Having worked in the wedding biz for a few years now, my wife Michelle and I have learnt so many things from our couples and families. The ‘what to do’s’ and ‘what not to do’s’ on the big day.
The stressful last minute issues and how to make sure the happy couple are blissfully unaware of them and the little things that just make the day run that little bit more smoothly…
I don’t want to wax lyrical for hours and I’m sure you don’t have hours to spare anyway so, in conjunction with my wife at www.mtaylorcelebrant.co.uk, we have compiled our absolute top 5 tips to help ensure your big day goes wonderfully.
We hope they help. Let us know! Oh…and have a fabulous day!
THE BIG 5 !
Congratulations your big day has arrived!
The scene is set. The seating plan, having been revised and revised again, is finally drawn up. The flowers have arrived, as has the amazing cake. The suits and dresses are hanging ready to slip on once hair has been coffered possibly even make up applied… So what else do you need to think about?
1. Hydrate & eat!! Chances are you will have been too excited to get a full night’s sleep so it’s important, whatever actual time your wedding is scheduled for, to eat breakfast and perhaps a light snack before your ceremony.
Ladies, trust me… your dress WILL still fit!
Eating something on your wedding day isn’t going to cause you to gain 7lbs in a nanosecond!
I don’t want to scare anyone but I have known it for the Bride to pass out half way through her vows because she chose to ignore this advice. You have been warned!
And you need to stay hydrated, it’s good for your skin, helps prevent tension headaches and gives your hands something to do!
By all means have a little tipple to calm nerves and just start the day in a celebratory mood, but don’t overdo it. Your officiant might not be able to marry you! (And you’ll be bursting for a pee halfway through the ceremony if you’re not careful!)
2. During the prep take a moment out to look around and take everything in, who is doing what and where. Don’t keep worrying about what you have got to do next and spend your big day clock watching! You have hired others to watch the clock for you ( your photographer for one! ) and make sure everything runs to schedule so live in the moment and enjoy it!
You know your day is going to go in a blur so lock those memories in! We followed this bit of advice and can still remember some of the minute details of our big day.
3. Don’t stress, all the hard work is done. Relax, enjoy, the day will be what it’ll be. Seriously don’t sweat the small stuff & don’t try to micro manage!
It never, ever works when you do AND it will just end up stressing you out!
So you realise just how important this is, I’ll say it again. Don’t try to micro manage!! Trust your team of suppliers… after all, you’ve picked some pretty awesome ones… right?
4. Make sure to get your ‘maids’ or your ‘men’ to assist you when you need it. They aren’t there just for the free lunch, it’s a working day for them!! They are your support for your big day after all. Don’t be afraid to ask them to perform little tasks when you need them. (Ladies if you need help with your frock when visiting the loo, make sure your girls are available … check out the bin bag tip on the old Internet too – from Michelle).
Allocate your ‘tribe’ some tasks, when they all know what they are doing and pull together it makes an amazing day just that bit more awesome…THIS is why you are friends with this lot! They have your backs!
5. Take 5 minutes time out during the reception to wander off with a glass of something chilled and your new spouse… Sit, talk and take in the moment…
You did it!! You’re finally married after all those years or months of organisation. Admire how your rings sit on your fingers, how beautiful or dapper your other half is looking.
Go for little stroll together away from the crowd, time to just enjoy each other’s company for a little while.
If you can, take a walk around your wedding breakfast area before you guests come in. No doubt a lot of thought, time and effort has gone into making it just perfect, so have a look around and take it all in.
Near the end of the day take time out to just enjoy some peace and just “watch” for a while, before getting back into the fray and throwing some funky moves on the dance floor!
You may notice that most of my blogs are aimed at people who either already are, or want to be, wedding photographers so I thought it was about time I wrote an article which potential clients will find interesting as well.
I have chosen a wedding which took place in August last year at St Catherine’s Church and Gosfield Hall in Essex to use as the focal point for my explanation of how I do things.
My clients, Jessica and Stuart, got in touch through my “contact me” page on my website after a friend of theirs (whose wedding I had photographed the year before) had recommended me to them. We made an appointment for me to call on them for a chat about their day.
A couple of weeks later we met to discuss their plans and really seemed to “hit it off”. I showed them examples of my work on my iPad and some sample Queensberry wedding albums.
