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Wedding Photographer

M & J | Cator Woolford Gardens | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding photos and this is M. & J. They’re awesome. And I’m not just saying that because duh they paid a ridiculous amount of money for us to photograph their wedding so what else would I say about them? I’m saying they’re awesome because notably – they smiled SO MUCH DURING THEIR WEDDING DAY. Some people are nervous or anxious or just… fine – and really – one of the things we say about weddings is that it’s definitely a day when you shouldn’t hold back. Don’t Hold Back. F*ck being cool and really just… let yourself Love Out Loud.

Some people have infectious smiles and laughs and happiness – M & J are those people (at least they were those people during their engagement session and definitely during their wedding.) And honestly – infectiously happy people are some of my favorite kinds to photograph. Duh. Sure I write words and talk like some kind of cynical fucker full of fuckery but come on – I photograph weddings for a living. Deep down… ah nevermind – check out these photos! And all the GREEEEEEN.

Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding 

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SEEEEeee. Right from the start when we arrived – M. was totally totally being amazing and happy infectious and I knew the day was going to be all kinds of YESSSSSSSsssss.

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Alright – now I know you can’t see much of the house from these photos – but M. & J.’s house is purposefully decorated and the design throughout is… I LOVE IT MAN. Shut up. I can say that. Because I’ve been in their house and you probably haven’t so you didn’t get to see all the cool stuff they have – without it feeling cluttered and without it all coming from IKEA. Like my house. But I’m working on it okay? I am.

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Here’s the thing about first looks – sure they help things out logistically (since you can cut out 30+ minutes between your ceremony and reception) – but they’re a completely different type of session than only a portrait session. I know it seems like a little small thing – but the anticipation, the setup, and the angles that you get because of a first look can’t be recreated well from only a portrait session that takes place after the ceremony. Not always better – just always different.

But also – I’ve photographed several Cator Woolford Gardens wedding (s) but damn – the gardens were on point and impressive that day. The cloud cover with no chance of rain really helped as well. AND IT WASN’T HOT. Perfect? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

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OH YEAH. And we got to work with a couple of our FRIENDS at this wedding – the always excellent and amazing sounding Luna Strings and the most magnificent Reverand Deanna Lancaster! It was seriously like a wedding vender get together – and it’s always fun to see your friends ‘at work’ right? Especially when they don’t suck. HA. Although I’m not so sure they would say the same about me – but it’s all good.

But now – with these last few words – I hit the 500 word count. So.

M. & J. You. Are. Awesome.

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Wedding Venue: Cator Woolford Gardens at the Frazier Center

Wedding Photographer: LeahAndMark & Co.

Wedding Planner: Terri – Everything and More Events 

Ceremony Music: Luna Strings

Need help creating a wedding day timeline? We have you covered.

Need help planning and ideas? Check out this book by our friend Meg.

 

Simple & Intimate Decatur Square Weddings

Decatur Square Wedding – There is something to be said about choosing to have a smaller, more intimate wedding near Decatur Square in downtown Decatur, Ga. Sometimes you don’t want or need a venue that can hold 200 guests. Sometimes you just want a more relaxed atmosphere without all of the usual trappings of a WEDDING. Sometimes. And even then – you might want a small wedding but you still want it to feel like a wedding and not just a party or random dinner. You know what we mean?

Decatur Square Wedding in Downtown Decatur, Ga.

So you figure out what that compromise looks like to you and your partner. A great option that we recently photographed was this wedding that took place at the Iberian Pig restaurant right on Decatur Square in downtown Decatur, Ga. The couple confirmed the complete upper loft level for their ceremony and their guests. It was a simple and easy ceremony – and once that was over with – they got on with the  evening and enjoying their time with all of their friends and family that were in attendance. It was almost… too easy I suppose. But it was just right and perfect for them. And that’s really what we always hope for our couples. We want you to have the wedding that’s perfect for you

Decatur Square Wedding ideas and tips

Iberian Pig Wedding in Decatur, Ga.

Whether that does mean renting out a banquet hall, or an entire farm, or just a medium sized room in upstairs of a restaurant. Have the wedding that you want to have and then get on with enjoying your lives. Right? Right. Perfect.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Of course – you don’t have to have your ceremony or reception at one of the restaurants. You can just have your ceremony right there in the square. Sure there will probably be a hundred people, watching from wherever they are – but for 20 minutes – you’ll be the absolute center of attention! Maybe you want that, maybe you don’t. Maybe… you don’t even have to pay. Seriously… show up, have a pop up wedding ceremony – disappear – and you didn’t have to pay $2,000 for a ceremony spot… but maybe you didn’t hear that from us 😉

Need more help? Check out A Practical Wedding (I’m a content editor for them as well.)

Of course check out our tips on creating your wedding day schedule, here.

Hightower Falls Wedding Venue in Cedartown, Ga.

