Contact Us
Long Island Wedding Photographer

Expectations, Contracts, and Budgets

Planning your wedding also means taking care of business.


Choose the right venues for your wedding

Download our Venue Questions Checklist

Learn which questions to ask! 


Wedding Expectations

The word ‘expectation’ will likely come up as you work with your wedding planner to plan your wedding. While you may try your best to eliminate the word ‘expectation’ from your wedding planning vocabulary, it’s only natural for everyone involved to have some expectations for your special day.

It’s a good idea to remember that what determines whether your wedding was a success or not is the memories that people take with them. It’s all about perception, and even though it’s not possible to meet everyone’s expectations, if you do a little time traveling in your mind, you should be able to improve your chances.


What Do You Want to Remember?

If you envision being married and living your new life in the future, what will you want to remember about your wedding when you look back?

Just like with every other facet of your wedding day, it’s important to remember that this is your wedding and this day is about you first.

If you end up reversing the order and thinking of your guests first, the memories you’ll have may not be as fond as you’d like them to be. Taking a “guest-first” approach may end up with you feeling resentment as time goes by instead of looking back with fulfillment and love.

What Do You Want Your Guests to Remember?

That’s not to say that you should disregard what your guests want and only focus on yourself. The fact that you thought enough of them to ask them to share your special day shows you want them to have a good time.

To make sure they also have fond memories, perform the same exercise that you did with yourself. Ask what you’d like them to remember about your wedding. For example, what takeaways would you want them to have? Once you answer this question truthfully, you can plan accordingly, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your own experience and memories.

The Best of Both Worlds

Luckily, with some creative planning and attention to detail, you can keep it fun for everyone and ensure that you and your wedding guests take away beautiful memories. Some of the keys to making this happen include:

  • Keeping the communication open and being upfront with parents, bridesmaids, friends and anyone else close to you
  • Making your intentions known very early on in the process
  • Asking others what they want and trying to accommodate as much as possible
  • Enlisting the help of a professional planner who has ample experience

It’s also wise to remember that there are different layers of wedding guests and that the memories of a close friend or family member will differ from those of the ‘plus one’ of a guest whom you might not know.

As long as you keep the ‘it’s your wedding’ mantra front and center throughout the process, you can feel confident that your memories will be ones to cherish and that your guests will place your wedding near the top of their list.

Keep in mind that your wedding venue will be one of the factors that make a big difference in your guests’ lasting impression.

Find out if we are available for your wedding

Schedule your free consultation

We are looking forward to discussing your unique wedding photography needs.

Communicating with Your Wedding Vendors

The vendors you hire to make your wedding dream a reality are all there for one reason, and that is to make your day special. They are all experts in their specific fields, which is why you hired them. For everything to run smoothly, communication is essential.

A Wide Range of Personalities

Saying “keep the lines of communication open” is good advice, but may be a bit too simplistic considering all the different personalities of your vendors. In the lead up to a typical wedding, you may have to work with:

  • Florists
  • Caterers
  • Photographers and videographers
  • Bakers
  • Wedding Officiant
  • A band or DJ
  • The venue
  • Designers
  • Limo Companies
  • Hair & Makeup

It’s easy for the lines of communication to get muffled if you aren’t careful, so here are some tips to help you communicate effectively and get the results you’re after.

Remember It’s a Two-Way Street

You can’t expect your chosen vendors to communicate openly with you without reciprocating. The easiest thing to do is assign a singular point of contact for each vendor. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed, and you can receive regular updates from your team to ensure all is going well with each one.

Watch Your Language

Be supportive and upbeat when communicating with your vendors. Consider the words and tone you use because the last thing you’d want to do is sound accusatory or insulting. When you use positive language, good things will happen, and they will be more receptive to your needs.

Using Visual Aids

If you are having trouble communicating what you want with any of the vendors, feel free to show them with visual aids.

Pinterest is one of the best platforms for examples to describe what you are looking for if you are having trouble articulating it. If you can find examples of what you want and they can see it, their job will be easier, and you’ll be more likely to get precisely what you’re looking for.

When you do your best to set vendors up for success, more often than not, that is what you’ll get.

Ramp Things Up as the Date Approaches

Make sure you keep your timeline in mind and feel free to increase the frequency of communication as the date draws closer. That’s not to say you should be calling daily, but it’s ok to check in more often to make sure things are on track, and everything is looking good.

If you can follow these tips, you and your vendors should get along wonderfully from start to finish, and your wedding should be everything you’d hoped.

Get the most out of your vendor contracts

Download our Venue Questions Checklist

Learn which questions to ask!



Read Your Wedding Vendor Contracts Carefully

The thing about vendor contracts is, they are just that – contracts.

And just like any other contract, they will dictate the duties and responsibilities of each party about the services provided.

