Wedding Vendor Retainers/Deposits Explained

Why do wedding vendors insist on a non-refundable retainer or deposit? After all, if you don’t use them, they didn’t incur any expenses. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. Each time a vendor meets with a potential client, they are investing time and possibly money in an attempt to get a new client. Sometimes, the client walks away and other times they book the vendor.

Let me digress for a moment. While you might like to think your wedding is the event of the year, in reality, not all weddings are created equal. Not all clients will provide the same profit potential for all of the vendors. True a band will get the same fees regardless of the size of the wedding. Even then, some wedding will book the band for 4 hours and others for 6.

It is important to remember the contract you sign with your vendors is a two way street. In return for giving the vendor money today, your vendor is promising to show up at your wedding to provide the services you requested. Now it does not matter if the vendor is a one person operation or a large corporation. All vendors have a capacity limit. It could be one event a weekend or a hundred, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter that at some point, your vendor will reach capacity and have to turn potential customers away.

In some respects weddings are very much like airplanes. Each plane has a set number of seats and you can’t put extra people on the plane. On the other hand, when the plane leaves the gate with an empty seat, there is no way to ever fill that seat. The revenue potential from the empty seat is gone forever. When a wedding vendor has an open day, they’ve lost the chance to earn income on that day.

Finally, putting this all together. When you book a vendor, they are promising to be at your wedding and turn away other potential business for the same date. Should you change your mind the vendor may have lost the opportunity to earn a living on that particular day. In addition, most vendors cannot afford to have clients cancel for no reason. If this were to happen, clients would book a vendor and then shop for a better deal.

In the end, all vendors have differing policies for canceling a contract. Some are outright forfeiture and others will provide a refund should they rebook the date. Some will even give a refund for extenuating circumstances (ie. military deployment, family illness). Should you need, wish or desire to cancel your contract with your wedding vendor, you should carefully read your contract to determine the official policy. It never hurts to asks for a refund, but don’t be surprised if the vendor says “No.”

Disaster and Catching Up!

Thursday July 30th, started just like any other summer day in my household. My daughter was off at summer camp and the boys were playing outside. Meanwhile I was working in the office. Around noontime I decided to take my normal break for lunch not knowing what the fates had in store. When I returned from lunch, my computer was powered off. I didn’t think too much of it as every so often one of the kids will turn off my computer by accident.

I pressed the power on button. NOTHING! I tried again. Still nothing. I was a bit worried and knew it was one of two things. It was either the power supply which I had replaced about a year before or the motherboard. I took the computer to Tiger and they told me it was the motherboard and I needed a new computer. Just to make sure, I took it to Best Buy and they confirmed the bad news.

I was not in the least bit worried about any of the data files. I knew I had them installed on a hard drive I could remove and if that didn’t work, I had all my files backed up on an external drive. I was just more upset at having to unexpectedly needing to buy a new computer. So after looking at a new computer, I bought a Gateway computer. It does run much faster than my old computer. My only complaint is that Gateway does not make it easy to install additional hardware. I called customer service, they told me “We don’t recommend that BUT you can call our pay per call number and we’ll tell you.” Sorry what I heard is “We want you to pay us for that information”

After several tries, I gave up on moving the old hard drive into the computer and restored all the files from my backup drives. I also had to reinstall all of the software I use. All of this had to be done during my busiest weekend of the year. It has taken me about a week to get things back to the point where I can get some work done. Furthermore, I have to get used to Windows 7 as I used to use XP.

