Weddings can put a dent in a bride and groom’s finances for years to come. If you are operating on a very small budget, like under $5,000, you definitely need to find ways to cut costs. Here are 3 tricks to save a lot of money!
Nearly 12% of most brides’ budgets are spent on photography. Of course you want those beautiful wedding photos, but it’s an expense you don’t have to have. Provide disposable cameras for each guest, and tape a little list to it of the things you really want pictures of. Provide a bin for them to place the cameras on as they leave. You can also ask a talented friend to take more formal wedding photos.
Update: Not interested in disposables? iPhones shoot amazing photos and are even being used on weddings! Check it out here
If you hire a DJ for your wedding, you can expect to allocate about 8% of your wedding budget on that. It’s easier, and cheaper, to create a playlist on your iPod and use that. While you won’t have the introductions and the chatter from the DJ, you’ll have your favorite songs at your fingertips.
Your gown will be the most expensive piece of attire purchased for the wedding. If you’re not sentimental, you might consider renting a gown. Alternatively, you could wear a family member’s gown. This would not only make them proud, but would save you a nice chunk of change that can be used elsewhere.
Weddings are expensive; there’s no doubt about that. But you can be proactive and look for ways to cut costs so you’re not carrying around debt from your wedding for years.
I whole heartedly disagree with #1. When I got married we hired “talented” photographer friends for our wedding. The day of our wedding something was wrong with their camera and they didn’t know how to fix it and then had no back ups. The images are so dark, I have NO good pictures from my wedding. The most ridiculous thing is that I got married in August and we should have at least gone outside but they didn’t think of that.
You get what you pay for. A professional photographer has experience and knowledge that cannot be substituted with a “talented friend.” talent is nothing without experience and technical knowledge. What’s more, I think it is also ridiculous for anyone to suggest just asking a talented friend or family member to do any sort of services for free. That is insulting for any area but wedding are a lot of work, require preparation and tons of time in post processing for photographers. There are ways to stay on a budget without sacrificing a good quality professional photographer. In hindsight, I would have rather put most of my wedding budget on photography and skimp on other things, especially the dress and food, then only have my memory to remember the day I married my best friend. There are no do overs.
I agree with Amanda. I manage a camera store/processing lab and I have seen WAY to many girls cry in my store after looking at the way their disposable camera wedding photos turn out. Many times these couples have forgotten about the cameras or left them in boxes for so long that the film is discolored with age or heat. Not to mention that disposable cameras aren’t exactly known for taking great photos to begin with – especially not at night.
If you’re considering this option please do that math and make sure you’re setting aside money for developing after the wedding. I really don’t think you’re saving much money in the long run. Lets pretend that you buy a disposable camera for every guest as the article suggests. We’ll conservatively say that you have 100 guests:
100 guests X 100 cameras @ $5/each = $500
100 cameras X $6 processing = $600
Total = $1100
I know quite a few wonderful photographers who will offer smaller packages or weekday packages in this price range. Just make sure you weigh all your options, you might not have to settle for dark, blurry disposable camera photos!
I would also note that if the writers of this article are suggesting disposable cameras or a friend with a camera as a viable way to save money on wedding photos that they include that style of photo in the article instead of these beautifully shot professional photos displayed here. There’s a bit of a disconnect.
I’m sorry I can’t disagree more with the photography suggestion. I’ve heard horror stories of brides never receiving photos from their “photographer” who was just a family or friend. I myself had a family friend do it cheap and I was not happy with the images. I wish I had spent more money so I could remember my wedding day forever and actually have something to put in the wedding photo frames I received as gifts!!! Relying on disposable cameras is taking a HUGE risk. There are plenty of affordable photographers out there that produce amazing work, you just have to research!
Brian Pasko says
If you think it is such a great idea to have guests and “talented friends” photograph a bride’s wedding, why don’t you post some of those photos taken by guests up on your blog next to the ones you have up there now taken by professional photographers. That way all of us and your future brides can compare the quality of what they can expect in their wedding photos.
Wedding DJ says
Having an iPod reception is tantamount to getting dressed up for an elegant evening on the town and then staying home and eating microwaved leftovers on paper plates. It fills you up but it’s not nearly the same experience.
While everyone can empathize with the challenges of putting together a wedding on a budget, sometimes you get what you pay for. That’s especially true for photography. Most professional wedding photographers have spent years practicing, interning, second shooting, and developing their craft to be able to properly document and capture the many aspects of a wedding day. From the wildly varying lighting situations to the fast pace and scheduling challenges, wedding photography takes a huge amount of skill, along with a boatload of patience and flexibility. Placing that responsibility on a friend or family member, especially if they are only armed with a crap disposable camera, is setting up everyone involved for failure. They don’t need or want to the dicey assignment of creating beautiful timeless images of your wedding, especially since it’s likely that expectations might not be met and disappointment could negatively impact the relationship. I normally enjoy this blog but am really horrified by this advice.
I agree with Brian, I would love to see the “talented friends” photo’s, and I would also like to see those in THIS post. All the images in this article are professional images. There are no “do overs” for your wedding, why would you skimp on the MOST important thing–Images that will last forever? In the end, the images are the ONLY thing you have left…
I have to say from experience, not hiring a professional photographer was THE worst mistake I made at my wedding. “Talented Friends” are not equipped at understanding timelines, family formals, how to get things done quickly and efficiently so the party does not get held up. Also – a pro photographer has a reputation to uphold so making everything perfect is part of their job/livelihood. This is your wedding day and you will never get the day back. Creativity is super important when you hire a photographer – but the most important thing you pay for from a photographer is experience. Go light on other things but not a the photographer – food will get eaten, flowers will dies, the venue is not your own, beer and wine is great for most – but the photos – it’s your ONLY source of memory for your day. All the other things are important as well but never give trust your memories to “someone with a nice camera” Most of the time you will be unhappy with the results!
Using a non-professional photographer is quite possibly the WORST idea ever. If you’re into blurry faces, dark photos and running the risk of loosing all of the images of your wedding, go ahead. I hope it’s worth it.
Nancy Jo McDaniel says
PHOTOGRAPHY BUDGET…If a fellow professional photographer/friend had not pointed this out, I would have missed reading it.NEVER would I have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes!!!! I am not very familiar with the “Inspired Bride” but I am cringing at the risk you are taking by “recommending that a bride cut her budget by putting the most important day of her life to that point in the hands of a “talented friend” and SAVE money on photography!!!
