The Devil [Wedding] Details is in the
By Harrison Jacobs
When a photographer shows up to a wedding, it’s a fully formed feast for the yes, all ready to be photographed. What goes into making that end result— the gritty nuts and bolts—is, of course, the province of the wedding planner.
If you think of every wedding as a Hollywood summer blockbuster—a Lord of the Rings,
if you will—then think of wedding planners as the director, the producer and the screen-writer. We spoke with five wedding planners on the pulse of the industry from across the
country (New York to California to Texas) to ask what clients are requesting lately, and
how photographers can increase their chances of getting hired.
Couples often come to wedding planners with a photographer, a venue and other vendors already picked out; but most of the time, it’s the planners providing a number of
options to choose from. As Wayne Gurnick of Moments by Wayne in Los Angeles puts
it, “it’s very much a matchmaking…situation in every aspect.” Personality, cost and style
are the main factors he weighs when presenting clients with available photographers.
While he says that he has hundreds of photographers in his Rolodex, he admits that he
has a smaller number that he uses more regularly because of the relationship and trust
that has developed between them.
Bernadette Coveney Smith of 14 Stories, a wedding planning business specializing in
same-sex marriages from New York to Boston (see sidebar on p. 96), has a similar, yet
more targeted, approach. Though she does ascribe to a matchmaking philosophy, she has
a short list of photographers that she goes to first. “I could show the same five photogra-
phers to five different clients and they are all going to pick someone different,” says Smith.
“When I send my client my top five list, I try to send them people that have different types
of style. If that photographer isn’t available, at least I will know the style they like.”
Kelly Simants of Sweet Pea events (with offices in Dallas, Seattle and New York) echoes
the matchmaking statement but narrows it down further. Not only does she use the
aforementioned factors, but she also contacts the potential shooters to make sure that
they agree it’s a good match and that they are available. “We try to recommend only one
person so that our bride doesn’t have to speak or meet with ten different photographers,”