Photos from Kellye and Sean’s Wild Engagement Session at Brookfield Zoo

Kellye (yes she does add an “e” at the end of her name) and Sean had their engagement photos today. As you can see, we used a wild location, the Brookfield Zoo. It was different and a lot of fun, despite the rain. Kellye is a high school French teacher so when we saw this by the Ape house, well…. we just had to take the photo!
Kellye and Sean's Engagement Session at Brookfield Zoo.
Engagement Photo of Kellye and Sean at Brookfield Zoo.
The lake at Brookfield Zoo was the site for this engagement photo of Kellye and Sean.
This engagement photo of Kellye and Sean was taken at the lake at Brookfield Zoo.
A photo of Kellye and Sean at Brookfield Zoo taken during their engagement session

Milena and Ron’s Rockleigh Country Club Wedding

Milena and Ron were recently married at the Rockleigh Country Club. This was one of the few traveling assignments I’ve had which has taken me out of state. It was quite an experience being at this wedding. The Rockleigh Country Club is a wonderful location for a wedding. My only regret is that it is not in my local area. Perhaps I’ll get lucky to have another client book me for an event at that venue.

Milena's wedding portrait taken at the Rockleigh in New York
If you can look past our lovely bride, Milena, you can see the spacious well kept grounds.

Photograph of Milena and Ron's wedding katubah signing
Here’s the Rabbi filling out the Ketuba, a Jewish wedding contract.

Photo of Milena and Ron's wedding katubah signing at the Rockleigh Country Club
A close up of the document. I’m glad the groom reads Hebrew and knows what he’s signing!

Photograph of the room decor at a Rockleigh Country Club wedding
I really liked this floral arrangement.

The Rockleigh in New York was the site for this photo from Milena and Ron's wedding.
The chuppa, Jewish Wedding Canopy, was all decked out with white roses.

Here are some from the wedding ceremony:
Ron and Milena's wedding photo at the Rockleigh
A unique wedding photo from a Rockleigh New York Wedding
A photo of the happy couple leaving their Rockleigh wedding ceremony.
This is one of my favorite photos from this wedding!

The rest of these photos are from the reception. The Rockleigh has installed an LED uplighting system which can display any color lights. They really add to the elegance of the event. As a photographer I like them because they provide an interesting background to the photos.
The Rockleigh's banquet room was the site for this photo from Ron and Milena's wedding
Ron and Milena's wedding photo at the Rockleigh
The Hora Photo during a Jewish wedding reception at the Rockleigh Country Club in New York
Another Wedding Photo taken during Milena and Ron's wedding at the Rockleigh

In these next two photos, you can see how the lighting has changed to provide a different look to the room.
Photograph of the room decor at a Rockleigh Country Club wedding
Photograph of Ron and Milena's guests dancing during their reception at the Rockleigh

When it was time to cut the cake, the lights were turned back to purple.
Ron and Milena's wedding photograph at the Rockleigh
Another Wedding Photo from Milena and Ron's wedding taken at the Rockleigh Country Club, NY.
The Rockleigh Country Club was the site for this couple's first dance photograph

How to Photograph Fireworks

Around this time of year, I’m frequently asked “How do I photographer fireworks?” With a little bit of information, a decent camera, a tripod and a bit of luck, you can get wonderful fireworks photos. Before I go any further, let me start out by saying that when I photograph fireworks, I don’t expect every photo to turn out. In fact, I’m happy if I get 5-10 good shots.

Let’s start with your camera. It should allow you to control the exposure settings. That is you’ll need to be able to have a long exposure and an average aperture setting. Next you’ll need a cable release and a tripod to keep your camera steady during the long exposure. I usually set my camera to ISO200, f5.6 or f8.0. Before the fireworks show starts, I look for an area where I can see the show and yet is away from any light pollution. I set everything up and wait for the show. When the show starts, I take a couple of shots of the first few bursts. I’ll look at the images to see if I need to make any adjustments and then photographer the rest of the show. I’ll try to get several bursts on one image to create a dramatic effect. If you’re lucky you can follow a rocket into the air and then get it exploding for a wonderful shot. Have a great 4th of July.

The Winner Is….

As promised I was at yesterday’s bridal show. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful ladies who are planning their special days. I really wish I’d been able to personally speak with everybody who attended. Anyway, the winner of the frame drawing is Julie Jefferson who is getting married next May. Thank you to everybody who stopped by and entered the drawing.