Plenty of couples mail me or phone me looking to see if I'm available on their big day. This can be the first step on a long journey.
Some couples have done all their online research and want to hire me there and then. Some couples want to delve deeper. Well, we are all different - and I wouldn't expect anyone to commit to me as their photographer unless they are totally happy.
But regardless of a couples desire to hire me or not at that stage I always suggest meeting up. In fact I generally see couples twice. Once initially, when I am booked..., and then again about a month before the wedding at the venue(s). Most people see the need to go to the venue beforehand. I am very keen to check it out and also get their thoughts on where to do photos etc.
But not everyone sees the need for that initial meeting and I think they are missing the point. For me, the first meeting is a key part of my preparation... and when I say "my preparation", I mean their preparation! Most couples I see haven't been married before and their only experience of a wedding is as a guest (where everything happens and they don't even think about it). Where many couples have a good idea of timings for their day (the Ceremony is at **** and will end at **** etc) I am often the missing part of the jigsaw - "How long will the photography take?" I am usually asked. Well, it's not a simple question to answer (and to avoid going through it all again I refer you to my previous blog http://www.timwhitingphotography.co.uk/wedding-photography-blog/2014/8/18/all-about-those-group-shots ). It can be a complex issue and thrashing it out face to face is undoubtedly the easiest way. Many couples find it extremely useful to discuss the photography and go through the timings, and of course so do I. My understanding of the timings and ability to execute the photography to deadlines (particularly the serving of food) is crucial.
OK, "we get it" you say..... but there's more. I am (most likely) someone you don't know, who you want to capture intimate parts of your wedding day, who you want (and need) to be comfortable and relaxed with when you're in front of the camera. Meeting up and going through the above process does something else. It helps us to get to know each other a little. This is seldom considered, but something I have at the top of my list. It helps you (be relaxed on the day), and it helps me produce what you want. Understanding a bit about you and your characters certainly gives me a head start. And although a meeting is usually only an hour or so, by the time we've met again at the Pre Wedding (venue) Meeting I sense we are all comfortable with what lies ahead. The realisation that it's in my interest for the day to run smoothly and I want to help make that happen is quite powerful. And once you've seen that I am preparing properly it's easier for you to trust me too. So hopefully this gives you an idea of the true value of that initial meeting. We all end up winners!