When they come out of the Kool-Aid coma and realize that they don’t have decent photos of their wedding day; they will want to know WHERE they got the hair brained idea to save money on the one and only item/expense that will bring the day back to life in photos….5, 10, 20 years from that date….I’m sure there are horror stories for all areas of a wedding, in fact, I know there are..music, flowers, DJ’s gone wrong, bad every things….but to PLAN A FIASCO IS DANGEROUS!!! There are many ways to cut/control ones budget, but as someone who has hired a PROFESSIONAL photographer for every single event I ever held, it would NOT BE by skimping on my photographer!!! I do not mean this to be anything but heartfelt, candid and honest. As the long time saying goes…You get what you pay for…be careful!!! Thank you for allowing my post!!! Nancy Jo
Christine Gallagher says
Of course as a professional photography, I am gonna disagree with tip #1. Why not suggest they have a reception at a place that allows the bride & groom to bring in their own alcohol, as this would save thousands. At my wedding, we paid $150 beverage fee to our caterer and they served the alcohol provide by us. Why not suggest skipping floral centerpieces and go with something like lanterns instead. Skip the fancy getaway car, skip the favors, get married in the morning and celebrate with a champagne brunch instead of a huge evening reception. There are 100 ways to cut wedding costs, but to suggest that someone forego hiring a professional photographer to capture the most important day of your life? Sure, you can roll the dice and hope for the best, but the odds are not in the brides favor. You are a wedding planning blog, telling someone to trust the only thing they will have left after the wedding to a “talented” friend is shocking. You are asking for nothing but a bunch of horror stories from broken hearted brides with no images to remember their wedding by. Now.. if you wanna suggest ways to save on the photography. Tell them to skip the engagement session, skip an album, tell them to hire a photographer for a few hours to capture the portraits, formal, ceremony and first hour at the reception, THEN have your friends take pictures!
These are possibly the most absurd budget cutting tips I’ve heard of. At the end of the day ALL you have is your photos. As a wedding planner, I’d rather have clients cut their guest list, choose an off-season or day or cut back on decor than to not have a PROFESSIONAL photographer. An ipod can never replace a physical DJ and emcee. Sure, I’m all about a deal on the gown or buying one that is consigned, but I urge any brides reading this to absolutely disregard the first two tips.
Not only does this post do a disservice to the professional wedding photographer, but an even bigger disservice to today’s bride! Enough with the outdated wedding planning tips, suggestions and trends, about something for which you have no experience in: Wedding Photography!
Disposable Cameras? Really? What is absolutely hilarious, is that on one hand, this post recommends an outdated non-professional medium, yet used professional photographer’s images to illustrate its point! Today’s wedding guests are using their cell phones and iPads! Trust, those disposables will go unused and doing nothing to cut costs for the bride!
When you buy cheap, you pay TWICE! There are no do overs with wedding day moments. Make the investment in a professional for the peace of mind!
Marc Williams says
I understand that times are tight. However, a wedding is one of the few family/friend rituals left to celebrate and remember in our society. It is one of life’s major milestones.
Many of my clients have commented that it was all such a blur they could hardly remember their own wedding day, and the photos brought it to life, including events and moments they were not even aware of.
Frankly, this advice is the worst I have ever read from a wedding information source. It’s a formula for tears and regret that will last many years for those who follow it.
If you are going to make suggestion #1, I suggest you post grainy, blurry images from disposable camera’s on your blog rather than the beautiful professional images you currently have.
Shame on you.
Judith Pishnery says
I disagree with #1, you may not need the most expensive photographer, but someone who knows what they are doing and who has some experience will capture your special moments forever. Of all the things left after the wedding day, the photos are the only things that endure and let you relive these cherished moments.
I have seen way to many unqualified, underqualified, friends, relatives and amateurs, photograph special events and do a terrible job. It is a skill and a talent to photograph events and weddings are the most difficult to get right.
Just because someone has a nice camera, it doesn’t mean they can take great or even adequate photos. It takes more than a camera to make a good photo.
Does the computer or typewriter write the great novel?
Does the fabulous viking over make the best meals?
No – it takes the talent behind the equipment to make good photos.
Find someone who will work in your budget, maybe reduce how much time you want the photographer, and even how many photos you want afterwards.
Maybe reduce the flower budget a little, how about a less expensive venue, what about a less expensive dress. Invite a few less people (do you really need everyone you work with? are they really your friends?)
You can definitely economize, but to make your day special consider hiring professional to help you with and capture one of the most special days in your life.
The Photography suggestion written in # 1 is not only completely wrong, but horribly misleading to Bride’s not knowing better who may actually take this bad advice and therefore ruin the memories of one of the most important days of their life. I am a photographer and I can’t tell you how many brides I have had call me after their wedding (these were not my clients, but Bride’s who have chosen to have a “friend with talent” or even a low budget photographer” to photograph it as you are suggesting) and were heart broken that they could not get those pictures back as it is a one time thing. They call me, a professional photographer (after learning their less) in desperation, hoping to do an “after shoot” to try to recapture what was lost through having a non-professional shoot it. While I am happy to do them in an attempt to help get back a little of what they missed, it breaks my heart to hear that a bride walked away from her day with anything other than fond memories. That is what you are suggesting to your readers and I couldn’t disagree more.
What a disservice to brides! The only one I would suggest to a bride is the gown.
I will tell brides I’d rather they didn’t book a cake with us then cut their photography budget. At the end of the day the photos are all you have left!! Even when I bride will say the photos are not important I will talk them into a professional.
As to the iPod in place of a DJ…have you ever attended a reception where one was used? The only time it should be suggested is when they want the guests out of heir quickly!
All wedding vendors should have 3-5 years experience doing WEDDINGS to help ensure a great day for the couple.
You aren’t the first to suggest these ideas to brides, but, please, rethink it and help end he nonsense.
Andrea Taylor says
I completely agree with Brian! If you are going to recommend not hiring a pro photographer, at least show the readers what that would look like. It seems deceiving that you show gorgeous pro images and talk about not hiring a pro photographer. Yes, I am a professional photographer. And I completely understand having a budget and not being able to afford everything you want, but at the end of the day, the photos will be the only thing you will have to remember that day forever. I know a lot of people are not able to afford a great photographer, but it seems like a disservice to all brides to tell them they can get equal results with disposable cameras and a fauxtographer friend. They can have lots of images, just not the same quality. And it is important that they understand this when making their decision.
Considering that the photos in this post are mostly professional photos, I think it’s hilarious that you’re telling brides to skimp on photography. Essentially you’re giving off the vibe that their photos will still look this great, even with a “talented friend”.
Michelle Posey says
That is some really BAD advice about the photographer! We provided disposable cameras for our guests, and came back with exactly FIVE usable photos! And I was working as a photographer for a newspaper and should have known better. Many photographers (like me) will work with brides who are having a simple wedding. In fact, I photographed a wedding last Saturday for less than half of my normal package price, because I love small family weddings so much! If you save on everything else and get a great photographer, then that great photographer will make your simple wedding look awesome in the photos.
Wow – If you’re having to cut costs that much, maybe you should simply have a simpler wedding?
If you skimp, you’re going to make no one happy. Unless your friend is actually a wedding photographer, you’re going to end up with bad photos you won’t want to share with a soul. And if you skimp on the reception, that’s what your friends are going to remember.
