images by Shandro Photo
ever wonder, in the middle of planning your wedding, if you’re really going to remember all of the details that you’re so carefully curating now? who knows, maybe a few years down the road you will look back and wish you’d done things differently. well today, we’re excited to share an interview with Laura and Joe. five years ago, Laura and Joe had their wedding day documented by Michael Shandro of Shandro Photo. since then, they’ve welcomed two little girls to their family, and called on the Shandros for a number of photo shoots to document other life milestones. today they share what they remember about their wedding, what they may have done differently, and how often they really look back on their wedding photos. enjoy!
Tell us what has changed in your life since your wedding (i.e. family, location, careers etc)…
Laura: We built and moved into our forever home and have had two amazing daughters. I’ve stopped working and am loving being a stay at home mommy and Joe has just recently taken up a job in the city. Now I have to live with my husband full time for the first time in my life!
Joe: The biggest change in our life are our 2 girls and my being home everyday now. Our whole priorities in life have changed to raising our kids.
Looking back, what are the most memorable moments of your wedding?
Laura: The memories that come to mind when I think of my wedding would be getting ready with the girls; walking down the staircase to walk down the aisle to get married; holding Joe’s hand as I smiled like a fool during the ceremony; getting to drive in the car alone with Joe back from photos to the reception; getting to eat cheeseburgers at my wedding; my uncle riding a random bicycle in through the reception when we about to eat cupcakes. It’s the little moments that stay in my mind.
Joe: Getting ready for the wedding where we were just goofing around and Laura and I driving back to the reception from our pictures. We had a good half hour to 45 minutes with just the 2 of us with no others on our day.
Was there anything that seemed important at the time but now seems silly to have worried about? Do you think you would have prioritized different things knowing what you know now?
Laura: I would have totally ignored worrying about transportation. We rented an old Jaguar car. I loved the look of the car BUT it freaked me out. I like safe vehicles and being in control so this wasn’t a great option. I wish I had driven myself to the ceremony, it would have really cut down on my stress. I don’t think I would have changed my priorities in planning though.
Joe: I wouldn’t have changed anything from the wedding. Maybe not using the old Jaguar car but overall it was a good time and memorable.
Obviously you’ve kept a relationship with your photographers, are there other vendors that you’ve kept an ongoing connection with, or used for other life milestones?
Laura: I tend to be a DIY’er so we don’t typically use vendors for any celebrations. We have stopped at Flirt cupcakes multiple times though while strolling Whyte ave for cupcakes.
Joe: The Shandro’s are the only ones we still keep in touch with. We have also had our pregnancy and baby pictures taken with the Shandro’s for both our daughters.
What have you done with your photos since the wedding? Have you printed any, gifted any, done anything else?
Laura: We’ve printed a couple of photos for the house. After the wedding we made some albums up for our parents and all of our grandparents. They all loved the albums. We also have the amazingly gorgeous album from Shandro on display in the sitting area in my bedroom.
Joe: Surprisingly I reflect on the pictures probably once a month or so. We have albums and pictures on the walls so there is convenient opportunity to see the pictures. The pictures were great and are artistically great to look at as well as reflect upon.
Are you happy with what you spent on photography? Describe your experience, and how you decided to spend what you did.
Laura: For me photography is the most important part of the wedding (well, beyond the groom of course!). My mother didn’t have a photographer at her wedding and it is the one big thing she regretted. We’ve scanned and fixed up her wedding photos, but it’s not the same. We decided that as photos were most important they took up the biggest part of the budget which ended up being around 30% of the budget, the largest portion of the wedding budget for us. I’m happy with every penny we spent on it. I would have spent more if I had to without regretting it. We did the round about way on deciding what to spend by deciding which photographers we liked, then looked at how to put the cost of those photos into our wedding budget.
