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What Not to Do: Leave Videography Out of Your Budget

Everyone deserves to have a wedding video.

When I was a little girl, the one movie I wanted to watch over and over was my parent’s wedding video. The ceremony was shot with a single camera in the back of the venue. The reception was outdoors at the Marine training base in southern California. You can hear the jets flying overhead during their first dance. I still think it’s the best “movie” ever made. Seeing my parents when they were so young. Seeing family members that have passed before I was born. Seeing the family that I only get to see when we have a great reason to. Weddings. That’s what they are all about. Families coming together and celebrating. And that’s exactly what I wanted my wedding to be. But I almost missed out on the best part… The wedding movie!

We were extremely blessed, and lucky, with how things came together for our wedding. One of those examples was videography. I did not budget for it. I wanted it, so badly, but couldn’t find room in our budget to afford it. So we bought 3 small flip cams and several SD cards to hold hours of amateur video filmed from our family and friend’s point of view. One of my favorite photographers did this with an 8 MM camera, and I cried when I watched her wedding video.

The thing is, do you know where all that video is sitting right now? On those SD cards. Because it will take me a good chunk of time to go through and create something digestible.

Thank goodness for my sister-in-law’s best friend Rachel. We asked her if she would be a second-shooter at our wedding as we were worried about our photographer being in two places at once (Edgefield is a big place!). She graciously accepted, and brought along her fiance to shoot some video footage. Never could I have imagined the incredible result! Below is the beautiful film created by RP Imagery, one of their first wedding films they created. I think they’ll be producing many, many more in the near future 🙂

Videography: RP Imagery
Photography: Mint Photography
Venue & Catering: McMenamins Edgefield
DJ: Thunderstruck Productions
Personal Flowers: BlĂĽm, Design in Flowers
Centerpieces: DIY Methot family projects
Design, Planning, Invitations & Paper Goods: DIY
Day-of Planning: Alex Engel
Chair Rentals: The Party Pros

What Not to Do: Engagement Photos

Yesterday we shot our first (and hopefully last) round of Engagement Photos! At this point, I’m am just glad our relationship survived. I equate this engagement milestone to the canoe test. We made the mistake of scheduling a relaxing weekend at the beach, then realized when I got my work schedule that we could squeeze in a photo shoot the following day. This is a big deal, because I work most weekends, Spencer doesn’t, and our photographer is actually a doctor-in-training who moonlights as a photographer. Needless to say, when the stars aligned, we jumped at the opportunity.

The only problem was… these were our Engagement Photos. The photos we will stare at for the rest of our lives. The photos that will show the world “Look, this is who we are as a couple!”. You need to plan these things with new wardrobes and haircuts and juice cleanses at the very least! (Just kidding about the juice cleanse thing… for now). Explaining the gravity of this situation to my fiancĂ© was, well, frustrating. He clearly did not share my level of understanding on the matter. So I got him up to speed, and we headed to a nice relaxing weekend at the beach.

And then it turned into a beautiful weekend. So beautiful that my fair-skinned Bavarian fiancĂ© not only burned, he turned into a splotchy lobster. The day before our photo shoot. As we drove aimlessly around the island that we were planning to shoot at the next day, he grew more and more irritable that there were no “obvious” spots. The sun had zapped him of his energy, and he was NOT a happy camper.

Panic. I frantically blotted him with baking soda & water (the verdict’s out on how effective this is) and urged him to take ibuprofen. The next morning, in my nervous calmness, I failed at convincing him to try a clay mask to reduce the redness (the blue will offset the red!). I did, however, convince him to use teeth whitening strips. Yes, I do realize that one application hardly makes a difference, but it somehow made me feel somewhat better.

As he headed off to get a haircut, I went into full blown “I Have Nothing to Wear” meltdown. I started a load of laundry and threatened to go out shopping with an hour before we had to leave. Not my proudest moment. I threw some powder on my fiancĂ©’s two-toned nose and we ran out the door, pug in tow.

Thank goodness for our photographer and his wonderful girlfriend. They calmly held our frantic pug who was yelping at the end of her leash when she was pulled away from us (separation anxiety much?). And they kindly eased Spencer’s nerves that his blatant lobsterness could easily be Photoshopped out.

So here we are, exhausted, and relieved that our Engagement Photos may be finished. If not, I’ll know what not to do next time:

  1. Not wear sunscreen at the beach the day before
  2. Plan a photo shoot with no outfits planned and less than a weeks notice
  3. Pick a spot that we’ve never been to (although it ended up working out since we scouted it out the day before)
  4. Bring a crazy pug on an 80 degree day

The most important thing to remember is just to relax and have fun with your fiancĂ©. Because you’re getting married! And the camera doesn’t lie.

What Not to Do: Site Tours

As I move along through my wedding planning blunders, I thought a blog segment lovingly called “What Not to Do” was particularly appropriate. I hope you can all find enlightenment through my misfortunes. 

This past Saturday, my fiancĂ© and I finally made it to our first site tour at the McMenamin’s Grand Lodge. The property is a sort of laid-back resort filled with McMenamin’s flair (if you’ve ever been to Portland, you know what I mean). It seemed like a viable location for many reasons: Lodging for out-of-town guests? Check. Options for everyone to dine and be all together during the weekend? Check. Within our small budget? Check. Spa and mineral bath? Okay maybe that wasn’t on the list, but it certainly sweetened the deal!

Not the Grand Lodge (keep reading for why I have no appropriate photos), but I thought The Breakers was an adequate substitute. © Elaina Methot

However, the site tour also opened my eyes to the world of reality vs. the information you can find on websites. For example, they do not provide outdoor chairs, tables, a dance floor or tent. Meaning to fit an event over 100 people, you have to rent all these items. Suddenly the venue with the “no site fee” is actually more comparable to a site that charges $2000+ to rent their space and chairs. But enough ranting, here’s the list of what I wish we would have done:

  1. Take pictures! Even with your camera phone. Every site will look completely different in person compared to the stylized images you find online. A picture taken from your perspective, no matter how crappy it is, will help you remember how you saw the event space.
  2. Bring a notepad and a pen. Yes, this should be a no brainer (I have even made my own planning binder, but alas, I was running from work and forgot to bring anything!). The (very nice) tour lady was spitting out random fees and numbers that I wish I could remember. Important things like an 18% gratuity and a $3000 food & beverage minimum for ‘this space on a Saturday night in July’. It is much easier to decide if the venue will fit within your budget if you have all the costs in front of you to compare.
  3. Bring your list of questions. For me, this was if they would allow our flower pug, Chloe, on the premises, which would of course be a blatant violation of the ‘no dogs’ sign that you pass on the way in. I remembered to ask this question… on the drive home.
  4. Make your list of ‘must haves’ and don’t be romanticized. The first one on the list should be your budget! This is often the first venue that couples book, so it’s important you don’t blow your budget in the beginning then have no flowers to dress it up later. Also, booking a venue that fits with your vision and fulfills your needs (for us: nearby hotel rooms, affordable food options) can often help you save money in the end.

But I must say, it was kinda fun throwing caution to the wind and finally enjoying being “engaged” with my fiancĂ©. And that’s the most important part of this whole planning thing, right?