I’ve been to one of those weddings that aspired to be more than it was. It was those poor college years of life so I understand where they were coming from, but it’s something the rest of us who attended still talk about. Is that how you’d want your wedding to be remembered? I never saw a photo of it, so you can probably bet what they were like.
As a professional photographer I am repulsed by this article. There is a reason why we do what we do. Those cheap disposable camera’s will all be blurry & just plain awful. Why even have a wedding if you aren’t going to invest in a professional to take quality photo’s to remember it by? And don’t get me started on asking a ‘talented friend’! What the heck does that mean anyways? Talented in what!? If they are doing it for free chances are they are about as good as auto mode which would turn just about every picture to a blurry dark mess. Just because a friend has a ‘nice cameara’ doesn’t mean they are going to know how to use it on a fast passed, flurry of a wedding day & have a list of all the formal photo’s needed or even think to ask the bride what is important to her on her wedding day! Worst advice ever!
I think you should go use one of those disposable camera’s at the next wedding you attend & use them for your blog instead of those beautiful PROFESSIONAL photo’s you display. See how your readers like those.
As a professional Planner I find blogs like this to be one of the main reason we have to fight to explain our skills. I spend time with my clients and help them get the most from their budgets without resorting to offering ANY of these suggestions. The misinformation and miseducation of brides needs to STOP. I’m sure the entire photography industry is going to flame your blog, but know it’s not about protecting their income – we have to deal with brides and grooms who act on advice like this and the aftermath when these things threaten to ruin their wedding.
When I got married in 2007 I had a very limited budget, I cut a lot of things. The DJ, None! The guests, very selective, the food, we found a place that would cater to us at a very nice place. When all was said in done I used approx. 60% of my budget on a Photographer, and we never regretted it one bit! 60%! Yup, I was not going to have a friend or some photographer with no experience. We knew we had to NOT skimp on the photographer! Still enjoying those memories with our photos!
I ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH EVERY SINGLE COMMENT ABOUT #1! You should NEVER skimp on a professional photographer for your most precious moments. This is terrible advice period!
There are many, many photographers who are talented and creative – and willing to work with your budget.
Best piece of advice? Tell your photographer your budget. Use a range if that’s more comfortable. But be realistic. If you’ve said we can only spend $500, and they plan a stripped down package for you only to arrive at your event with plated dinner for 300, you may regret your choice.
As with most things in life, you’ll get much better results with honesty and compassion. Be honest with your vendors. Tell them your budget. And be compassionate enough to realize they are supporting their family with their time and hard earned talents.
You will be amazed at the incredible photos you have (forever, I might add) and the lengths your photographer will go to when they know they are dealing with someone who appreciates their art.
Event Planner says
Wow! Really?! I think #1 and #2 are way off base. There are photographers that have excellent quality of photos that you don’t have to spend a fortune on but disposable cameras? Absolutely not. And using an ipod? No. Just no. You can find awesome dj’s for $400. Why jeopardize the experience of the whole wedding. If you follow these guidelines, you will undoubtedly regret you wedding.
I am completely saddened by this post as a whole, but most importantly #1 (as just about everyone has said). Your wedding pictures are the only thing left when the dust settles and 30 years passes. Your memories begin to fade and pictures help keep them alive…Trust me from experience with my sister, you hire a cheap photog and end up with horrible pictures, and you’ll only wish they were good and that you had spent the extra pennies. BRIDES – DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS GARBAGE!!!!
you have the audacity to use professional photographs (hypocrites) in an article recommending that someone use a disposable camera to capture the greatest event of their lives outside of seeing their offspring born??? I bet you aren’t married – and if you are I bet you ain’t that happy….
This is, quite possibly, the worst collection of “advice” I’ve seen in a really long time.
Do they even SELL disposable cameras anymore? Is the person writing this blog someone’s well meaning mother in law who hasn’t attended a wedding since 1995?
You do a major disservice to every professional, hard working wedding industry vendor by laying out such shotty advice. You want to make your mark “planning” weddings? How about stop shooting yourself in the foot and insulting the very vendors who supply your beautiful blog photography.
Amanda Schlicher says
Does everyone need a professional photographer? Nope. If you honestly don’t care about photos (no judgement, some people just have other priorities) then photos taken by friends and family are just fine. To suggest it to the AVERAGE bride as a great way to save money? Hell no. This blog makes it sound like your photos will be just as good if you elect not to hire a professional. Then they go on to use STOCK PHOTOS SHOT BY PROFESSIONALS to illustrate the blog post.
Same thing with DJs. Does everyone need a DJ? Not really. Some weddings would do just fine with background music from an iPod. But it’s not the SAME as having a DJ. If you have a level of expectation of how your party should go, hire someone who can make that happen for you!
So, the advice given cuts only 25% of the total budget and leaves you with blurry grainy photos, taken of children’s faces, from 6 inches away. Long pauses in between dance tracks, or worse still, people changing the track on the iPod (let’s get this party staaaarted – this slow stuff blows!), and a bunch of wannabe DJs who really need to play the latest YouTube sensation on their iPhone, like, RIGHT NOW.
And yet, the 75% that makes the bulk of the budget is mostly spent on catering – which, let’s face it, few people remember unless they get sick. Why not suggest some Subway footlongs? Pot luck? Dumpster diving?
Some REASONABLE suggestions for cutting wedding budgets include not having absolutely everyone you ever met, ever, at your wedding. Or, maybe marry on a Sunday or Friday – many vendors offer discounts for the same services offered. Dump the veggie platter at $7 a head X 300 people and right there you have a budget you could put towards a quality photographer or DJ.
I hope you don’t need advertisers in either of these industries – good luck if you do…
Ashley Maxwell says
HI!!I am the photographer of the first photo that you used on this post..and while I never mind when people use our photos (when they give us credit), I dont at all agree with the message you are sending in this post, and would rather you not use my photo for it. I have been shooting weddings for the last 11 years..and worked so hard to be where we are right now…and I feel like this message you are sending is not beneficial to your readers. I cant tell you how many times we have had to photograph “Day After” wedding sessions for couples who used a random relative, disposable cameras, or even a photographer they majorly skimped on…and were devastated by the results…and were desperate to dress up again, for even just a few pretty photos in their wedding attire… to try to make up for what they missed out on, for the actual wedding day. Most couples say, that while they know they couldnt have changed their initial budget, even if they had wanted to..that they would have gotten a little more creative with their budget in the beginning, to make room for a qualified photographer…even if that meant re-working their plans for smaller items like decorations, etc…There is a reason that photographers are not always cheap…it is a really really big responsibility to photograph a wedding….and other professional wedding photographer out there will second me on that. Not only are you responsible for capturing a million little details, emotions, and every photo combination possible..but most times, you are handling a very emotional, stressed, anxious..and nervous bride..who is constantly looking to you for instruction..and is your job to keep her at ease while all the photos are being taken throughout the day. (Yes..kind of like Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner:) While I am a huge advocate of weddings NOT costing a fortune..(Theres so many crafty ideas that wedding blogs provide, for personalizing your wedding, on ANY budget..theres no need for spending outside your means..) Photographs will always and forever be the one thing you can keep when the day is over….next to keeping your dashingly handsome groom of course. You are BOTH worth the investment:) Trust me:)
Mari Darr Welch says
I find it interesting you are advising against professional photographers, but yet each image you posted including the images of the point and shoots are indeed done..by professional photographers.