Joe: I listened to my wife even though I had serious thoughts about what wedding photography cost. I have had nothing but compliments on the wedding pictures and since I actually do look at them probably more often than most husbands would I would say it was a worthwhile investment. I really had no idea what wedding pictures cost and the level of effort put into them at the time.
What’s the one thing you wish you would have put more emphasis on, and what do you wish you had put less on?
Laura: At the wedding I wish I had more emphasis on a little time for Joe and I to sneak away, no one else. After all, it was our wedding and a little alone time would have been nice, just 20 minutes would have been great. Less emphasis on worrying about transportation.
Joe: Maybe some more new wife and myself time. It really was a great day so it’s hard to think or reflect on what changes could have been made.
Would you do anything differently (locations, timeline, doing a first look or not, people that were included in the wedding)
Laura: I would have changed a few small things. I think I would have rented minivans (yep I know – so cool!) and had bridal party members drive the wedding party to and from the wedding. Then you are all together but it’s not an arm and a leg cost wise. I would have loosened up the timeline a little, probably had supper a little later, put out some baked goods for guests to snack on. This would have given us a little more time for relaxing between ceremony and reception and also increasing photo times. I also love the idea of a first look and it being private (well, except for the photographers). The photos I’ve seen of them since makes me a little jealous. I’d also get a sundae bar, that would have been awesome.
Joe: Another hour of Joe and Laura time before the reception would have been perfect. As Laura mentioned there could have been snacks and dinner held off for an hour. Nothing else though comes to mind.
You got engagement photos, would you suggest that to other couples?
Laura: I’d highly recommend engagement photos. They may not seem like a cost that is necessary but I found them amazing. Firstly you get to have amazing photos of you as a couple when you aren’t stressed out or surrounded by a million people with a million things going on. The second important function is getting to know your photographer better. You get a ‘trial run’ of your wedding photos. How well you work together, what styles you liked in your engagement photos, what you didn’t like, etc so you and your photographer know where to go for your wedding photos. Plus the bonus is you can have them up at your wedding!
Joe: Yes. It is part of your journey and is a good test run on your photographers to see if the pictures are what you are hoping for. I have friends who had bad experiences with wedding photographers and something like this would have ensured they would know what they were getting.
What advice would you give a newly engaged couple looking for a photographer?
Laura: Get recommendations from friends and people you know. Start looking at photographers websites. Find the style of photography you like. From there set up appointments with the photographers you like. If you don’t feel comfortable with the photographer, will you be comfortable in your photos? Make sure you are comfortable and get along with your photographer. Get their costs and what those costs include, do you get printing rights, do you get all your photos, etc. From there decide what is the most important to you and what you can afford.
Joe: References and set a realistic budget. Know what you want and budget for it. Also make sure you like the photographers. Look at their work and ensure it’s the style you think you will be able to look back on for the rest of your life.
What advice would you give a newly engaged couple planning their wedding?
Laura: Have fun with it and start with the basics. Photographer (photos are the only things you will have from your wedding in the future), location, what to wear. Then work on the little things. The best things I had from my wedding was a great photographer, making the wedding about us and feeling comfortable throughout, and having someone (a wedding coordinator or a family friend) who kept the wedding on track all day so I didn’t have to worry about a single detail. Most importantly remember a wedding is one day, but your marriage is forever.
Joe: Don’t worry about the small things because the only thing that matters is the person you say I do to. Make sure you just have a good time and smile the whole time stress free.
Where do you see yourselves in 10 years? Any goals on the horizon?
Laura: Ten years is a scary thought, I’ll have 12 &14 year old girls by then! In 10 years I’m hoping we will be traveling the world. I’d like to be able to take the kids to a different country every year to show them how the rest of the world lives. That is my biggest dream. I see us still living in our forever house, just enjoying life and being a family.
Joe: I see ourselves with a very close knit family with lots of activities together, summer traveling. Yearly trips around the world. Busy with work but balancing with family time. There is no doubt I married my best friend and we will be that couple that will embarrass our kids because we will be a couple of dorks together.