Why Is Wedding Photography So Expensive?

I wrote an article back in 2015 for Wedding Lovely about the cost of wedding photography.  I was thinking about it again recently and decided to do a quick rewrite on the subject. If you’d like to read the original article, click HERE.   Alas, here are 5 reasons why wedding photography is so expensive.

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QUALITY

Yes, quality of photography, but also of equipment. Full frame dslrs and computers don’t run cheap.  In addition, photographers need a variety of lenses to capture the various activities that happen on a wedding day.  Their overhead also includes, taxes and license fees, web hosting, client gifts, film, etc.

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EXPERIENCE

For a seasoned wedding photographer, this isn’t their first rodeo. Photographers know what kinds of moments to look for, are able to anticipate those hugs, high fives, and tears. They understand how the day will unfold and all the special moments in between. They are also able to do this with a smile on their face and a calm voice all while shooting seamlessly in a wide variety of lighting conditions.

A photographer on a wedding day is really several photographers in one - documentarian, product photographer, portrait artist, landscape and architectural photographer as well as pet, child, and family photographer.

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LIABILITY

There’s simply more liability on a wedding day.  It can’t be replicated.  If you schedule family photos and it rains, those photos can be rescheduled.  A wedding day typically cannot, so wedding photographers are ready and prepared no matter what the day brings.

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LIMITED

There are only so many weekend dates in a year and a wedding photographer can only be in one place at one time.  By shooting your wedding, they are foregoing other work, but also precious weekends that could be spent with friends and family who are off from work or traveling to see them. Instead, they choose to spend those days with you and your family helping you have the best wedding day experience possible.

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COST OF LIVING

Simply put, photographers are people who have to pay rent, bills, insurance and taxes just like you.  Often times, their taxes are more because they are taxed on their business as well as individually.  That said, a photographer living in a large city most likely charges more than a photographer living in a rural area. 

If you have anything you think I should add to the list, I’d love to hear! Leave a comment for me below.

Mr. + Mrs. Adkins | Watkinsville, GA Wedding

Allie and Cameron were such a wonderful couple to work with. You could tell that their goals for their wedding were to glorify God and to celebrate with as many of their friends and family as they could. Cameron is the youth pastor at the church where they work so it was fun to see all of their students there and crushing it on the dance floor. Congratulations Mr. + Mrs. Adkins!

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Where did you two meet?

Cameron and I met two years ago when we started as youth interns for Briarwood Baptist Church. Neither of us knew what we were getting into but we quickly discovered that we both had a heart for youth ministry and that we both loved Mike Ricks (the Youth Pastor at the time.)
I vividly remember the first day I met Cameron. I was looking for Mike’s office and he led me to it. After talking with Mike for a bit, Cameron came in and Mike awkwardly left us to get to know one another. It didn’t take me long to realize that something was different about this boy. The main thing that stood out to me was how intentional he was. He asked me so many questions and I could tell that he genuinely wanted to hear the answer. Another thing that caught my attention was that he constantly made eye contact with me. Not in a creepy way, but in an intentional and interested way (it also let me see how beautiful and blue his eyes are!) From the first day I met him and everyday since, Cameron has made me feel valued and important.

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What are you looking forward to most about being married?

Allie said: getting to do everyday together, even if we won't be together during the day just knowing that I will come home to him is the most exciting thing ever. Also we're pretty young so a lot of the time it feels as if we're growing up together and it's so fun learning with him by my side.

Cameron said: Waking up every morning side by side

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What has been the hardest part about wedding planning?

Cameron said "that it's been too long!" haha. But honestly the hardest part has been planning for a large guest list. Just making sure there is enough of everything for everyone.

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Describe your fiancé in three words.

Allie said about Cameron: intentional, tender hearted and fun

Cameron said about Allie: caring, unselfish, and lovely

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Photography | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Second Shooter | Katie Martin Photography

Venue | Briarwood Baptist Church + Vintage Oaks Farm

Coordinator | Georgia Grace Weddings

Dress Store | Dressing Dreams

Shoes | Keds

Cake | Publix Bakery

Caterer | Barberitos

Calligraphy/ Handlettering | Madi Kent

Florist | Jeff Lott, JL Designs Floral and Wedding Studio

Hair/ Make up | DaNina Stewart , DaNina Nicole Make Up Artistry

Mr. + Mrs. Wiedenmann | Dunwoody UMC + Dunwoody Country Club Wedding

Congratulations Mr. + Mrs. Wiedenmann!