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls Wedding – Hightower Falls is a wedding venue located in Cedartown, Ga. and WOW. It basically has everything you’d ever want from a countryside wedding venue. It’s about an hour away from Atlanta. It has a waterfall. A real waterfall, not just a baby pretend 10 ft trickle of a waterfall. It has a barn (which is kind of required these days for countryside venues right?) It has RUINS. And not just the foundations and some pillars. It has an entire building structure of ruins. (Very stable too so don’t worry.)

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls Wedding Venue

What else… oh yeah it also has a few horses and a giant open grassy field and forests and trees. And a decent river creek area. OH and a wooden bridge. So yeah. Hightower Falls is kind of the perfect wedding venue if you’re looking for ANY of those things – or if you just want ALL of them. Because it’s nice to have options right?

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark & Co.

One thing you’ll want to make sure you do – is schedule plenty of time for your photography. I’m not just saying that because I’m a wedding photographer – I’m saying that because you have SO MANY different and great backdrops for photos that you’ll want to spend more than 15 minutes on your portrait session. SERIOUSLYYYYYYYY. Look at this place! 

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls, Wedding Venue, Atlanta, Wedding Photographer, Ruins, Waterfall, Barn

Hightower Falls Wedding Venue

Countryside Wedding Venue with a Barn & Waterfall

Another tip for you and this venue? – Definitely build in plenty of time for your wedding photos. SERIOUSLY. I mean it. You will want to make sure that you have at least 30 minutes or even a whole hour so that you and your photographer can hit up all the good spots for THE BEST photos. You won’t be disappointed. PROMISE.

Need more help? Check out A Practical Wedding (I’m a content editor for them as well.)

Of course check out our tips on creating your wedding day schedule, here.

How to Hire an Amateur Photographer for Your Wedding

Alright look – I know it’s kind of weird that I would write a blog post that tells you how you can hire an amateur photographer for your wedding. Weird because ummmm – I’m a professional wedding photographer and I should want you to hire me. 

But come on – if you were even considering hiring an amateur/hobbyist/weekend every now and then wedding photographer – then you probably weren’t really actually considering me anyway. SO. Let me help you. Okay? Okay.

Now – tbh (that means ‘to be honest’) an amateur wedding photographer needs all the help they can get. And don’t worry – I’m not going to spend ALL this time bashing amateurs. Maybe just some, and just a little. But you KNEW THAT. So. They need all the help they can get. The easiest way to help them is by providing good lighting for your entire wedding day. Basically – outdoor lighting and in the shade. So – have your wedding outside but in the shade. Done. Ceremony photos AMAZING. See. That part was easy and you totally saved money going with the amateur photographer. Okay.

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Oh – so that usually rules out really dark churches and other generally dark wedding ceremony locations. Oh – AND having your wedding ceremony at night/dusk/sunset-ish times when it’s getting dark. Because if your wedding ceremony is when it’s getting dark – that means that your reception will be at night. And it’s definitely dark at night time. 

But what about indoors? You have your reception inside with the lights on. That will be totally bright and lit and even an amateur photographer will have no trouble photographing in a well lit ballroom. YES. A well brightly lit ballroom. Just like those conference rooms in hotels. With all the even flourescent lighting. That’s exactly how you want the ambiance for your wedding reception to feel. Like a hotel conference room. NO. (well – please no)

Even ‘brightly’ lit as far as wedding receptions go is still mostly – dark- when it comes to taking good photos. That’s why there’s a difference between the photos a professional photographer takes and the ones that maybe your uncle takes – even  with the same camera. TBH (remember that from above?) – there are a lot of tricks to getting good photos that your uncle doesn’t know, and that many amateurs don’t know either. I mean, I say they’re tricks but really they’re just BASIC SKILLS that any actual PROFESSIONAL knows with their eyes closed. 

And it’s not always gear. Sure gear helps but there are plenty – PLENTY of bad photographers with really amazing gear. Okay – there are probably MORE bad photographers with really amazing gear than good photographers with amazing gear. TRUTH! 

How to Hire an Amateur Wedding Photographer

But of course what does ‘amateur’ even mean anymore? Number of weddings photographed a year? Amount the person charges? How often they launch a new ‘rebrand’ of their website? IDK. But you know it when you see an amateur. I know you do. You get that feeling. You know the one… the one that says… oh man, I’m really taking a risk with my wedding photos if I go with this photographer, but they’re cheap!… yeahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Don’t do that.

 

 

How to Find an Amateur Wedding Photographer. Atlanta. LeahAndMark & Co. Planning. Tips.

How to Start Planning Your Wedding

Once you’re engaged and you’ve started to come down from the high of the proposal – you may start to think… well f*ck now we have to actually plan a wedding. (Please note the ‘we’ and not an ‘I’ in that sentence – as in the both of you and probably anyone else you can con into helping you!)

Or you can skip all of this do it yourself business and hire a great wedding planner/designer.

How to Start Planning a Wedding

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

It’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are too many options. Too many choices – and it starts to get considerably worse when you realize that you don’t even have any idea about what you actually want. I know what you’re thinking. You’d like a small wedding with just your closest friends and family – maybe 10, maybe 20 people – 30 TOPS. But then you started writing out all the people that you might invite and realize again – F*ck. Some of these people I have to invite. (Although I’ll tell you right now – no you don’t.)

