Reviews & Releases
One of the best ways to book vendors to help you with your wedding is to ask for referrals from your friends and family. If you don’t have a network that can help you in that regard, however, you can turn to the Web and find locally reviewed wedding professionals, like those in our LGBT-friendly directory.
Look for reviews that offer specific feedback–positive and/or negative–in a way that is constructive, even-handed and specific. Try to find reviews from couples who needed services (same budget level, same area, etc) most similar to those you seek. And, of course, after your wedding, be sure to pay it forward by reviewing your vendors so that other couples can benefit from your experience.
During the vendor recruitment phase of your planning, you will likely sign several contracts that include lots of fine print. Be sure to read all of it. Just because it’s small, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. And, if you have questions, ask your vendor to explain what it means.
In many contracts, vendors will ask couples to sign a release for a permission to use images from the wedding or event. This is especially true for photographers, but may also be true for wedding professionals who rely on visual albums and social media to display their bodies of work. Make sure you understand what this means.
For some wedding vendors, this means that they’ll use pictures of your table centerpiece or pictures from your wedding in a photo album that is displayed in a showroom. For others, it might mean that they’ll use pictures from your Big Day on their websites, Facebook pages, and other social media feeds. And, for some, it might mean that they’ll include your images in a story published on a blog, in a newspaper or front and center in the digital media offerings of a major media outlet.
So, make sure you understand what that statement of release means and how a photographer or other wedding professional might use your likeness or details about your wedding day after the wedding.
If you have specific wishes about your privacy, it will behoove you to address this with each vendor before the wedding just to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Wedding innovator Kathryn Hamm (@madebykathryn) is co-author of The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography (Amphoto Books, 2014), an Education Expert for WeddingWire and Publisher of GayWeddings.com