After photographing 300+ weddings, Boston wedding photographer Nicole has learned many tips and tricks about wedding planning. Read her verbal diarrhea of wedding resources here!
You and I both know that life comes with a lot of responsibilities and paperwork. It’s not the most thrilling thing to take care of, or even think about, but it is important. One of these responsibilities is making sure the important things in your life are insured, like your house, your car – if you’re like me, your camera gear. But what about your wedding?
What is Wedding Insurance?
Yes, wedding insurance is a real thing. You spend so much time, effort and money on this one day that could be jeopardized by an unexpected event. You should protect it. Imagine planning the perfect beach wedding in Florida, only to have a hurricane come through exactly when you were supposed to be saying your vows. Or imagine finding the venue of your dreams only to have it go out of business a month before your wedding. These are not fun scenarios to think about at all but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them into consideration. Wedding insurance is an easy way to spend a little extra money for much more peace of mind and security.
Depending on what kind, and the extent, of coverage you want, a plan can cost between $200 and $600. This usually includes the loss or damage to deposits, photos, videos, gowns or tuxedos and wedding rings. Engagement rings are usually not covered by this type of insurance. It’s up to you to contact the vendors you are hiring in order to find out what each of their insurance policies are, to make sure that you are properly covered. Most insurance companies in Massachusetts, like AAA, Haberman Insurance Group or Progressive, offer a wedding insurance plan which is also often called “event insurance coverage.” You can also get more information at WedSafe, WedSure or Event Helper.
What does it cover?
Here is a list of things that insurance will cover for you if anything goes wrong:
- Damage to the wedding dress or tuxedo
- Loss or damage to the wedding rings
- Postponement due to severe weather, like hurricanes, tornados or blizzards
- Postponement or cancellation due to the injury or the death of someone in the wedding party
- Your cake falling to the ground
- Property damages
- Personal injury during the wedding
- Loss of photos or videos
Is it worth it?
There are two types of wedding insurance. One of them covers cancellation or postponement. The other is liability coverage. While the first option covers cancellation – it doesn’t include getting cold feet. If either person, bride or groom, changes their mind, they will lose the money they’ve already spent. The liability option kicks in if someone gets injured during the wedding itself or if there is property damage. You can purchase both types of insurance separately or as a package.
Whether or not it is worth it is up to you. This coverage works the same way as buying a plane ticket and deciding to pay the extra insurance fee – just in case. As the saying goes, better be safe than sorry!
Many milestones happen in life. Whether it’s speaking your first word, taking your first steps, graduating high school or college. One of the biggest milestones, and possibly why you’re reading this in the first place is getting engaged. These big moments happen every few years, and it’s important to mark them. Photography is the perfect way to freeze a moment in time and we pride ourselves in offering different ways of doing this – making sure it’s perfect for you. This post highlights the differences between an engagement session and a forever session. Capturing the love you have for your partner and your shared life is our favorite thing to do.
I’m sure you’ve heard of an engagement session. Having become increasingly popular over time, an engagement shoot is now one of the items on the checklist towards marriage. You pick a time, a place, a beautiful outfit and you and your fiancé get to pose together. An engagement session usually results in “Save the Date” photos. You share some time with your fiancé, celebrate your happiness and show off your ring!
Explaining a Forever Session
Things are slightly different when it comes to forever sessions. Like an engagement shoot, a forever session includes you and your partner. It shows the love you share, the life you live and what makes you happy. But a forever session can take place at any time, for any reason. While an engagement session targets your upcoming marriage, your forever session can be anything you want it to be.
During a forever session, we highlight each of you as individuals. We strive to show your personality, what you enjoy and what you are like as a person. Think of this photo shoot as a block of time set aside to celebrate yourself. Like its name entails, these pictures will last you forever. Imagine looking back on these moments 20 years from now. Imagine what you want these photographs to show.
There is no specific timeline dedicated to forever sessions. Couples choose to do them whenever they want! This is the perfect opportunity for you to focus on what makes you the happiest, to stop for a moment and appreciate where you are in your life right now. While milestones are important, it’s also just as crucial to take time for the small things. A forever session can give that to you.
Congratulations, you are engaged! What an exciting time in your life! There is so much to do, so much to plan – I bet you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed. Well, rest assured, this post is here to help you through at least one of the things on your pre-wedding checklist!
Your engagement shoot is coming up. You want to get some beautiful pictures of you and your fiancé to celebrate your love. Maybe you’re even thinking about using one of these shots as your “Save the Date” card. This post is a list of things to do before this photo session. We’ll point you towards things to remember and steer you away from things to avoid.
Get your hair and makeup done
Your engagement shoot is the perfect opportunity to have a trial run for what kind of hair and makeup you want done on your big day. Work with a professional team on this day, the way you would on your wedding day and see how it goes. Hiring a professional hair and makeup service for your engagement session might feel like a lot to you but it is absolutely worth it. Your curls will stay bouncy and your face will be flawless. You can pass some of the burden on your shoulders to a team specifically trained to do this. And if you like who you work with for your engagement experience you can go right ahead and book them for the wedding. This is the perfect opportunity to figure out what works best for you, all while looking stunning!
Choose what you wear wisely
This goes for both you and your fiancé. What you wear in these photos is very important. There’s nothing worse than feeling amazing and excited about your engagement shoot, only to end up disappointed by the results because of your outfit. Here are a few common mistakes people make that you can avoid:
Stay away from horizontal stripes! Famously, horizontal stripes are considered risky fashion. While they can sometimes be flattering, more often than not, they end up looking a little off. Horizontal stripes can trick the eye into seeing something as being wider than it actually is. Go for a solid color instead.
Avoid white clothing! Save the white dress for your wedding day. You don’t want people confusing your engagement shoot for your wedding pictures.
Wear complimenting colors! If you already know which colors look best on you – stick to them! This photoshoot is all about feeling amazing about yourself and your fiancé. I’m trying to capture you authentically. There’s no need to go crazy and experiment with new things for this session. Stick to the tried and true that suits you. If you’re not sure which colors work best, here are some guidelines you can follow. Stick to colors that compliment each other. Gray, blues and purples go well together as cooler colors. Warmer tones like deep reds, ochres and yellows work together. Stay away from too many colors at once to avoid anything clashing. There are many resources online that can help you determine which colors look best on you based on skin tone, eye and hair color. Check some of them out and try out different outfit ideas beforehand.
No loud words or logos! Since we are trying to capture you at your best, we want to limit the distractions as much as possible. I want to focus on you. That means that loud print or logos are a no go. If there’s a lot going on around your clothes, your faces will be drowned out. I don’t want your pictures to look like a brand promotion or a styled fashion shoot. Stick to solid colors that suit you!
Focus on your best features! We all have some features that we wish were different or we would like to work on. We each have our own insecurities. And even though I can guarantee that you are beautiful no matter what, if you feel better covering certain parts of yourself that might make you nervous, do it. It will give you peace of mind and allow you to really enjoy the day. Let’s focus on what you love most about yourself!
Pay attention to what you eat the day before the session
This is not me telling you to diet – you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want! I just know that, from experience, eating overly salty or spicy food the day before a session may contribute to feeling a little puffy. You’ll probably feel best eating lighter foods the day before.
Don’t do these things at the last minute
Ladies, you’ve probably heard by now that you are not supposed to get a facial too soon before a big event. Your skin may need more time to recover so it’s always best to anticipate more time. You don’t want to look red or blotchy! Get your facials done at least one week in advance if it’s a treatment you’ve done before. If you want to try a new skincare regimen, test it out at least three months ahead of time. The same rule goes for guys and haircuts! Gentlemen, in order to avoid the “fresh cut” look, stick to the same 72 hour rule. Everyone will look natural and radiant!
Earlier this year I had the chance to photograph an amazing group of women who work in the same industry as me – weddings! The O Luxe Design team is who you need to contact regarding all high end floral arrangements for your event. They are professional, kind, and attentive to detail. They are guaranteed to blow you away with their talent.
The Boston Flower Exchange Inc. in Chelsea, was the perfect place to showcase this amazing group in their natural environment. The flower market not only smelled wonderful, it also had all the props we needed! Erica, the head of the team, is an amazing woman and I always look forward to working with her. The O luxe Design team knows exactly what they are doing to make every client happy!
- Sewing kit (with white thread)
- Safety pins
- Double sided tape
- Wet naps
- Lint roller
- Makeup wipes
- Face blotting sheets
For the mouth:
- Mints and gum
- Lipstick / lip gloss
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Extra contacts
- Glasses – just in case your eyes get irritated
- Bobby pins
- Hair spray
- Comb and brush
For the nails:
- Clear nail polish (also useful for stocking rips)
- Nail polish
- Nail polish remover
- Heel stopper
- Blister cushions
- Flip flops
- Band aids
- Liquid bandaid
- Panty liners
- Insect repellant
- Anti-itch creme
- Extra stockings
- A shawl
- Baby powder
- Tide pen
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton balls
- Bar of white soap
- Emergency kit – Bobby pins, double sided tape, hair spray, lipstick, safety pins, mints, deodorant, combs, wet naps, makeup wipes, lint roller, baby powder, tissues, sewing kit, clear nail polish, bandaids, liquid bandaids, tampons, pads, stain remover, face blotting, Q-tips, TUMS, mouthwash, toothbrush and toothpaste, floss, eye drops, chapstick, cigar cutter, nail clippers, nail filer, small scissors, big scissors, bug repellant, heel stopper. All these little items can add up. My couples estimate spending between $40-80 for their emergency kit, and have said that it’s worth it (especially because you can just keep it at home afterwards)
- Working out – Gym memberships ($20-$250/month), bridal bootcamps (classes from $15-40/each, or flat fees for 2-3 month courses) juicing cleanses (i.e. Whole Food’s Blueprint cleanse is 6 juices for $65 – per day), personal trainers ($50-100 per 1 hour private session). I work out with Alicia at Healthy Balance in Quincy and love the results and personalization.
- Dance lessons – Private or group lessons, custom choreography, lessons for father/daughter or mother/son dances ($65 – $125 per lesson. I’ve heard that couples can expect to take 3-8 lessons)
- Beauty treatments – Facials ($40-80), manicures ($30-60), massages ($60-150), eyebrow threading or waxing ($12-25)
- Gifts and cards – For bridal party, family, and other important people
- Welcome bags distribution fee – Some venues will charge a nominal fee to pass out your welcome bags to your guests ($2-4/bag)
- Asking bridal party members to be in your bridal party – Cards, Custom cookies, bottle of champagne, framed photos, pretty cards, taking them out to a meal, etc.
- Umbrellas and boots – Just in case if it rains… (We live in New England. We need to be prepared for snow in May and hailstones in August)
- Engagement session – Sometimes, e-sessions are included in photography packages and sometimes, they are a la carte. Some photographers charge a flat fee ($600-1500) and others charge a session fee and then hold a premier or viewing+ordering session so that you can come into the studio and order prints. If you do opt for one, don’t forget about makeup, hair, outfits, accessories, location fees, props, etc.
- Prenuptial agreement – This can be a difficult discussion and it generally is not a romantic one. Some lawyers bill a flat-fee price while others bill as a retainer and then an hourly fee of $175-$400. One of my good friends, Gabriel, owns Infinity Law group and his law practice is primarily focused on divorce, estate planning, and prenuptial agreements.
- Rehearsal dinner – $30-100/per person. Don’t forget their significant others!
- Day of coordinators – I think this should be a permanent fixture on all wedding budgets. I can’t imagine running a stress-free wedding as a bride on my own.
- Uplighting – for the reception room
- Videography/Cinematography – Sometimes an afterthought, videography provides a different way to relive the day. Some couples cherish being able to listen to their vows and toasts as well as watch funny dance moves. Another shameless plug for our sister Boston videography company – Promessa Studios (I’ve known Karen since high school!)
- Bridal accessories (Wedding dress) – Belt, veil, jewelry, heel stoppers (for grass), gel insoles, hair pieces, undergarments, Spanx, moleskin
- Groom accessories (Suit/tux) – Tie clip, cufflinks, socks, wristwatch
- Tailoring and alterations (Wedding dress or suit/tux) – This is specific for each situation, my brides have ranged from $200-$3000
- Paper goods (Stationery) – Invitations, menus, save the dates, escort cards, programs, place cards, other signage (“reception this way. ceremony this way, etc.”), return address labels.
- Calligraphy – Megan Chapin gives some insight on average costs: $4/envelope, $1/placecard. Don’t forget abou table numbers, chalkboard signage, menus, seating charts, etc!
- Packaging and labels (Favors) – Customizing favors with custom stickers, labels, decor
- Postage – Invitations (Depends on size and weight, but $0.42-3/invitation) and also the return postage
- Makeup/Hair trials – Test out what you’ll look like on your big wedding day
- Shipping – For anything you purchase, shipping will be tacked on!
- Decor – In addition to flowers, anything from candles, vases, framed photos of family
- Taxes – Applied on almost all items and services, this pesky 6.5% is payable to Uncle Sam (of Massachusetts)
- Accommodation – We all know about the wedding night hotel, but where will you be sleeping the night BEFORE your wedding? ($free – $400)
- Attire (Rehearsal dinner) – Dress, shoes, jewelry, accessories
- Eyelashes – Some makeup artists charge additional for this
- Touchup kit – Purchasing the same lipstick color
- Bridesmaids’ and mothers’ makeup in addition the bride
- Pre-wedding attire
- Monogrammed robes for bridesmaids
- Special robe/outfit for bride
- Wedding day meals – Breakfast and/or lunch for your family and bridal party during the getting ready process
- Marriage license ($50)
- Location fees – i.e. Boston Common license ($150)
- Officiant – Paying for a friend to be your officiant
- for guests to/from ceremony, reception, hotel, etc.
- limo/trolley for bridal party and parents
- alcohol (beers or champagne) for the ride to the reception
- Table numbers
- Card box – So that your guests will know where to put their cards and gifts
- Guest book
- Cake cutting fees – Sometimes venues will charge this if you bring in a cake from an outside vendor. Some just charge it for the service of cutting it and plating it. ($1.50-$3 per slice)
- Cake toppers
- Cake knives and serving utensils ($40-80)
- Corkage fee – Convenience charge ($1-2/guest)
- Garbage removal fees, cleaning fees, and breakdown costs – Sometimes charged as a flat fee or as labor per hour
- Unexpected guests – Sometimes random family members or +1s show up
- Bathroom basket – Filled with emergency items like floss, combs, mints, hair spray, bandaids, etc.
- Dance floor, and tent ceiling lighting (tent)
- Upgraded stuff – chairs, place settings, linens, flatware
- Reception dress – In addition to a wedding gown for the ceremony and formal parts of the wedding reception, some brides opt for another reception dress, whether it be a short dress for dancing, a more casual one without a long train, or one with a completely different look/feel/color.
- After party – Will you be hitting a bar/lounge/club? Will you be going back to a hotel suite and ordering room service?
- Overtime – Some vendors operate in a set number of hours and extending time ($x00/hour depending on the vendor)
- Gratuity – Not expected, but appreciated
- Tipping for bartender – Sometimes included, sometimes not (I’ve had couples be surprised with an invoice of an additional 18-22% at the end of the night… in addition to what their guests have tipped)
- Tipping for waitstaff – Sometimes included, sometimes not (18-22%)
- Vendor meals – Yes, your vendors eat.
- Non-approved professionals – Some venues will tack on a fee (15-30%) if couples do not use vendors from their preferred list
- Travel fees – depending on where the wedding is located, you may incur travel costs
- Wedding day brunch
- Wedding gown cleaning – $150-250
- Wedding gown preservation – Some cleaners will include a pH-neutral box with acid free paper. Companies like David’s bridal also offer a preservation kit ($99)
- Albums and wall art – Bring your photographs to life. Don’t let them sit sad and lonely on a harddrive or a the cloud.
- Albums for your parents, grandparents, and godparents
- Thank you cards – $1-3/card
- Advil – for the hangover
- Wedding card box – To store and keep all of your boxes