So. Where do you start? How do you even begin to start planning your wedding? Easy. Just imagine things.

Wedding Planning In Atlanta

Imagine what your wedding might look like. Don’t imagine how it has to be – just how it can be. So imagine that your ceremony is in a church. How’s that feel? Great? Awful? Weird? Write that down. Imagine your reception being indoors in a hotel ballroom. How does that feel? Write that down.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

When it comes to wedding planning – everything is not a linear straight line process. Sometimes it’s all-at-once. Like the venue. You may like a certain type of venue – like a farm barn (I just like how that rhymes and it’s annoying that it rhymes) – so with a farm barn you also want one that can accommodate the number of people you’re going to have  - so you need to come up with a rough estimate of that number. And with that you probably want it to be in a good spot not too far of a drive for people from their homes/hotel wherever. See – all-at-once.

The Best Wedding Venues in Atlanta

But really – venue and number of guests are generally the first decisions when it comes to starting your wedding planning. Location – location – location. Right? Right.

Maybe you don’t want to get married in church. What about a park? Or a museum? Or the above mentioned farm barn. Or. Or. Or…

  • Converted warehouse
  • Converted factory
  • Old Historical Home
  • Hotel Ballroom
  • Restaurant property
  • A neighborhood park
  • A state/national park

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • Someone’s amazing backyard (not someone’s ugly backyard)
  • Science Museum
  • Botanical Gardens
  • UnBotanical Gardens
  • What’s an UnBotanical Garden?
  • Art Museum
  • Children’s Museum
  • Theater
  • Destination hotel/resort

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • Beach
  • Rooftop of something with a roof
  • Sports arena
  • Ancient Ruins
  • Abandoned buildings
  • Haunted buildings
  • Cemeteries
  • Old Hospitals

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • New Hospitals
  • Haunted Hospitals
  • Someplace with a waterfall
  • Someplace with a great big cliff/canyon
  • Golf course? (please no)
  • My back yard
  • Your back yard
  • We all scream for back yard
  • Vineyard

See. You have a plethora of options when it comes to the location of your wedding venue. There are also other considerations in picking your venue – other than just what you like (although that’s a big one.) Now – after deciding on your venue (and we’ll get into that process a little later) – what’s the next step?

Your photographer of course! (Atlanta Wedding Photographers)

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

And also – here’s a short list of a few of the things we’ll cover in the new few weeks. Because you know – planning a wedding is bonkers.

  • Budget
  • Size
  • Location
  • Time of Day
  • Ceremony
  • Reception

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • Photography
  • Wedding Party
  • Rings
  • Dress
  • Food/Catering
  • Alcohol
  • Entertainment
  • Cake/Dessert

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

  • Communication
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Honeymoon
  • Legal Considerations

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark, Wedding Planning Atlanta Venues

Wedding Planning. Atlanta Wedding Photographers. How to. Location. Venue. Ideas. Tips.

H + J | Red Top Mountain State Park | Atlanta Wedding Photographer

Atlanta; Wedding; Photographer; Engagement Sessions; Red Top Mountain; State Park; Camping; Paddleboard; Standup; Fall;

Red Top Mountain Engagement Session

This is H & J and they wanted something a little different for their engagement session – and you KNOW that I’m generally sometimes almost always usually forever interested in making some new photos. The tricky part with engagement sessions is that you want them to be YOU. I know that’s a simple sentence and it seems like DUH. But if you look around – and I’m sure you have – you’ll find a lot of people… trying a little too hard. Too hard as in what the fuck is this/that?! Who ARE THOSE PEOPLE? Oh you know what I’m talking about.

But how do you show your personalities during your engagement session and avoid being inauthentic or fake or not you guys? I don’t know. I don’t have any good advice. That’s not really why you’re here. You’re here for the photos and photos and well alright – some advice. Okay. Basically – just show what you’re interested in. Your hobbies or your favorite things your likes – basically WHAT YOU DO when you’re not being in front of everyone else. Okay maybe not that – but the things you love. Like really LOVE. Because your engagement session is a portrait session of you and your partner (I’m going to assume you love them) – and you should do what you can to incorporate other things you love. Things that you both love. Whatever that might be. Seriously – because I’m not judging.

Your engagement session documents your love right? RIGHT FUCKERS THAT’S WHAT IT DOES. Now look at some photos.

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Red Top Mountain State Park Engagement Session

Alright maybe I was a little harsh earlier. Or strangely aggressive. I mean – we’re talking about engagement sessions right? And weddings and fancy things like flowers and dresses or simply – love. Here’s the thing – your engagement session can be whatever you want it to be. You just have to be the one to make it happen. I’m not saying that your photographer can’t or won’t help you… ah nevermind – I was about to go on and on about you being you and #LiveAuthentic and #HashtagSomethingCool but whatever.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark & Co.

