Wedding Photography: Don’t Be Cheap

In the list of expenses that come with a wedding, it’s easy to lose yourself with venues, menus, and more, but one of the items that needs to be at the top of that list is photography.

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The images that are captured that day should emulate the love that everyone attending has for you, and someone that doesn’t know their camera can blow it. Don’t lie to yourself either, you’ve seen it on Facebook, a white wedding dress in a white room that’s been blown out by the built-in flash of a DSLR that someone got for their high school graduation.

That’s not ok!

Paige and I are coming up on a month since the wedding, and we’d been on edge waiting to see the photos since we got a few teasers while we were in Japan. Last night she finally got the email that said the photos were available, and it was the perfect way to welcome us back to our New York apartment.

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Our photographers were Ron and Briana Randle of Love Shutter Photography.

We knew that we wanted the day to be documented, not a ton of posed pictures, but to capture the candid moments that mattered and made the day what it was meant to be. What we got was more than I could have ever imagined. The essence of family and friends that all love each other pours from nearly every photo, and they’re moments that won’t be forgotten.

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Of course, the photos with Paige are tremendous, and they mean a lot, but having two photographers provided so much flexibility that Love Shutter nailed it when documenting my personal moments with my big brothers.

One fraternal, and one biological, to have these guys around me that day meant everything, and that emotion is evident throughout all of the photos we’ve got.

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In the end, it’s your wedding, you can do whatever you want. I would encourage you to look for an excellent option when it comes to photographers though, because you don’t want to look back on your special day and see overexposed wedding dress or blur monster reception pics.

Besides, photos like these can’t be replaced!

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Believe me when I say they can’t be replaced!

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Photos courtesy of the stunning Love Shutter

The Never Ending Honeymoon

There is no way that Paige and I are unique to this notion, but we want to know why the honeymoon should end just because it’s time to get back to work and, as everyone else is putting it, the real world?

Now just over two weeks married and fresh off our trip to Japan, I’m reflecting on the way we worked our way through Japan, how the honeymoon was so perfect and how that translates into the future. No gimmicks or self-help books, just maintaining the level of adventure that has come with our marriage and what will ultimately make us happier.

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The first level, or lesson learned if you want to look at it that way, that I’ll start with is the language barrier.

We hadn’t been in Japan for 20 minutes before we made a friend that turned out to be a baseball trainer from Japan that had lived and worked in the US and was moving back home to join his wife. He helped us navigate the airport so that we could exchange vouchers for rail passes and get on our way to Karuizawa. He joined us on our first train, and along the way asked if we knew any Japanese.

Beyond konichiwa and “Domo arigato Mr. Roboto” we had nothing.

He laughed and was astonished that we would make our honeymoon in a place that we didn’t speak any of the language, but that’s what works for us.

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Why would you want to go somewhere that you already know? That principle is why I believe that Paige and I are capable of continuing the “honeymoon phase” that everybody claims will disappear. We like adventure, and we like to overcome the uncomfortable moments in life, like being immersed in a culture that it turned out we didn’t know as much about as we thought we did.

Granted, the Japanese were very accommodating and English though broken is a pretty solid second language, especially in the heavier tourist areas.

There will be more to come from the trip, but I would leave you with this: Japan provided a great deal of time to reflect on what matters, as well as provided a chance to step way outside the comfort zone; I would encourage you to take every opportunity to do the same.

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I hated to leave the land of the rising sun, but it’s great to be back. I’ll have some great stuff coming your way soon as I roll back into the swing of things.

Image collaboration with Paige

Wedding Stress: A Broken Calm

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11 days out, and we’re looking for a break in the storm.

Before I go much further, Paige and I have offered our thoughts and appropriate condolences to the people of Japan, primarily Kyoto, that were affected by Typhoon Man-Yi which forced hundreds of thousands of residents to evacuate their houses before the storm’s 3 inches an hour filled the streets with the swollen Katsura.

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Considering the aftermath of the typhoon, I would ask you to understand that Paige and I offered to help in any way we could once we arrived in Japan, and the stress that I refer to from here on is no reflection on how we feel about the community in Kyoto, but rather simple frustration with ourselves for not developing a back up plan.

So.

Our frustration began with the invitations that we sent out. All of the addresses had been handwritten to express how much each person meant to us, thinking that penmanship and hard work would be appreciated by our closest friends. The problem though, came from the wonderful US Postal Service. Apparently, cursive is a one-way ticket to postal purgatory, and we now have about 70 invitations floating around the US with a final headcount due to our venue today.

As you can probably assume, this debacle has been no cup of tea. Our strongest source of comfort, until last week, was Japan. Our flights were taken care of, reservations made at a beautiful resort along the river in Kyoto, and time to relax away from everything.

Friday night however, our contact with Hoshinoya Kyoto emailed us to let us know that the damage caused by the typhoon has closed the resort for the duration of the year. Again, we responded with concern for the well-being of the staff and the community, but in the humble nature of our host, the resort encouraged us to look at other options and to focus on our honeymoon.

To put that in perspective, our honeymoon which has been planned for two months, was literally washed away in a night, with two weeks until we would be heading to a country with a language we are struggling to learn, in addition to the invitation debacle we are trying to work through. Given the challenges, I was told this adage:

The rockier the wedding, the stronger the marriage.

I feel, at this point, that we’re building a house on stone, where the shifting sands of time will be hard-pressed in disturbing the foundation we’ve been building the last four years.

In the end, we can’t wait for the wedding. Our closest friends have all reminded us how much we are loved and how strong their faith is in our future, and we couldn’t be more grateful for it. Japan will be an adventure, despite the ironic shift of our honeymoon from calm to the storm that it was preluding.

As a final piece of advice, keep your wedding small, invite the people that really matter, and have fun. When the unexpected happens, roll with it, and make the best of every situation.