The wedding album samples proved to be quite important as they said they would be wanting a good quality printed record of their day. After a couple of hours I left to allow them time to decide whether I was the right photographer for them.
A couple of days later I was delighted to hear back from them. They wanted to meet again so that we could complete contracts and they could officially book my services for their wedding day. Contract completed, terms and conditions signed and understood and booking fee paid, I was officially booked!
The next time I met up with Jessica and Stuart was a couple of months before their wedding day. During the intervening period, Jessica had been in touch to ask advice on matters like make up (her own and that of her bridesmaids) and whether I was happy to take some very specific photographs she wanted.
Naturally I’m always happy to take photos that are specifically requested by clients and I was happy to give advice on the make up. I even offered a “test shoot” to see how her make up would look in photographs so that she could feel confident about it on her big day.
So we met at Gosfield Hall a couple of months before their wedding day and spent a couple of hours walking around this beautiful wedding venue, both in the main building and around the grounds.
We came up with two plans and a more detailed “time line” for when and where to take the requested photographs. Plan A was for good weather, whilst plan B was for wet weather. I think it’s sensible to have two plans as you never know what the weather will be like. We had a little practice shoot which was great fun then Jessica and Stuart advised me of the date they would be having a practice for their ceremony at St Catherine’s Church, which is on the edge of the grounds at Gosfield Hall.
A few days before their wedding we met again. This time it was at St Catherine’s Church for the rehearsal of their ceremony. I always go to the rehearsal if possible for several reasons.
Firstly, it gives me an opportunity to introduce myself to the officiant. In my experience, they tend to appreciate the photographer making this effort to introduce themselves before the wedding day, when no one has time to chat. I realise that some officiants have had bad experiences with wedding photographers and as a result, can be quite strict with us.
I have found that by meeting them before the day, we can address any concerns they might have about how I conduct myself when photographing a wedding and I am often granted a little more freedom as a result.
Secondly, I have found different officiants have different ways of doing things. Sometimes the Bridesmaids walk up the aisle in front of the Bride, sometimes behind the Bride. Things like that which will influence where I need to stand to get the photographs my clients are after. Staying for the practice really does have benefits.
Thirdly I get a chance to meet all the main participants in the day. Bride and Groom’s parents, Bridesmaids, Best Man, Page Boys Flower Girls and anyone else involved in the day. That way, I’m not a complete stranger when it comes to taking their photos on the day itself.
Lastly it gives me a chance to go through their entire time line once more in case there have been any last minute changes. It also gives my clients the opportunity to ask any questions that they may not have thought of up until now.
The rehearsal is usually just a day or two before the wedding so it really does give us a chance to check nothing has changed from our earlier conversations and I think the more I see of my clients, the better. It tends to help them feel more relaxed around me.
The big day arrived and the weather was fabulous. I left home early as usual just in case there are any unexpected hold ups on the roads. There weren’t any, so I arrived nice and early at Gosfield Hall. As I was early, I had a chance to grab a coffee and a croissant with the Bridesmaids before the make up artist and hairdresser arrived.
I set to photographing the dress, shoes, jewellery, perfume, flowers and all the other important little things that, when all put together, go to create the perfect day.
Then it was time to photograph the Bride (after the hair and make up are finished, of course) in some “getting ready” photos. Then casual photos of her and her Bridesmaids generally having fun.
The Groom was getting ready at Gosfield Hall as well and he wanted some photos of him with his friends and family before the ceremony. So we made our way to the location in the grounds which we had identified during an earlier meeting (it was a plan A type of day!) and had some fun taking some photos before they set off for St Catherine’s Church.
I returned to see the Bride in the Bridal Suite at Gosfield Hall and we took all the photos she had requested, together with a few she had not! I arrange for Dad to come into the Bridal Suite to see his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time (always a special moment) and took the important photos showing his reaction.
Then I photographed the entire Bridal party making their way down the stairs as they prepared to set off to St Catherine’s Church before making my way to the church myself.
I reached the church in time to record the arrival of the Bridal Party
and the look on the Groom’s face as she walked up the aisle.
The wedding ceremony went beautifully and I managed to get all the photos they had requested,
as well as a few they hadn’t!
Outside for the confetti shot! I organised all the guests into two lines and, on the count of three, the couple walked down the middle of the tunnel whilst being showered with confetti.