The point is that your engagement session doesn’t have to be an ‘ENGAGEMENT SESSION!’ – it doesn’t necessarily have to be cheesy or uncool or generic or something unrelated to you and who you both are and what you both mean to each other. It’s about YOU TWO PEOPLE. So show that. Really show that. Do you like to drink? GET DRINKING. Do you like to watch TV? Incorporate that. Seriously – I once had a couple start their engagement session in their living room, in PJs, reading a newspaper and drinking coffee – like it was a regular Saturday morning because THEY LOVE DOING THAT. See how easy it is? What do the two of you love to do together – and maybe do THAT for your engagement session.

Well – um – maybe not THAT – but you know what I mean. Do you? Nevermind it’s all good.

Atlanta; Wedding; Photographer; Engagement Sessions; Red Top Mountain; State Park; Camping; Paddleboard; Standup; Fall;

Atlanta Wedding Photographer LeahAndMark. Red Top Mountain State Park. Engagement Session.

Vegas Wedding? Make Time for The Strip

If you’re having a wedding in Las Vegas, NV. – you’ll want to make time for a portrait session down on the strip – or downtown on Fremont St.

Let me say that again – MAKE TIME FOR YOUR PORTRAIT SESSION. Whether you have to do it the day before or the day after or the same evening – after your wedding reception and before the after party – MAKE TIME. It’s worth it. If you have a great photographer – it’s DEFINITELY WORTH IT. Don’t settle for only photos at your hotel – get out there and get some photos that LOOK LIKE VEGAS.

You won’t regret it.

Alright – if I don’t see you on your day – have a great wedding and I’ll talk to you later.

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Atlanta. Wedding. Photographer. Las Vegas. Nevada. The Strip. Planning. Advice. Tips. Vlog.

 

Amanda + Justin | Elijay, Ga. Wedding

Many different people hire me for many different weddings. Backyard weddings, church weddings, big ballroom weddings, farm weddings, plantation weddings, warehouse weddings, etc. Some of my favorite weddings are the smallest weddings.

Because when I’m one of only 10 people that are invited to a wedding – it’s kind of a big deal for me. I’m a stranger to these people and they want me to be there with them. Yeah – that’s really special. Lindsay and Chance had me at their mountain wedding a while back and recently Amanda and Justin invited me to theirs.

They brought me along for their wedding day up in the woods of North Georgia – and once again – magic. See that photo up above? YEAH. Magic.

When there are only 10 people and I’m one of them – it usually means that I’m not sitting in the back with the help. It means that I’m probably going to be sitting at the family table – and that’s not lost on me. It’s a big deal. And even when I’m at my most snarky and tired about my job – I’m never ungrateful that people invite me into their lives for such a loving, emotional, and special event.

Hey Amanda and Justin – thank you.

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North. Georgia. Weddings. Elijay. Ga. Forest. Mountains. Blue Ridge. Wedding Photographer. LeahAndMark & Co.

The 46 Biggest Wedding Planning Mistakes You Must Avoid (hint: you’re probably making a few of them)

We Make Amazing Wedding Photos for You

Our team has gathered the 46 biggest wedding planning mistakes that you absolutely must avoid while you’re planning your wedding day. Wedding planning is a crazy, crazy, bonkers thing to do. There are so many mistakes that you can make during the planning process – ones that could easily be avoided if you know what to do. But let’s face it – planning weddings probably isn’t your regular full time job (heck even part time job.) There’s a reason professional wedding planners exist – and why a great one is sometimes hard to find. Even if you do hire a professional wedding planner – you’ll still need to do your part to help avoid any of these wedding planning mistakes.

1. Not keeping a handle on your guest list

You might think that You have TOTAL control over your guest list. You might think that who attends your wedding is YOUR decision. You’re wrong. Kind of. Sure it’s your decision – somewhat – but there are other major ‘stakeholders’ involved (using annoying business jargon there). Although you may have to invite more people than you want – when it comes down TO IT – hold your ground. Allowing your parents/grandparents/friends invite people you don’t want is totally up to you. It’s also totally up to you (and your partner) to kill it. Don’t want to allow any +1?s ? DON’T ALLOW IT. Dont want to extend the invite to co-workers? DON’T invite them. I know this sounds easier than it is – but you should remember that SOMEONE is paying $70 a head to feed these people that you don’t really care about. Cut those people out.

2. Taking on too many duties

A wedding is a big event. Even small weddings are big events. Delegate. Delegate. And at some point just don’t give any F*cks.

3. Booking a photographer based on price only

The general rule is true that cheap photographers are well, cheap. Sure there are the ‘budget’ wedding blogs/magazines that’ll tell you to find a student or beginning photographer (heck I was one of those obviously) – but you know that the truth is if you want fucken amazing photos then you have to hire a fucken amazing photographer. Meaning – you have to pay decent rates for an amazing photographer. Please note that I said decent. By that, I mean “make-living-rates” not Rockstar Photographer rates. Because really – why should the photographer be the rockstar on YOUR wedding day?

