Raise your hand if you have been to a Disney theme park or gone on a Disney cruise. Did you raise your hand? I love it if you did. Now raise your hand if you have ever gone to a local fair. Now I want you to think about which experience was better. If you’re thinking like I think you are, you are going to say Disney hands down. These two places don’t even compare. While they both have rides, food, entertainment, and games, there is really no comparison to these two places and the experiences they provide.
Disney costs exponentially more than your average hop-into-town-fair, but the cost is worth every penny of what you spend. At Disney you get the 5 star treatment. From the character dinners to meeting the princesses to the personalized bracelets to the Disney resort hotels, Disney treats you like you’re the Disney princes and princesses yourselves. And while I’ve never been on a Disney cruise myself, I hear that once you go Disney, you never go back. And the reason is because of the incredible treatment they give you. Disney goes above and beyond to make your experience a perfect one. You leave and share pictures, tell people about the trip, and rave on everything Disney did while you were on your trip. You might have fun at the local fair, but you’re not raving about it weeks and even years later. You might have good memories, but it is nothing compared to your trip to Disney that the kids still talk about 3 years later and ask when they can go again.
So why am I talking about Disney and fair? Well because wedding photography is similar. Your experience can vary from photographer to photographer based on price and what they offer. When I first started out, I was a fair. I offered the most basic experience for my clients. They got decent pictures that took 6-8 weeks after their weddings and I didn’t add to their experience in any way. This is 1) because I didn’t understand or know that photography is so much more than just taking pictures and 2) because I was working full time in addition to my photography business and I didn’t have time to invest more than I was already doing.
Today, I am a Disney park. I provide high-end service for my clients by providing quality photos; but even more than that, it’s about the experience I provide for my clients. I meet with my couples a number of times during the process of their wedding. I want to get to know them on a personal level and not just show up on their wedding day and take their pictures. My clients get fun gifts and packages from me throughout the wedding planning process as well as after their wedding day. I send them a guide to help plan their engagement session as well as a printed magazine with tips in planning their wedding. I invite my couples over to my house and make them dinner. I make them my famous homemade decorated sugar cookies. I have in person meetings when coming up with their timelines for their wedding days. I make sure they receive the top care from me not only for their pictures on their day, but for their planning process. I bring an emergency day kit the weddings (and this thing gets used at every wedding, no joke!). I do more than take pictures on their wedding day and work hard to help planners and other vendors make their day as smooth and stress free as possible. I work hard to provide the “Disney experience” for my clients.
I don’t say all of this to brag on myself, because there are lots of photographers out there who are on the Disney level and provide amazing client experiences. But as you (or someone you know) look for a wedding photographer, make sure you hire one that provides the “Disney experience” I talked about. Will it cost more? Of course, and it should! You are getting better quality and an amazing experience. Wedding photography is an investment. You should invest in your memories. While you can go to Disney as many times as you wish, your wedding day only comes once in a lifetime. Pay for that Disney experience and don’t have any regrets.