How To Pick The Perfect Wedding Date In Indiana

Here you are! You said yes, you have the ring, you have told your family and friends, everyone is excited for you, then you wake up one morning, stop and get a coffee before heading into work when someone asks you “Whens the big day” you realize that you hadn't even thought about it yet! You were still enjoying the excitement of being engaged and now like a ton of bricks you realize you have a lot of work to do! How does one even go about picking their wedding date? Today I'm going to share some tips that will help you pick the perfect date.

1. An Important Date

Many couples look to the calendar to pick a date for their wedding that is significant to them. This is the easiest way to pick your wedding date. But what if you have a lot of important dates together or your significant date falls on a weekday?

2. Where do you want to get married?

For many brides the venue is one of the most important parts of their wedding day and non negotiable. In that case you are at the mercy of the venues availability and if they are a popular venue you may have to wait 2 years for the next available weekend. In that case they just helped you pick your wedding date and have gave you plenty of time to plan the rest of your wedding!

3.Pick the Season

If neither tips above apply to you, take a moment to close your eyes and visualize your wedding day. Really feel it. Imagine walking down the aisle, imagine spending time with your closest family and friends, imagine your first dance together. Did you imagine your wedding inside or outside? Could you feel the warm June sun or the crisp October breeze?

Here in Indiana 46% of weddings take place in early fall between September and November and only 15% of weddings happen in the spring. That could be a huge opportunity to save money as vendors aren't typically as booked up. Remember if you pick spring, pick a date late enough to reduce the risk of being rained out!

4. Consult the local event calendar

Here in Indiana we never have a shortage of fun activities. When planning your wedding and picking your wedding date make sure you check a local event calendar online just to make sure you didn't choose the one day in may when more than 300,000 people flock to indy for the indy 500, booking up every hotel and cramping 465 for the entire day.

BONUS TIP: Don’t Ask everyone for their advice.

This is your wedding, you want to be surrounded by family and friends but if you ask everyone for their availability and their thoughts, you will never pick a wedding date. After you and your fiance sit down and pick a date then just take it to your closest friends and family. Take it to the people you would be devastated if they couldn't make it. This is mainly the those who will be in your bridal party.

Now I didn’t say picking a wedding date would be a breeze or even an easy decision but with these tips I hope you feel more ready than ever to sit down with your partner and pick the date you’re going to remember forever.

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8 Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer to Avoid Getting Ripped Off

Picking a wedding photographer can be a difficult decision and you have to consider more than just whether or not you like the photos on their website. And even though there are some incredible wedding photographers out there, unfortunately it’s easier than ever to buy a camera from costco, take a few photos from a friends wedding and put up a website. So here is a list of questions to ask the potential wedding photographers you meet with to make sure you don’t get ripped off.

1. What happens if our wedding date gets pushed back?

I've seen family emergencies and even venues that accidentally double booked a couple cause a couple to have to push back their wedding date. As much as you don’t anticipate having to move your wedding date, it might happen. Ask your photographer what their policy is if your date has to be moved so you are better prepared.

 Christian & Molly's Norris Lake House Tennessee Wedding - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com
 

2. What will be delivered to me

Some photographers will just send you a link to view your photos online after your wedding. Others will hand wrap a USB drive or prints and mail them to you with an album. Talk to your fiance about what you want from your wedding photography after the wedding so you can make sure you pick a wedding photographer who will deliver what you're looking for!

3. Can we print our photos?

This may seem like a crazy questions but there are some photographers whos business model is to shoot your wedding for cheap and try to make the majority of their money on the back end through prints and therefore don’t allow you the print rights allowing you to print whichever photos you chose. Ask your photographer if the print rights are included, allowing you to print your own photos.

4. What is the turnaround time on wedding photos?

I’m sure you have heard horror stories of brides having to wait 4, 5, 6 months or more for their wedding photos. This happens more often than not. Even if your photographer promises that you will have your wedding photos in a timely manner, ask for a delivery date to be listed in the contract to protect you.

 Cory and Casey's Mariners Village Carlyle IL Wedding - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

5. Can we pick or can you help us pick a location for our engagement photos?

The last thing you want is to book the perfect photographer only to find they only shoot engagements in 2 or 3 different places without charging some sort of fee. If you have an idea of where you want your engagement photos feel free to ask your photographer if they will be open to your suggestions. On the other end you may have no idea where you want to take your engagement photos and would welcome any suggestions from the photographers expertise.

