Once we had our venue locked down at Primrose Cottage, we started getting serious about finding a photographer since we wanted to have pictures to use for our save-the-dates. This was definitely an area that I wanted to cut corners a little bit on. Primrose is pretty pricey as far as venues go, and while I wanted a good photographer, I didn't want anything that was too crazy. Case in point, the first photographer I looked at online that I really liked (won't mention any names here!) offered a $3,600 package which consisted of a 3-hr engagement shoot and 7-hr wedding day coverage. We thought that was too much, especially since our ceremony is at 2pm and our reception doesn't start until 7 so 7 hours only was not ideal. We kept looking, but we slowly started realizing that every wedding photographer was charging pretty much the same!
Thankfully the solution was right under our noses the entire time. I had a friend from undergrad who had invited me to like her photography page on Facebook a while ago. Apparently she had gone into photography after college and was pursuing it full time. I had automatically "Liked" the page at the time and hadn't really looked at it, but when I did, I was amazed to find that all of her pictures were beautiful and really high-quality. I immediately reached out to her and we started talking about what we were looking for and her packages. Her price packages were much more reasonable to us; it only came out to around $2,500 for two full-day wedding photographers, a 3-hr engagement shoot, and a photobooth. While that was only a $1,000 less than the other photographer, the peace of mind of having two photographers there for our full wedding day was huge, plus her pictures looked amazing. We immediately decided to go with her!
We did our engagement shoot back in May, and while I LOVE how the pictures turned out, it was a nightmare to organize!! I had initially wanted to shoot at The Swan House and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Swan House because it is a beautiful historic estate in Atlanta and I've aways thought it was gorgeous, and the Botanical Gardens because it was where we got engaged. However, I did not realize that some places you have to get permission to take pictures there and it costs $200-250! So we had to pick one, which obviously I wanted to go with Botanical Gardens since it had the most sentimental value to us.
We were looking for a second location that was free because I wanted to mix it up and we were about to go with the Cator Woolford Gardens (beautiful garden btw with a very similar feel to the Swan House, but it's free!) when we had our first meeting with our wedding planner at Primrose. She basically let me know that the earliest we could get to Primrose on our wedding day was 6 pm, or an hour before our rental time started. We had been planning to ask if we could come at 5:30, thinking that would be no big deal, so we could get some pictures in the daylight before the sun set, but she completely shut us down. Apparently normally they dont even let the bridal party get there until 7 pm on the dot, so 6 pm was already pushing it. That threw a wrench in things, because I love the look of Primrose (obviously!) and really wanted some daylight pictures at it. I had the idea of doing our engagement shoot there and when I asked if that would be possible she said yes!
So we did our engagement shoot at Primrose Cottage and Atlanta Botanical Gardens!! I am absolutely in love with the pictures and how they came out!! Here are a few of my favs:
|We ended up using this one on our save-the-dates!!!|
|The bridge where we got engaged!!|
So yeah, that was fun!! Our photographer Abigail was extremely professional and super efficient, we had her for three hours but it only ended up taking 2 and a half hours!!! She was like do this, ok now do this, ok now kiss, ok now hug each other, etc. lol. Was perfect for us because we are both extremely unphotogenic and awkward in front of cameras!! She really made us feel at ease! If you are in the Atlanta area and interested in an affordable but good photographer, you can find her website here.
Another thing I've done in terms of wedding planning is book a DJ!! I had been tossing around the idea of having a wedding band, but once we really got down to logistics we decided that it was not in our budget to having a wedding band, those typically charge $1,500-$3,000 and we really needed to cut some corners. We decided to go with Complete Wedding Events for our DJ bc they had really good reviews on The Knot and also relatively low prices. For our five-hour reception they charged $795, but we also got a $100 discount for going through The Knot, so only $695!! That was almost $300 less than other DJ companies in Atlanta I'd researched. I'm pretty excited that we were able to find such a good deal, and am hoping that they are actually good. I will do a follow-up review after our wedding! :)
One more thing, our wedding website is up and running!!!! We finally got a chance to do our wedding registry last weekend at Macys and I booked some hotel room blocks so it is finally done. Here is the link if you are interested in taking a look!! >> Wedding Website
Ok guys this post has been really long and I have to get back to Bar exam studying so I will save my wedding decorator meeting until the next post! Hope you found this interesting/useful!