Off to Gosfield Hall for the wedding breakfast and evening celebration! Once more I was able to reach the destination before the Bride and Groom, so I recorded their arrival at Gosfield Hall. We gathered together all the guests and set about getting all the “group” photos. Three cheers for the Bride and Groom. Hip hip……………
I always encourage my clients to make a list of their “must get” group photos. Usually I can enlist the help of the Best Man with indetification and marshalling the guests to a location identified in advance so that we can get these photos done as quickly as possible. Let’s face it, the guests want to get at the drinks and canapés, they don’t want to be waiting around taking photos!
Then I took the Bride and Groom off for some special “couple” photos which, when done correctly, can be a really fun part of the day.
I usually get the Best Man or a Bridesmaid to bring along some drinks and canapés for the couple so they don’t miss out.
Several photos and lots of laughs later, they went to join their guests.
After taking some casual photos of the happy couple chatting to their guests, I went to prepare for the wedding breakfast. After taking some photos of the room set up,
place settings, table centres
and some other important “finishing touches”, I made ready for the Bride and Groom’s announced entrance.
When everyone had taken their seats I made myself scarce so that they could enjoy their meal without having to worry about a camera lens being pointed at them. Having told the Bride and Groom exactly where they would be able to find me, I went to have a sandwich and cold drink (non alcoholic, obviously).
I returned for the “speeches”. Lots of laughter and a little “embarrassment” later, I had taken photos of all the main protagonists and the reactions of their guests.
Then, as had been requested by Jessica and Stuart, we went to take some more “couple” photos at a few locations inside the building.
The architecture is beautiful and we had decided to take advantage of that fact.
For me, it was then time to set up my lights for the First Dance. Having set the lighting, we had the official “cutting of the cake” first before moving straight into the dance room for the dancing to begin.
After a couple of minutes, they were in the middle of the dance floor completely surrounded by guests so out came my ladder (which was nearby and ready) so that I could still get photos of Jessica and Stuart.
A few photos of the party in full swing with the guests having a fabulous time and I was finished for the day. Absolutely exhausted but boy had I enjoyed it.
I checked with Jessica and Stuart to make sure we had taken all the photos they wanted before packing everything into my van and setting off home.
I have tried my best to keep the “word count” down but I hope there is enough here to give you an idea of how I go about photographing a wedding. Quite simply, it’s a job I love and hope to be doing for many years to come.
I’m posing that question because of events I have experienced in the past few weeks. Taken individually, they are of little significance. Taken as a whole I think there is cause for concern.
As usual, these are my opinions and mine alone. I have no doubt some will find them a great bone of contention and that not everyone will agree with me.
The first was coming across the scene depicted in this photo which I took whilst in Australia.
I’ve posted this photo before and the feedback I received is that some do see it as the future of wedding photography because the cameras built into today’s mobile phones are already pretty good and they are constantly improving.
I’m not going to debate that subject in much detail here because it has been covered in other blogs elsewhere, but I would like to mention the camera element. Whatever form the camera takes, it is just a tool and the shape of told does change over time. The end of the wedding photographer was predicted before with the advent of digital over film, a time when the “tool” changed..
As with that period of change, the Photographer, regardless of the tool they are using, still needs to possess all the other skills (people management, organisational skills, lighting skills, their creativity and so on) to be an effective wedding photographer.
The next event that got me thinking was a comment my neighbour and friend made. He works in insurance and twice in two weeks he has told me about insurance claims being made by newly married couples against their wedding photographers.
Now I have known this neighbour over 10 years and he has been in the same job throughout that time yet he has never mentioned this problem before. You might think it’s just some couples “trying it on” but in these instances, that’s not the case. He has seen the photographs and the standard of them has given him cause for concern.
Talking to him, there does indeed appear to be a rise in the number of claims being made. I can’t help but wonder if this is another example of the “where there’s blame, there’s a claim” culture we seem to be going through, or has the general standard of wedding photography gone down?
Let’s face it, pricing for wedding photography has come under a great deal of pressure in recent years. I’m not criticising any individual here but there are a lot of “cheap” photographers out there and a lot of consumers who are hiring purely on price.
To me, simple economics dictates the following. You have to earn a certain amount of money to be able to live and stay in business. If you are not charging very much for your services, you need to get more bookings. If you have more bookings, you cannot spend too much time on each one otherwise you will fall behind.