I’m simply stunned that anyone professing to know anything about weddings would suggest replacing a professional photographer with disposable cameras or a “talented friend.” It’s like asking a friend with a scissors to cut your hair, or an uncle with a hammer to build your house. It’s not the tool that matters; it’s the talent and experience behind it.
As many of the previous people mention, there are no do-overs for weddings. If the person in charge of photographing the event isn’t knowledgeable, prepared, experienced, talented and responsible, things can do downhill very, very quickly. One of my best friends hired a budget-friendly Craigslist photographer who didn’t know the first thing about photographing a wedding. Not only did it rob the bride of memories, it also put un-needed stress on her wedding day because it was obvious the fauxtographer had no idea how to light, pose or manage her large bridal party. Needless to say, she hates the images and regrets not allocating more of her budget to a professional photographer.
The advice you’re giving here is not only blatantly misguided, it’s downright irresponsible.
Peter Furla says
I cannot believe a professional writer would suggest not hiring a professional photographer. I would bet that this writer hired a pro photographer to have their head shot taken. Why did they use professional photographers images in this article? Why not suggest doing your own hair, makeup and nails, sewing & hemming your own gown, making your own centerpieces, have a backyard reception, print your own invitations, have a friend drive you to your reception and cook your own food. That’s how ridiculous this article is. This writer has no clue and should offer an apology to all their followers.
Hiring a professional photographer is one of the most important aspects of your wedding. Can you imagine coming home every night and having to look at the picture you framed only to be disappointed day in and day out. Professional wedding photographers are needed to preserve and create family memories.
I’m tired of hearing how expensive wedding photography is and how photographers are only there to fleece people. You know, a professional photographer is worth their weight in gold, especially during a wedding. You want someone who knows the light (ever seen those fugly pop up flash images that make the brides gown glow like the staypuff marshmallow man? No? That’s because they are so hideous nobody wants to show them to anyone), who has backup everything in case something happens and most importantly, you want someone who is creative and isn’t just “spraying and praying”. If you budget for ANYTHING at your wedding, photogaphy should be #1 on the list. Why? Because long after that sugary confection of a cake is devoured and the flowers crushed at your feet, your wedding images will still be around to either haunt you or make you smile.
If you are going to advise brides to give guests disposable cameras instead of hiring a photographer why don’t you use those type of photos to illustrate this story rather than ones taken by a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER!
Besides that disposable film cameras are probably the most unreliable pices of junk a guest could use to take a photo with, you’d be better off telling them to use their iPhones. At least then you’ll get blurry, dark photos that don’t cost you anything.
Having hired a DJ, it’s ironic that the photo you have of the couple on the dance floor is lit with professional lighting gear that you can’t get with an iPod.
Also, those box camera’s won’t take beautiful photos like you have throughout the blog post.
LOL! What a hypocrite!!!! Negating the need for professional photography in a post peppered with professional images. What’s good enough for you isn’t good enough for your brides? But, oh wait! You get YOUR images from photographers for FREE, right? Way to say money!! I’d love to know if the wedding photographers’ images you are using, are aware that you’re using their images to illustrate THIS particular point.
I think that telling brides to use disposable camera’s and then posting PROFESSIONAL photos with the blog post is incredibly poor taste. I hope the brides who read this are smart enough to scroll down and read these comments. Not having a professional photographer is the worst choice you could ever make for a wedding.
celia milton says
This is a collection of the worst advice floating on the internet. First of all, YOU didn’t choose ‘family photographer’ pix for your blog, nor did you choose photos of recycled ‘family gowns’. You chose pro photos for a reason; they are better. They are consistent, and they are beautiful. Not hit and miss, one shot in a hundred beautiful, but consistently beautiful.
Your first two suggestions are dangerous ways to ruin what is, ideally, a once in a lifetime experience that should be full of wonderful memories and fantastic photos. (The third one is just unrealistic; how about consignment shop gowns? How did you miss that one?)
Meanwhile, you’ve ignored the most convenient way to put your wedding budget ‘on a diet’ (kind of a demeaning phrase in itself). Cut the guest list. Brutally. Now.
I’d do a little more research before you post more ‘tips’. Someone might actually be taking you seriously.
As a professional wedding photographer, I wholeheartedly disagree with #1. And after 9 years in the wedding industry, I have to say #2 is a horrible idea too.
The number of brides that don’t book me to save money is alarming. But what is more shocking is the number of thoes same brides that came back to me after their wedding because their inexperienced photographer or “talented family friend” ruined their wedding pictures. It’s sad, but very true. Their wedding day is lost forever. All I can do is try to help pick up a few broken pieces & give them lovely images after the fact. Thoes memories are gone & pictures in a pretty dress & a tux on any other day just aren’t the same.
Photos are forever. Nothing “disposable” ever created anything lasting.
Years later, guests won’t remember your table linens, chair covers, or your center pieces. They might remember an awesome meal for a month or so or use your favor once or twice before relegating to its space in a drawer. But truth be told, years after your wedding the thing that your guests will remember most is how much fun they had at your reception. The feeling they had being with you. I’ve never seen an iPod create a feeling. I have seen them cause frustration, tears, & hours of time figuring out why the music won’t play. A good DJ can get a party started, keep it going & let you relax & enjoy your guests.
Do yourself a favor, hire a professional. Several comments above list fantastic ways to reduce the cost of a wedding. ‘Things’ can be discounted or cut all together, people with expertice & experience can’t.
As a professional photographer, I have to put in a word for why #2 is also horrible advice. The most boring weddings I have ever worked were Ipod weddings (or even “my uncle is running my Ipod wedding”). A good DJ is Indispensable to keep the mood fun, the guests engaged, and the people on the dance floor! They do much, much more than just pressing a “play” button.
Susan Stripling says
As a professional photographer myself I find it extraordinarily hilarious that you advocate using disposable cameras but then post a picture taken by a professional to illustrate your point.
I’m sure professional photographers will be flocking to your site to provide you with free blog content now that you’ve essentially dismissed their professional as pointless.
Suzy G says
When the dress is yellowed with age, the place you purchased the cake has long closed down, when no one even remembers what food you served any more, the only thing left to bring those faded memories back are the photographs.
