Dear GOD. I know at the end of the last post, I said this was the beginning of the war, but I had no idea.
We started looking for florists, photographers and DJs fairly soon after we set our date. It soon proved to be frustrating as many of the folks we talked with were already booked. The ones who were available were also outrageously priced (we have a Cheapskate section on The Cut for a reason…we’re thrifty). I didn’t expect to skimp on photography, but I also didn’t expect photographers to be quoting $5,000+.
The flowers turned out to be surprisingly easy. A friend from college suggested her flower lady–Just for You— to me and I fell in love with the stuff on her site. When I met with Jane, it was like kismet. She didn’t operate out of a storefront, but a giant basement area in an old factory in Middlefield. I was petrified that I had fallen in love with something out of my price range, but it turned out not to be the case. While it won’t be as cheap as going to say, Stop & Shop, it was still within the budget I gave myself. And, Jane’s ideas and enthusiasm can’t be matched.
DJs and photographers were a different story. There’s a lot of crap out there in those arenas. Nevermind that everybody with a digital camera thinks they can be a professional photographer these days. Or, that DJs haven’t seemed to come into the 21st century and their websites still look like the were made in 1995…with pictures from 1987. Hundreds of sites and dozens and dozens and dozens of emails later, I was pretty effing frustrated. (Seriously, why can’t we elope?) We didn’t want chicken dancing (or worse, DJs in costumes) and we didn’t want crappy pictures…and we didn’t want to go broke. Is that so much to ask?
Luckily, one or two of the DJs wrote back, were available, and were not total freak shows. We met with a couple, and decided to go with Party Pro DJs. They were a little different in that they have a woman, Beth, who runs the company and does most of the organizing end of things. She seems completely on top of things and the sort of mom-type you want running the show. They also send someone with the DJ to help with timeline execution, etc. The anal retentive event planner in me loves this. Their approach is also to talk as little as possible, which we love. The last thing you want to hear all night is some stranger’s voice booming at you. It’s like a bad Casey Kasem flashback.
Photographers, well, we’re still working on that. But, with one professional and one semi-pro photographer in our wedding party, we’ve received good advice and good leads. We’ve also received a lot of, “Dear God, that’s some crap work” which has saved us a lot of time. We met with one tonight, in Middletown, whose work we loved. The lady, not so much. She was pushy, and pushy….and pushy. And a little condescending. For $3,500 you got…not much. At all. Photography and very little work done on the pictures. An 8×10 of a fully post-processed picture? $95. Did I also mention that she was pushy?
Later tonight, we Skyped with a girl from the Boston area whose stuff we also liked. Her rates were much more reasonable, and she was not pushy at all. She was also friendly, enthusiastic and clearly passionate about what she does. This one had…life. I think we have a winner!