Joe Knows Weddings: Photographer Joe Cogliandro on How to Choose Your Wedding Vendors

Joe Knows Weddings: Photographer Joe Cogliandro on How to Choose Your Wedding Vendors

Photo: J. Cogliandro Photography

Today you’re in for a special Houston Wedding Blog treat, darlings! Renowned fine-art, portrait, wedding and boudoir photographer Joe Cogliandro joins us for the first in a series of guest posts we’re calling “Joe Knows Weddings.” Why? Because, with 14 years of experience shooting many of the most magnificent nuptial celebrations in Texas (and across the country), the founder of J. Cogliandro Photography does know weddings—and the brides and grooms having them–incredibly well.

For our first installment, Joe responds to a recently engaged friend who’s having difficulty deciding on vendors—and offers his thoughts on the power of personal connection:

Bride-to-be, Leah: “Joe…. Did you get the message I sent you on Facebook a few days ago? I know it was sorta out of the blue since we had not talked in a while but I wanted to let you know that I recently got engaged! Yes…yes, I know, pretty crazy and super unexpected, since we have only been dating two months. But you know how things happen… one day you don’t have a clue what life is going to bring you then suddenly everything is clear.


Greg and I met at yoga class a few months ago and have pretty much been inseparable since. I wanted to let you know personally since you have been such a good friend through the years and (of course) I wanted your opinion on a couple of vendors. We are getting married in six months and I only have the location and coordinator picked out, and I have had tons of advice from everyone on who to use for all the other things.


The problem is…they all seem pretty good, they all have such good recommendations and many have been used by my friends. I know you are in the industry and thought I would get your professional opinion. We are currently looking for a florist, DJ/band, photographer and videographer. My mom and a few of my bridesmaids just attended a big bridal show and though it was helpful and answered a ton of questions, I feel like it left us with many more questions unanswered. We have already met with about three or four vendors in each category, but I am at a loss on how to choose. Some of them seem the clear choice but others seem like they can go either way… so…clarity…I need some clarity!”


Joe Cogliandro: “Leah! So good to hear from you and so excited for this craziness happening in your life! I have the simplest advice for you regarding your vendors. I am going to assume since you are not bringing up finances that all of these vendors pretty much fall into your budget, and that since you have met with them and you still have a few for each category, that they are all good at what they do. You also said that each one has been recommended by someone you know, right? If all of these factors have already checked out, then all that is left is for you to choose the people that are going to make you the happiest. If you are certain of their professionalism and you trust they will all follow through with what they say they can deliver, then it’s just about relationship at this point.


Over the next few months, each of your vendors will play a pivotal role in your life. Now, they may not be your best buds, they may not meet up with you for drinks after work or attend your Christmas party… but the energy they bring into your life will either positively or negatively affect much of what is happening in the rest of your personal life. These people are helping you plan the biggest day in your life, so it’s only natural that the relationship you have with them will be an emotional one, to an extent.


Pick the people that you would have share this time with you. Which florist made you smile the most? Which photographer could you actually see holding a conversation with you (or more importantly your friends and family)? Which DJ do you believe will help project the environment that you want for your friends and family to share? Which of these people, given other circumstances, could possibly be your friends? Which have shown you that they care about you and your needs, not just about what they do and have done? You want people on your team… that are working together for your sake, not for their own individually. Here’s my advice in a nutshell:


  • Pick people that will add energy not take it away… life is too busy to hire someone negative.
  • Pick People that will LOVE you and your family.
  • Pick people that you want to do life with for the next few months because they will bring more joy into an already joyful occasion.
  • Pick people that will make you happy.


So, Leah my answer is simple pick the person, not the vendor.

Joe Knows Weddings: Photographer Joe Cogliandro on How to Choose Your Wedding Vendors

Photo: J. Cogliandro Photography

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