This means, just my opinion remember, you take “short cuts”. You spend less time preparing for the weddings ( I carry out venue visits with clients and spend a lot of time getting to know them and exactly what they want ) and you spend less time on editing. I believe it’s inevitable that the quality of the images will suffer as a result.
Also, if you haven’t had the time to “get to know them”, you may not be providing them with the images they were expecting and that can ( in fact I know it actually has ), prompt a “claim”.
This brings me on to the third event which I think is worth mentioning. I learned just yesterday that a very well known and respected photography training company has gone into “voluntary liquidation”.
This company has trained a lot of well known and very successful wedding and portrait photographers over a period of decades and it has gone out of business. It will be a great loss to the industry and it has made me wonder, after such a long period of success, what has changed to make this company fail?
Could it be bad management? Well, the same duo have managed the company successfully for a long time and I don’t think they would suddenly become “bad” managers overnight. Personally, I suspect they were unable to generate sufficient revenue in a changing market place.
Put another way, when the world has reached the stage that using a camera phone is ok for wedding photography, that “cutting corners” is ok to keep your prices down, then the chances are people starting out in this industry don’t think they need any training. Either that or, because they are having to keep their prices down so low, they simply can’t afford it.
I can’t help but think the industry is in a dangerous downward spiral. Most people are quite simply used to seeing photos on their phone. That is what they have come to expect to see when they look at photos and a growing number seem to be satisfied with that.
Because of this, with the photos being on such a small screen, I personally believe most people don’t know a bad photo from a good one. Following on from that, people don’t value photography any more and will simply hire the cheapest photographer they can find without realising there is more to taking a good photograph than pushing a button on a mobile phone.
Following on from that, photographers who are trying to earn a living are having to keep their prices unrealistically low. They simply have to “cut corners” and don’t have the money available to invest in good training.
With no training, the standard goes down and you end up with insurance claims. I can’t help but think the three events I have mentioned are all connected.
So is the wedding photographer an endangered species?
Look at artists, musicians, footballers and so on. All have a few “super stars” who earn a very good living at their chosen profession and I think Photography is no different. Whilst a few will do very well, a lot will find it impossible to earn a decent living from photography on a full time basis.
I believe there are simply too many photographers in a very crowded market place. I also believe that, with the advent of the “camera phone”, photography has become devalued. As I pointed out earlier, most people don’t know a good photo from a bad one.
Because they can take a snap on their mobile phone they think taking photos is easy and end up shopping for their wedding photographer on price alone. After all, they are only paying someone to push a button on a phone for a few hours, aren’t they!
Most wedding photographers are already “part time” with their earnings from photography being their “secondary” source of income. (By the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being part time, in case you were wondering. That debate has already been done to death! ).
When it comes to training I can see other problems. As I’ve mentioned, an established company with a great track record has gone out of business, and what do we see? “Photographers” with relatively little experience suddenly becoming experts and advertising “cut price training days” to try and earn enough money to pay their way in life because they can’t earn enough from weddings alone.
I’ve been photographing weddings for over eight years now and been on several training courses during that time ( including successfully completing a “judges” training course ), yet I’m still learning and I don’t consider myself qualified enough to charge for “teaching” wedding photography effectively. How someone with only a couple of years experience can really think they are an “expert” and qualified to teach is beyond me.
I don’t want this blog to be all “doom and gloom”, rather just point out a few things that have recently given me cause for concern. A bit of a “reality check”, if you like.
In general, we wedding photographers are a very positive bunch but it’s no good putting our heads in the sand. Whilst I know most of us photograph weddings not to “get rich” but because we genuinely love doing it, we do have to strike a balance and earn a living.
The end of this wonderful profession has been foretold in the past, yet we are still here. It is my hope that we are going through a temporary “phase”. When “digital packages” came into “fashion”, people stopped buying wedding albums. I have found people returning to wedding albums because they are now learning the limitations and shortfalls of the “digital only” wedding package.
With a lot of people now just looking for “cheap” photography, in time it’s limitations and shortfalls will become apparent as they did with “digital only” packages. Then it may go “out of fashion”.
Until then, I like to think that those photographers who are able to meet the challenges presented by this changing and challenging market place will survive, but it isn’t going to be easy and don’t expect to get rich doing it! At least not until the “fashion” for cheapness changes!!
