The wedding was lovely. The photographer was one of the sweetest and most talented people I ever met. Her images were so beautiful they hurt my eyes. I mean, gorgeous. Unexpectedly breath-taking.
So when I got the album proof today from an outside company - NOT my photographer, I must emphasize - I was expecting all kinds of loveliness. I couldn't wait to flip through Kate's images, beautifully-organized on well-designed pages... and - what fresh hell is this???!!??! The album proof was cluttered, disorganized, and out-of-order. Though I was pretty much the most chill bride ever - told my florist to work with any seasonal local flowers in the red-orange-yellow color-family, gave our baker carte blanche to create a tasty cake - I flipped through the proof pages saying no, No, NO!
I hadn't realized just how important Kate's aesthetic sensibility had been in creating a beautiful depiction of our wedding day - and how easily a sloppy layout could mar the beauty she depicted. I'm not saying that the wedding day has to be all about prettiness. It was about so many things: fun, family, love, natural beauty, peaceful moments, laughter, heartfelt words, us. But none of that showed through in the cluttered layout, with images overlapping others, and crowded six or more on a page. And I'm embarrassed to reveal how much the album would have cost, had we purchased it: more than the cake, which made 100 sweet-tooths very happy, and provided us with an entire layer to freeze for our first anniversary.
In this alterna-wedding-blogosphere, we examine and question wedding traditions, and poke holes in those that can no longer stand up to 21st-century scrutiny. But this wedding album proof threw me right into the midst of all the not-suited-for-us traditions we thought we had escaped.
The largest photos were a close-up of the two of us kissing - it honestly looked kind of creepy and overly-intimate - and of me hugging my dad. It's a lovely photo, but undercuts the story of the day, which is that I walked down the beach with both parents. The father gives away the bride, so that's what matters. That's what we enlarge, according to our WIC-approved formulas.
Because I know an online photo album company can't read my mind, I carefully put the photos in order to tell the story of the day, before submitting my order. They disregarded the order completely, showing dinner toasts at the after-dinner cake cutting, and people departing from the ceremony on the same page as people arriving at the ceremony. Argh!
Wedding album lessons learned:
1) Don't pay for the full album before you see a proof or a plan (fortunately we paid only a "design fee," for what appears to be an algorithm-controlled design process: Father - enlarge. Bride - enlarge. Groom - shrink. People giving toasts - all on one page, even if there are 8 of them and they're so small you can't see them.)
2) Give *explicit* instructions. (I wrote back with a full page of design revisions. Let's see how they do.)
3) Compare offers. This faceless company offered 25% off, bringing the cost to way less than what our photographer would charge - but I'm surely her layouts are much better.
4) Consider doing it yourself (or together... or pawning off on your partner!). Petite Chablis and Accordians and Lace both did nice reviews of online wedding album software. I should have listened to them, before the WIC dug in its claws and started convincing me that I need a leather-bound, "professionally-produced", heavy-leafed photo album. How did this happen now, just when I was congratulating myself on having avoided the WIC throughout the wedding process?? (I might have to credit Mr. Barefoot here. In trying to guard my precious new-faculty-member time, he thought we should farm it out. Right motive, but little did he know that it would feed directly into the evil WIC.)
I suspect we'll head toward #4. It will be worth a few hours' time to have control over how the album turns out, and we can spend our savings on a weekend of skiing.
Any suggestions for high-quality online wedding album services?