Today we’re so excited to feature one of our very own team members, and newlywed, Naomi Kingery Bayardo! Naomi has been a member of the Joy team for three years and is behind our content on social media and this very blog. We thought that she’d have a unique perspective so partnered with her on this article for you. Hot off the press: here’s what a newlywed bride thinks you should know.
Wedding Planning Advice from a Newlywed
1. Hello, Naomi! Can you tell us about your love story?
Arthur and I met at our church (which happens to be the same place that we got engaged and married!) We were both going through a transitional season of life which required rebuilding. Neither one of us were looking for love when we first met, but it was an instant connection, and we haven’t looked back. We were engaged right before Valentine’s Day this year and married on July 1. We had a mid-day lunchtime wedding, and our ceremony and reception were in the same place, so it ended up being a few jam-packed hours of intimate and very fun memories with those we love most.
2. How did you go about choosing a photographer?
I knew that securing the right wedding photographer would be one of the, if not the most, important vendors to book. There are so many photographers to choose from and it’s important to do the research, like reading reviews and speaking to other vendor partners for feedback. Since I’ve been working with Joy as a freelance writer for a while now, there was no question whether I’d be booking with them so that made the research part easy. Funny enough, I reached out to book Joy services on the day that we got engaged. Hah!
3. What was the process to book Joy Photo and Video?
I filled out the interest form on the website to submit a formal request to connect with them. Someone reached out and helped walk me and my then-fiancé through the steps that would come next. We filled out a questionnaire with some more details about the big day, signed contracts, and made one of two payment installments. Then were introduced to our photographers via email and were able to connect with them directly from there. We opted for two photographers for ample coverage and had two phone calls with them prior to the big day.
4. How did you prepare for working with Joy Photo and Video?
I spoke to my now-husband about whether he had certain expectations for the big day. While we’d talked about wedding photography before, it was time to talk about the details. For example, were there certain photos that he wanted to make sure were captured, or special people who needed to be in the photography spotlight? I created a small Pinterest board to share my ideas with our photography team and then spent some time filling out the Joy shot list request. This was a helpful exercise because it helped to create more clarity about what was important to capture, and that made it easier to have more direct feedback for the team. Right before the big day, I made sure to get my house in order (since that's where we got ready) and also sat aside all of the items for the details photos to be captured more easily.
5. What was the best part of working with our team?
The whole process was super easy, from the booking to the very end. Since Joy has a robust team around the nation, I felt taken care of every step of the way. I knew that I’d be paired with a team who met high-quality standards and ended up partnering with two photographers: Edgar and Catherine. I got my first round of photos one week after the wedding, which was much sooner than I expected. (A few of them are now printed and hanging in our home and I still catch myself gazing at them!)
6. Why did you decide to go with two shooters instead of one?
With all the time that I’ve spent browsing through wedding content online, I have learned that the most meaningful documented wedding moments are all about perspectives. It was important to us to have an ample amount of coverage, and I wanted to share multiple points of view. For example, we did a first look (which means we had a curated moment of seeing one another before the aisle).
We didn’t want all the photos to capture only one perspective, like my face or only his, but for the camera to be able to show both of us. By hiring two photographers, we were able to have one stand to shoot facing me, and the other facing Arthur. This allowed us to have more of the story told through the film---and we are SO glad that we decided to go this route!
7. What don’t people realize about working with a photographer?
No matter how good your photographer is, they can’t read minds. If something is important to you, then make sure they know. For example, I am incredibly detail-oriented and hand-selected every single detail of my big day (without a wedding planner.) I should have made it clearer to my team that details shots were something that we wanted to over-index on so that we’d have these memories to look back on.
8. As you prepared for the big day, what are some of the best decisions that you made?
I am SO glad that we chose to do a first look and formal portraits (including our puppy) before the ceremony. This allowed us to have more time at the wedding celebration. The whole day was incredibly sweet and everything that we both hoped for. We featured a few unique things during the event, like a live wedding painter who painted the scene of our ceremony (while it was occurring), and a vintage Volkswagen “photo bus” (a more dynamic and engaging take on a photo booth.) We didn’t have any dancing at the wedding but opted for a private first/last dance.
When guests were lining up for our grand exit, we danced to “I Saw Love” by Forrest Blakk all on our own in the wedding reception space. Then the song “Happy Together” by The Turtles came on and we ran through a line of exploding streamers---that was a true highlight!
9. As you look back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I wish that we booked Joy to do video, too. The pictures are lovely, but there’s something to be said about capturing the way that my gown moved or the sound of our vows during our personal vows, which would have helped bring our wedding memories to life. The other thing we would have done would have been to have more coverage with our second shooter. We ended up doing 7 hours with the primary photographer, and 4 with the second. If we had double coverage for the whole time, then it would have allowed for more time for our photographers to get more photos of guests, candid, and detailed shots.
10. What advice do you have for other couples going through the wedding planning process?
When you hear that the wedding day flies by, it’s the truth. You will literally spend months, and sometimes over a year, planning an event that lasts a few hours. (It’s ALL worth it, though!)
With so many decisions to be made during the planning process, you will feel moments of intense pressure but it’s important not to lose sight of the end result = a happily ever after.
Find ways to stay connected with your partner during this time. Since wedding planning will likely magnify your differences, do what you can to stay centered on what made you fall in love in the first place, and take this as an opportunity to learn more about how to work together as a team. Make sure to involve your loved ones, too. Many family and friends (outside of only the wedding party) are likely willing to help with certain tasks. Think about natural skill sets, and then reach out to ask for help.
This will be an incredibly special time in your life, so celebrate with your community, find ways to stay centered, and stay focused on what it will take to build your future marriage (not just your wedding.)
Congratulations and thanks, Naomi, for sharing the ins-and-outs of what a newlywed bride thinks you should know! If you’re interested in learning more about the So-Cal based photographers who supported Naomi and Arthur on their big day, “meet” Catherine Huliganga and Edgar Manrique here. Check out reviews from other couples here and then catch up on answers to FAQs.
[Photoshoot in the spotlight: Naomi and Arthur in Los Angeles, California]
The Joy Team