6. What happens if we don’t like our engagement photos?

It’s entirely possible you could look through a photographers entire portfolio, fall in love with their work and hire them for your wedding only to find that when it’s time for your engagement photos you aren't happy with the results. This is rare, sure but entirely possible. You don’t want to be stuck with your photographer if you discover they can’t deliver what you want from your engagements and wedding photos. Ask the photographer what would happen if you found yourself in that situation.

7. What happens if your camera dies while I’m walking down the aisle?

Your Wedding day is once in a lifetime, and walking down the aisle is a pretty important moment. If your photographers camera decides to die right then and there… you need to know what your photographer is going to do. Although it would be a bummer to have a camera die a professional should have backup equipment to be able to keep going no matter what happens.

 Tyler Ashley Sasser Wedding - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

8. Have you ever had to make a claim on your business Insurance for an incident that has happened at a wedding?

Any professional will have liability insurance. A plumber, a bank, a doctor, and also so should your photographer. Ask them if they have ever had to file a claim from something that happened at a wedding. Often times at weddings there is alcohol and great dance moves, sometimes mistakes happen. Ask the photographer you’re interviewing what would happen if an accident were to happen.

Asking any potential wedding photographer that you interview these questions will give you a great idea of what to expect and give you a good idea of their personality so you don’t get ripped off!

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The Hidden Costs of Wedding Photography

Weddings can get expensive, no doubt about it. As a Wedding photographer I want to clue you into some common hidden fees other photographers charge so you don’t get taken to the cleaners.

Sitting fees

Back when photographers were primarily shooting film, they charged a sitting fee. This mainly covered the cost of the film and development in case the couple decided not to purchase any prints, the photographer wouldn't be out any money. Some photographers still charge a sitting fee even though they are no longer shooting film. It’s kind of like charging for 2 day shipping. Why is it even a thing anymore?

Overtime

Your wedding photography collection may come with 8 hour of coverage, which can typically cover a whole wedding, but sometime the reception is just rocking and you haven’t got to the cake cutting or other activities that you want the photographer to cover. If you ask the photographer to stay for another hour or two, they will usually invoice you the additional time. But find out before your wedding what an additional hour costs. For some photographers it’s upwards of $600 for the hour or more if you also hired a 2nd photographer.

Print Rights

A photographer will always own the rights to the photo because they created it. In the same way you may own a book, but the author owns the rights to the book and controls what can be done with their work. Some photographers have a business model where they will shoot your wedding for cheap but then hold the photos hostage knowing you have to go to them for prints which is where they will charge much heftier prices. OR you could buy the print rights allowing you to print the photos wherever you choose. I've seen some photographers charge more than $1000 for the print rights. The right to print the photo that you paid them to take, that you love, and want to display in you home.

Online Gallery

Having a gallery online to view your photos is a convenient and easy way to share the photos of your wedding day with family and friends! Some photographers charge you to host the photos online for you to view. Sometimes $100, $200, $300 for the year.

Minimum Purchase

Going back to the prints, some photographers have written in the contract that you will spend a minimum of $xxxx dollars on prints or albums before the digital photos are released to you. This should be written in the contract if the photographer follows that practice so read it!

There you go! Remember ALWAYS meet with your wedding photographer before you book them. Meeting them will allow you to get an idea of their personality as well as give you the perfect opportunity to ask questions and make sure you’re not going to be slammed with hidden fees after the wedding!

 Christian & Molly's Norris Lake House Tennessee Wedding - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

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5 Regrets Brides Have From Their Wedding Day

Picture your upcoming wedding for a moment. What do you see? Do you see smiling faces from family and friends, your picture perfect dress, and the love of your life excited to join your lives publicly together forever? I’m willing to bet it looks something close to that and not a day full of regrets. Unfortunately for many brides when they think about their wedding day it’s full of regrets. I don’t want that to be you. As a wedding photographer here in Indianapolis I only want the best for your wedding day. Because when you are happy it shines through in your wedding photos. So after talking to some of my own past brides and looking over the internet, here are the 5 biggest regrets brides have from their wedding day.

Let me clarify real quick I’m not talking about small regrets like inviting too many people or drinking too much the week before the wedding, (Another momosa? Why not!) No I’m talking about the regrets that would keep you up at night years after your wedding in the hopes that you can avoid the mistakes these brides did to have the perfect wedding for you.

