My wife and I got married almost 8 years ago (yes, when we were 12), and I knew NOTHING about wedding photography. Heck, I knew nothing about photography, PERIOD. I was just getting out of college, and my wife had just found an RN job at a local hospital. Once we decided we were going to get married, we were in a total panic. Like many of my couples right now. We felt absolutely overwhelmed by everything. All the minute details, seating chart, color of flowers, wedding venue, flavor of the cake….it was just all very foreign to us. Since we just got out of school, we were on a shoe string budget. But very quickly we decided our priority would be a honeymoon. We wanted a kick ass honeymoon. I am not talking about just spending a few night at Disneyland Hotel. I am talking about exotic island, sipping mai tai, laying out by the pool  kind of honeymoon, Luckily my father-in-law gave us his timeshare resort in Fuji Islands, so that’s where we went. We spent almost ten days at a gorgeous resort. It was perfect……that is until we got our wedding photos. I admit it, we went with a more affordable photographer from one of those huge companies. You know, the ones that offer DJ, Videographer, Photography, Lighting, etc.. I am surprised they didn’t have a ring bearer for hire. We met with our photographer for about 30 minutes a few weeks before our wedding. We felt no personal connection with him. Not to mention we weren’t terribly impressed by his portfolio. But hey, he was affordable, and fit within our budget. Little did we know that would be the one thing we absolutely regret the most about our wedding. I know EVERYBODY has a budget; well, maybe except Bill Gates’ kids. But you know what I mean. We all have to live within our budget. But budgeting is also about prioritizing. Did we really need to feed everybody steak dinner? Did we really need to have all of the utensils engraved? Or did we really need to have that fancy honeymoon at the Fuji islands? Guess what, I don’t remember what we ate for dinner that day, I have not even touched the engraved cake cutting knife, and Fuji Islands is STILL there to be visited anytime we would like. But our wedding is over. Done. No mas. FINISHED. We only have a handful of photos that we truly loved from our wedding. And a total of THREE photos are hung on our walls.  Majority of the photos were…well, you can see them below. We got married at the gorgeous historic Mission Inn in Riverside., on a cool Spring Sunday afternoon. And we got nothing that shows the architecture, the breathtaking handcrafted details on the buildings, or more creative way of framing our portraits.  I don’t remember what our reception room looked like because my photographer never thought about taking a picture of it. That day, the most important day, the biggest day of our lives is gone forever. And we have no great photos to relive that special day. The wedding album that we did get, we’ve only opened it a few times since we got married. We are actually embarrassed to show them to people. Yes, it’s THAT bad. Now the reason why I am sharing this story with you is not to say how great I am. It’s far from that. I wanted to share my own personal experience with all my potential couples.  If I can offer you this.  Prioritize your budget. Figure out what is the most important to you. Hey, it might be food, it might be a great live band, but whatever it is. I can guarantee you if it’s not a great wedding photographer, you will regret that decision as soon as you receive your wedding photos. Trust me, because we did. Now here are some highlights, or lowlights, from our wedding photo collection with my award winning captions. Enjoy!! What, you didn’t want a shot of the veil on your couch?   Oh yeah,, I’ve always wanted a picture of my coffee table with trash all over it. You know, because it ‘captures the moment.’   nah, who cares what the rest of the chapel looks like. All I care about is the out of focus white flower right in front of you…     you know that moment when the great big door opens up, and the bride makes her grand entrance, accompanied by her father, with all the emotions… oh yeah, didn’t get that shot because he metered for the outside instead of the face.    wait…..something is missing in this picture, I can’t quite put my finger on it…. OH I know, the bridesmaids and groomsmen!! You know why? Because we had to go back after the ceremony and ACT out lighting our unity candles again. Because ooops, the photographer didn’t get it the first time.   I love this shot of our first kiss…… If I can actually SEE my faces. Plus the photo was blurry. 🙁   who needs to see bride & groom’s faces anyways?   using a fish eye while shooting the bride & groom’s toast, and making our faces look distorted? BRILLIANT.  And this is the ONLY shot that he got during our toast? DOUBLE BONUS.    I didn’t realize I was shooting into a bunch of shadowy figures….who are they. It would be nice if I can see their FACES.

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