Crystal Horton Photography | 4 Tips for Choosing your Wedding Professional

4 Tips for Choosing your Wedding Professional

July 02, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Crystal Horton Photography

4 Tips for choosing your Wedding Professional

What makes a professional a professional?

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This article is about how not to be scammed by what I call faux-fessionals. No bride wants to be scammed by someone who is just in it for the money. You want to have your entire wedding process and wedding day to go off as perfectly as a cheesy Disney movie. You want to have that 4+ year professional, with over 100 reviews and over 200 weddings under their belt, but are you sure your money is being spent well, and on the right person for your wedding day. I’m here to help you filter out the faux-fessionals with the true professionals. I am a professional wedding photographer, and I work with all types of vendors and many other professionals. The best part is, I absolutely have no reason to misguided you, so I can guarantee this will be the most helpful information that you can ever imagine having on your side.

It should be noted early on that a true wedding professional can come from all sorts of backgrounds. It could be someone fresh out of college, or someone who has been photographing for fun and decided to take it to the next level. However, being the devils advocate here for you, it should also be noted that to be sure that you get a truly honest professional who is working for you and to give you the best possible results will typically have skin in the game and will be very upfront and honest about what they offer, and will hide nothing from you. Do you really want to find a 'good deal' to turn around and have blurry images, or a dj that comes in with an ipod and has speakers that sounds worse than a car radio? Of course not. So it comes down to you, the bride, holding the power and asking the right question(s). That really is all it takes. And don’t be discouraged if you sit down with 5 photographers, 4 wedding venues, 3 DJs, 4 wedding planners, and 6 caterers. It will all be worth it in the end. I mean, that’s why we start planning a wedding a year in advanced right? So, soak up, or print off, what I have to say, and remember to trust your gut, if something is too good, it probably is, or if something feels just not quite right, it most likely isn't.


1. Don't Always Trust Facebook (Or the internet)

Don't you remember the saying, don't believe everything you read on the internet? (If not, then I'm really starting to show my age.) Of course not everyone but for a very large portions of, say for example, facebook business pages. Just because someone has a great profile doesn't mean that what you see there is exactly what you are signing up for. Do your homework. I won't say names, but there is a DJ who gets alot of business from facebook and he is a registered sex offender (in regards to children) There is nothing I can do, except for tell brides to do your home work. Research people. He has a simple nice looking facebook and books plenty of weddings with attending children. but of course has nothing about it anywhere.

My Experience: For the longest time I avoided the internet. I absolutely didn't trust it. Scams in emails, scams in the mail, scams over the phone, why does there have to be so much down right "wrong" in the world. wrong and distrust. So when I was hunting for my wedding professionals i knew where I was willing to take risks, and where I wasn't. My DJ was a friend who wanted to do weddings and I said you can test mine for sure. However for my photographer I knew I needed to pay over a certain price point and I wanted to find them at a bridal expo. I knew that I wanted to have a very high quality experience and someone whose sole focus was to accommodate me and what I wanted, not what other people wanted, nor did I want a photographer that was all about what they got and what photos they wanted to capture or when they wanted me in the dress. Hello. This is my wedding not yours. you take the photos when they happen. And they did! Not once did I ever regret my decision to spend a quarter of the whole wedding cost on just the photographer. It was reassuring and I knew I would have the best longest lasting memories!

2. Doing your research

This is the perfect follow up to our number one on how to choose a wedding professional. So let's say you did find a few names on Facebook. That is totally fine, but now go at least one step father. Ask your selves these questions.

Does their facebook have review visible? If not why?

Do they have a website directly linked to their facebook page? This should be an automatic yes. That being said here is your number three.

My Experience: Do research is something that I hear most often brides will admit to lacking in. "If only I would have looked up about this", "If only I would have read a few more review.", "If only I would have trusted my gut." I have nothing to hide from my brides. I even tell them that when I had them my contract to read. I tell them, this is to protect both me and you; and it is! If we don't have trust, then how can we have a great trusting relationship?

3. Do they have a professional Website?

This of course should be an automatic yes. If they don't then ask yourself. Where are they putting their money? How are they professionally bettering them selves to prove that they can be the best? If they don't have a digital store front, do that at least have a brick and mortar? You don't have to have both, I personally don't. But at least in today's day and age have an online website.