Must have wedding photos part three, the wedding breakfast and evening.
Usually the first photos to get arranged after your wedding ceremony are the dreaded group photos. Lets face it, all your guests want to do is get a drink, have something to eat and chat with the other guests. No one enjoys standing around waiting to have their photo taken. But chances are that having all your family and friends together in the same place at the same time is a very rare event, so you want to make the most of it.
I always advise making a list in consultation with your photographer and visiting the venue to identify locations for your photos before the big day comes along. This saves such a lot of time and saves your guests having to stand around waiting too long. You need a plan A for good weather and a plan B for bad weather. If you prepare properly and if your photographer is able to be assertive in a polite and friendly way, you will get the group photos you want done much more quickly than leaving it all to chance on the day.
If you don’t want your group photos to be all “stiff and starchy” a full of “forced” smiles, use a photographer who is good with people and not afraid to talk to them. I usually find a good old “three cherries for the happy couple. Hip Hip…” works wonders for loosening people up in front of the camera.
And when it comes to the smaller groups, you can have as much fun as you like. Let your imagination run riot and have some fun!!
After your group photos, think about the type of photos you would like of just the two of you together. Perhaps the two of you going for a stroll around the grounds.
Or something that makes the most of the location.
Maybe a more formal one, what I call a photo for Mum and Dad to put above their fire place.
Maybe something a bit more romantic.
Something to show off your wedding dress.
Or maybe you want to be more creative and come up with something a bit more original.
Or something that really takes advantage of the architecture or quirkiness of your venue.
Talk things through with your photographer. If they are good at their job, they will be able to take the style of photos that you want so you can remember your day, your way.
Usually, when you have finished you photos, it’s time to catch up with your guests before moving on to your Wedding breakfast. Talk through what you would like with your photographer. You don’t have to settle for all “boring” straight on photos.
Putting a bit of an angle on the photo can make it look much more dynamic and interesting.
And when people are making their speeches, that’s the perfect time for your photographer to take photos of your guest’s reactions. Terrific natural smiles and laughter ( providing your speeches are funny, of course ).
When the wedding breakfast draws to a close, that’s when your photographer will start preparing for your “First Dance”. A special part of the day not to be missed.
When it comes to your First Dance, you will find that the lighting is different for every venue. Some venues have their own quite unique way of doing things.
Some venues just leave the DJ to sort out their own lighting.
It might just be worth asking your photographer how he does things. If you want to maintain the “ambience” or feel of your venue, you don’t really want a photographer who simply lights up everything with lots of flash.
Perhaps something a bit more romantic on the dance floor.
You might like to have some photos taken after your guests have joined you on the dance floor .
Or perhaps you are going to have a “Father Daughter” dance as well.
At the end of the day, why not finish off with a special photo. You could have a night time shot taken outside your venue.
Or, if you are having a fireworks display, make the most of it with a photographer who knows how to photograph fireworks to your liking.
Perhaps say it with sparklers!!
Maybe a photo of you walking off into the distance knowing that an exciting journey called “life” lies ahead of you both.
Or simply have a photo of the two of you retiring at the end of the day.
Whatever you choose to do for your special day, I advise you choose a photographer who is a good “fit” for you both. Who understands what you are looking for. Who is prepared to take some time to get to know you. Be prepared to work with that photographer. Be creative. You don’t have to have the same old photos that everyone else has. You are only going to live this day once, so make the most of it and have some fun with your photography.
This is part three. Don’t forget to check out parts one and two for more ideas.
For the second part of this 3 part blog on ideas for Must Have Wedding Photos I am going to concentrate on The Wedding Ceremony and immediately afterwards. Not all the ideas may seem appropriate to your day as all weddings are unique, but I think it’s always better to have too many ideas than too few. It might be best to agree with your photographer which ones suite your day beforehand, otherwise your wedding day could turn into a “photo shoot”.
So, you arrive at your ceremony venue
in your chosen wedding transport
get out and thank your driver
then make your way with your wedding party
to the entrance where friends and family are eagerly awaiting your arrival.
You enter your wedding venue
As you walk down the aisle, your Groom can’t resist the temptation to turn and look. He sees you for the first time that day and the look on his face say it all.
