Making Memories

Your wedding day will live on forever in your photographs. That makes your choice of photographer and videographer that much more important.

Word of mouth is the best way to find photographers (and other wedding service providers) in your area. During your initial visit, you should ask about the following:

  • Get references. Ask for the names of the vendors and former clients to contact. A glowing review from another wedding professional is a good recommendation for the photographer that consistently does high-quality work.
  • Look at more than one book. You'll get a better sense of the photographer's style if you see several examples of his work.
  • Discuss your expectations. Do you want mostly traditionally-posed shots or more of a candid, photojournalistic style? Your photographer should be an expert in the style of photography you want.
  • Make sure you feel comfortable with your photographer. Remember, you'll be spending most of the day with him or her.
  • If you select a particular studio's style, be sure the photographer you book is the one who took the shots you love.
  • Get specifics on paper. Be clear about how many rolls of film should be shot, what's included in your wedding package, and how long the photographer will keep the negatives in case you want to order more photographs later.

The Bridal Portrait

Arrange to have your formal bridal portrait taken about a month before your wedding. Here are a few tips to make your picture perfect:

  • Schedule the photo session earlier in the month, when you'll be less tired and stressed.
  • Keep your hair simple. Your hair stylist can show you how to create an easy, elegant look that will work with your headpiece and dress.
  • Don't overdo the makeup. Your face should look natural in the shots. If you plan to have a professional do your wedding-day makeup, have your initial consultation before the portrait so you have an idea of what looks best.
  • Make sure you have your gown and accessories ready in plenty of time for your portrait.

Love in Bloom

Nothing adds romance to the wedding day like gorgeous flowers. But you'll need more than a few bouquets and a boutonniere or two. Here's a list of the common wedding flower requirements:

Rehearsal Dinner (optional)

  • Bride's corsage
  • Mother's corsages
  • Table centerpieces


  • Bridal bouquet
  • Headpiece
  • Honor attendant's bouquet
  • Bridesmaids' bouquets
  • Groom's boutonnieres
  • Fathers' boutonnieres
  • Mother's corsages
  • Flower girl arrangement
  • Corsages and boutonnieres for other honored guests
  • Floral arrangements for the ceremony sites
  • Pew arrangements
  • Aisle runners


  • Centerpieces for main table and guest tables
  • Drapes, garlands and decorations for doorways and dance floor
  • Flower petals or birdseed to toss when you and your spouse depart
  • Arrangements for cake table, guest-book table and ladies' restroom
  • Bride's tossing bouquet
  • Bride's going-away corsage

Because flowers are such a substantial portion of your wedding budget, you'll want to choose your florist carefully. Here are some things you should consider when you look for a florist:

  • Make sure they've seen your ceremony and reception sites. You and your florist might need to visit them together to see how they can best decorate these spaces.
  • See examples of their work. Florists should be happy to show you photographs of other weddings they've done.
  • Check out the particulars. Find out when they'll deliver the flowers and if there will be any additional fees for physically setting the arrangements. Ask your florist to supply a detailed list of the arrangements and bouquets you requested, including the type of flowers he/she'll be using and any acceptable substitutions should those flowers be unavailable. Include the list in your contract.
  • Explore other decorating needs. If your reception sites don't have them, your florist may be able to provide aisle runners, candelabras or other decorative elements.
  • As with everything, figure out the finances. Your florist should put the estimated total cost and payment schedules into the contract.

Ceremony Music

Before you book any musician(s) for the ceremony, check with the site and the wedding officiant. A religious facility may require that you use its regular organist, or have other restrictions on what type of musician can play at your ceremony. Also, ask the wedding officiant about any rules regarding musical selections before you get your heart set on a certain ballad.

Be sure to listen to any musicians before you hire them. You can ask for their advice on selections for your ceremony, or request certain songs. Just be sure the musicians have plenty of time to learn any unfamiliar music before your wedding day.

Traditionally, the wedding music is provided by an organist and a soloist, but you could also hire string and horn musicians for a different sound.

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