I loved getting to be a part of your day!

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How did he propose?

We went on a bike ride in our neighborhood to a small park. Karl proposed while I was sitting in a swing.

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Describe your fiance in 3 words

Honest, Genuine, Silly

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What are you looking forward to most about being married?

I can't wait to settle into our home and everyday routine together. We are also really excited about all of the things there is to look forward to in our future together (traveling, starting a family, etc).

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Ceremony Venue | Dunwoody United Methodist Church

Reception Venue | Dunwoody Country Club

Dress Store | Carrie's Bridal Collection

Caterer | Sara McMahon , Dunwoody Country Club

Paper goods | Minted

Florist | Carla Duncan , On Occasion of Atlanta, LLC

Hair/ Make up | Angela Michael , Angela Michael Skincare & Spa

DJ/ Band | Nice Guys Entertainment

Wedding Planner | Laura Potts, Sugar Events + Design

Mr. + Mrs. Boswell | Cathedral of Christ the King + Capital City Club

Annie and Zac said their vows at the Cathedral of Christ the King before they danced the night away at The Capital City Club. These two and their families are so kind and it was a pleasure getting to work with them. One of my favorite details of Annie’s was her blue wedding dress. Annie was actually the fifth to wear this vintage dress, originally worn by her grandmother. Annie and Zac looked like an old Hollywood couple as they walked back down the aisle. Also, a big shoutout to my girl, Danielle Hulsey, who was the biggest help and worked so hard with me on this wedding.

Congratulations Mr. + Mrs. Boswell!

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Mr. + Mrs. Keegan | Atlanta Country Club Wedding

Lani and Brendan said their “I do”s at the Atlanta Country Club last month and everything came together beautifully! The couple said their vows on the driving range and then went inside to dance the night away. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Keegan, for letting me be a part of your big day!

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Where did you two meet?

We initially met as freshman during college at Auburn University. We stayed good friends throughout all of college, and did many football games and game weekends away in a big group. However, it wasn't until after Brendan graduated that we started dating long distance (Auburn to Atlanta, then Birmingham to Atlanta). Once I finished nursing school in Birmingham, I moved to Atlanta and we finally ended long distance and were able to move in together!

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How did he propose?

We planned an entire labor day weekend/Brendan's birthday trip around a place we could take our two dogs. Brendan's mom had planned to come to Atlanta for his birthday that weekend, so we just decided to make it a family trip and invited her, my mom, and my sister up to Hilton Head Island. The Friday we got there we had already made reservations for dinner but really wanted to take the dogs down to the beach at sunset and let them run around before we left. We walked on to the beach and I was so focused on getting pictures of the dogs running around and getting in the water I was oblivious to what else was happening. He all of the sudden asked me to put my phone down, but I still was trying to get pictures so he had to take it from me! He got down on one knee and that's when I realized what was happening! My mom, sister, and his mom got photos of us and were able to have the rest of the family on FaceTime. We wrapped it up by getting to take beautiful pictures at sunset on the beach with the us, the family, and the dogs :)

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What are you looking forward to most about being married?

Continuing to travel together, growing as a couple, strengthening our relationship, and becoming a family.

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Photography | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Wedding Planner | Rebecca Niccole Weddings

Venue | Atlanta Country Club

Dress Store | Bridals by Lori

Dress Designer | Rita Vinieris

Shoes | Badgley Mischka

Cake | Rach Makes Cakes

Caterer | Atlanta Country Club

Ice Cream Cart | Queen of Cream

Paper goods | Amanda Nolte, The Impressionist

Calligraphy/ Handlettering | Nicole Prettyman, fiftyfourdegrees

Florist | Sean O'Keefe, Sean O'Keefe Events

Hair/ Make up | Chelsea, Beauty Asylum

Band | Papa Sol, East Coast Entertainment

Mr. + Mrs. Dreyer | Taylor Grady House Wedding | Athens, GA

Alex and Tim were married Labor Day weekend at the stunning and historic Taylor Grady House in Athens, GA. I loved being back in the classic city and celebrating with them. The venue was perfect for this southern wedding with its history, white columns, and beautiful outdoor setting. Everything came together perfectly with the help of planner, Taylor Dawn.

Congratulations Mr. + Mrs. Dreyer!