1.Not Having A First Look

I know what you are thinking, “Someone out there is losing sleep because she didn’t see her Fiance an hour earlier?” The first look is so much more than seeing each other before the ceremony. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. Having that time before the ceremony lets you get out your nerves that you would otherwise have to hold in for another hour or more until the ceremony. The first look also allows you and your bridal party to take all of your portrait before the ceremony which means you can enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests who came from near and far to spend these few hours with you. Also did you know the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony is not about bad luck but it’s from arranged marriages to keep the groom from jilting the bride to be if she was not to his standards. Gross.

 Doing a first look gives you a few moments together before everyone arrives.

Doing a first look gives you a few moments together before everyone arrives.

2: #DressRegret

One of the biggest decisions you will be making for your wedding day aside from who you will be marrying is what you will be wearing. When asked one bride said “I don’t like thinking about our wedding day because I hated the dress I wore. It wasn’t my style at all but I felt so bad that my fiance's parents bought it I couldn’t take it back” It’s natural to have some buyers remorse after every big purchase but if it doesn't pass in the time leading up to your wedding you might want to see about an exchange policy and get a dress that makes you scream with excitement.

Check out my interview with Sophia's Bridal

 Pick the dress you fall in live with and you will shine on your wedding day

Pick the dress you fall in live with and you will shine on your wedding day

 

3: Not Hiring a Day Of Coordinator

On your wedding day a whole host of things could go wrong. Like the caterer not realizing your venue is out of their delivery area until the day of the wedding and won’t deliver and serve your food. Or your limo breaking down on the way to the pick you up and take you and your bridal party to the reception. These are not problem that you want to have to solve on your wedding day but for some couples hiring a full service wedding planner is just financially out of the question so they think they have to deal with all the stress. Thats not the case. A Day Of Coordinator is much more in reach financially, still lets you plan the perfect wedding for you, and will take care of all the fires on your wedding day.

4:Following The Hottest Trends

Did you know that almost 40% of 2000 brides surveyed would do their hair and makeup if they could? The main reason being is that they picked the hottest trend at the time of their wedding to follow. Now following popular trends isn’t always a bad thing but the problem is we won’t know if it was a bad idea until years later (Just look at your moms hairstyle in her high school yearbook). But I’m not just talking about hair here, everything from your style of dress (again look at your mom’s wedding dress) to your wedding venue. Remember it’s always fun to do something new but on your wedding day make sure it feel right, too.

5:Not Hiring a Professional Photographer

I know this may seem like I’m being biased here, so don’t take it from me. Just Google “Wedding Regrets” on your own and you will see that every single result on the first page highlights a bride who regrets not hiring a professional photographer. As most couples who have been married for 10 years or so will tell you, they don’t remember what their centerpieces looked like, they don’t remember who sat where, what flavor cake they had, or what their wedding colors were. The very things you may be stressing over right now you won’t have any recollection of in a few years. You don’t remember them because you can’t take the with you after your wedding day. Your wedding photos are the only thing that last for years and decades after your wedding.

You may be considering hiring a friend with a really nice camera to shoot your wedding like this couple Tracy and Duran. Shortly after their wedding day their friend moved to New York and 5 years later they are still waiting for their wedding photos.

 Tracys And Durans Wedding Re-shoot

Tracys And Durans Wedding Re-shoot

Check out their Wedding Reshoot HERE!

If you keep googling you will find brides who’s photographers used the buffet as the backdrop for family photos, go missing for major parts of the day, or who’s cameras die half way through the ceremony. These are all reasons to consider hiring a professional photographer especially when hear that more than 40% of brides say they would have spent more money on their wedding photographer knowing that they only get married once and their wedding photos last a lifetime.

As an example check out the photo this bride got back from her co worker who had a nice camera of her and her bridesmaids.

 Is this the kind of photo you will hold on to and cherish?

Is this the kind of photo you will hold on to and cherish?

I hope this list helped motivate you to not make the same mistakes the brides in this blog post did. Ultimately it does not matter if the two of you just get eloped in Yosemite or if you have a $100,000 wedding. What matters is that you two stay true to yourselves and your relationship to plan the wedding perfect for you both.

Is looking for a wedding photographer making you feel overwhelmed and stressed out? Sign up below for my free video: 6 Things Your Wedding Photographer Won't Tell You Until It's Too Late!