Do you really want to trust that to a disposable camera and a possible tipsy friend?
There are no “do over’s” for wedding photography. A good wedding photographer can make a wedding with less decor look like it cost thousands. A friend with a disposable camera can take a wedding where you spent thousands and make it look like you spent hundreds.
It is kind of like trusting the birth of your first child to a stranger on the street corner or a nice woman’s hospital. Think about it.
I must say as a ‘talented friend'(who isn’t all that talented) that has been asked to shoot several friends weddings because I have ‘a nice camera’, while an honor, was STRESSFUL! Not only did I NOT get to enjoy my friends getting married, I had to WORK…one paid me which was also awkward because we were friends. I just know that I will politely decline from now on and encourage them to hire someone who knows what they are doing, doesn’t want to watch the wedding and gets compensated for their work!
Catharine Bliss says
Next time I need to save money on plumbing, I think I’ll just have my brother jimmy a fix with some duct tape and maybe glue if needed. Seriously?
Next time I build a home, I’ll just grab my hammer and some nails. I’m not a carpenter but I do know how to swing a hammer.
Next time I need to cut back on medical expenses I’ll just see if my cousin can help with my sore back. She is trained in CPR, I’m sure she’ll do a great job.
I disagree with comments 1 & 2. I can guarantee that a majority of your guest are NOT professional photographers. Therefore, you are taking a huge risk of putting your memories into the hands of the guests. It is a cute idea for additional photos, but I would NEVER rely on them. In the end you get what you pay for.
As for the DJ, I really believe that they are there to entertain your guest and keep the party alive. With using a playlist you really risk loosing that component.
Before making drastic decisions consider all aspects.
I find it very interesting that an article suggesting that brides save money by using disposable cameras features professional images. 🙂
Inspired Bride says
Hey all! Wow, thanks for your amazing feedback!
I totally understand where you are coming from when you say #1 is a bad idea, but the purpose of this post was to provide ideas for those with very low budgets. If you have a $10,000, $15,000 or $25,000+ budget, you will have a good or great photographer. But, for brides that have $2500 to $5000 for their whole wedding, a wedding dress, tuxes and food often come before expensive photographers. So if you don’t have the budget for a photographer at all, what are your options? That’s what we’re trying to help with. I hope that makes sense!
Inspired Bride <3
I would just like to say that I have managed a photo center for 18 years, and believe the single-use camera for the guests is THE WORST IDEA EVER! I have processed so many of these where the guests (who really don’t care) take pics of food, body parts and even take them into the restroom with them. And NO guest has ever got the amazing shots that professional can. Who wants to miss their dance with their father? Or mom and son hugging in a tender moment? Photography will be one item I will not forego when my children get married.
I understand the budget but what is left when the wedding is over? Answer: your photos. I worked in a photo lab where people spent a pretty penny buying disposables and then getting them printed to only have 1 or 2 pictures somewhat come out to see what the picture was. It actually hurts your budget more than what it helps. at least with a pro photographer, you get pictures that you can actually see. I had a budget wedding and my FIL hired a “friend”. worst decision ever. If I knew then what I know now, and after seeing those photos, I would have skimped on the decor and gotten a cheaper dress to be able to afford a true photographer.
In most cases, you will never wear your wedding finery again; the food and alcohol are consumed the day of the ceremony; the limo went back to the company you rented it from at midnight. The centerpieces? Again, never used again.
Even in the area I live, where a $25,000+ budget for a wedding is UNHEARD of, the majority of that budget goes to photography.
Budget wedding inspiration?
Less expensive wedding clothing, handmade decorations (Pinterest anyone?), less expensive invites (Hi, Etsy!), creative catering and transportation, use “talented” friends for the music.
Budget around the ONE THING that is going to be left to remember your big day, the PHOTOGRAPHY!
Incidentally, I am not a photographer, but the mother of a bride to be.
craig john says
“Of course you want those beautiful wedding photos…”
…so you give the advice to go with disposable cameras and a “talented” friend to take the more “formal photos”. Have you seen the craptacious wedding photos wedding guests post on Facebook?
Such sage advice.
If you started your article with, “If wedding photography is not important to you and your family…”, then you’d be on to something.
You must be joking. I disposable cameras, using your iPod? As a semi-pro photographer, and a former wedding DJ I understand the need for a budget, and there are many other options than offer to have your guest take photo’s of what is supposed to be the most important day of your life. These are moments that you will never be able to recreate and leaving that up to potentially drunk wedding guests is not acceptable, or even asking a talented friend to help. Pro’s and semi pro’s know how to use the gear they have, and understand lighting most likely more so than a talented friend.
I could go on, but I think everyone else has made valid points about how wedding photography shouldn’t be overlooked and left up to friends, family or Uncle Bob. Just because you have a really nice camera, doesn’t mean you know how to use it.
As a former DJ, why in the world would you want to have an iPod be yoru DJ. A DJ isn’t there just to play music, the DJ is there to be the MC. As the MC, the DJ will work with your wedding planner, or if you don’t have one, will ensure that the reception flows. No computer or iPod can replace a DJ’s natural instinct to keep the party going, and people on the dance floor.
I had disposable cameras at my wedding. Besides the numerous blurry or dark images, there was a whole camera used “under the table”. Yep, the very first photo I saw of my wedding was a guest’s penis. NO joke. I bawled. #1 is an awful idea. I would suggest keeping disposables out of the wedding completely. Not worth it. Put that money (cameras + developing = a chunk of change too) toward the smallest wedding package of a talented photographer. I’m so happy I did. Otherwise I’d have crap photos from my wedding!
…And my wedding was way under $5000.
Andrew Davis says
The only decent piece of advice is about the gown. You can get a decent photographer in most areas for $1500 on a weekday or Sunday, and a DJ for $500. Take 40 people off the guest list, or shrink or remove the centerpiece flowers, instead of passed appetizers, do a food table. There are so many ways you can cut $2000 from your budget that will leave you much less disappointed than disposable cameras and a disjointed iPod playlist.
I love that all the images on your site and professional images and yet you tell brides to have disposable cameras…..it is NOT the CAMERA!!!!
Honestly? I would ditch the food before the photos. Back in the 50s wedding receptions only involved eating cake…. I’d do that before I’d rely on my guests to take photos with throw-away cameras.
Epically bad advice.
Warren Millar says
Ha ha , dont go to a professional photographer ……. then use professional photographs in your article !! how about a bin bag wedding dress, look in the skip for wasted food at the wedding breakfast, catch the bus to the church, and hold the night do at a local working mans club open to the public !!!!
IF YOU WANT QUALITY IMAGES FROM YOUR WEDDING DAY HIRE A PROFESSIONAL ……….. END OF !!
As a professional event planner this post is horrific to me. I appreciate trying to give tips on cutting costs but doing it on big things like photography and music are way off base. There are so many other things that could be cut like favors, bar, appetizers, etc. as many other people have commented.