When it comes to wedding vendor contracts, many couples make the mistake of not reading them thoroughly, which can sometimes have a negative outcome.

So, that is the first order of business. Whether it’s you or someone close to you that you delegate, make sure the contracts are read thoroughly and understood before proceeding. Here are some essential aspects to consider about wedding vendor contracts:

Your Responsibilities

Determining your responsibilities and those of your vendors is extremely important.

There can’t be any “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” for who is responsible. This especially true when it comes to the venue, where they will have more responsibility than with other vendors.

If Something Isn’t Right

It’s nice to think that everything will work out correctly throughout the entire wedding planning process and the execution, but reality may prove otherwise.

Things don’t always go according to plan, so make sure there are contingencies and concessions built into your contracts that cover any mishaps.

Possible issues may include:

  • The wrong flowers were delivered.
  • The hair & makeup artist(s) you hired were not able to start when you need them to.
  • Your limousine isn’t working correctly.
  • There is a turnaround time for your wedding photos.

Make Sure Your Venue Can Accommodate other Vendors

In the contract with your venue, make sure there is wording in there that allows for vendors to show up early if needed. Sometimes, florists will want to get there early to place flowers, DJs might want to set up, or your wedding cake may need to be stored for a length of time.

Read the Fine Print

Whatever you do, don’t assume anything, and always read the fine print. Your wedding vendors aren’t out to make your life miserable, but they are concerned with protecting themselves, which often comes at the expense of the other party.

Ask Questions

And if you are unsure of anything, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help.

The language in even the most basic contract can seem confusing, so ask for clarification if needed. That way, you can feel confident that all the details are as they should be, and you can continue planning your wedding with peace of mind.


The cost of a Wedding

Your wedding budget is something that is personal and needs to be considered from a variety of angles before you settle on a number. What works for one couple may not even come close to covering everything for another.

Not everyone has the same resources at their disposal, the same dreams, the same vision, nor the same ideals.

That said, there are still averages when it comes to the overall cost, and costs that need to be allocated to different vendors.

Average Cost of a Wedding

For a wedding that will have 200 guests, you can expect to pay between $35,000 and $60,000. Each guest over the 200 magical number will cost roughly $400 more.

Some of the expenses include:

  • Photographer - $2,000 to $5,000
  • Videographer - $2,000 to $5,000
  • Venue - $15,000 to $50,000
  • Caterer - $12,000 to $18,000 (may be included in the venue)
  • Florist - $3,000 to $7,000

The list above details the significant expenses most couples have.

Don’t forget to consider additional expenses like hiring a DJ or musical band, hair and makeup service, and buying a wedding dress. These are all services that can eat into your budget.

Breaking Down the Costs

When you sit down to plan the financial aspects of your wedding, it helps to be able to assign a certain percentage of the budget to different things. No matter if you are on the high end or the low end of the average wedding budget, here is a handy list to go by:

  • Wedding venue, Catering, Rentals & Cake – These should total around 50 percent of your total wedding budget.
  • Photography & Videography – Allocate about 12 percent of your total budget to the people who will capture the moments that will become your wedding memories.
  • Wedding Dress, Tuxedo, Hair & Makeup – Aim for roughly 9 percent of the total budget.
  • Flowers, Décor & Lighting – For everything to look beautiful at your wedding, allocate 8 percent of your budget.
  • Music at the Reception – This should account for around 7 percent of the budget.
  • Invitations & Stationery – Your printed products should be about 3 percent of the overall budget.
  • Wedding Planner – The person that helps pull it all together should receive 3 percent of your wedding budget.
  • Ceremony Music and Officiant – The ceremony is the reason you’re there in the first place and should get about 2 percent of the budget.
  • Transportation – Making sure everyone gets where they need to go safely should be 2 percent of the total budget.
  • Wedding Rings – Your bands should be 2 percent of the budget.
  • Favors & Gifts – Gifts and favors are also a nice gesture. Plan to spend about 2 percent of your total budget.

It’s no secret that the cost of a wedding is front and center in most couple’s minds when they start planning. Just remember why you are doing it in the first place, stick to a budget that works for both of you, and you won’t feel too much discomfort moving forward.


Insurance for Your Wedding

Of all the facets that come together to make a successful wedding day, insurance is sure to be the least romantic.

Many couples don’t bother putting it on their to-do list for various reasons, but if you are all about “peace of mind” and stress-free wedding planning, you may want to add it to yours.

Why Buy Wedding Insurance

You need wedding insurance for the same reasons you need any other insurance. That is, in case something goes wrong and you are liable to pay for it out of pocket.

With so many different components that need to come together on one day, things can go wrong, and it’s a good idea to be covered.

