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Alright… he put a ring on it! Congrats!
Now come the endless lists, expenses, and decisions that may test your budget, your patience, and perhaps your relationships. Unless you have some pretty deep pockets, you will have to choose your priorities.
I went online to look up a few statistics on wedding expenses. How’s this for a doozy:
The average wedding cost in the United States is $25,200. Couples typically spend between $18,900 and $31,500 but, most couples spend less than $10,000.¹
…and typical wedding photography prices?
Wedding photography can be broken down into four basic categories: budget, moderate, upscale and luxury. Budget photographers run from under $1,000; moderate photographers average between $1,000 and $3,000; and upscale photographers between $3,000 and $5,000. Luxury weddings photographers average between $5,000 and upwards of $10,000.²
Okay. I can appreciate a beautiful wedding. It’s your day. It’s important, and it’s the ceremony you are sharing with dear friends and family that will be the beginning of your life together. I get it. But… let’s have some perspective. Most of us need to do — and to spend— what’s practical and reasonable for us and our families.
The possibilities are endless. If you have a creative bone in your body, work it. Do you have close friends or family members blessed with this strength? They may be delighted and honored to help. You never know until you ask!
My story… I have been married for over 30 years. We chose to take a moderate to lean approach in our wedding plans, and I have absolutely no regrets. We got creative, and we set priorities. We got a professional photographer, but only had him do a moderate amount of shots (typical ceremony pics), and had my uncle, who had a nice camera, take the reception pictures. The price was right – and reflected the balance and priorities we were choosing.
Enlist your guests on your big day. Place a disposable camera on each table with a note inviting guests to fill it with shots of the guests at their table. There is a fun app that encourages others to upload their pics to an online, shared album at: WedPics. My daugher-in-law created one of these. I did the photos of the wedding and also uploaded many of them. A couple of months later I even received a promotional offer to create a free photo book of the wedding photos on Shutterfly.com!
Pinterest, the internet, and bridal magazines are your friends. You will be amazed at how many great ideas are out there. Choose a handful of ideas that reflect your tastes and budget and have fun with it!
Choosing a Photographer
If you have a modest budget, have modest photography expectations. Budget wedding photography services offer a better price that is more reasonable for many people. This photographer may not have a nice studio. Their equipment and final product may be somewhat humble in comparison to others. A newbie photographer with humble equipment and seeking experience, for instance, may charge less and do a nice job of documenting your big day.
Mid-range wedding photographers, charging between $1000-$2000, will likely have a higher quality end-product and offerings than the budget photographer. If you have $2,000-$3000 and up in your budget for your wedding photography package, a high-end wedding photographer may expand your possibilities even further. There are many well-qualified and talented photographers in all of these budget groups.
Shop around, do your homework, and find a photographer that will be appropriate for your needs and budget. Make sure you see samples of their work, meet with and feel comfortable with them, and that you are clear on what photos are important to you.
Wedding photography can be customized to fit any budget. As a photographer, I would venture to say if you make it one of the top budget priorities, it can bring a solid payoff. You will treasure the photographs and the memories they record for many years — long after the guests have left and the flowers have faded. You will be able to pour over them and spark treasured memories. Make your wedding photography work within your budget — and enjoy your big day!
Related: When to Hire a Professional Photographer
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Related: The Value of a Professional Headshot