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How did he propose?

He proposed right before we were going to a Thomas Rhett concert, and he packed a picnic with our favorite foods and champagne for us to enjoy before we went into the venue.

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What are you looking forward to most about being married?

I am most looking forward to getting to share life every day with my best friend by my side.

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What has been the hardest part about wedding planning?

Balancing work and grad school with wedding planning.

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Photography | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Venue | Taylor Grady House

Planner | Taylor Dawn

Dress Designer | Stella York

Shoes | Badgley Mischka + Kate Spade for Keds

Cake | Cecilia Villaveces

Caterer | Trumps Catering

Paper Goods | Paper Dainty

Calligraphy | Bree Whitfield, Lumen Lettering

Florist | Gardenia Floral

Hair | Bombshell Creations

Make Up | Ellis Paige

Band | Atlanta Wedding Band

Mr. + Mrs. Davidson | Elegant Ashton Gardens Atlanta Wedding

Matt and Emily were seriously ideal clients.  I could tell right from the beginning that Emily is a planner.  The day was detailed and planned to perfection, but you couldn't glean an ounce of stress from her.  The aesthetics were beautiful!  When I get married one day (hopefully), I might just get Emily to plan it for me. These two are just as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.  Their ceremony was full of love and I enjoyed getting to hear more of their story and seeing Matt's twin brother "give him away" too. :)  It was a lovely day and I'm so thankful to have gotten to be a part of it!

Congratulations Mr. + Mrs. Davidson!

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How/ Where did you meet?

One of the best parts of our story is that it begins in our favorite place on earth: Auburn University. During undergrad at Auburn, I often noticed Matt and thought he was a cutie ;) but our paths never seemed to cross. It wasn't until the Summer of 2015 that our friend groups intersected and we became fast friends! As our schedules majorly picked up the pace, we kept in touch, but didn't really reconnect again until Spring of 2016. We had our first date in Auburn, eating popsicles on Samford lawn. With Matt, I knew there was something special, so I was excited when we became more "official" while watching fireworks at the beach on 4th of July!

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How did he propose?

Matt had my friends trick me into thinking I was going to a Chick-Fil-A corporate party on top of the Glenn Hotel in Atlanta. But on October 21, 2017, at the rooftop over-looking Atlanta, Matt asked me to marry him. It was one of the most joyous days and we are beyond grateful for the Lord's faithfulness to both of us.

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Describe your fiance in 3 words.

Matt describing Emily: Loyal, classic, and loving

Emily describing Matt: Consistent, kind-hearted, and hard-working

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What are you looking forward to most about being married?

I think we are both most excited about the opportunity to go through the ups and downs of life together. We are a team and we are so excited to make a lifetime of memories together!!

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Photography | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Second Shooter | Danielle Hulsey

Getting Ready Venue | Hotel at Avalon

Venue | Ashton Gardens Atlanta

Dress Store | The White Magnolia

Cake | Gabriel's

Paper + Calligraphy | Alex Fly Designs

Florist | Stylish Stems

Hair and Make Up | Irrelephant

Band | 4 Barrel Funk, Music City Gardens

Mr. + Mrs. Morris | Peachtree Road United Methodist Church Atlanta Wedding

Shea and Brad had a very intimate wedding ceremony at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church followed by a family dinner at the St. Regis.  I'm so glad that they valued hiring a professional photographer to capture some portraits after their closed door ceremony because it's true that these photos will last a lifetime.  My hope for every client is that they can look back on these photos for years to come and remember what a special day it was and the promises that they made to each other.   

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Morris!

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Mr. + Mrs. Belote | Atlanta History Center Wedding | The Swan House

Catherine and Michael's wedding day could not have been more beautiful.  They said their vows at the Swan House on an uncharacteristically warm day in February.  Catherine's beautiful Modern Trousseau dress was adorned with lovely lace for the ceremony and then replaced with a beaded belt for the reception.  The florals by Andy Beach & Co were out of this world beautiful from her flowing bouquet to the peacock feather centerpiece in the middle of the custom golden sided bar built especially for them.  The couple danced the night away on the dance floor with their custom wedding logo to the greatest DJ, Amp'd Entertainment.  The day went off without a hitch due to Brianne McMullan Events and her team and I also loved getting to work with one of my favorite videographers, APV Wedding Films and can't wait to see the film.  I loved getting to photograph this classy couple, who I might add, had some of the best dance moves I've ever seen.

