Tips for Budget Conscious Brides

I recently came across this post by the ever lovely Rachel Earl and I thought she really hit the nail on the head! I always joke with my clients that I am totally biased in thinking that your photographer is the most important thing but I will tell you this: I have been to a lot of weddings, this we know. From all my experience I will say that location and photography are the two most important things. Get a venue that is beautiful all on it's own so you don't end up spending countless dollars dressing up a banquet hall and get a photographer that you LOVE who will document everything about your day that you can cherish for years after the last dance. You could get married in an open feild, with 50 people, with fresh fruit, bbq food, and a wild flower bouquet and your photographer will SWOON at the beautiful things they will be able to capture! Rachael's advice: (if anything- this post is important to read for that Louboutins link!! HOLY COW!) UPDATE: Word has it that site is a fake :( How sad!

1.  Okay, so it’s important to first PRIORITIZE.  I am sure every photographer that ever meets with a bride asks them what is most important to them on their wedding day.  Yes, I do believe photography is one of the most important elements of your day because it is what you will have on your walls or in your album forever.  Photos help us remember key moments,  emotions, and details.  No, I’m not telling you to forgo a cake for your photography, but I can say that a $300-500 dress can photograph well and look just as lovely as a $3000-5000 dress, and yes Christian Louboutins are to die for, but sometimes you can find them more reasonably priced if you look hard enough.  (Alas, they apparently do not make size 5, which makes me so sad…)

Yes, photography sometimes can take up a large portion of your budget, as the photographer spends the most time with you during the day (6-10 hours), spends a considerable number of hours perfecting and editing through each image, designing albums and products, before finally delivering a very valuable product.  Photographers only have one shot at getting it right (which is why I always suggest finding a photographer who has insurance and is a member of the PPA to make sure they’re covered in case EEK! they don’t).  It is the most important day of your life.  If they screw it up, you can’t redo your day, the emotions, the moments.  I have actually been called on to photograph people after the fact that “didn’t get any good photos”, and also one bride who didn’t get any photos of just her in her wedding dress, which is extra money they didn’t intend on spending…

2.  Ask about making payments.  If you’re wedding isn’t until September 2010, but you know who you want as your photographer, ask if you can make monthly payments.  Most will be more than willing to accommodate you.

3.  If a photographer’s pricing just isn’t within your grasp, ask if they would book a bridal session (with or without the groom, before the wedding day), an engagement session, or a post wedding/trash the dress session with you.  Often, these 1-2 hour sessions are cheaper, and will still yield amazing art that you can put on your walls, or in a small album or guestbook.  Photographers will usually schedule these sessions during the week, and they can be set up during prime outdoor lighting time at a really cool, unique location, which is another plus!  No, I am not discounting the time spent photographing your wedding ceremony, reception, bridal party, and family.  These are also important elements that need to be photographed correctly, but if you are looking to still get great images without going over the established budget you have set, consider this option.

4.  Wait a year on your album or your disk.  Yes, I know you want your wedding photos right this second, but how cool would it be to get an album on your first anniversary to relive those special moments?  You can always get some cool prints or a few canvases to hang on your wall before then, and I even offer my clients the option to download individual files straight from their online gallery.  You don’t have to pay for an album upfront, and I never try to push products on my clients.  Consider making your album a little smaller-maybe not in size, but in the number of pages, and include just your favorite photos of the two of you in it laid out in a modern, magazine-style layout.

5.  Ask about weekdays, or other non-prime times.  As with any vendor, you can sometimes get a small discount if you get married on, say, a Thursday instead of a very desirable Saturday.

Photographers spend a considerable amount of time determining their pricing based on travel costs, assistant fees, time spent at the wedding, time spent editing and producing the final product, wear and tear on our equipment, insurance and professional organization fees, cost of products included in your packages and time making those products, among other things.

I hope this helps!  Photographers, for the most part are really cool, normal people, and I for one know that if I meet with a couple who loves my work and clicks with me on the personality level, but doesn’t have the budget for a full day of wedding photography, I always want to explore other options for them to create truly memorable, yet affordable memories of the best day of their lives!

Thanks Rachael!!! and because posts are no fun without pictures, here is a sneak peek from an upcoming wedding post: