Wedding Photographer, Goleta, Santa Ynez, Buellton, Solvang

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Newsletter - January 2007

Notice: I will book budget photography jobs per request. I am retired from photography. Please ignore my package/pricing. I will only take budget customers per request. I served Ventura County for over a decade. I have photographed hundreds of weddings. Email me: (home at venturaphoto dot com).

* If you have a normal budget, I am not a photographer for you. And PLEASE, I will not work for free. Expect to pay something. It takes me 5 hours just to get ready.

This month issue

Happy New Year~!

I wish everyone a very happy new year. I had a real fun Christmas season last month. I am relaxing during this slow wedding season. 2007 looks better than 2006. My first wedding of the year will be in March.

Talk About Wedding Vendors

I would like to talk about wedding vendors. I'm not trying to give you wedding "Tips". I went to many weddings over the years and I wanted to talk about what I experienced. These are only my personal opinions.

Wedding Photographer in Goleta, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Buellton

Wedding Planner

Depends on your situation, wedding planner is either a "must have" or "Not necessary" item. You can do without a wedding planner if you know somebody who would LOVE to dedicate time for you. Sometimes a good DJ can partially act as a wedding planner. Sometimes bride and groom can direct the event well. Below is my breakdown.

  • Weddings with a paid planner - There is almost 100% chance you will have a successful wedding. Your day is likely to go smooth with no drama. The whole day will run like a well scripted movie.
  • Weddings coordinated by a dedicated member of friend or family - There is about 90% chance you will have a successful wedding. In most cases, non-professional family member can do just as good on coordinating your wedding. People taking on this duty usually have what it takes.
  • Weddings without any person in charge - There is only about 30% chance you will have a successful wedding. I am not saying your wedding will be ruined. You will have fun, and people will still cheer for you. But the whole day might seem a little awkward and not as sparkling.

Professional wedding DJ/MC

In most part, DJ is a "must have" item. I rarely see a successful wedding without a DJ. If you want to have a wedding without a DJ and provide your own music, your taste of music has to be really good. I've seen some couple playing music that's significant ONLY to them. That will make the entire guests extremely bored. Wedding is supposed to be a party. Usually, you want to make people feel like dancing. Even if you hate disco, you must play some disco. Even if you hate oldies, you must play some 40's ~ 60's for older generation.

A good DJ can read people and change music according to.

My opinion is that DJ should talk less and play more music. Below is the items you need to think about on your DJ.

  • Some DJ's will lead group activities (games). They will force everybody at the reception to play some kind of games. I understand these games are fun. But, some people might want to relax and catch-up with distant family members instead.
  • Some DJ's would lead the guests to form a Conga line, or do any other specific dance. In most cases, I see a lot of people don't want to be bothered. And the DJ would force those people to join the dance.
  • Some DJ's would actually sing (on microphone) over the music they play as if he's at Karaoke bar. So, you might want to ask them if they are going to sing over the music they play.
  • Some DJ's would kill the volume at certain parts of the songs. For example, you are dancing to "The Brown Eye Girl". Everyone's singing and dancing "Do you remember when we used to sing" At that moment, your DJ might kill the music, so the guests will sing out loud "Sha la la...". Personally, I find that extremely awkward.
  • My favorite kind of DJs are the ones who do none of above.

Wedding Photographer in Goleta, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Buellton

Live music for wedding ceremony

If you can afford - Yes!

You don't have to have live music for your wedding ceremony. You can do with recorded music just fine. After wedding, you will not regret anything. You save money.

But, having live music will make your wedding much classier. If you can afford live music, you should get it. (I stress again, "If you can afford".

Usually ceremony musician will play quiet music before the wedding ceremony to create the mood. After your wedding ceremony is over, the musicians usually play a few more songs as the guests exit to the reception place. So, you are hiring a wedding ceremony musician for 1 hour max in most cases.

In some cases, ceremony musicians will play live music until the grand entrance. Sometimes the ceremony musicians are used for the beginning part of the reception. The musicians usually provide soothing sounds while the guests eat and chat.

DJ will take over when the "Party" starts. The musician will be released at that point.

In most cases, musicians providing live music for ceremony will not provide music for the entire wedding reception. Because, violins and harps will not make people to boogie down.

Mariachi band

Over 50% of Ventura County's population have Hispanic heritage. That's why I speak Spanish (boquito ).

There is a huge variation in musical talent with mariachi bands in Ventura County. Some mariachi bands are super talented. In contrast, some mariachi bands are clearly not as good. I guess what's important is that all of the mariachi bands in Ventura County will bring you the good feeling of being at home. You may want to ask for some audio sample or you can visit them on their practice day for the initial meeting.

Wedding Photographer in Goleta, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Buellton

Wedding cake

A few items to go over.

  • Are you going to hand-feed or fork feed the cake?
  • I've seen people cutting wedding cake incredibly thin. Thickness of the cutting is something to think about.
  • If you plan to smash wedding cake on your spouse's face, make sure there is an agreement before-hand. Spontaneous cake smashing can create an ugly scene at the wedding.
  • Let somebody know if you are keeping the top layer of the wedding cake or not.
  • Usually bride and groom stand alone and cut wedding cake. Guests would stand far away and take pictures. Personally, I like the idea of having immediate family members (or entire wedding party) standing right by the bride and groom when they cut wedding cake.

Happy New Year