So I have been posting a little on Twitter about some stress with the photographer. Avid readers may remember that we had booked a friend to be our photographer. He's what you might call a keen and capable amateur, and he'd done a wedding before.
We went out to see him and discussed what we wanted. We said we loved what he did and we coo-ed over his pics. My initial worries about the unreliability of asking a friend melted away. We looked at all sorts of pics and we decided that a sort of 'reportage' feeling, with a few arty ones, was the way to go. He'd done it before. It was theoretically simple. It would be great fun.
We had an informal document which we agreed on with the style, etc, detailed. All that was left was for him to send a contract - we may be friends, but friendships are lost over not being clear - and as we were paying him (not an insubstantial amount for a friend) - we needed a contract, even a little thing.
In the meantime, I sent the occassional link to nice photos. He responded saying they were nice. I knew he wasn't going to emulate everything I sent - I just thought they were nice and some showed examples of shots that were nice and simple. It was all Nice. Not demanding. We'd already discussed what he'd take - and that was cool.
Five months we waited for a contract. I emailed every few weeks to ask and he replied that it was coming, he was just busy with work etc.
Until last Thursday, when I felt that now the wedding was just a few months off, we should have a contract if that was OK - just as a formality, just in case. And he replied that he'd actually been stalling because he wasn't sure he could give us what we wanted. Even though we'd talked about what we wanted. And agreed on it. And that was FIVE months ago.
So we sent an email reassuring him that we loved what he did, just as it was.
You're very kind. I'll think about it over the weekend and let you know.
So today - after chasing for a reply - we got one. He's not sure he can do it and says he wants to pull out. It sounds like he could still be convinced if we really tried, but now I don't want to convince him. I don't want to beg him to do it when he doesn't want to, or for the result to be disappointing and for him to say 'well, I did warn you...'
Most of all, we want someone we can rely on - and who wants to do it. We don't have enough money for a full on professional - that is for sure. And though I've had some good recommendations, the wedding is in Somerset and those recommendations have a long way to travel - making their initially realistic and reasonable quotes somewhat stratospheric.
That's not to say I'm not grateful for the recommendations - please keep them coming - but when I say not much money, I mean definitely not four figures, as nice as those photographers might be. Not even approaching four figures. But a not-insignificant sum, plus travel and somewhere to sleep. Maybe enough for a student, or someone just setting up their business. We will of course feed whoever comes and make sure they have a good time along with everyone else. We just can't drop a grand on pics. And now we are left not knowing what to do.