4. Trying to please everyone

Let’s repeat this together – it’s YOUR wedding (well you and your partners’). I know your parents are helping to fund the thing but it’s no their wedding. It’s not your Aunts wedding, or your sister, or your brother’s wedding. It’s definitely not some distant relative’s wedding. And hellz to the no to any of those distance relatives giving you Sh*t about ANYTHING regarding your wedding ( btw I know no one says hellz to the no anymore). You’re not going to please everyone. So pick the few people you want to please – at the top of the list is your partner and then you have 5 more spots. After that everyone can sit down and shut up.

Mistake #98 – not including Iowa cornfields into your wedding portrait session.

Mistake #98 – not including Iowa cornfields into your wedding portrait session.

5. Including things you don’t want

There are things you must have, things you want, things you’re okay with, and things you DON’T want. That’s a lot of things. Which one are you gonna cut out? The things you don’t want of course! So why are you including putting that ‘religious’ reading in your ceremony? Or even doing a garter toss? Or speeches/toasts? ( these are just examples okay?)

6. Putting up with problem guests

If any of your guest give you grief about anything – fire them. Do it. Even your mom… Just say “You’re fired.” First, it’s kind of joking. Second, it’s a little pushback. Third – they’re your guest and remember that their attendance is optional, not mandatory.

7. Not making sure you’re on the same page with your partner

Chances are one of you will take the lead on the planning and execution. That’s of course fine. At the beginning of the planning you should talk and discuss what kind/type/look of wedding you want. Discuss how you want it to feel. Maybe she doesn’t want it to ever hot trendy piece of decoration so it doesn’t feel like the wedding industry vomited all over her reception. Maybe he wants to be the one to pick the floral designer. However you divvy up duties or move things along – start out on the same page with your partner and regularly update/check back in with them on the progress.

8. Not setting a budget

You need to have an idea of how much money you have to work with – even before you start looking for a dress, or a venue, or a photographer. It all easily adds up and although you’ll probably be able to splurge in a few key areas, you’ll need to know when you should cut back. Talk to everyone involved in your budget and see what you have to work with. It doesn’t take as much time as you might be thinking and it’s not as painful either. Just sit down, have a drink and start writing everything down so you can see what it looks like.

It's your wedding! Have a drink!

It’s your wedding! Have a drink!

9. Assuming money from parents

It’s money. You should never assume it will be given to you. Unless you’re RICH. Then go ahead, assume. For everyone else – don’t assume your parents will kick in any money. Hope for it. Maybe even be çonfident about it – but don’t assume. You should still ASK. I don’t care if you already unspokenly know the money is there for you – STILL ASK. Asking is not assuming and it’s way nicer. Remember, your parents are people too – probably with jobs and bills ( again, unless you’re RICH) – so they might not even be able to kick in as much as they would like to. Don’t assume, ask.

10. Focusing too much on the details

It sounds like common sense right? Don’t focus too much on the details. But we need to say this err. Don’t focus too much on the details because it’ll drive you bat sh*t crazy. What’s too much? It’s different for everyone. Some people are career project planners so their wedding is another project, to plan. The can probably focus on more details without it affecting them – and more importantly, everyone else around them. It’s when you focus on the details so much that you drive everyone around you (including your partner) to the point of wanting to quit. Which means that probably no one is having any fun anymore. YOU WANT TO HAVE FUN. So if you’re not having fun then maybe you’re focusing on the details too much. At that point yo should pick the major things you want to worry about and just delegate the rest. DELEGATE IT.

11. Not letting your vendors do their jobs

You’re paying $10k+ to your caterer to handle all of the food stuff. You’re paying $5k+ to your photographer. You paid $2k for your DJ. Let them all do their jobs. Get the f*ck out of their way and let them do what you paid them to do. Let them take care of their department. That’s why you hired wedding professionals right? That’s why you paid good money – so other people can do those jobs and you can just go get maried and be AWESOME.

12. Having no rain plan

If you can have a rain plan – HAVE ONE. No matter how small of a rain plan. No matter how UN-Likely you’ll need it. Most venues will have SOME KIND of a rain plan – but chances are that it won’t be pretty. But even if it’s not a pretty rain plan, you want there to be one – otherwise you might be stuck having your wedding in a hallway. Of course – no matter how good or bad the rain plan is – you’ll still get married and I suppose that’s all that matters… right? RIGHT.

13. Asking All Your Friends to be on your wedding party

ALL of your friends don’t have to be in your wedding party. You don’t need 10 bridesmaids. You don’t need 10 groomsmen. I mean – you CAN have that many. Heck – you can have more than that if you want. Just don’t do it if it’s because you can’t say no. Do it because you actually care about these people standing up there with you on your very important day. It’s your wedding day! And you should feel blessed that you have 10 friends close enough to you that you’d ask them to be in your wedding. That’s Awesome. So F*ck the naysayers. Wait what just happened?

