Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Holiday Weddings

Given the recent Memorial Day holiday, we thought we’d post about having weddings, including destination weddings, on holidays. It’s been a growing trend in recent and we’ve found ourselves invited to a number of them.

In general, having a destination wedding tied to a holiday is good for you and your guests because it means less time off of work for the wedding. And if your guests are making the trip to your destination wedding as a mini-vacation, this can work out well.

On the bad side, prices are typically higher at destination resorts during holiday periods, so you’ll pay – and it could be a LOT more. So you’ll need to carefully weigh the benefits vs. the costs.

But when considering holiday weddings, it doesn’t just mean U.S. holidays. If you are considering a wedding in Italy on June 1st, you’ll have to contend with Republic Day (and a nation-wide work stoppage). When planning your destination wedding and you are narrowing down the days, you should look carefully at a calendar to ensure that it is not a local holiday.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Destination Wedding Photography

One of the most important decisions you’ll face is photography. We’ve already covered this in previous posts, but want to revisit the topic.

First, we found a YouTube video (below) by destination wedding photographer Neil Cowley of Rochester, New York that should be mandatory viewing before you hire a destination wedding photographer.

Assuming you can’t find the talent you want locally (a pretty good bet), you’ll be bringing your own photographer. Let’s face it, it’s your wedding and you only get one shot at the photography. You’ll probably hire someone you feel comfortable with and bring them with you.

Neil Cowley’s video is from one destination wedding photography talking to another. But as a couple, there’s quite a bit for you to learn here.

There are really two kinds of destination wedding photographers:
  • Someone who is a wedding photographer, but loves to do destination weddings because it’s a mini-vacation for them (at your expense) and they tack on time before or after for their vacation.
  • Someone who is a seriously destination wedding photographer and it’s all about the business.
We prefer the former, but understand the need for the latter.

Regardless of which one, this is a business for them. Some photographers prefer to make their own travel arrangements and will charge you a mark-up (Neil Cowley charges 30%). That adds up fast. But…it is a business for them some kind of mark-up is reasonable. Unfortunately, some photographers use the mark-up principle to pad their profits.

We would recommend to couples that they work with the photographer to find a good travel schedule, but then the couple books it and pays for it directly. We’re not opposed to wedding photographers making a decent living…but there is too great an opportunity for some wedding photographers to abuse the mark-up principle as a way of screwing couples.

The other major issue in Neil Cowley’s YouTube video is the issue of documentation. He prefers to go undocumented. However, we had a friend who had a problem with this and couldn’t get her photographer into the country. The work permits aren’t all that expensive (certainly less than the mark-up on the travel) and your local wedding coordinator can often handle it for you. It is customary for the couple to pay for the work permit for the photographer. So, why risk your photographer being locked out of the country and you have to scramble for a “plan b” locally? Just get the permit.

Here’s Neil Cowley’s YouTube video:

Note: There’s also a video Part II, but it’s just him showing his cameras and you don’t really learn anything.

Suggested readings:
Covering the basics – Photographer