First you might be wondering "if the photographer is the second most important thing, what's the first?" The answer would be: you and your partner's love, duh.
Now I might be biased, but I truly believe this - and not just for my sake either! For yours too. I'll be the first to admit there are plenty of wonderful wedding photographers out there, I've got some stiff competition in Calgary. As the client, you're at a real advantage of finding one that will fit within your budget and taste. It doesn't matter if you're getting married at the court-house, on a mountain top, or in your own backyard - there will be a photographer that can cater to your specific needs. Just please, for the love of god DO NOT let Uncle Bob take your wedding photos on his iPad.
When it comes to your wedding day - it is a whirlwind. Months of planning for it all to be over in the blink of an eye - time flies when you're having fun. I hear many newly-weds state "I can't believe how quickly it all happened!" in combination with "it was the best day of my life".
I will never forget the day I went to see my favourite band for the first time (I promise this will all relate back). I had been listening to them for 10 years at that point. I got to the venue embarrassingly early, ran to the barricade, and made sure I was front-centre for the whole experience. Then...I spent the entire concert goofing around with my camera, trying to make sure I captured the whole thing to look back onto. WHAT. A. MISTAKE. I remember going home that night and feeling like I had let myself down. I was too busy trying to capture what was happening that I felt like I hadn't even been there. I hadn't let myself get lost in the music or even watch what was happening, because I was too busy watching the concert through the tiny screen on my camera. I ended up seeing them again 5 years later and was very conscious to not make the same mistake twice.
Obviously a wedding is a bit more monumental, but the principle is the same. When you hire a photographer, you really get to be present. You deserve for your family, and friends, to be present with you. Sure there will be hundreds of selfies with the bride, "boomerangs" of people clinking their glasses, and some embarrassing drunken-dancing footage - but for those raw, real moments you will truly be unplugged, and engulfed in it's magic. With hiring a wedding photographer, you get to have your cake and eat it too.
Sentiment aside, a wedding photographer brings you so much more than just photos. We also come in handy as your living, breathing, schedule - and will be the first to give you that gentle push if hair and makeup is taking too long. Some of us can be down-right scary when it comes to rounding up your family for photos (...seriously it's like herding cats). We are explorers who have scoped out the unique places to take your photos. We'll help your grandpa do up his tie, and hand mom a Kleenex when she needs it. I like to carry a Tide-stick & safety pins in my camera bag for any emergency wardrobe malfunctions.
Which brings me back to the beginning...your wedding photography is the SECOND most important thing on you wedding day because the most important thing is YOU. So pick what, when, where, and who suits you best. Meet with multiple photographers. Test the waters...and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out!