14. Not scheduling time for photography/videography

You paid $5k for your awesome wedding photographer. You need to make sure they have adequate time to make all of the AMAZING that you hired them to make. Not the whole day, but adequate (or a little more than adequate). Consider travel time if you’re going to multiple locations. Think about locations that are more picturesque than the hotel lobby. Or even your reception location. Maybe there’s a beautiful spot in between the hotel and the church/reception location. MAKE TIME TO TAKE PHOTOS THERE. Your photographer will handle all of the logistics if you help with making sure that photography time is built into your wedding day schedule.

Tip #109 – Always hire a photographer that makes EPIC wedding photos. Don’t settle for anything less.

Tip #109 – Always hire a photographer that makes EPIC wedding photos. Don’t settle for anything less.

15. Assuming there aren’t any discounts available

ASK. Always Always ask for a discount. I’m not saying that you’ll get one. I’m not even saying that it’s likely. Some places are very strict and don’t offer any discounts or friendliness of any kind. Some photographers are too rockstar and aren’t flexible at all on the price of their rockstar photography services. Still. ASK. You never know if they offer a discount. And even better, (for you) you never know if you’re asking at the exact PERFECT time for a discount. Maybe the photographer really wants your wedding because it’s not like any wedding they’ve photographed before (kind of unlikely if you’re going with a PRO) – or maybe you just ask at the right moment when the caterer/venue director/florist is in a damn good mood and wants to help you out. Just never know. Oh – but don’t ever be offended if you’re not given a discount. And when you can – ask while you’re making them laugh – that’s a PRO TIP.

16. Booking yourself too busy before your wedding

Don’t book 30 sales meetings at work. Try not to have your wedding the weekend right after finals. I know you won’t listen to me – but try to minimize your obligations during the week of your wedding day. Anything that’s not absolutely necessary for taking care of your wedding should be pushed off or flat out rejected. You don’t want to arrive on your wedding day all ragged because you were stressing out all week because you were obligated to OTHER PEOPLE’S needs.

17. Taking too much time to make a decision

Professional wedding vendors book pretty quickly. There’s a reason they’re the best. There’s a reason everyone wants them. So they get booked soon, and early. They might be available when you make your inquiry but nothing is locked down until you sign a contract and give them a deposit. So once you have all your information – make a decision. MAKE THE DECISION. Sure there are always other venues, other vendors – but you don’t want to miss out one your first choice because you couldn’t say YES. (see what I did there?… eh it wasn’t that good anyway.)

18. Not hiring a photographer

Wait wait wait. You’re making everything yourself, all DIY crafty-like, with a Sherlock/Supernatural/Hannibal theme and you’re not gonna hire a photographer? Because your friends will take enough photos? Best of luck with that. Hope you have a great memory ’cause you won’t have many photos from your wedding – if any come out at all.

19. Not listening to your gut

Your intuition tells you many things – and often times you ignore it. Only to realize that you were right all along. Trust your gut. Especially about your wedding. If something doesn’t feel right – take note of that feeling. Don’t immediately jump to a decision – but don’t ignore that nagging feeling either. Take a moment to see if you can pin point the source of what’s holding you back. Maybe it’s not the venue itself but the staff that you did the walk through with. Maybe you can request a different onsite coordinator for your day? Maybe it was one article in the videographer’s contract that struck a wrong chord with you. Talk to them about it. Maybe they’ll adjust the contract to make it more acceptable to you, and still meet their legal obligations. In the same fashion – when you feel good about a choice – GO WITH IT.

20. Forgetting about your transportation

It takes maybe 10 minutes. Make sure you know how you are getting to each location. To the salon, back to your house/hotel, to the ceremony location, and then over to the reception venue – ESPECIALLY how you’re going to get from the ceremony location to the reception venue. You can plan on your ride at the end of the night too – but I’m sure you can find someone to give you a ride.

21. Not telling the hotel that it’s your wedding night

You’re booking a room for your wedding night. Let the hotel know. They’ll probably do their best to give you a better room, whether just an upgrade or a discount – or free amenities, or they’ll have a specific ‘wedding’ package for you. At the very least – they won’t give you a room right next to the elevator or ice machine.

22. Not putting enough items on your registry

Whether or not you believe in the whole idea of the wedding registry, you should have one. Stuff it with things. Start with the normal items – and then if you run out of stuff to put on there – Just say F*ck it and start putting appliances on there. Always wanted that espresso machine? Put it on there. Want a new fridge? F*ck it. Put it on there.

23. Planning a wedding in the style you don’t want

Don’t get pushed into having that southern antebellum wedding if you don’t want it. Don’t feel pressured to have it look rustic and DIY with a gazillion mason jars (so two seasons ago). It doesn’t even have to be GRAND. It doesn’t have to be ANYTHING. You just have to get married (because you want to of course.)

24. Not giving yourself enough time for the planning

Some people can plan their wedding in a week. Some people can do it in 6 months. Others require a year. Whatever your case – give yourself enough time to plan the wedding you want.