Some possible scenarios that could come up unexpectedly include:

  • Serious weather events
  • Forced relocation on short notice
  • Unexpected military deployment
  • Vendors that go out of business before the big day
  • Damaged wedding cake or food that has spoiled
  • DJs, photographers, or caterers that don’t show up

It’s safe to say you’ve invested a lot of time and money in your wedding, and having insurance is a way to protect that investment.

Most of the time, your chosen wedding venue will require your various vendors to provide them with their insurance information. This is critical because, without this insurance, that particular vendor cannot perform their duties in that hall.

Make sure your photographer, videographer, DJ, florist, and limousine company all have the proper insurance before hiring them.

We cannot stress enough how many times we have received calls to photograph a wedding last minute because the photographer who was initially hired didn’t have the proper insurance.

While these things may seem like common knowledge, for a vendor that’s just starting, this may not be evident since they don’t have an idea of the things that are 100% necessary. For this reason, it is so essential to hire a professional in all aspects of your wedding planning.


How to Manage Your Wedding Day Timeline

Once your wedding planning comes to an end and the big day arrives, every element you’ve been working on has to come together to create your perfect day.

There are only so many hours in the day; you need to maximize each one to organize all planned activities.

For your wedding to be a success, you need to create a timeline, and it needs to be followed with minimal variance. This is where an experienced wedding photographer will be vital.

Your photographer is not just someone that takes pictures; we are here to help guide you to having the best photos & video but the best experience possible.

Be Aware of What You Need to Accomplish

When you create your overall timeline for the day, you must know precisely what you will have to accomplish throughout the day.

Keep in mind that things like flowers staying fresh and the sun being in the optimum position for photos won’t wait for you.

However, if you have a detailed account of all the things that need to happen from the beginning to the end of the day, you should be able to stay on track.

Be as Precise as Possible

Precision is your closet ally when creating a wedding day timeline, and many experts suggest scheduling right down to the minute.

It’s all about optimization, and the best way to optimize your day is to be precise. The rehearsal is over, which is the real thing, so there won’t be any do-overs if things don’t go as planned.

Allow For Timeline Slippage

Along with the wedding activities you have planned, build some time for timeline slippage in the master plan. It’s a rare occurrence for everything to go exactly as planned, so if you leave some extra time for slippage in the timeline, you won’t end up falling behind. If you do manage to stick to your timeline, you will be ahead of schedule.

Your desired experience will have a dramatic effect on your timeline

Every couple is going to want something different in their overall experience. Some newlyweds want great candid photos and whatever happens, happens. While others wish to capture amazing photos of their bridal party and formal family portraits overlooking a beach.

What you are looking for will dramatically affect your timeline. At Lotus Wedding Photography, we will sit with you and go over everything you are looking for and help you put together a schedule that not only gets you the photography you are looking for but the experience you desire as well.



Wedding Etiquette Tips You Should Know

Wedding etiquette is a topic that can easily get lost among all the other things that are going on during the wedding planning process. You have so much to do, and if you are like most people, you haven’t taken the time to learn the finer points of wedding etiquette.

In some cases, you’ll have a friend or family member that can give you the details, but just in case that’s not the reality, here are some wedding etiquette points worth remembering.

How to Treat the People who will cover your Wedding Costs

If there is one person, or a handful of people, who will be footing the bill for your wedding, they may want to have a say in how things go.

It’s not uncommon for family members who are paying to have input about the wedding venue, the caterer, flowers, reception menu, the bar, and other elements of the wedding.

While there isn’t a hard and fast rule on how much say they should have, it is a good idea to work it out ahead of time. You want to have as smooth a process as possible, which isn’t possible if there are conflict and miscommunication with anyone that has paid for the wedding. You want to give them first-class treatment, so work out the roles and level of influence beforehand.

It’s also a good piece of wedding etiquette to include the people paying for your wedding on the wedding invitations. Since they are providing the financial support needed to make your big day a reality, they deserve special mention on your invitations.

If They Were Invited to the Shower

Another piece of advice on wedding etiquette involves the people who were at your bridal shower.

As a quick rule, if they were invited to the shower, they should be invited to the wedding. It doesn’t look good if you asked them to the party where they are supposed to bring a gift and then leave them out of the wedding day festivities.

What if they were invited to the shower and didn’t go? That one is up to you, but if you’re unsure and want to stay on the right side of wedding etiquette, go ahead and invite them to the wedding.

Which Guests Will Be Part of Your Life in 5 or 10 Years?

Figuring out whom to invite or not invite can be a source of stress for many brides.

You don’t want the guest list to get out of control, but at the same time, you don’t want to ruffle any feathers and hurt anyone’s feelings. Keep in mind that you don’t have to invite absolutely everyone.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if this person will still be a significant part of your life in 5 or 10 years, then round out your list that way.

Choose the right venues for your wedding

Download our Venue Questions Checklist

Learn which questions to ask!