How Much Does Wedding Photography Cost In Indianapolis

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer here in Indiana you know that prices can vary from $500 to more than $5000. According to the Knot most couples spend about 10-15% of their entire wedding budget on wedding photography. The average cost of a wedding photographer in Indianapolis for 8 hours of coverage is more than $2600 but how do you know if you should spend more or less than that?

Unfortunately because weddings are so personal and infinitely customizable there is no one size fits all answer. It you two just want a handful of photos to remember the day by, they you might find the photographer up the street from you at a lower price point will work. But if you want someone to capture the day and how it felt with an artistic well crafted vision that perfectly reflects you two as a couple then you will be spending more on your wedding photographer.

The Problem is there is no clear definition on what is a professional photographer. There is no certification. Your neighbor who took a night class and then took photos of their family could set up a website and call themself a professional. There is nothing stopping them from doing that. Someone who spend years in school getting an art degree who has made a living off their photography would also call themself a professional. Since there is no clear definition on makes a professional, the costs vary wildly. So here is a guide on what to expect from your budget if you are looking for 8 hours of wedding coverage.

If your wedding photography budget is $5000+

  • The photographers work will be instantly recognizable and stand out among all others.

  • They will have spent years defining their work and perfecting their craft

  • They have several industry recognizable awards and has been published

  • They can confidently shoot the most challenging weddings with ease because of their experience

  • Usually brings $20-50k worth of lighting and backup equipment to every wedding

  • Their editing style is well refined and each image gets individual attention to make the most impact.

  • They often contribute back as much as they can to the community

$2500-4000

  • The photographer has been in business for several years and is established in the industry

  • Photographers have shot many weddings and have a great technical understanding their camera

  • Most photographers here will be shooting with flagship camera equipment and have backup equipment in case of failure.

  • Their body of work will be thorough and should convey quality and style

  • Some photographers in this price range may not be comfortable with artificial lighting (ask and do your research)

  • These photographers will spend a large amount of time editing and post processing your images to make them their best.

  • Photographers in this price range should have insurance for liability and should be a red flag if they do not.

$1500-2000

  • The photographer is typically in the first or second year of business

  • Requires the most research as quality can vary greatly

  • A photographer at the bottom of this budget is most likely in the beginning years of their business and still figuring out who they are

  • Pay attention to portfolio for consistency to build confidence

  • Rarely has backup equipment

  • If you vet correctly you could get a great photographer who is just starting out

  • Biggest liability is their contract. Make sure contract protects you too with guaranteed delivery window.

  • Typically do not have insurance

Under $1000

  • This photographer may not officially operate a business

  • You should accept that the quality of your wedding photography will be limited.

  • Photographers are very new and just starting out

  • Quality of editing will vary and lack consistency until they find their style

  • You could find a hardworking photography student in this price range who has the knowledge but lacks the experience

  • Very important to meet the photographer in person to get a feel for their outlook, style, and reliability

  • You could ask a photographer in a higher price range for 2-3 hours of coverage to capture the most important memories on your wedding day like the ceremony, family photos and portraits.

As you can see making a decision on a wedding photographer is not an easy one especially when judged on price alone. No one of the price brackets above is bad. It really comes down to how much you value the quality of your wedding photography. No matter what your budget, I urge you to meet with your potential wedding photographer to make sure you’re a good match.

So where do I land in all of this?

 Ray and Corrine Pirates Cove Mini Golf Engagement Session Indianapolis Indiana - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

I want to provide you with top quality wedding photography and personalized service. I want your day to turn out exactly as you have dreamed. From the valuable wedding planning tips I send out in the months leading up to your wedding to helping you decide how to show off your beautiful wedding images around your home I want to make choosing me as your wedding photographer the easiest decision you will make when it comes to your wedding. You will see from my pricing page that I offer several options depending on your wedding needs. From the most intimate weddings to capturing the complete story of your wedding day.

I hope this guide helped make the decision of narrowing down a photographer for your wedding easier than ever.

 Michael and Kayla's Plum Creek Golf Club Wedding Carmel IN - www.RHatfieldPhotography.com

Is looking for a wedding photographer making you feel overwhelmed and stressed out? Sign up below for my free video: 6 Things Your Wedding Photographer Won't Tell You Until It's Too Late!