25. Skimming over contracts

– READ Your vendor contracts (both of you). If you’re not good at reading contracts – do your best but still read them, AND then also have some who IS good at reading contracts look them over. Your parents, your friends, your boss – whoever. Just make sure SOMEONE on your side has read the contract. You’re spending too much money to be signing contracts you haven’t read.

Let others focus on Every. Little. Detail.

Let others focus on Every. Little. Detail.

26. Hiring inflexible vendors

The truth is that there are A LOT of wedding vendors. If you don’t like one – you can find another. Find the one that will work with you and do what they can to meet your request. The best vendors will never say no. They might charge you more (a lot more) but they won’t say no (as long as it doesn’t violate the law and/or risk injury). If a particular vendor doesn’t seem to budge at all and only ever give you a flat NO answer, you may want to think hard about hiring them. Weddings are crazy events and there is always a need for flexibility from everyone involved.

27. Scheduling too little time for hair/makeup

Ask any photographer/videographer or wedding planner where a lot of time in the schedule often gets sucked away into a blackhole, never to return. The answer 90% of the time is in hair and makeup. The key is to hire enough hair/makeup people for the number of persons getting made. Don’t think that one person can work on all six of your bridesmaids AND you. Lock this sh*t down. Confirm exactly who is going to have their hair/makeup done and then hire the appropriate number of salon crew. And no matter what – make sure YOU get finished on time. Your bridesmaids can catch up. YOU need to be finished and ready on time.

28. Not accounting for travel time

It takes time to go from here to there. Hotel to salon, back to the hotel, over to the ceremony location and then over to the reception venue. Be realistic. It’s not 8 minutes. It’s never 8 minutes. It’s never 5 minutes.

29. Booking a venue before making your guest list

You need to have a ballpark idea of how many guests will be attending your wedding. You definitely do not want to book a venue that can’t hold everyone. And you don’t want to pay for lots of empty, unused space.

30. Trying to be absolutely unique – with everything

Look. There are A LOT of weddings every year. I know you want your wedding to be uniquely, unique – and it probably will – but don’t drive everyone and yourself crazy by wanting EVERY. SINGLE. THING. to be original and never-seen-before. Pick a few aspects to make ultra-ultra personal to you and you as a partnership and let everything else be just regular-amazing.

31. Putting off too many things until the morning

On the morning of your wedding you should be at the center of a calm storm. Everything and everyone swirling around you, doing their thing, while you are guided serenely from place to place by your wedding party, wedding coordinator, and your photographer. You shouldn’t have to be making decorating decisions, you shouldn’t have to roll up your sleeves and put together the centerpieces. Do as much as possible and get it all read BEFORE the morning of your wedding. Anything else should be delegated to someone else.

32. Not assigning or meeting the master of ceremonies

The emcee role often defaults to your wedding dj. They’ll introduce the wedding party, they’ll announce the first dance, cake cutting, etc. Whether you want your DJ to take on this role or a friend or family member – you definitely want to confirm who this person will be. This is mostly for the benefit of your guests so that they can direct their attention to whatever is happening and feel included. Otherwise you may be in the middle of your first dance before half of your guest notice mid-conversation.

33. Thinking a backyard wedding will be a lot cheaper

Whether it’s a big or small wedding, you generally have the same ‘parts’. You’ll still need an officiant, you’ll still need food, and everyone will still need to use a bathroom throughout the night. There is a benefit to volume and wedding venues specialize in minimizing costs. All things being equal – you may decide that the cost difference for a backyard wedding and one at a professional wedding venue isn’t worth it.

34. Hiring family without a contract

Anyone who’s ever had to ‘work’ with family knows it can be tricky. Have a contract – even a basic one – to make sure that you and them understand exactly what needs to happen and/or be delivered. Make it as binding as possible – with a payment component. “Contracting” services and paying even a small amount such as $1 reinforces the ‘realness’ of the binding contract between family members. It’s always easier to fall back on written agreements than ‘conversations’.

35. Assuming your wedding party knows what is expected of them

If you search the internets, you’ll find many different job duties assigned to different members of your wedding party. Some are completely outdated, some won’t apply to your wedding, and some might be very useful to know. Whatever the case – don’t assume your wedding party automatically knows what you want them to do. (Of course you may want to just stack the deck in your favor and select a few people that have done this before…)

36. Not hiring a wedding planner or day of coordinator

Unless you’re used to running events, or you have a friend that does it regularly – you should seriously consider hiring a wedding planner. At the very least, a day of wedding coordinator – just so that YOU or your mother don’t have to be the ones pushing the schedule along. Of course – if you don’t hire one, your photographer will probably push things along since they’ll want everything to be on time to make sure they get all the photos they need!

37. Telling everyone, everything about your wedding

It’s not that you want to hide your wedding or your wedding details. It’s that telling everyone about your wedding plans invites them to provide their opinion – and you may not be ready for that. Or you may not be planning on inviting everyone you’re talking with but after you’ve told them every minute detail of the centerpieces and all of your other plans – they’ll begin to assume that they are invited – why else would you tell them so much about this great wedding you’re having?!