My Experience: As I said I am a professional, and I only refer other professional to hold their business to the same expectations as I do with my own. I don't mind using facebook here and there, but I still prefer google. I want to see someone's digital store front. I want to see their examples, I want to see how many albums or clients they have. I want to see what they are willing to post for the ENTIRE WORLD to read. If I, with my photography website, am unafraid to be upfront and honest, then why should I go with someone, or refer someone, who sounds fake, or sounds like a parrot mimicking everything someone else has just told me.

4. Are they willing to meet in person?

Seriously! everyone seems to be in it for your money! I might be old fashion but isn't your wedding intimate? Won't your wedding have emotions? Won't you laugh, cry, and act all crazy in love? Of course you will. So how on earth can you expect to talk on the phone once and have someone really know you? Here is the other advantage to meeting someone in person. You can get a feel for them. How do they dress? How do they hold themselves? How to they speak? How do the present their business? Are they willing to talk about logistics and the uncomfortable topics like cancellations or date changes or medical illness? Are they doing most of the talking? Are they asking you questions to get to know you?

My Experience: It is not your job, as a bride, to tell a professional what you want them to know. It is their job to ask you for the information. They should be asking you the questions and doing more of the listening. It is their job to get to know you on such a deep and personal level, that when you and your best friend or mother are having an intimate emotional experience of looking in the mirror at your dress, they know to stand back, quietly capture a few moment, and then to let the moment happen on it's own. They can't control when the sun will rise and when the sun will set, so why should they take control of your wedding day? Make sure that they are willing to listen to you and that they see what is happening around them to be there in the moment with you.


So now that you have an idea of how to help you choose a wedding professional, let’s take a look several popular wedding professionals and what makes them professional.

  1. A true professional:
    • Photographer will know how to:
      • Will have constant communication with you
      • At the wedding, they will Let the moment happen and capture it
      • Work with the schedule, not force the schedule
      • Can move from indoor to out door in a second
      • Knows what lens to use and why
      • Has backup equipment for a worse case scenario
      • Can work with natural light and a flash.
      • Moves around guests to keep the moment true and intimate
      • Be ready for a moment to happen at any time
      • Communicate with the bride if things are simply not do-able
      • Create amazing results from a not so optimal situation
      • Will have a post wedding meeting
    • DJ will know how to:
      • Transition music smoothly from song to song
      • Integrate a whole mix of musical styles
      • Never have a silent moment (dead air/no music playing)
      • Create the setting you desire
      • Lead a crowd the entire evening
      • Work in any given space, indoor and outdoor
      • Fix equipment or music issues within seconds
      • Will never not show up to a wedding because a speaker broke
    • Venue will know how to:
      • Adjust the number of tables and chairs if fewer guests attend
      • Cooperate with other professional vendors
      • Help direct the guests to specific areas
      • Fix an onsite problem and have a list of professionals like plumbers and electricians
      • Will never cancel a wedding because of a roof leak
    • Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist will know how to:
      • Fix a section of hair that won’t cooperate
      • Fix a makeup mistake
      • Adjust a color if you don’t like the way it looks
      • Make sure you have no allergies prior to the day of
      • Cover up a last min pimple
      • Make the hair style exactly how you want it from the picture
      • Will have the right brushes and good quality makeup
      • Select the hair products that will hold the entire wedding
      • Can recommend a change if something isn’t working
      • Will never cancel or will offer a backup recommendation
    • Planner will know how to:
      • Tell you what will and will not go with your wedding theme
      • Keep you on track with your wedding budget
      • Collaborate all the other wedding professionals
      • Make sure other professional stick to their contract
      • Communicate with disruptive vendors
      • Communicate effectively with unruly guests, family, and bridal party members
      • Call another professional if one falls through
      • Go above and beyond what your expectations are
      • Will never blame a bride for a bad wedding


Hopefully this helps you when you are looking to interview with your professionals. Don’t just look at the price and say you, that’s in my budget, because you could be getting someone way better for just another hundred dollars and I can tell you from all the weddings I have been to, professionally and as a guest, it is always worth the extra hundred to go with a better option.

Questions to ask a Wedding Planner

Questions to ask a DJ

Questions to ask a Photographer

Questions to ask a Venue

Questions to ask a Caterer



Think back to when you were interviewing for your job. One of the questions was something like, "Can you think back to a time when you were in a very tough situation and things were not going the way you wanted? Tell us what you did, how you handled it, and was the client happy?"

Ask your professional this same question!!!


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