What am I doing right now? You know the story. I’m breathing fresh mountain air and hiking to waterfalls and playing frisbee golf and falling asleep in a hammock in the afternoon sunshine. I’m forgetting what stress is and remembering how to breathe and relax. Ahhhh.
But. While I’m doing that other hard working people are blogging away! Today’s guest blogger is Casie from Rebel Belle Photography. She is a talented photographer, and (bonus!) she also writes beautifully. So enjoy her lovely post about the world of wedding music through the lens of the photographer.
I jumped into the wonderful world of wedding photography with my eyes closed (yes, I realize the irony in that), my heart open, and somehow knowing that it all would work out. What I didn’t know was, well, all that much about weddings. I was a 20-something, who was creative with a camera, and somehow knew it was meant to be. It felt right, maybe even perfect….even though I had never taken more than one high school photography class (which I despised) and knew absolutely nothing about business. Yup, I’m that girl.
So, when the Lovely Colleen of Soundtrack to I Do asked me to guest post — I knew immediately a great topic was how this photographer sees it all. Photographers, after all, are one of the very few vendors who tend to be there from sunrise to sunset on a wedding day (metaphorically speaking, of course). Now, I’m not saying that I know it all, because that is FAR from the truth. I have a lot to learn, but – in three years time? Trust me. There’s a lot I’ve picked up on as the girl behind that camera.
Life has taught me how to be compassionate. This world has taught me how to place my feet into another’s shoes. My soul somehow knows just *when* to click the shutter…and through it all, there’s a pretty clear soundtrack in my head at any given time. Yes, I am the person who thinks Eye of the Tiger plays when I’m feeling champion-esque.
By far, rule one to your wedding is that it is YOUR wedding. Hands down, end of story — yeah, there’ll probably be stuff you have to compromise on — but if there’s a song you can’t stand to hear? Put it on a tiny “Do Not Play” list for your DJ. On the flip side? If there’s a song you HAVE to hear for your day to be complete? Let them know that too! I wouldn’t recommend going “over board” on the Play/Do Not Play list — one, because it’ll eat away at your precious time pre-wedding and two, because the longer that list gets — the harder it’ll be for your DJ to keep track of what to play and what not to play.
TRUST your wedding vendors, Brides and Grooms — we are WEDDING.VENDORS. for a very specific reason. Give us your invaluable and very important ideas and details — but let us creatively explore the world that is your wedding day too. If you give a DJ a Do Not Play list from here to Timbuktu? You’re all but stripping him of the only tools he has to create an entertaining soundtrack that puts the life into your reception, and your guests out on the dance floor.
I think it’s important for Brides and Grooms to realize the value in an amazing DJ — they really ARE the Life of the Party. They not only keep the soundtrack of your evening going, and going smoothly — but they’re trained to know when it needs to be picked up and slowed down. They emcee your event, announce you as the New Mr. and Mrs. and even help to coordinate your reception from beginning to end to make sure a single step isn’t missed – AND, Bonus! The super-awesome ones know when to find ME and give me a lil’ “Five Minutes til Cake” warning.
It’s as simple as that — because then I, your lovely photographer, knows to be near the cake…and not on the other side of the reception hall capturing another detail that can wait a moment or two. Trust me, I’m really attentive and relatively quick…but I’m not a gazelle. Having a DJ who’s got their timing down, AND can offer lil’ updates to the other wedding vendors in the room is always hugely beneficial.
I’ve been known to advise brides & grooms and those wondering what my “Wedding Advice” would be pretty simply, “After hiring me? Hire a phenomenal DJ.” That’s how important I think they are to your event, my friends. Find a DJ who will breathe life in to your event — someone who doesn’t JUST play the soundtrack, but who is capable of being one of the essential narrators to your story.
Can you set up a playlist on your iPod and press play? Sure. But does your iPod keep your party going? Not necessarily. Trust me, there’s something that’s lost in translation there. Your guests have come to your wedding to celebrate YOU — but also to dance The Cupid Shuffle. It sounds silly, but people expect certain songs when attending specific events. Me – Personally? You’re not getting the Electric Slide — if I hear that song at my wedding…I will pitch an unnatural, super embarrassing, very-unlike-Casie fit (can you tell Id rather hear nails on a chalk board than the Electric Slide?) – but you guys can darn well Cupid Shuffle your lil’ hearts out until the sun comes up! I’m all about that.
On top of that…I can all but guarantee that you or your groom or some family member will be huddled around the iPod at any given point in the wedding trying to get it to work correctly, or to skip a song, or play this song versus that song. You shouldn’t have to do that on your wedding day. I get the allure of the Wedding Day iPod, I do — but at some point you’re going to want to chuck your iPod through the roof of your venue. This is the way technology & things of importance work — eventually, someone’s going to want to launch it into the ocean forever.
In a recent chat with one of my favorite Orlando DJ’s, Bobby Deese, we were talking all sorts of wedding advice from “No Bachelor Party the Night BEFORE the Wedding” to “Brides! DO NOT Starve Yourselves!!” — FOOD, Energy, and not being hung-over on your wedding day?! ALL IMPORTANT! But also, learn the art of delegation — and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Especially that week before you say “I Do” — your family and friends should be here to help support you, and assist you — try to relax as much as possible. Reception Advice? Know that the dance floor is best with you out there on it, and that your reception doesn’t have to be all night! Four hours is really plenty — you don’t want to exhaust guests — and most importantly, yourselves. You crazy kids still have a honeymoon, after all!
I can’t necessarily tell you what should and shouldn’t be important — it is, after all, (dating back to rule one) YOUR wedding. So it is, entirely, your priority list. But from where this photographer stands…on the day that I say I do? I don’t care about the dress, or the flowers, or even the venue. If this dude is THE.DUDE? Then I can get married in any old thing, with dandelions from the side of the road, on a beach…in bare feet. Actually, I prefer bare feet. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the photographers and the DJ will be two areas I spare no expense. Because if there is one thing that I’ve picked up on in these past few years…it is that your story is being narrated…and there is something to be said about trusting people who can sing those words back to your lyric for sweet, sweet lyric.