38. Not getting creative

There are so many different types of weddings these days that having a boring wedding is almost very difficult. But it still happens, so while you may not want the magical purple unicorn type of weddings (super unique and um, different) – you should find a few spots to get a little creative and make it more, you (well the both of you anyways).

39. Not bartering not negotiation

– Money is not the only way to acquire things and services. If you have something to offer or trade – then try to barter. If the vendor’s offer is close what you want to accept – negotiate. Just ask if there is any flexibility or offer a slight alternative agreement. Just be open, and be brave.

40. Picking your wedding party too soon

– I know you’re excited. Take your time picking your wedding party. Obviously don’t take forever, but you should spend a few minutes thinking about who you really want to share this day with you (other than your partner). Because remember – it’s a big investment of time and (probably) money for anyone you ask to be in your wedding party. They will feel honored – but it is still asking them to put forth effort and resources for your wedding.

41. Spending your whole dress budget on just the dress

Rare is the wedding dress that needs few alterations. For some reason, the higher the price of a wedding dress, the MORE alterations it needs. So definitely include the cost of alterations into your wedding dress budget. OH – and watch out for that scam where the store pushes you to buy a dress that’s like a billion sizes too big so that you HAVE to pay for a million dollars in alterations.

42. Selecting venues too far apart

Reduce the distance and travel time between your ceremony venue and your reception venue as much as possible. You don’t want to waste any time on your wedding day and reducing the travel time is an easy way to do that.

43. Letting ANYONE steal your thunder

This one time at a wedding we photographed, a guest (cousin) showed up wearing what was essentially a wedding dress that kind of matched the bride’s dress. Not only that – this cousin wore a shawl similar to the one the bride wore. We as wedding photographers (and just normal people) were like WTF?! OH HELL NO! This is YOUR wedding. Remember that. Don’t let anyone steal your thunder – whether it’s before, after, or even during.

44. Forgetting to feed your vendors

This is mostly about feeding your wedding planner (and her team), your photographers/videographers, and your DJ. They work ridiculously hard (well not the DJ – they’re just there to party) and your photographer/video crew have been working SINCE YOU WOKE UP THAT DAY. Feed them. FEED THEM.

45. Not booking a space to get ready

If you want beautiful photos and/or video from your ‘getting ready’ time – then you need to get ready in a space that isn’t ugly. Sure your photographer will always be able to make the most of any situation and sometimes you’ll just want it to be all documentary/editorial/real life style. Just remember that wherever you decide to get ready will affect what those photos look like. You want amazingly serene and beautiful preparation photos? Don’t get ready in a basement.

46. Forgetting that this is a celebration of your love

Dammit. You’re getting married. The wedding is a celebration of your union and your love and blah blah blah blah blah blah. Ha. Just kidding – no really – don’t forget that no matter what, you’ll be married at the end of all this planning and craziness. And if anything – you’ll at least have amazing photos.

 

Atlanta-Wedding-Photographer-LeahAndMark-0078

Wedding planning is crazy, bonkers, and again, crazy. There are many wedding planning mistakes that you’ll not only want, but need, and MUST avoid. We hope this list was helpful and if you have any questions or need any help with any portion of your wedding planning – just ask us in the comments section. Thanks!

 

Wedding. Planning. Atlanta. Photographer. Tips. Mistakes. Advice. Georgia.

 

Business Investment Decisions

We are often asked the question – why is your Internship so successful? Of course – the real question that’s usually being asked is ‘how do you continue to attract so many interns that work for free, and that seemingly work so hard for you?

LeahAndMark.com | Photography Internship Atlanta Wedding Photographer

Although we can easily come up with a complicated answer involving how we manage personalities, projects that we assign, and our extensive interview process – the real answer is simply the amount of energy and resources that we spend on the Internship. Between workshops that we provide (photo 101, lighting, marketing, photobooths, styled shoots,  a two day wedding workshop) and critique nights, and group shoots, and of course the introduction/graduation nights – this current season requires a substantial amount of effort to keep things running smoothly. There’s the time it takes to schedule everything, and get ready for workshops – and then of course the actual duration of the workshops… and online communications, and other last minute projects that come up with each season.

It’s so much work now that we hired our Creative Director (Joy) specifically to make sure everything operates awesomely.

Interns.LeahAndMark.com

So how much time does it take to operate our Internship? As much as possible. We spend as much time as we possibly can on the Internship because we decided that it was worth it to our business. Not only that – but the effectiveness and success of each Season directly relates to my level of involvement and focus – and past seasons have proved that to be very true.

Deciding to share our knowledge and teach it to others for free was one of the best business decisions we ever made. At least in the top 3.

0038_Photography_Internship_Atlanta

We don’t spend too much time thinking about our branding, or what gear to buy – more than anything else we spend our time figuring out how we can share what we know. We don’t earn any profit for our workshops and our Internship is free and unpaid. We work very hard at trying to give away what we’ve learned.

It’s odd but yes – giving away as much of our ‘knowledge’ or secrets as we can is part of our business strategy – and it’s worked very well for us.

 

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