Wedding Tips

Styled Shoots: Why We Don't Do Them by Shawn Moreau


Have you ever been flipping through your favorite bridal magazine and it made you stop in your tracks? The wedding pictured is PERFECT. The cake, the dress, the hair, the couple... you get all. the. heart eyes. You obsess over all the little details and you wonder how a wedding could look that perfect...

I was one of those brides. Before I was a wedding photographer I had no idea that these weddings were **fake** … I'm not sure why I whispered that. But seriously! Unless it actually says it's a real wedding in the article, what you are viewing is a huge collaboration of vendors for a staged wedding called a “styled shoot.”

Styled shoots usually revolve around a theme like “Travel Inspired Garden Wedding” or “Bohemian Elopement in the Woods.” They're coordinated by a vendor (usually a planner) that reaches out to other vendors that can contribute their services (ie. bakers, florists, calligraphers). They use their time and resources to make everything look perfect. Some even have models that act as the bride and groom or part of a wedding party.

So why write this blog? And why don't we participate in styled shoots?

This article isn't intended to bash vendors who work on styled shoots. I think styled shoots for other vendors (non-photographers) are kind-of brilliant. Hair and makeup artists, florists, rental companies, calligraphers, graphic designers, bakers and more get to show off their talent and creativity. I am in awe of what some of these vendors come up with.

But as a wedding photographer, it's kinda cheating. Styled shoots are basically fake setups where you can control exactly what's happening. If you've ever been in a wedding party, you know that weddings are notorious for being unpredictable. It's easy to photograph a model couple with the perfect details. But that. isn't. real.

Shawn and I love being wedding photographers because we love capturing raw emotion. We love little details because we love the sentimentality behind those details. Everything at that wedding represents that couple and tells their story. And how can you recreate the tears that come when a groom sees his bride for the first time? Or the laughter when grandpa busts a move on the dance floor? Those are the reasons we're wedding photographers. Those are the reasons that keep us going to wedding after wedding. We feel it's a real honor to be a part of a day so personal.

All of the photos on our website, albums, and welcome magazine are of real couples. Those photos demonstrate our ability to capture a wedding with real people and real emotions. Which is what you want in a photographer, right? You gauge a photographer's ability by his photos of past weddings. After this blog, you'll never have to wonder if our past weddings are real or styled shoots.

- Jenn

Should You Hire a Wedding Planner? by Shawn Moreau


Many couples are unsure of whether or not hiring a wedding planner is necessary for their day. After all, it is an additional expense. But does having peace of mind and less stress in the months leading up to your big day seem important to you? To help you determine whether a wedding planner is right for you, we interviewed Melanie Tindell from Oak & Honey Events :


What are some of the services you offer?

"Oak & Honey Events provides planning and design services for weddings, social and non-profit events. Our packages are structured at three different levels - full planning and design, partial planning and design, and wedding management. Our Wedding Management package is similar to a month-of planning package but we begin approximately 6-8 weeks before your event to handle the logistics and allow you and your family to relax and enjoy every moment of your day.  We’re also experts at helping you find creative ways to reduce your wedding’s impact on the environment, like locating green vendors for your invitations, venue, catering, floral design, photography, and more."


What tips would you recommend to brides to help them have a more stress-free day?

"Our number one tip for our brides before their wedding is to take every moment in and remember the day is about you and your fiancé. We also recommend putting your trust in your wedding professionals and that they can help make your day run smoothly."


What would you say is the biggest advantage of having a wedding planner?

"The biggest advantage of having a wedding planner is you and your families get to enjoy your wedding day! At a minimum, having a Wedding Management package helps ensure the details will be handled by your planner so you don't have to worry the weeks leading up to the wedding and the day of. Oak & Honey Events number one goal for our clients is to provide a stress-free and fun planning process for our clients." 


Another thing you might not have considered - how having a wedding planner affects your vendors! We asked her specifically about her interactions with wedding photographers, even after the wedding day:


"We look at all wedding professionals as a collaboration team for all weddings. We always match our clients with wedding photographers who we feel match their budget, personality, and style. Before the wedding, we reach out to the photographer to talk through the wedding day timeline and make sure we have the amount of time the photographer would like to capture the day. On the wedding day, we stay in contact with the photographer to make sure everything is running smoothly and sometimes assist with getting family photos done efficiently after the ceremony. After the wedding, we check in with the couple to make sure the day ran smoothly with all vendors. We also work the photographer to determine if it is a wedding to be submitted to publications."


One point we always bring out to our couples is that having a wedding planner allows all the questions of vendors (including wedding photographers) to be directed to the planner. They are our point of contact - so instead of having multiple people going to you for answers or direction, everything is taken care of by your planner! You want to enjoy your day - and you want your family to enjoy your day! Hiring a wedding planner can make a huge difference, a positive one, for one of the most important days of your life.