Before we started the wedding planning process, a weird thing happened. We had went out to dinner downtown with Aunt P and our other German guest and before we went home, we went by the Pineapple Fountain. I posted a slowmo video on Instagram of the fountain in action. None of that is significant, except that as I was reviewing my notifications, someone with the account NicholasGoreWeddings had liked my video. Strange, but I happened to be in the market for a wedding photographer!
I clicked on his Insta and was immediately smitten. Then I checked his website for prices and was still smitten, but completely horrified. His all day package was just shy of $5000. Remember when Teh German told me that I was in charge of photography because it was my thing? Yeah, so. I wanted this guy, but I knew that $5k was out of our budget. When I mentioned it to Teh German he just said no. He didn't even bother to glare at me to suggest I was being unreasonable. He just shut me down. I was crushed, but I knew he was right and $5k was half our budget and I needed to get it together.
Still being unrealistic (and we hadn't found our venue yet), I penciled in $4000 as our photography budget. Yes, this number seems exuberant, but I also know that the day after the wedding we'll be left with outfits we might not wear again, possible hangovers, departing family and friends, hopefully some leftovers, and memories. Photography would be the documentation of the day that we'd never be able to do over again. Thus why it was my number one priority. I explained this to Teh German so he could understand why I'd put so much money towards one thing when we had so much to pay for. He wasn't pleased about it, I could tell, but he knew that I wasn't going into it blindly.
I started researching other Charleston wedding photographers, which are not rare. There were quite a few out of our price range, which were easy eliminations. There were quite a few that I didn't like their style, more easy eliminations. I was left with a handful of options and started sending out emails inquiring about pricing for all day packages (to easily compare). We met with one of the most popular Charleston wedding photographers even. We walked out knowing that we wouldn't use them because they were beyond my $4k price range for a basic package.
A few more days of researching and eliminations and I'd found Melissa Miley Photography. She was my new #1 choice. A FB who is local to Charleston said they had used her for an event and loved her. I was sold. Her prices were reasonable. I discussed it with Teh German and explained her pricing and what she offered and he gave me the ok.
The next day at work, I was still responding to vendor emails and hadn't gotten a chance to email her yet when Nick Gore emailed me and asked if I had anymore questions or anything he could help me with. Ever Miss Manners, I responded and said that his price ranges were out of our budget and we'd be going with another photographer.
A little bit later, I received a response from him asking what our budget was and that since the wedding was on a weekday, he'd be willing to do a discount. I emailed him back and told him that our budget was $2500. Truthfully, I didn't want to pay more than $3k on photography at the end of the day, so I wanted to go low, but I also knew I couldn't low-ball him because we both knew he was good. He responded almost immediately and said he could do an 8 hour package, 2 shooters, and an engagement session for $2500.
I almost lost my mind right then. I immediately texted Teh German to let him know that my original #1 was willing to come down in price. When I explained everything to him, he told me to go for it. I emailed Nick back and clarified what we'd get and for the exact price. He confirmed those were the details and I said yes.
I was over the freakin' moon.
A few days later Melissa called me to follow up on a phone conversation we had earlier in the week and I had to break the news that we were going with someone different, which was depressing for both of us. We had hit it off on our original phone call.
And that is the roller coaster ride of selecting our photographer.
After getting tired of sending emails back and forth with Nick, I finally suggested we set up a meeting. Our email thread was no less than 20 emails long and I was just annoyed. I wanted to meet this person already. We scheduled an appointment for a Friday afternoon at a super swanky bar downtown that I had never heard of.
I arrived right on time and looked around to find no one that even kinda looked like Nick. I took a seat at the bar and waited... and waited.. and waited. After 15 minutes of waiting, I called him and left a voicemail. After the voicemail I texted since I know some people prefer texts over talking. He called back within a few minutes. Apparently, our appointment had gotten deleted off his calendar and he could be there in 15 minutes. I debated saying I needed to leave, but it wasn't true and I knew I was just being a bitch, so I said I'd wait.
I ranted to Roux's Humom about the situation, ordered a Pimm's Punch, and opened up a book on my phone. I drank the beverage fast enough that I was feeling pretty punchy by the time he arrived. Oh yeah, I had eaten a pack of peanut butter crackers for lunch. Oops.
He was very apologetic and embarrassed about the entire situation, so that helped reassure me that it wasn't something intentional because of our reduced rate. We chatted for a while and went ahead and scheduled an engagement shoot. I was pleased when the meeting was over that our photographer was someone that I'd want to be friends with in real life (also I may have stalked him on social media, but whatevs).
Now let's just hope that he gets such fantastic pics of us that we will become one of his featured couples!