple.

Talk with your photographer about ideas for a unique photoshoot. Are there places that are special to you and your fiancé that can help tell your story? Does your city have other, less known, landmarks that help define it? Look for areas with different textures and colors. A lot of photographers come from ART backgrounds and know about things such as color theory, composition, leading lines, contrast, and juxtaposition…so discuss these things with them and don’t be afraid to use (and trust) their creativity.

3.       Wardrobe, Hair, Make-Up…

If you are unsure about what to wear or you don’t have a stylish wardrobe, consider consulting with a stylist. Go outside the realm of your regular everyday wardrobe. After all…this is a one-time event (hopefully). You want these engagement photos to stand out and make an impression on your family and friends.

Spend a little extra money and splurge on that dress you had your eye on…or that sport coat and watch your fiancé has been eyeballing. Avoid anything that will make you look dated. You don’t want to look back on these photos 10 years from now and wonder why you wore those skinny jeans and lady Gaga T-shirt! Also…avoid trying to match each other’s outfit. Instead, try and complement each other’s outfit. Don’t forget to bring accessories like shoes, socks, belts and jewelry too.

As for Hair and Make-up…Get both done by a pro and you'll not only look amazing, but the extra confidence will shine through. If you are hiring a makeup artist for the wedding, they will likely want to do a practice run, and the day of your engagement photos would be a great try out. If you are doing your own makeup, consider wearing matte since it photographs best.

If you want unique, memorable photos…the key here is to pretend you are movie stars, get all dolled up, present the photographer with the best versions of yourselves, and do something different.  

4.       Watch the weather…and the clock.

So…when IS the best time of day to shoot engagement photos?? Most photographers will tell you that the light is best in early morning, or late evening…and I’m sure most photographers will tell you that early mornings aren’t for them. So that golden time right before sunset is perfect.

The common misconception is that bright sunny days are great for shooting portraits. Quite the opposite is true. Mid-day, when the sun is directly overhead, causes many problems…such as harsh downward shadows over faces, Raccoon Eyes, squinting, Bright Blown-Out Highlights, and a few other troubles. So try to avoid scheduling your engagement session around mid-day, if at all possible.

If, however, it is overcast, foggy, or even drizzling outside….it can favor your photo session and you can get some interesting, great looking shots during mid-day.  

For the most part, it would be safe to schedule your shoot 1-3 hrs BEFORE sunset for the most flattering natural light possible.

5.       Printing

So, you paid all this money to hire a professional photographer. You paid more money for clothes, hair, make-up, and props…had a super fun time and got some truly stunning photos of yourselves and couldn’t be more excited about them. But when it comes time to order prints, you are satisfied by getting a few prints made at the local drugstore or Mega-Chain-Department store down the street!

Why spend hundreds, or thousands, of dollars on that whole experience only to have a $2 8x10 department store print in a $6 craft store frame? Getting engaged is one of the biggest moments of your lives and you should invest in preserving that whole experience by displaying a professional, museum quality, piece of art for your home. The difference between a store printed photo that costs $2 and a Professional Photo lab metal or canvas print that may cost a few hundred dollars can be vast. How do you think department and drug stores can offer you prints at such low costs? Probably because they are using cheaper inks, papers, printers, materials, and laborers.

The point? Your engagement (and wedding) are precious memories that you’ll want to remember the rest of your lives. They are priceless! So, if you treat them that way and invest in a quality piece of Art for your home…you’ll be able to admire it for decades!

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