Wearing a used dress is really the best idea if you can find a dress you like in your size. I have two wedding dresses collecting mothballs that I bought new and used once and have no idea what to do with them.
Interestingly- all the photographs you use for your article look like professional images.
I’m guessing none of these were shot by a ‘talented friend’ or a disposable camera?
I guarantee you that the 24-70mm 2.8, the 70-200mm 2.8, and a wide open lens were used for the images in this post. These are lenses over $1000…. There is a reason that a photographer walks in with a minimum of $5000 of equipment (and most have much more than that!)….if you want photos in dark churches with moving people…or receptions with mixed lighting….you DON’T want a talented friend without the above mentioned lenses and disposable cameras with only give you disposable photos. ugh….such bad advice to a bride who knows nothing about photography :-(. Photos are memories and unless you are willing to go without memories….pick a reasonably pricd photographer whose vision matches your own and who has the right equipment for the job!!
An iPod cannot read the crowd.
Sharron Lean says
I would prefer to hire a professional photographer to avoid this happening http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2159749/Bride-groom-left-snaps-wedding-day-photographer-lost-memory-card-boozy-brawl-couple-claim-said-sorry.html
Craig Thomas says
An iPod may be the cheapest way to go but who will be playing the music and what unit will you use to fill the entire area with the music from this iPod? Who will introduce the wedding party, take requests, make all the announcements, change songs when the current selection is not keeping your guests on the dance floor? There are a thousand reasons why you should have a professional working your wedding for you. If you look around you can find a reasonably priced professional who will work with you and make your reception one that EVERYONE will remember.
This article is so bizarre and misguided. I echo what everyone else has said. I find it insulting that you suggest people with a low budget wedding should cut back on photography. My wedding is going to be under $10,000 and the FIRST thing I did was find a photographer I loved and I am happy with every single penny I am spending on her. You don’t have to be rich to want to capture your memories for a lifetime.
Did you even take a moment to think about how awful your advice is? Who have you ever met that was HAPPY with the disposable camera idea?
What would a party be with just an ipod sitting on a table? Who will choose the songs? Don’t you understand that a DJ helps set the mood and keeps the guests engaged?
I know it has been said many times but I find it absolutely shameful that you use professional photos in an article that suggests professional photography isn’t a necessity. Do you not see the hypocrisy in this? Do you not see how insulting this is to the very photographers that took these pictures??
Cindy C says
I am a professional musician who has sung and performed at more than 300 wedding ceremonies and receptions. From the vantage point of the stage, I see what happens when a bride uses friends/families and other non-professionals to handle the important tasks of her wedding – such as photography, catering, decorating, etc. I’ve had brides collapse into tears in my arms wailing “everything is going wrong – thank God I hired you and your band, at least I have decent music!”
Not every wedding has to have a huge budget. Brides must sit down and decide what is really important to them, and then work it out. Even though I am a musician and hope that the music will be a very high priority on your list, I have to say that having the right officiant for your ceremony would be my number 1 need. I wanted the vows that I took to be personal and highly reflective of my personality and the love I had for my husband. Second to that was the photographer, and then the decor/design of my wedding and reception. Then music, then food. I do believe that having a good event planner will help with all of these things AND keep you within your budget.
I wish all brides the most happiness in planning their weddings and in their married lives.
What are the options for a tiny budget? Option #1 – DON’T GET MARRIED! There’s no law says you have to, RIGHT NOW. Save, until you can afford the things that are important to you. Or, don’t have photography and entertainment as a part of your day. To suggest that you can scrimp on these two areas without a MAJOR drop-off in quality is irresponsible. At the very least, post what the downsides of your advice would be (grainy, dark photos and ZERO flow during dancing) so that people don’t possibly think “oh, it’s almost as good as the real thing”. It’s not, but you’d never know it, from this post.
From personal experience (meaning my own), #1 is quite possibly the WORST suggestion you could possibly make to someone about to get married. We skimped on the photographer and have literally regretted it everyday since we got married almost 12 years ago. Why? Because we have to look at those awful wedding pictures every single day. Save on the food or decorations, because at the end of the day, only the guests will care. Do NOT skimp on the photography because that’s what YOU and YOUR SPOUSE will have to live with. Forever.
Kelli Svancarek says
I think it’s been made clear in the comments that this article is full of bad advice for brides (especially 1 & 2. I’ve seen both go terribly wrong), but I think it’s still a good idea to make suggestions on how to keep wedding budgets down.
I’ve been a wedding photographer for almost 20 years and I love to share with my clients the wonderful things I’ve seen over the years that were inexpensive and still made for amazing photographs. If you want to keep your costs down, hire qualified professionals – Florists, photographers, DJs, videographers, caterers and wedding planners/coordinators and then ask them to guide you one how to keep things manageable.
The professionals that you hire will work together with you and each other to ensure that your special day runs smoothly. I couldn’t successfully do what I do without great DJs, skilled videographers, florists that show up on time, caterers/coordinators that makes sure dinner is served on schedule, etc.
My two pieces of advice: #1 If you need to stay within a budget then keep the wedding small and intimate. Later, you can have a casual party/BBQ for the friends that you couldn’t include on your wedding day (m husband and I had a martini party). OR #2 Wait an additional year, save your money, and do it the less stressful way.
I must respectfully request that you apologize to all the brides out there for suggesting they not hire professionals, that those services just aren’t worth their money. You’re damaging the industry and brides, who will regret taking your suggestions for the rest of their lives. I’m SURE there are other ways to cut costs. Please write a new article explaining the error of your ways and giving brides some useful and sane suggestions. Btw, suggestion #3 is pretty good. Some brides may not have considered that.
Hugh. Photographer says
Stunned – just stunned!
Well, as it has been said, the images are all you have to take home with you.
Those disposable camera images, are they really to be passed on to the couples children, then grandchildren? That will be inspiring!
I have seem experienced people with good equipment be challenged at a wedding. And you thing that guests with disposables can hack it? Pick one up, go shoot something, see how well you do.
This advice is nothing more than shameful. Next you will be telling people to perform their own surgery.
Heather K says
I planned a $4000 wedding with 250 guests in 6 months.
My professional photographer was $2200 of that $4000 budget.
Don’t you dare preach to me about not being able to afford things and suggest to people that disposable cameras are a viable alternative. If they choose not to have a pro photographer, and instead try something else, that’s totally fine. BUT they should KNOW that there is a HUGE difference. They’ll have to be okay with no or very limited photographs that are not quality.
We LOVED our photographer and wouldn’t have had it ANY other way.
HERE ARE SOME REAL SUGGESTIONS:
* We picked an off day
* We didn’t have alcohol (yes, the guests still had fun haha)
*Our lovely friends and family arranged a VERY classy pot luck style dinner (in advance, groups arranged to help refill the catering pans we borrowed with home cooked food. Looked catered, tasted homemade!)
