Re-run: DIY Weddings–Photography

August 25th, 2014

Today’s DIY topic is:  Photography.  I’ve updated the original post a little here.

You might look at the cost of professional photography and think you’d be better off without a professional photographer.  You might be right.  Or you might be very disappointed.  It all depends on how important photos are to you.

Here's a photo I took with my point-and-shoot camera and limited photography skills.

Here's a photo I took with my point-and-shoot camera and limited photography skills.

If having high quality photos of your entire wedding and reception is not your first priority, you can ask a friend or relative to document the day for you.  Someone with good photography equipment can probably take decent photos for you.

But if having professional quality photos is important, it’s difficult to get them without paying professional prices.  Professional wedding photographers have equipment and skills that ordinary mortals lack.  The best consistently take copious, excellent photos that capture the essence of your day.  They are on the spot and work hard so they don’t miss any important moments.  It’s also important that they are not guests, but are hired to work for the entire time, so they will be alert and sober until the time they leave.  They know what to look for and how to take good (and often stunning) photos of your wedding.

The same cake in a photo taken by Agnes Malorny, professional.

The same cake in a photo taken by Agnes Malorny, professional.

If you have a friend or relative take photos, they may or may not have the same equipment.  Unless they are professionals or truly talented amateurs, they probably don’t have the same skills.  And you won’t know until the wedding day if they will be paying attention (and sober) for the whole evening.  At some point, a friend or relative is going to stop working and start enjoying the party, which is an option a paid professional doesn’t have.

As with all DIY projects, think this one through before you make a decision.  There is a definite difference in quality between amateur and professional photos.  Decide what is important to you, and then pay a professional if you can’t live without those photos.

Oak Park Wedding Photos

August 18th, 2014

I do a lot of day-of coordinating, so when I get the chance to do full planning, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  Recently, I was fortunate to plan the wedding of two really wonderful men at Cheney Mansion in Oak Park.  I was pretty busy that day, so I didn’t get a lot of photos, but these few might give you an idea of what it was like.

The ceremony was on the lawn at Cheney Mansion.

The ceremony was on the lawn at Cheney Mansion.

The patio is ready for cocktail hour.

The patio is ready for cocktail hour.

I didn't get a photo of the bar, but it was here in the beautiful solarium, right off the patio.

I didn't get a photo of the bar, but it was here in the beautiful solarium, right off the patio.

Dinner was inside the mansion.  Food Obsession was the caterer.

Dinner was inside the mansion. Food Obsession was the caterer.

Here's the head table.  You can see the centerpiece and mantlepiece flowers from Mille Fiori.

Here's the head table. You can see the centerpiece and mantlepiece flowers from Mille Fiori.

Swedish Bakery supplied one of their delicious and beautiful cakes.

Swedish Bakery supplied one of their delicious and beautiful cakes. (Can you see the cute cake topper?)

The DJ was from Toast & Jam, and Stitely Entertainment provided a trio of violin, cello, and guitar for the ceremony.  I hope to have professional photos from Agnes Malorny to share with you before too long.

Re-run: DIY Weddings–Dishes

August 11th, 2014
How many cake plates do you need?  Photo courtesy of Artisan Events.

How many cake plates do you need? Photo courtesy of Artisan Events.

Here’s more on DIY for you.

When you see the total cost of rental dishes from your caterer, you might be tempted to go to Ikea and buy dishes instead of renting them.  Depending on your circumstances, that might be a good choice–or it might be a really bad one.

I know someone who bought enough dishes to serve about 50 people at her wedding. They got married in their own home, had a good caterer, and had places to store all those dishes after the wedding.  It can work.

On the other hand, if you are having 150 guests at a rented venue, you might run into some unexpected difficulties.  For example, keep in mind that all your dishes may need to be washed before they are used.  That’s 150+ full place settings.  Your catering staff probably won’t do that for you without an additional charge, if they would do it at all.  And it would be hours out of your life to wash them, even with a good dishwasher.  You would also be responsible for delivering all those dishes to the venue on the day of the wedding, or the day before.

Next, think about what will happen to all those dishes at the end of the night.  The kitchen staff will scrape them and pack them up in whatever boxes you provide for them.  Then you or your representative would have to pick them up from the venue the day after the wedding and take them somewhere to wash them for a second time.  And then you’d have to figure out what to do with 150 place settings.  That might not be how you planned to spend the first day (or two) of your honeymoon.

This is not to say you shouldn’t buy dishes instead of renting them, but you should think it through all the way to the end before taking the leap.

Going to the Chapel…

August 4th, 2014

I coordinated a really nice wedding recently.  The morning ceremony was at Howe’s Chapel in Evanston, and the lunch reception was at Caro Mio restaurant in Ravenswood.  Here is a tiny taste of what the day was like:

Howe's Chapel is on the Northwestern Campus.  It seats about 40.

Howe's Chapel is on the Northwestern Campus. It seats about 40.

Inside, the chapel is a miniature Gothic church. You can see the flower buckets decorating the aisle.

Inside, the chapel is a miniature Gothic church. You can see the flower buckets decorating the aisle.

A program and a cowbell waited for each guest on the pews.

A program and a cowbell waited for each guest on the pews.

The luncheon at Caro Mio was a warm, happy, low-key party.

The luncheon at Caro Mio was a warm, happy, low-key party.