Archive for August, 2019

“I wish I’d asked you and not a friend!”

“I wish I’d asked you and not a friend!” were the words uttered in our local Post Office the other day by an old friend of mine who’d recently tied the knot.

I was in my own world, daydreaming and standing in line to post out one of our SUCH magazines to a recent enquiry when I heard my name called. After a couple of words spoken, she mentioned she’d read something of mine warning of the risks involved with getting a friend/relative to shoot a wedding (one who isn’t experienced with weddings anyway) and now realised I am indeed a wise dude with true words spoken! It’s never a kool thing to hear, as there are no second chances with capturing a wedding, something she now knows only too well having seen what a friend captured for them.

I won’t go too much into detail, but imagine the phrases; I was fighting back tears when I saw them, the only picture of us was signing the register, I wish I’d asked you, I’m just so unhappy with them… etc.

It’s awful to hear these stories (which we do often!) but even worse when it’s an old friend standing in front of you full of regret! Unfortunately it does happen often, and understandably so as shooting a wedding is not as easy as people think, so whilst you’re thinking about letting Uncle Bob shoot your memories as a wedding gift to save you a few quid, think about the end result; if you’re happy with a stack of iPhone pics on Instagram from friends/relatives then Uncle Bob may be for you, if you flick through bridal mags and love the awesome stuff, give the Uncle a miss and grab yourself an experienced wedding ‘tog… I hate hearing stories like these…

Service is everything

Service IS everything right? Agree? You hand over some hard-earned and expect a certain level of service depending on the amount you’ve handed over yeah? You rummage around in your pocket for the fiver to pay for your Scotch Egg and sandwich meal deal lunch in the petrol station and you don’t expect to be asked how your day is going and whether you’d like help in walking back to your car. Now you go and sink a years salary into a wedding and you want to be made to feel special, this is understandable- you want to be asked how your day is going, is there anything that can be done for you, can your drink be topped up? Imagine blending the two extremes and passing over the salary amount and receiving petrol station service levels… yeah, ain’t that a kool sounding idea! It’s the future right, surely this is what you really want? F*** off is it…

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I had the dubious pleasure of extremes in service levels shooting a double weekend of weddings. Now this is viewed from my perspective as I stand back scoping people in my viewfinder akin to a legendary sniper, all the time listening with bat-like hearing to everything going on around me. I’m in the moment. I see all. I hear all. I am the eyes and ears of all things happening around me. I notice things. I notice when employees/staff attend to the couple and their guests’ needs, asking if they need a hand with their bags or their luggage, I notice them asking if guests need anything, I notice when they are asked if they’d like their drink topped up, I notice smiles and genuine attentive service, I notice no mobile devices on show, I notice shirts tucked in and tidy appearances, I notice when nothing is a problem, “of course Sir/Madam, I will go and find out immediately” I notice when the day is all about the happiness of the couple, everything revolving around them and their guests, I notice no litter, no dirty glasses left laying around, no spare chairs stacked in a corner, rooms hoovered from the day before, mopped dance-floors. I notice these things because I am observant, I am in the moment all day long, I watch everything and take it all in.

I also notice when the above is not present; when the staff are sullen, when timings are more important than the couple’s happiness, when staff stress and huff and rush about with moody looks on their faces, when no one seems to care about the couple and their guests, when bars are left unattended because of staff shortages, when dance-floors are sticky and dirty, when a couple’s day is rushed, when guests are left to fend for themselves, when staff emerge from kitchens still chewing food, when staff lurk in corners glued to a device screen, when everything is seemingly an issue, when money is more important than the customer.

I notice the difference between a venue training it’s staff to be customer-focused and a venue who give zero f**ks about guests and is only interested in rushing through as many weddings as possible to grab as much ££ as possible whilst they still can. Yeah I notice these things and I’m damn sure I’m not the only one. Buck your ideas up sunshine, a couple’s wedding day is important, it’s a big day in their life journey, help make it special or f**k off somewhere else where you’re not affecting someone’s special day…

Is this a smiling happy rant? No it’s not, I put 100% into a couple’s wedding day before, during and after, each and every time, no matter what is thrown at me, I push myself as hard as I can to deliver the best I can in every situation, I work damn hard for our clients, I stress inside at limitations thrust upon us by weather and by venues, all with a smile on our faces because this day is a one-off for a couple, and I expect the same from everyone else taking money from wedding couples. Does everyone live up to my expectations? No they don’t! Thankfully I am surrounded by wedding professionals and wonderful venues who have, and honour, the same exacting standards I expect, fellow professionals who know the couple is the most important aspect of a wedding day, venues who treat each guest as if they were the most important person in the world at that moment.

Keep up the outstanding work, fellow professionals and venues who care, and a huge f**k you to those who could not give a flying f**k…