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Custom By Nicole – Featured Wedding Vendor

Hudson Valley Wedding Photographer: Custom by Nicole

One of the most important vendors on your wedding day will be your photographer. While everyone is going to be an important part of the day, your photographer is going to capture images that will live on for years to come. Your photos will be able to tell the story when you no longer can. Here in the Hudson Valley we have found just the photographer for you!

wedding - hudson valley photographer - custom by nicole

Meet Nicole Wagner, Owner of Custom by Nicole

Nicole WagnerCustom By Nicole was started eight years ago by Nicole Wagner. She absolutely loves what she does and there is no other career that she would rather have. When we asked Nicole why she chose wedding photography as a career and what she loves most about it, she took us back to the beginning.  “I have always been a very creative person and found photography to be my favorite form of art. When I was thinking of starting a wedding photography business I had it in my head that I wanted to create art that the couple is a part of. After being in business for a little while I realized just how important the job of documenting this monumental day in the couple’s lives really is! It’s a day where everyone who is important to the couple is in one room together having an amazing time. There are so many moments to be captured throughout and these preserved moments only grow in value over time. I feel like documenting a couple’s love story and their wedding day is the best gift I could give someone!”

Wedding Photography Advice from Nicole

1. Make your engagement session personal and fun.

I always ask the couple if there’s a meaningful location to them. Many times they do have a spot in mind. Where they met, had their first date, or a park that they enjoy visiting. Couples who have a pet also tend to enjoy bringing them along as well.

 

Hudson Valley Photographer - Custom by Nicole

Custom by Nicole - Hudson Valley Photographer

2. Give your photographer creative freedom.

I prefer to not receive a wedding day shot list. It’s my job to know the standard portrait combinations and events that will be taking place that need to be documented. I ask my clients to fill out a details form that guides them through providing me with important information pertaining to their day. This helps me to get a really good feel for what’s important to them. I also discourage providing a Pinterest shot list. I want to deliver unique images to each couple rather than trying to recreate what’s already been done.

mountain top - custom by nicole

3. Do a private first look.

I like a private first look so the couple can focus on each other alone without distraction. I usually look for an area that is visually appealing, but also has even lighting since the couple’s movement is unpredictable during that time. For example, you don’t want harsh sun with raccoon eyes on one of the individuals and shade on the other. I also like when there’s a good distance that the bride has to walk to get to the groom. This allows for great shots of the look of anticipation on each of their faces as the bride approaches. It’s also fun for them to talk to each other before she starts walking toward him. Another option would be for the couple to stand back to back with each other while they read love letters that they wrote then turn around afterward to see each other. That usually makes the first look even more emotional.

first look - custom by nicole

 

4. Don’t worry about rain ruining your day!

Rain hardly ever causes big problems in regard to photography on wedding day. When the forecast calls for a chance of rain it just means there’s a chance it will rain at some point during the day. It hardly ever rains continuously the whole day and often it doesn’t rain during the time we would need to be outdoors for photos. Most of my couples tend to do a first look, which allows for a more flexible pre ceremony timeline. If it rains at some point during the portrait time, we can work around it by choosing to shoot indoors or under a covered outdoor area until it stops. Maybe do some portraits by a window inside using natural light or some more moody bride and groom shots with dramatic lighting until the rain stops. After the rain stops, there’s always a chance there will be a rainbow!

 

Custom by Nicole - bride and groom

 

We would like to thank Nicole of Custom by Nicole for taking the time to speak with us. You can check out some of the weddings and styled shoots we have worked on with Nicole in our Portfolio here. If you’d like to see more, you can also visit her website at www.custombynicole.com to see more of her work.

5 Tips for Creating a Wedding Budget Before Booking a Venue

5 Tips for Creating a Wedding Budget Before Booking a Venue

When we meet with couples the first thing we discuss is the wedding budget. The wedding budget will be your guide for planning and designing your wedding. Since most couples have never planned a wedding, they have no idea what to anticipate spending. Couples often come to us after they have already booked their venue which can sometimes hurt the wedding budget. We strongly urge couples consider their budget before beginning to search for a venue. You won’t know know how much you should be spending on the venue until after you have laid out your budget. We find that couples tend to overspend on their venue when they have not set a budget. We felt inspired by engagement season and wanted to share the best tips for budgeting with the soon to be wed so we put together 5 tips for creating your budget before you get started on the venue search.

Decide on the total amount you can afford.

We all dream of things beyond what we can afford but when it comes down to it you need to be realistic. You don’t want to go broke paying for your wedding. Think about what you have saved and talk to family about what they might be willing to contribute before you start so you know what the big picture figure is. If you do this from the start you won’t be stressed later when your funds are gone and you can’t book the vendors you need.

wedding-planning-budget

Do your homework.

Do research. Find a free template that you can use to create your budget or start your own as a spreadsheet document. We use Aisle Planner for our brides but there is a fee for this one. Many of the wedding blogs and planning sites have free templates you can use. We suggest you don’t use sites like Wedding Wire or The Knot to guide you in what you should spend. These sites don’t actually have experience creating a budget but rather take the national average and provide suggested amounts. They tend to provide very misleading figures. The best way to create a budget is to do your research. If you haven’t hired a planner or it’s just not in the budget start reaching out to vendors to get an idea of what things cost. Be honest. When you reach out to a vendor tell them you are just starting to plan and would like to know what to anticipate their services costing. If you are honest they will be happy to share their information with you and who knows you just might book their services later.

wedding budget research

Consider the style venue you would like.

The style of your venue will be a big factor in the budget. Couples tend to assume having a wedding at a venue which is customizable will be cheaper but it actually costs more. A traditional style venue (ballroom, catering hall, etc.) will be less expensive than a non-traditional venue (barn, farm, retreat center, etc.). Traditional style venues include all the tables, chairs, china, linens, lighting, etc. Whereas a non-traditional venue requires you to bring it all in as well as whatever your caterer requires for cooking. If your budget is tight you might want to go with a traditional venue that includes everything.  This way you save on rentals which can start at around $5,000.
senate garage wedding

Photo: Max Flatow

Carefully consider your guest list.

Your guest list is going to be an essential part of creating your budget. If you choose to invite 200 guests your budget is going to be largely allocated towards food and beverage. In the Hudson Valley, you can expect to pay anywhere between $150+ per guest for food and beverage. This is figure excludes your venue site fee and rentals items, if required. We always suggest starting with just your closest family and friends. Anyone you have not seen in the last year can be the first to be cut.

invitations - nye wedding roundhouse beacon ny

Photo: Alicia King Photography

Consider your top three must-haves.

Every couple has their own vision. For some, the venue and food might be most important and others music and entertainment. If you have a list of your top three must-haves you will be able to allocate the most to those areas since you will most likely want top vendors for them. The balance of your budget is where you can compromise if the funds are tight. We suggest booking these vendors asap after you have reserved your venue and booked your caterer. Keep in mind the venue and food are going to be the most expensive ticket items in the budget.  We typically allocate 50% of your budget to these items depending on your guest count.
harvest table - hudson valley wedding

Photo: Love and Wolf Co.

We hope this tips you find helpful in creating your own wedding budget. If you are looking for some assistance with your budget feel free to get in touch with us for a stress-free budget plan.