Congratulations Mr. + Mrs. Belote!  Thank you for letting me be a part of your day!

To see more of this lovely couple:

Catherine's Bridal Portrait Session

Catherine and Michael's Engagement Session

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Venue | Atlanta History Center

Photography | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Wedding Planning | Brianne McMullan Events

Floral Design + Rentals | Andy Beach & Co

Videography | APV Wedding Films

Second Shooter | Karly Richardson

Cake | Lush Cakery

Paper | Hi Note

Caterer | Affairs to Remember

Hair + Makeup | Formal Faces

DJ | Hollon with Amp'd Entertainment

Ceremony Strings | Piedmont Strings

Dress | Modern Trousseau

Shoes | Jimmy Choo

 

Mr. + Mrs. Askew | Ashton Gardens Wedding

I recently had the pleasure of photography Ryan and Sydney's wedding at Ashton Gardens with Evan and Jenna Creative.  This wedding was so sweet and also beautiful!  It was a cold December day, but you wouldn't know that through their warm, loving photos.  Below are some highlights from their big day!

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Sydney's dress was custom made for her by a family friend and it was gorgeous as well as unique.

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Ryan was recently drafted to the Tampa Bay Rays organization as a pitcher.  How perfect is this groom's cake for him?

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Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Askew!

Mr. + Mrs. Harrison | Sanctuary Estates | Cleveland, GA

This wedding was so full of sentimental details and nostalgic moments.  I have known Tori's family all growing up and was friends with her brother and his now wife.  Her grandfather was even my bus driver when I was in Elementary school! There were so many blasts from the past for me at this wedding and it was so special to see Tori and Will become husband and wife after so many years.  I'm so thankful they allowed me to play a part in this special day!  Some of my favorite moments included Tori and her father arriving by horse drawn carriage and their epic Father-Daughter Dance!

Venue | Sanctuary Estate, Cleveland, GA

Dress | Winer, Winnie Couture

Cake, Catering, and Florals | Tim at GG Events

Make up | Bombshell Creations

Hair | Shannon Davis, Kuts n Kurls

DJ | David Osbourne, Sound Insights

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How/ Where did you two meet?

Will and I met in the 8th grade. I was the third wheel while he was on a date with one of my bridesmaids Allie Benton. I "apparently" spilled sweet tea on him that night, because I didn't like him.

How did he propose?

Will blind folded me and took me on a picnic to his grandmothers land and proposed in the woods.

What are you looking forward to most about being married?

Being able to wake up next to Will in the morning.

Mr. + Mrs. Campbell | The Engine Room | Monroe, GA Wedding

I met Chelsea many years ago when we were just preteens so it was so special that I was able to be there to capture her Wedding Day.  Justin is the perfect fit for her and I am so excited for them both as they start their new life together. The wedding day itself was so full of sentimental details and people.  Justin's grandfather officiated the ceremony and family friend, Jeff Foxworthy, hosted a special "dollar dance" where guests paid to share a quick dance with the bride.  They also incorporated their love of UGA with a red pom pom exit!  

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Campbell! 

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Mr. + Mrs. Sherer | Monday Night Brewing Wedding

I loved getting to be a part of Wendy and Chris' big day at Monday Night Brewing.  Every detail about this day was true to this couple and their 70s Bohemian vibe.  The ceremony was beautiful and intimate outside at Monday Night Brewing's patio.  Even down to the music -only 70s and 80s music allowed - this couple stayed true to their theme and themselves.  Thank you for letting me share in this special day, Mr. and Mrs. Sherer!  Congratulations!

How did he propose?

He proposed at Smyrna Market Village, where we met and had our first date.  Our friend, Ally LeFevre, hid behind bushes and snapped photos of Chris proposing.  It was such a sweet gesture for her to record this special moment.

Describe your fiance in 3 words:

Sincere, Generous, and Passionate

What are you looking forward to most about being married?

I am looking forward to sharing new experiences with Chris. Both the big things like traveling to Europe and the little things like coming home to him every night.

