Monday, December 13, 2010

it's not her, it's us

One of the things people have been saying to me about this whole wedding-planning thing is, Only nine months to go? Girl, you'd better lock down a photographer before all the best ones are taken! We took this seriously, because if there's one thing that we're not skimping on, it's the photography.

Last year I went with my mom to her coworker's baby shower. It was at this very expansive, luxurious home in a swanky neighborhood. And it was lovely. During the party, a sweet-looking woman came in with a big gift bag and a camera, and suddenly she was in tears. As she dabbed at her eyes, she kept saying, "It's just so beautiful to have come full circle! I shot their wedding, and now here I am to see that they're having a baby!" It was so emotional. I couldn't help but think, Wow, this photographer is really invested.

So when we started looking for photographers, I immediately thought of that woman. I asked my mom to get her info, took one look at her stuff and really identified with her style and eye for composing shots. Jon looked at her Web site and completely agreed. It was awesome that we were both so definitively on board. She was not booked for our date, so we set up a meeting with her last Saturday, just as the snowstorm was starting to come down.

She invited us to her condo in the city (on a weird side note, it was the same building I had to gone to see with Ri when she was looking to buy). It was similar in size to our old place, and cozy too. She offered us some pastries from the Greek bakery I used to go to in the city all the time--and one of them was my favorite, apricot, which you don't see every day. I was noting these small *signs* as we talked.

We were there for a little more than two hours. She explained that it's not just us deciding on whether we want to book her, but she has turned clients down because she'll "spend a lot of time staring at our faces," so she has to get a good vibe from us, too. Later on, Jon and I admitted we spent most of the meeting wondering if she was going to want to work with us or not. She showed us how much attention to detail she gives and how she personally edits every single shot herself. Then she showed us the albums and we especially liked the way one of them was done. We were sold, but tried to play it cool.

For the question-and-answer portion of the evening, she explained that she does do a lot of Indian weddings, but for this past year there was a majority of destination weddings. Of course, Jon commented on her fancy computer and she said she gets the fastest there is out there because her time is money and why wait for all those high-res images to upload when you can upgrade? We agreed wholeheartedly.

I did attempt to pitch a barter-for-upgrade idea, but as soon as it came out of my mouth, I realized that this particular method only works when both parties are familiar with the quality of the other's work. She politely declined. And then we started talking about the money. Jon and I really wanted this woman to work with us. But we are on a budget. She mentioned that some couples just sign up for the lowest package to secure the date and upgrade later. YES. And upgrade I'm sure we would.

She hugged us both and said she'd love to work with us. We headed out into the storm with a box containing the rest of the apricot pastry and the security that we'd found the photographer we'd always wanted. On the first try! And trying to figure out how we could come up with more money to upgrade to a nicer package.

We discussed it and emailed her around 7 p.m. the next day. As soon as I hit "send," Jon and I actually high-fived. We got one of our big goals accomplished!

But when I opened my email this morning, I had a message from the photographer.

It was really great meeting you both.  I'm afraid I have some bad news.  I had a proposal that was sent over 3 weeks ago for another couple for your wedding date.  I didn't think they were going to book because I haven't heard from them.  Oh course since I haven't heard from them and since the proposal was never signed, I still continued to meet with you both.  Just this afternoon they signed their proposal.  If I can help you both with finding another photographer, please, let me know and I'll be more than happy to send a few your way.  It was really nice meeting you both and good luck with the rest of your wedding planning.  

At the end of the day--and it really doesn't matter why--we're not getting this photographer. Maybe she actually didn't want to look at our faces for weeks after the wedding but wanted to let us down easy. Maybe the other people signed up for the bigger package right off the bat and it simply came down to the guaranteed amount of money. I can't blame her for that. It's just business. But when business is about one of the most important days of your life, it's hard not to take personally.

Monday, December 06, 2010

and for that, you're getting a bestselling thriller in your stocking

"Did you know there's a new book out about the '85 Bears?"

"Hold up a second: Are you suggesting that I get you A BOOK for Christmas?!?*"

"No, I already bought it."

"Um, what kind of guy shops for himself right before the holidays?"

"This guy. If I want it, I buy it."

"You dork."

*As much as I don't like owning books, I love to give them. And my brother claims not to read, which is why it frustrates him when I keep giving him books. Yet somehow he's intimately familiar with the contents of certain sports books--many of which he has received as gifts. From me.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

he told me to meet him directly at the mall

Tomorrow my brother is flying in, and I actually have a day off! I'm really looking forward to it, because I haven't gotten to see him much the last couple times he was home. And I'm hoping he will help me with my holiday shopping.

I told him they're predicting 4-8" of snow, but I don't think he took that text very seriously. Watch him show up without any warm clothes.