Thursday, June 25, 2009

How Top Chef found me a wedding photographer

Now that the basic background stuff is out of the way, it's time to dive into the adventures of planning. I've been engaged for about three months now and I don't feel like we're very far along, though we do have most of the big-ticket items nailed down (venue, photographer, catering).

One of my top priorities, once the planning began, was to find a kickass photographer. Actually, I had one in mind. I'm not one of those girls who had been planning a wedding in her head for years... but if I happened upon good photography, who could blame me for taking note?

Cast your mind back to June 2008, around the time of the Top Chef season 4 finale. Richard Blais, something of a local hero here in Atlanta, had earned a spot in the final round. Being a fan of the show and the chef, a posting on Gawker came to my attention the morning after part I of the finale aired: Richard's wife had had a baby, and Gawker was sharing the professional photos of the family. God bless attribution! The photographers' names were hyperlinked, introducing me to Our Labor of Love.

I was instantly smitten from the moment I saw those Blais baby pictures. I had seen a lot of stunning wedding photos and portraits from studios in Chicago or New York, but never had I seen any Atlanta photography like this. It was just so... awesome! Moving and wonderful and vibrant and alive... I probably spent half of my workday clicking through weddings, engagement sessions, family portraits and smilebooth photos, and I added them to my blog reader for good measure. I decided then and there that they would shoot my wedding, whenever it took place.

Fast-forward about ten months or so, to late March 2009. As soon as all the calls and mass emails to family and friends were complete and we had made our engagement "facebook official," I emailed Jesse and Whitney for their rates. I chatted them up a week and a half later at the NOT Wedding and met with them at Dynamic Dish later that same week with Jon in tow, and it was basically done. We met with one other photographer for comparison's sake, and to say we had done it, but I had my heart set on Jesse and Whitney long before I was even engaged. As soon as we nailed down a wedding date, we booked them. (Right now we've contracted for the basic package, but I'm hoping we'll be able to redirect some funds to the photography budget.)

Man, that was easy! I can only hope the rest of the choices to be made are as obvious as this was. Richard, I owe you one.

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