* I ordered a custom made dress from a tailor for only $250 in the style of a $900 dress
* We had minimal floral decor, our theme was books so old books with lovely ribbon was our centerpeices
…I could go on!
Also, I take offense at the idea that you have to have a $25,000 budget to even consider having a pro photographer!! Are you serious?! Most pros have attainable packages- and many of them also have a la carte hourly options for only a few hundred dollars!
I wrote an article a while back to help brides looking to save find ways to cost the photography cost AND still have a great pro photographer. I hope it helps discouraged brides who are reading this article: http://www.irememberforever.com/ten-minute-wedding-tips/find-a-wedding-photographer-on-a-budget/
I TOTALLY disagree with the disposable camera or “friend with a camera” idea. I married in 1955 & a friend offered to take our pictures with her 35 mm camera. We had a beautiful wedding, but only have about 6 poor quality pictures to remember it by. Professional photogs are worth every penny of their fee.
I agree with just about every other commenter on this page that the 1st and 2nd tips on this page are horrible advice. I just got married a few months ago and all of the professional photographers I spoke with offered a variety of packages and options to work around any budget. There is no need to completely eliminate a professional photographer in order to save a few bucks unless you simply don’t care at all about pictures. And in this day and age where everyone is posting photos online to share with friends and families, a bride is going to want the best pictures she can get. And the DJ does more than play music, they run the entire reception party. They help keep the timeline of events running smoothly and set the mood for the night. I’ve been to weddings with bad DJ’s or no DJ…the party ends hours early because no one wants to stay and the bride & groom just wasted money paying for a few more hours than needed in venue rental fees.
I realize you’re trying to offer helpful tips to brides who are on a budget, but I find it irritating that you didn’t at all suggest ways to cut spending on the most expensive areas: the reception venue and food. Also, cutting down on the guest list helps immensely since much of your budget will depend on that number. Fewer people means fewer dinner plates, people drinking, centerpieces for tables (since you’ll have fewer tables), invitations, etc. There are TONS of areas a few bucks can be scraped here or there, but cutting back on an area you’ll cherish most for years to come, the pictures, isn’t worth it. Brides shouldn’t have to skimp on everything and they’ll have a more memorable wedding if they budget for what’s most important.
Katie C says
While I completely understand where you’re coming from, and you’re just trying to be helpful, I think this is really bad advice for brides. I’m not a wedding photographer, just a portrait photographer, but I have had many women come to me to get some pictures taken in their wedding dress months/years after the wedding–because they didn’t get any good pictures on their wedding day. They let friends or relatives do it.
This mindset that anyone can can be a wedding photographer has got to stop. 🙁
I see the author’s comment “the purpose of this post was to provide ideas for those with very low budgets.”
I appreciate your earnest desire to help people who are on a budget. When I got married, I had a budget of a little over $5000, but not much over. But I spent $2200 on a photographer and it was the best decision we made.
I strongly believe The Inspired Bride should post a retraction to #1. I have yet to meet a single individual who skimped on the photography budget who didn’t live to BITTERLY and tearfully regret it. There are plenty of examples here in the comments, including from at least one person who actually used what’s described in suggestion #1 – and it ended very, very badly.
After my wedding I became a portrait photographer (I still don’t shoot weddings), and came to appreciate even more how complex event photography is. A friend of mine sent me some images a “cheap” photographer produced at her wedding and paid me to try to “fix” them (so she double paid). They were so terribly exposed, I could hardly salvage anything. An absolute tragedy.
If I were to advise other brides on low budgets, as I was, it would be to spend 30-50% of that budget on photography and scale back on other things.
Really? You post professional pictures and expect people to think that the average photo will look like one of those??? Get real! I have seen some ok photos from a disposable, but nothing that would be acceptable for a wedding. Try posting the average photo from one of those cameras you suggest.
I really can’t add anything that hasn’t been said already. I suggest you ammnend your post to include pictures from iPhones and disposables. If you need to cut a budget there’s a million ways to do it. Maybe reduce the photographers time or go with a lesser package. Cut it out completely? Bad, awful, horrible advice! I hope any bride thinking about following your advice thinks twice and reads the comments.
I am incredibly disappointed that just because someone is on a strict budget your advice is to just eliminate very important vendors or items that can contribute a lot of value to someone’s special day. Of course it will help the budget, three of the largest ticket items have been slashed, but at what real cost?
I actually wrote a rebuttal to your article on my blog that actually encourages brides and grooms to be to think creatively in order to solve budget issues. It can be found here: http://www.highheelphotography.com/2012/10/minneapolis-and-st-paul-wedding.html if you are interested in reading it.
Hannah Woodard says
Michelle – I understand that some people have tiny, tiny budgets for weddings. Heck, I’m one of them.
But I would get married at City Hall in my blue jeans before I would ever suggest that my guests or talented friend should take my wedding photos.
This suggestion is misleading and wrong, especially since no “disposable camera” photos are going to look like those posted. Also – I’ve BEEN the talented friend before at the beginning of my career. If you’re really expecting to have your friend shoot as much as a professional photographer for little to no cost, please reconsider. SO many hours go into preparing and post processing (at least if you want to get a good result). It’s also rude to ask your friend, if they’re a close friend, to be so focused on getting pictures at the wedding that they can’t enjoy themselves.
IF you are going to suggest such things, you should make it CLEAR that cutting corners here is not going to be anywhere near the real thing.
I would like to echo the suggestions of other photographers to approach local photographers with your small budget up front and ask them what they can give you for what you can pay. You may have to ask around, but many photogs are willing to work within budgets, as long as you’re not looking for the giant “package deal” of full wedding coverage plus engagement plus bridal plus… well, you get the drift.
Sarah Dugan says
You want to cut your wedding budget? Try going to city hall and then to dinner, just the two of you! $250, tops. Otherwise, let’s just cut out this foolishness of forgoing the DJ and the Photographer. Might as well forgo the bartender too, put out a keg and wait for the lawsuits from the drunk driving…sheesh.
Durango Photographer says
Brides can cut their costs in many areas, but not on the photographer. After the cake and food is eaten, the dress is sitting in the closet, the flowers have wilted, all you have is the photographs. I’ve had many brides tell me they wish they had hired a professional because now they have no good images from their wedding and there is No Do Over! You need to do a service to your readers and tell me other ways to cut costs.
Douglas Foulds says
I’m a professional photographer, so anything I say here about Tip #1 might be viewed as self-serving. For the record, it’s great advice only if you don’t care a whit about having any images from your wedding. If you don’t, then have at it!
As for Tip #2, using an iPod is downright dangerous and could lead to legal action against the B&G and/or the venue. Copyrighted music usually must be licensed to be performed in public and a wedding is usually considered “public” unless it’s held in a private residence.
