All the I don’ts of I do’s, a wedding photographer and brides, nightmare.

by tatjannam

First off, a brief apology for the long delay in posting, I have some images I will be posting in the next few weeks, but with my upcoming vow renewal, I have taken a coupe weeks to myself, to plan and prepare for the ceremony.

Speaking of Vow renewals, I married the man of my dreams 10 years ago and so, we have decided host our own renewal (we are footing the entire bill) so that we could share the experience with friends and family who were not able to be there the first time, it is also doubling as a unity ceremony  to unite our blended family, so this really is an important event to us.

After 5 years of wedding photography, I had in my head the perfect day (as all brides do) an early evening ceremony (perfect lighting for our photographer ;p) on an island, A vintage 50’s gown ordered from California, a clubhouse in the country, near the island, I had the music in my head the details (right down to table setting miscellany). I had decided, instead of supporting the online world for every part of my wedding, I would support our local economy as well, as well as attempting to make as small of an eco trace as possible. All I can say is WHAT A NIGHTMARE!!!

I’m probably committing wedding photographer suicide here, since I really should keep open doors with local companies who deal specifically with weddings, but no way am I not going to share my experiences with other soon to be brides after the nightmares (more then one) I have had!

1. Sometimes word of mouth or old fashioned reputation doesn’t matter.

Let’s be honest, I’m an artist, I live on an artists wages, and my husband, is an artist too, we are far from rich and saving for this renewal has taken some time, so I wanted to do it right! For my bridesmaids, chose a “reputable” local shop, who specializes in high end prom, weddings and evening gowns. Almost 600.00 in and I can’t tell you the horrors, but I’ll try.  let’s just say, my gowns were all late, the order messed up from the time it was sent out, I understand brides being nervous, but I really had a reason! the clerk couldn’t tell how much I owed because the paperwork was a jumbled mess, My first order of dresses, arrived a week late, my second order is still floating around out there somewhere (the ceremony is in a week) and the colors on my dresses are wrong (i ordered 2 of one color and 2 of the other) I got 3 of one and 1 of the other! I’ve been talked down to, told no one could help me with a refund if the dresses did not arrive on time, out of 600.00 I received a 60.00 discount and no extra rush charges on tailoring! This is the oldest place in my community with a high reputation! How could this be happening..only after did I log into google…ALWAYS google everyone!!!! Ask friends and family about their experiences, Check the better business bureau online!  And ………

2.Don’t give deposits until you know all of THEIR rules and ask questions, lots of them!

Every company I have dealt with so far, I have found, plays by their own rules. Each has ordering rules, deposit rules, refund rules, altering rules, and so forth…If you thought your used car salesman was conspicuous, wait until you meet a wedding apparel salesperson!

Here are a few examples of “the rules” and the problems it caused with 2 different local companies.

A. No refunds after the order has been placed.  And watch your deposits!

Company A.

This is an understandable rule, had I actually placed an order! I had questions about the bridesmaids gowns and their shipping times, since I had a BM who wouldn’t be able to get her sizes until a week after the rest of the party. I was told, that company A. would Call and let me know if her dress could be ordered and received on time…No call, nothing from company A. for about a week when, they called to notify me that my dresses would be arriving on so and so date…I had left a deposit, for the company to be used ONLY after we discussed the dresses, because I live out of town. Then I find out, I would be charged for a rush order on BM’s dress! No sorry it’s been over 3 days (I didn’t even know they were ordered!) no refunds…I was forced into purchasing the remainder of the dresses!

Company B. Suits ordered for my children, deposit made, then this week I receive a call stating the shipping was too expensive for the company, and they wouldn’t be able to use my choice of colors in rentals again, so they would not be ordering them! Nope no refunds..Period! Out another 40.00!

I have had the best of luck with online companies, like Unique Vintage and orchard corset.

I’m so disappointed that it is the local companies who have failed me, over and over again! I do however want to push some names of some very amazing companies and vendors who have been seriously great to me on this journey of planning and preparing!  May I recommend them to my Montana brides, so maybe you won’t have the issues I have had!


Saloli Moments (Billings Montana)                                                                                                   JMK Photography (Kalispell Montana)

Music Vendors

Joe Ryan  (cascade Montana)                                                                                                             Jan and Skip Karaoke (Great Falls Montana)

Wardrobe and Attire                                                                                                                            I really wish I could add more vendors to this list!

Kaufman’s Menswear                                                                                                                            A time or two (central avenue, seriously ladies , even if your not getting married!)


Strobels rentals                                                                                                                                     National Laundry                                                                                                                                 PPL Montana (Ryans Island and clubhouse…psst this is free if you reserve waaay in advance!)

So what did we learn so far?

1. Ask Questions                                                                                                                                   2. No guarantee, or contract, no deposit!                                                                                          3. Reputation and status isn’t everything!

There are hardworking local vendors, who are courteous and have wonderful customer loyalty…Just be sure that the company your dealing with isn’t pretending to be that person!