Monday, May 20, 2013

In August 2002, 6 weeks before my wedding, I found myself searching for a new wedding photographer.

Two weeks before that, my Maid of Honor and I sat in our original wedding photographer, Mr. Wu's,  home-studio, viewing my bridal portrait proofs. At the time, I had no formal training in photography, but I KNEW something didn't look right with these portraits. I tried to explain to him that the images didn't quite capture 'me'. And while a couple shots were halfway decent, most of the angles were unflattering.

Then, with a heavy foreign accent, he said what NO Bride should ever hear.

'Ah Christina. you want. look good. for your wedding. You. no. eat. more. hamburgers.' -Mr. Wu

My husband, then fiancé, and I paid for most of our wedding ourselves. We took out a small loan to cover last minute expenses. At the point of 6 weeks until our big day, all but $700 of those funds had been spent. Yet, there we were, photographer-less, with not nearly enough funds to hire even the cheapest student-photographer.

So, we did what anyone in our shoes would do. We asked a creative friend with a good (film) camera to photograph our wedding. He basically charged us cost (film/developing).

He did a good job, especially considering he had never shot a wedding before. We are VERY thankful that he and his wife, also one of my bff's, were there for us in a pinch.

However, I will ALWAYS wonder, 'What if?'  What if we had made different choices early on.
The catering at our wedding was SUPER yummy....$2500; consumed in a little over an hour.
The decorations, live topiaries that lined the aisle, were BEAUTIFUL....$500; shriveled and died within a month.
The reception hall and church were perfect...$2500 (thankfully my uncle paid half of the reception hall, but still); wouldn't change this even if we could go back.

So, the moral of the story. DONT SETTLE! Our original wedding photographer was pretty inexpensive, as compared. We settled for him, because we tried to save money. At the time, I didn't realize the importance of good, artistic, professional, wedding photography. Maybe if we had chosen a cheaper caterer we could have afforded a more 'professional' photographer from the beginning. Maybe if  we hadn't spent so much money on decor we could have afforded an experienced back up wedding photographer when the first one didn't work out...then maybe my sweet friends could have sat back and truly enjoyed our wedding instead of running around trying to get all the important wedding shots.

Four months after our wedding, I began formally studying photography at University of Houston-Clear Lake, in Texas. I felt an artistic eye and experience as a writer/editor for a small network of magazines created my ability to tell a story through photographs.

I felt NO Bride should have to go through what I went through. So, I apprenticed with one of the BEST wedding photographers in Houston/Galveston, and opened my own home-studio in late 2003.

In an attempt to cheer me up shortly after firing that potty-mouth'd wedding photographer, my sister gave me the Chick-fil-a cow pictured here. I've kept it all these years, as a reminder of how it all began. Although his words were crushing to this blushing bride, I'm thankful for Mr.Wu. If it wasn't for him and his choppy accent attitude, I may never have become a photographer.

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