Brides, educate yourselves:
In the US: http://www.ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.aspx
In Canada: https://www.socan.ca/jsp/en/pub/music_users/MU_FAQs.jsp
Slava Slavik says
I heard about this article from another professional photographer. Wow! I can’t believe my eyes reading this from somebody who’s been writing about weddings for some time. An idea of having set of pictures from disposables as the only tangible piece of memory from a wedding is completely wrong.
In the contrary the article is supported by professional photographs. Then the added link to iPhone photos… The iPhone pictures were taken by a professional photographer who admits spending most of their time shooting weddings professionally?
Just last week our studio photographed a super budget wedding. It involved only the bride and groom and an officiant. It was arranged on Thursday so could offer our limited time coverage and an expansive portrait session for less than half of our normal prices.
Harry Who says
Do you really like the images that come out of those disposable cameras?
Wanna see how good of an idea you have here with guests using disposables?
Neil van Niekerk says
My immediate response was that someone at Inspired Bride had the temerity to illustrate this article with professional photographs … but I see several others have mentioned this glaring contradiction already.
Admittedly I have a strong bias about item #1, since I am a photographer. So let me take it up on behalf of professional DJs. These guys make the machine run on the wedding night. They keep things on track. Seriously. A wedding reception without a DJ or a band just becomes a less coherent affair.
Joe Sedik says
Only fools or people who don’t value Photographs of the beauty & memories of the most important day of their lives would follow this advice.The images shown are pro photographers. What they recommend would look NOTHING like that. If you value your memories there is no substitute for an experienced pro photographer, not an amateur who thinks they are a pro. This takes years & major investment in equipment & more importantly education to do well.
Vitalia Daza says
Hi Inspired Bride, I understand how you are trying to help those with a budget of $5000 and lower, but why suggest they spend hundreds of dollars on processing and crap cameras for a 1% success rate of capturing one or two images that are decent? That’s an expensive gamble in my eyes and if they’re using iphones…does this mean you are saying that web size images are ok? viewing these images only on a screen is a substitute for a book or album or even just one amazing print on the wall? I’m not wedding planner, but I can think of a lot of ways to create a beautiful wedding for someone with a $5000 wedding budget.
How about a wedding that includes 25 people max? No wedding party (saving on all those stupid wedding party gifts and make up and dresses etc), no stagettes or stags or showers? how about not eating out for a year? an inexpensive dress or no white dress wedding at all, and maybe even just a pot luck in someone’s back yard or a public park? or a gorgeous free venue in a public place with a JP? How about a picnic for 25 or even 45 people? How about opting out of the cake or replacing it with a big DQ cake? not having open bar? having the wedding on a weekday or off season such as the winter? how about planning with your photographer to save on their time and not expect them to show up when you wake up and when everyone goes home? how about 2 hours of coverage?? even an amazing professional photographer can make a basement wedding look absolutely incredible and capture all the meaningful things…like the people apart of it.
mark stover says
Thank You Inspired Bride Blog!
Not for the awfully unwise advice you’re suggesting to brides and grooms of today though… Thank you for bringing out all these excellent reasons for THE VALUE OF INVESTING IN THE TALENTS OF A SKILLED PROFESSIONAL! This article provides a recipe for wedding distaster, but the comments offer a wealth of great advice and experience from a wide range of folks, taken from their own weddings, their own experience planning weddings and/or providing the services you have suggested brides do without.
I originally thought I would write some kind of complaint here, but after reading the many excellent comments, I am actually happy you published it. You should feel at least a little guilty though, about brides who might have read it early-on, before all the no-nonsense comments were added!
I’d like to know if any of the photos that you use on your blog posts were taken with disposable cameras?
I’m a professional photographer . . . having said that, there are a lot better ways to save money. Cake – you eat it and it’s gone. Limo – same as above. Booze – same as above. Dress – more or less same as above. I could go on.
Also, atleast give your talented friend what you would be spending on disposable cameras/developing (likely $500ish dollars…)
vanessa Campbell says
I was shocked by the terrible advice in the post… but I absolutely LOVED reading the comments!!
I guess the majority of people really do understand and appreciate the significance of a professional photographer with talent and experience <3
Jen @ YumYumWeddings says
Lots of good discussion here. I can see the points the wedding photographers are making, but at the same time some brides just don’t have the money to hire them.
Hope Walls says
While I agree that brides can cut back on their wedding budget in lots of areas, suggesting brides completely cheap out on a tog for the day is bad advice that borders on irresponsible, not inspired. Knowing tat everything is relative, when you spend a huge amount of money (whatever “huge” amounts to) the last thing you want is to spend all that time, energy, effort, and cash setting the scene for your perfect day only to have it butchered in photographs.
As the “talented friend or family member with a camera” I am horrified you’d suggest that someone who would be invited as a guest should be expected to work. Not only is it hurtful and insulting being asked to come and take pictures for free or cheap because I’m close to the family, but it makes it impossible for me to actually enjoy the celebration.
For whatever it’s worth, many professionals will come and shoot just the ceremony and/or formals for a very reasonable price, which saves money but still gives couples the quality of images they would want to remember this monumental day. And if the bride needs to go with a less-experienced photographer, make sure that the bride does a consultation and carefully reviews the work of whatever photographer she uses so she knows what she is signing up for, because someone who takes crappy pictures of cats and kids is probably going to take equally crappy wedding pictures. While it’s possible to luck out it’s more often than not true that you get what you pay for.
The couple could even save on wedding planning consultants by going with a DIY wedsite, before foregoing a quality photographer. There are numerous to choose from, eg: http://top-wedding-websites.com/
But why risk less than impeccable captured moments?
My wedding will be proof that you can have a wedding on a budget and have most of everything you want. We found a very cost effective photographer who does photography work professionally. We have the caterer we wanted and the cupcakes from our favorite bakery, the chapel I always dreamed to get married in, and I am even having the hall decorated for me by the lady I am renting the linens from. Yeah, sure there are things I could have cut back on more than I did, but all in all the wedding will only cost us approx $6500 total. Yeah, I am not having the exact dream wedding and the hall we rented is not the fanciest but I am paying more in decorations to make it look better than it does, plus even if I had $10,000 to do more with the wedding, I still couldn’t pass up a $350 hall rental when the second choice hall was still double. You have to book the big things first like the hall, caterer, and church and then make your list of no compromises which are things you are not willing to go without for the wedding, you have to be realistic though with the no compromises, it can’t be something like you have to have a vera wang gown. My big no compromises was linens, sunflowers, and the chapel.
I would like to echo the suggestions of other photographers to approach local photographers with your small budget up front and ask them what they can give you for what you can pay. You may have to ask around, but many photogs are willing to work within budgets, as long as you’re not looking for the giant “package deal” of full wedding coverage plus engagement plus bridal plus… well, you get the drift. http://www.michellebrooksphotography.com