From this point on, the photographs your photographer is able to capture will depend to a large degree not just on their ability and equipment, but also on the Priest / Vicar / Registrar and how much “freedom” they allow your photographer during the ceremony. I will always do my very best to attend any rehearsal you may have so that I can build up a bit of a rapport with the officiant ( I have found this does help as they can see for themselves that I will treat the ceremony with respect and I am no longer a complete stranger to them on the wedding day ).
But even if the officiant is strict, there are certain Must Have photos your photographer should be able to capture. The placing of the wedding rings on the finger, both for the Bride’s
and for the Groom’s.
The exchanging of vows
the First Kiss
the blessing of your union
the odd amazing but unexpected moment,
the signing of the register with your bridal bouquet on display
and with your witnesses
before you leave the ceremony as partners for life.
Then it’s time for the confetti to fly
before departing and making your way to your wedding reception venue for your wedding breakfast.
Don’t forget this is part two. Take a look at parts one and three for more ideas.
Must have wedding photos part one, the preparations.
This Blog, the first of 3 on the subject, is intended for couples who want ideas on what images to ask their wedding photographer for so they are able to tell the whole story of their day. Budding wedding photographers who want ideas for what they should be photographing will also find it useful.
No two weddings are ever the same and not all the photos mentioned will be taken at every wedding, but it helps to have some ideas of what to photograph.
Why 3 Blogs? Because I divide a wedding day into 3 parts. Getting ready, the ceremony and the wedding breakfast / evening celebrations.
The wedding might not be until the afternoon but there is lots to do, and to photograph, in the morning. Perhaps some photos showing all the excitement of you and your bridesmaids as you have your hair and make up done while sipping champagne.
Maybe your wedding dress on it’s hanger or, even better still, the moment you put it on.
All the little details like your jewellery and perfume.
The shoes bought especially for the day.
What about the confetti sitting there in a basket ready to be taken to the ceremony? The bridesmaids dresses all on hangers specially made for the occasion. Maybe there’s an exchange of gifts with happy surprised faces all around. All photos that, when put together, tell the whole story of your day.
The pretty flower girl, eyes wide open staring at your wedding dress whilst imagining herself a princess for the day. And the page boy has never looked smarter in his new suit.
Perhaps if your Mum or Dad is giving you away, a photo of the look on their faces when they see you in your dress for the first time. A special moment and a look that is never to be repeated.
Then, with your hair and make up done to perfection and your wedding dress looking just right, a few portrait photos before setting off.
Travelling between venues? You make your way down the stairs to where your wedding transport awaits with your bridesmaids in tow.
If you’ve booked some special wedding transport to take you to the ceremony, don’t forget to get if photographed.
Don’t forget the Groom. It’s his day too! Chances are he will have been given his “To Do” list and heaven help him if he forgets anything. And he might be wearing a special gift bough for the day!
And he might like a photo or two with his party.
Parents’ siblings or other family members nearby? Then perhaps a few family photos before you leave to walk down the aisle.
The list of possibilities is almost endless. Let your imagination run riot and be creative!!
Don’t forget this is only part one. Take a look at parts two and three for more suggestions.
So after all these years working as a wedding photographer, I’m finally starting a blog!!
Why didn’t I do it before? Well, I’m hopeless at website stuff (except photography!), not a lover of “social media” and I guess a little fear of the “unknown”. At this point in time I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to writing a Blog.
So why the change of heart after all this time? Well, I don’t know if anyone will want to read what I have to say but I do feel that my accumulated knowledge and experience is worth sharing, if only to help some people avoid making some of the mistakes I’ve made over the years. I also would like others to share in some of the fun I’ve had photographing weddings, and maybe laugh at some of the things that haven’t gone exactly to plan.
I’ve been taking photographs for over 30 years and, as we approach the end of 2017, have spent the last 8 earning my living full time as a wedding photographer.
In the coming months as winter draws in I intend to share my experiences of both the good parts and the not quite so good parts of being a wedding photographer. There will be some articles offering couples friendly advice about things to consider when choosing a wedding photographer, some articles aimed towards those considering starting a career in wedding photography and some stories about real wedding days showing why I love what I do.
As I said earlier, I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to writing a Blog so a disclaimer might be in order! I have no intention of offending anyone and accept that not everyone will agree with everything I say. What I write will be totally truthful and based on my own personal “real life” experiences. Others will have different life experiences and may disagree with me and I will respect their opinions as I hope they respect mine.