The memory of the way the cake tasted will eventually fade. The DJ’s skill, as long as it’s adequate, will be a distant memory.

In fact, the only part of your wedding day that will survive will be the photos and videos. These will be the tangible take-aways from the day you’ve spent so long planning and agonizing over.

Understand there are different styles of wedding photography

Choose a photographer who specializes in the style you like the best to get the photos you’ll be happiest with. A photojournalistic wedding photographer is going to be focused on telling the story of your wedding day. A fine art photographer is going to be doing creative things with composition, and will be more focused on creating gallery-worthy pieces. Then there’s black and white or vintage photographers, who will try to give your wedding an old-school feel.

These are just a few examples. There are many different ways to commemorate your wedding. Look at lots of photo albums, ask about the style, and ask why the photographer chose to take certain shots in certain ways.

Make sure you enjoy the photographer’s company

The best photography prices in the world and the keenest eye for talent won’t matter if you and your spouse hate the photographer. This is someone who is going to be invited to your special day. Someone who will be interacting with your family and friends.

Having a basic comfort level with this person may matter more than any other feature they can bring to the table.

Ask about backup equipment and insurance

Truly professional photographers have what they need to cover contingencies. They’re ready if equipment breaks. They can cover their expenses if someone gets hurt because of something they did.

You want someone who takes their business seriously, who treats it as a business, so you don’t have any surprises.

Ask about the post-production process

How long will it take for photos to get back to you? Will you be able to review them? Choose which versions of the photos you want printed and returned to you? Who will own the rights to your photos?

Having all of these details will help you relieve some stress, and will ensure you get the experience you’re looking for.

Get engagement photos

This is a great way to “test drive” the different styles, and to see how it feels to work with a certain photographer “when the rubber meets the road.”

You won’t spend as much on these as you will on your wedding photos of course, but it should give you a better idea of what it’s like to work with that particular photographer.

Mind your budget

The pricing for photography can vary wildly. You should go in with a budget in mind and you should be prepared to name the budget for the photographer. If they can work within your budget, shortlist them. If they can’t, shake their hand and move on to the next one on your list.

You waste both your time and theirs by working with someone who is going to be out of your price range, and you don’t want to fall in love with a photographer only to find out they’re going to eat a quarter of your wedding budget. Price shouldn’t be your only concern, but it should be one of them.