This weekend, a friend of mine recommended we go on a hike in the Blue Hills. Winter was finally over and the rain had stopped, so it was time to celebrate the spring.
At the bottom of the hill, we looked at the trail map, debating the merits of the yellow trail versus the red trail. Little did I know he hadn't planned on following any of them, and instead he planned on a direct line of attack through stream beds and scrambling up rocks as if we were some kind of bipedal mountain goats. As my feet moved nimbly to avoid the sharp rocks jutting out of the ground, my mind wandered to another difficult journey I was about to take to the island of Nantucket.
I travel all over New England as a wedding photographer. Most of my first season was spent hopping around Connecticut and my second season found me a frequent guest in Western Massachusetts, so a little bit of travel has always been a part of the business model. Planning the way out to Nantucket was a very different beast and I dreaded telling the client what it was going to take.
Apart from the (in)famous man from Nantucket, the island is noted for it's beautiful beaches and rustic charm that make it an ideal getaway for many people. It's also an engaging location for a small wedding.
Unfortunately, there are a number of logistical hurdles to think about when shooting on the island.
First, you have to get there. Your best bet is the ferry, which can whisk you over in as little as an hour if you get the fast boat. You'll have the option to park in Hyannis or take a car over, you'd be surprised to find out that it's much cheaper to simply rent a vehicle on the island since putting it on the boat will set you back $400 (round trip).
What happens next depends on the bride and groom. It's possible to get a short wedding into an afternoon so that photography can be wrapped up a little after four. Much later than that and you're going to have to start thinking of putting him up for the night. In th eoff season, the last ferry leaves at 6 pm, so you'll miss the magic hours of sunset. A wedding taking advantage of those hours and a beautiful island evening is going to take a hotel room and an extra day of parking fees and car rentals (although if you've reserved a car online ahead of time, you've paid for two days of car rentals ahead of time). This makes a day of wedding photography coverage, cost an extra $180.
You can see how the numbers start to add up when a photographer starts traveling. Often I have potential clients that try to get me to see their wedding as a chance to take a short vacation to a fun destination. I smile, and point out that my vacations usually involve sleeping in and lounging in a hammock, both of which are at odds with shooting a wedding. Destination weddings are fun, destination weddings can really add to a portfolio but they're not a part of my vacation plans and if I'm capturing your wedding then my travel hassles become part of your package price.
Typically, we will shoot a wedding anywhere in Southern New England with minimal fuss (mileage charges apply, as do toll fees and parking costs). Once a wedding requires an overnight stay or getting on a boat (or any situation where I am not in compete control of when I can arrive and depart), things start to add up.
The biggest difference is that when travelling, we like to arrive the day before and leave the day after an event. Travel can be unpredictable, and this gives a little margin of safety in case a flight or two gets delayed. For most destination weddings, we require the purchase of two full days of coverage. With that we'll cover any wedding events, as well as try to schedule additional photo-shoots around your destination to capture the feel of your wedding vacation.
For many, the price is worth it to capture the memories of a very special time shared with family and friends. By the time we reached the top of that little hill my calves were sore, but I was glad that we had made the trip and created that memory to share.