This is a re-post of a blog entry I wrote last year. With all the newly engaged couples now thinking about their wedding, I think it bears repeating again this year!
Let’s face it. Weddings are crazy expensive. I’m all about finding ways to save money, and there are lots of ways you can do so. But if you only splurge on one thing for your wedding, LET IT BE PHOTOGRAPHY. That’s right, I’m a venue owner and a stationery designer and I’m not telling you that your splurge item should not be one of those things, but photography. Why? Because its true! Chances are you know someone who is a “photographer” and it can be tempting to hire them for cheap or even have them shoot your wedding as a wedding gift, but hear me now and believe me later, DON’T DO IT!!!
1. You will not get this chance again.
This is your wedding. Hopefully you will only be having one. