Saturday, March 23, 2013

Epic Family Battle Portrait Session

We have had a supremely bad month... starting with our truck break-in while in St. Louis followed barely a week later by my car break-in from the following session. So, I have decided it's time to turn things around. The following session was a blast. We were hoping to have an epic snowball fight but, alas, the snow dried up, so this insanely creative family brought swords instead. Talk about a great time! So, I hope these photos make you smile as much as they did for me.

Some cute shots of the family together.

Some shots of the perfect kids. I have never seen kids who get along as well as these four.

And here is the epic battle you've been waiting for. I love how much fun they had with this. No person was harmed in the making of these images. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why Do I Need a Wedding Planner?

Several years back, a wedding planner would have been an obvious addition to every wedding, but since the economy started to tank, the planner is typically the first thing any bride will choose to cut. We asked Peggy Sargent, of BellaRose Event Planning, to give us some insight as to what is so important about hiring a wedding planner.

I often hear: “There is a wedding coordinator at the reception or wedding, why do I need a wedding planner?”
There are many reasons to hire a wedding planner.
- A good wedding planner should be able to negotiate discounts on many things, reducing the cost to you and your family.
- A good wedding planner should be current on the most recent trends for weddings and can guide the couple toward creating the wedding they want.
- A good wedding planner is knowledgeable about the details specific to your big day, both the larger details and the smaller ones.
 - A good wedding planner listens to everyone’s expressed desires, needs, and wants and should be able to help keep the peace between various members involved in the wedding.
- A good wedding planner isn’t just focused on the wedding or the reception, like those hired at a particular location, but is focused on the whole event. They are hired directly by you, not by the venue, and their interests are even more about your interests – not about the bottom line of the venue.
- A good wedding planner knows the local industry and who to steer away from and who to use.
- A good wedding planner works with the on-site wedding coordinators to keep everything on track.
- A good wedding planner should be able to give you answers within a reasonable amount of time about questions you might have about the wedding or wedding etiquette. If they don’t know the answer immediately, they should be able to get one to you within a day or less.

Peggy Sargent is the head wedding planner at BellaRose Event Planning in Colorado Springs, CO. She has been planning events for 6 years. You can find more information about her services through her website, or by calling her at (719) 622-6262.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Easter Mini Photo Sessions are around the corner!

Duval Digital Easter Mini Sessions

Duval Digital's Easter Mini Sessions are a great time to get your kiddos pictures done in a  low stress environment. We will be having live chicks and a bunny this year! (We do also have fake chicks, bunnies, and other easter props for kids who prefer not to play with the live animals.) 

Sessions are limited and will be $45 for a 25 minute mini session. Every session includes 2-5x7 prints and 10-3x4 Easter cards. We are also having a special on full resolution disks for only $40. 

Two dates to choose from:
Friday, March 15th from noon to 5pm
Saturday, March 16th from 10am to 4pm

Sessions are limited, so contact us today to book your session! | 719.930.6066

Duval Digital Photography

Monday, March 4, 2013

20% for entertainment, 50% for food, 10% for wedding attire...

Everyone knows how important the wedding budget is, but it is seldom something that people want to talk about. And who can really blame you, money (unless you have a lot of it... not likely in this economy) is never really a fun subject. So, here are some tips for tackling your budget so that you come out with your sanity in check.

- The first thing you need to do is find out how much is going to be contributed to your wedding. It's not just on the bride's parents nowadays. Many couples are taking it on their own to fund the wedding. You can also ask the groom's parents if they will be contributing. Traditionally the groom's parents would only pay for the rehearsal dinner, but it is more common now for them to pay for other items. For example, I have talked with groom's parents who decided the photography was more important than the couple thought, so they bought it for them.

- Don't look for percentage based charts. You cannot let a book, website, other brides, etc plan your budget. For one thing, every locality differs in price. And, most importantly, every bride is different which means every bride should have different priorities. For example, do you want an amazing 10 tier wedding cake or would you prefer to spend your money on a 10 piece band? If your dress is more important than your venue, flowers, photography, and DJ, then absolutely spend 50% of your budget on it! It is your wedding day, make it count! (The photographer in me requires me to say that make sure you do have a quality photographer to capture how amazing you look in your insanely beautiful dress, though. Consider that your photos are the one tangible memory you have from your wedding day.)

- Make sure all family members involved know that the final decision is the bride and groom's. This is THEIR wedding day.

- You will need to decide early on if you would like to have a wedding planner help to plan your day. Planners may charge a percentage of your overall budget, but they may also be able to help save you some money along the way.

- The feel of your wedding will generally be determined by your budget. It will be difficult to have a 5 star wedding at an upscale country club if your budget is only $10,000. So, decide easily on how you want your wedding to feel - casual, formal, or somewhere in between. And, of course, where you want your wedding to take place - church, outdoors, all in one location, etc.

- One of the most common questions I hear is "how much should I expect to pay for..." I really hate saying this, but, it depends! Many of your vendors are considered "artists" because of the industry, and, unfortunately, you would not pay the same for a Picasso vs something a two year old drew... even if they look similar. The same goes for a wedding. Consider that you might only pay $500 for a large DJ company, but if you consider half that amount goes into the owner's pocket, 25% goes into equipment expenses, 10% to insurance, etc etc, then the DJ at your wedding might only be making $50 a gig. Now, no person in their right mind would stay at a job for more than a few months making that kind of income. So, the DJs at that very large company are most likely under trained. We have had first hand experience with those DJs... something ALWAYS goes wrong. Just saying...

- $200 for a tux? My husband was in a wedding recently where each groomsmen had to pay $200ish plus tax for his tux! I think I had a heart attack. When we got married, we got an insanely good deal for only $60 a piece and my hubby's tux was free. So, to me I couldn't imagine what could be in that tux that would make it worth an extra $150. Well, as I often tell my husband, I am ALWAYS right. There wasn't one bit of difference in paying $60 vs $200 to rent a suit. They ended up sweating just like in the cheap kind, there were the same mistakes made in sizing, they were no better tailored, they were no newer or older than the cheap ones. And, quite frankly, most people are looking at the bride's insanely gorgeous gown. Point being, just get a tux that fits... no need to spend millions. Some of my favorite weddings have actually had an absence of tux. Especially in the summer, try letting the poor guys just wear slacks and a nicely tailored button down shirt with tie.

- What kind of food do you want to eat? It is generally known that the type of food you get directly correlates with price. Pasta, mexican food, and barbecue are generally cheaper, while steak, seafood, carving stations, etc typically have a higher price point. In my personal opinion, a few years down the road, it is highly unlikely that people will remember how your food tasted. However, you certainly don't want to hire a company who may end up giving your guests food poisoning.

- To drink, or not to drink... that is one heck of an important question. If you want alcohol at your wedding, there are so many different options. Some locations allow you to bring your own which can help save a great deal of money. However, you can always save by not having a completely open bar. Maybe have only beer and wine, or have an open bar for a period of time and then switch to a cash bar.

- There are some wedding vendors who offer registries to help the couple fund their services. This has become very popular especially in wedding photography and the travel industry. Guests can go on to a private site to put money into an account for the couple. This is a great idea for a couple who doesn't need much in the housewares department or if they just want to be able to afford a better photographer or honeymoon.

- Finally, go to the bridal shows. Not only do you get free food, but many vendors offer incentives, coupons or discounts if you book with them there. It could save you some money even on a vendor you already know you want.

Budgets are always going to be a touchy subject, so just wait for when it's the right time to bring things up to financial parties. And, of course, the bride and groom need to make the right decisions for themselves.