I am stressed but relieved to say that in eight days we will have a photographer chosen and a contract sent in.
Although the goal we set was to have a photographer booked by October 1st, not surprisingly, it isn't done yet and sadly, I dilly-dallied around until some of the photographers I was interested in were booked. Even though I already have five interviews lined up, I was shockingly devastated when I finally heard back from one photographer that I had gotten prices from initially over a month ago and only got back to them after I had A) obsessively researched over 250 photographers and B) given up on our original budget goal.
FYI, $2,000 doesn't really buy you shit for photography in the Seattle area.
I blew it.
For some reason I hadn't realized how emotionally fraught photographer shopping was going to be. Just because I hadn't thought about it. I started by finding the names of every area photographer I could. Alphabetizing and plugging them all into a spreadsheet. I was certain that if I just invested enough time, I would come across the perfect undiscovered talent. S/He would be an amazing photographer who just needed to build some more portfolio before charging their true worth. It would be a win-win. We would get affordable photography and in turn sing this person's praises from the rooftops. So would the planner. Life would be beautiful.
You'll be surprised to know that no, I don't do any illicit drugs...
I doggedly visited each and every website, finding out first, if we could afford them and if not using the rule of don't even look because you'll fall in love and be heartbroken. Those who didn't have pricing listed, I looked at and if I liked them, I contacted them to ask about pricing. Many have contact forms on their website that ask some getting to know you type questions. One asked how important photography is to us. I struggled with answering the question and my sleep-deprived (I was staying up until 3-4 some nights working on this) mind decided to try to joke with one particular photographer. I joked that it was important enough to me to research 250 photographers. She snapped back telling me that she's usually in the top one or two photographers for people, not one in a list of 250. Best of luck (read: eff off).
I'm not assigning blame to either party. We both could have done differently. But that email was the last straw and I dissolved into a hyperventilation-style sobbing mess.