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Photographer | Holly Von Lanken Photography

Venue | Monday Night Brewing

Hair and Make Up | Margaret Snider

Shoes | The Loft

DJ | Chris Watson of Lethal Rhythms DJ

Caterer | Happy Belly Food Truck

Floral | Candler Park Flowers

Montaluce Winery Wedding Photographer | Dahlonega, GA

Erik and Elissa were married at the beautiful Montaluce Winery and Resort, though you may have been fooled in thinking that they were married somewhere in Tuscany.  Villas provided the bride and groom places to get ready while still enjoying tuscan views. The beautiful North Georgia mountains provide the perfect landscape for the rolling hills of the vineyard.  The beautiful vines crawling up the stone walls of this venue make me long to travel to Italy.  Erik and Elissa shared their vows in the cellar of the winery and their reception took place in the restaurant with dancing on the balcony overlooking the vineyard.

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Mr. + Mrs. Bick | 173 Carlyle House Wedding | Norcross, GA

Amy and Kevin were married at the lovely Carlyle House in downtown Norcross.  This wedding was full of love and fall colors for a late October wedding in Georgia.  I actually knew Amy from our AXO days at UGA and it was fun to reconnect with her through the whole wedding process as well as see the other AXO girls who made up half of the bridal party.  I'm so so excited for these two as they start their new life as man and wife together.  Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Bick!

How/ Where did you two meet?

Kevin and I met at the University of Georgia through our mutual friend Meghan Jordan during the first week of school. I took Kevin on my first sorority braves date night and I remember rewriting my text message over and over again to ask him out. It ended up being "Hey this is Amy Z from Centennial, do you want to go on my Braves date night with me?" Of course he said yes, and he ended up paying for all of the food and drinks on the date night, lets just say I wasn't exactly sure how sorority date nights worked, and I guess I should have paid. Kevin and I ended up falling into the same group of friends at UGA and we went to almost every UGA football game together. We have been inseparable ever since! Since college we have made it a priority to work hard, but to always travel and have fun wherever we go.

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How did he propose?

Kevin planned a mountain weekend trip as a birthday present. We stayed in a cabin right outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. On our way to Tennessee, we stayed the night in Athens and went to a nice steak dinner at Porterhouse (A restaurant neither of us could afford while in college). We went out in our old stomping grounds, and then headed in for the night. On Friday, we hiked for a few hours in Talulah Gorge and then we got back into the car and drove another few hours to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. We got to our final destination slightly behind schedule- it was around 5:00 pm and starting to get dark. We hiked up a trail named Clingman's Dome, which overlooks the state line between Tennessee and North Carolina. Kevin had planned one last hike for the day to an overlook named Andrew's Bald. On our way to this final hike, we ran into a park ranger who advised us to not go, because it was getting dark and there were bears in the area. I was okay with heading back due to our long day of hiking, but Kevin was determined to finish the hike before sunset. Andrew's Bald was a beautiful overlook of the Great Smoky Mountains. No one was there and it was very peaceful, we both sat in silence to take in the moment. I wanted to get a panoramic picture of the view before it got too dark. In the middle of my picture, as I was turning to my right, I saw Kevin down on one knee. He said "Amy, put your phone down" and I threw it on the ground, and what he said after that was a blur. We had a great weekend together in Gatlinburg, and kept our engagement a secret besides telling our parents on Saturday morning. It was a perfect weekend just the two of us, but we were both eager to share the news with our family and friends. We are both so excited to share our wedding day with our closest family and friends!

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Describe your fiance in 3 words

Kevin: Sociable, Smart, Planner

Amy: Laid back, kind, thoughtful

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Venue | Carlyle House

Dress | Suite Bridal

Cake | Cathy Clement, Publix Aprons Event Planning

Paper | Minted

Florals | Maria Schendzelos Designs

Hair and Make Up | Taylor Gutierrez/ Ashley Martin of Blush

Videography | Evan and Jenna Creative

DJ | Jermaine Jennings, Spontaneous Entertainment

Mr. + Mrs. Wood | Bradford House and Gardens Wedding | Flowery Branch, Ga

Page and Brian were married at the Bradford House and Gardens in Flowery Branch, GA.  This quaint little home was the perfect spot for their intimate wedding.  Their bridal party consisted of each of their siblings playing the parts of maid of honor and best man and I must say this might have been the most calm wedding I've ever been a part of.  Usually, I am the one being calm for everyone else - a common theme amongst the sweet reviews I've received.  However, on this day, no one needed me to be calm.  It was a new feeling.  Also, I have to brag on the staff at the Bradford House.  They were some of the friendliest people I've met.  They made sure to provide the best service for both their clients and vendors present at the venue.  

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