Long before I asked “Will You Marry Me,” my life has revolved around the wedding industry. My college best friend (now wife) Allie, hooked me up with a job at a local photography studio in Auburn and it wasn’t long before we were helping to shoot brides and grooms all over the state. Fast forward a few years to when we were newly married and striking out on our own as Strouse Photography!
My wife’s day job brought us back to Richmond via Nashville where I cut my teeth in the music industry booking nationally touring acts in colleges, clubs, and theaters across the country. I continued to shoot weddings on the weekend with Allie as I booked bands from home. When ECE’s Mark Letson contacted me to book one of my artists for a festival, I was shocked to find out the ECE office was right down the street! I immediately knew it would be the perfect place for me to blend my passion for entertainment booking and love for working with engaged couples.
When I came on board at EastCoast Entertainment, Allie and I already had established relationships with the local venues, event planners and wedding professionals thanks to our photography work. This made for an extremely smooth transition. It was like having a running head start when it came to networking with vendors, because Allie and I have first hand experience with some of the greatest venues, vendors, and planners in central VA!
How does being a photographer influence my role as an entertainment agent? A lot… especially when interacting with wedding clients. I feel truly lucky to have several years of communicating with brides/their parents under my belt and can draw on hundreds of weddings’ worth of experience to make sure our brides have the absolute best experience possible. I have the ability to offer brides a two-prong approach to planning their wedding: entertainment and photography. It’s a once in a lifetime event for these love struck couples which is truly special, but it also means they are looking for guidance when it comes to planning their dream wedding.
Our role as photographers expands far beyond taking pictures. Many times we are called upon to act as “family herders” and time managers. We understand the flow of the day, especially the reception, which has allowed me to offer great advice to ECE brides. Brides and planners are focused on every last detail whether it is flowers, centerpieces, or appetizers. The bands are professional musicians who are focused on gear, set lists, and providing high quality performances. Since I’ve been on both the vendor side and the artist side I can act as a go-between or translator so that we are all speaking the same wedding reception language.
I love this duel life I lead. I especially love that I get to work side by side with Allie. However, being a husband and wife team in the wedding industry doesn’t come without challenges. During wedding season we spend up to 12 hours on a Saturday shooting a wedding with our late nights and early mornings spent editing, bookkeeping, and building relationships with our clients. This is in addition to our day jobs! It doesn’t leave a ton of time for relaxation, but it has forced us to become efficient with our communication, time, and division of labor. The true advantage of hiring a husband and wife team (specifically us) is the almost telepathic nature of our wedding day communication. Since we trained at the same studio, our style is so seamless you’ll think you’ve hired one photographer with four hands!
Here are a few of our favorite local venues and wedding vendors: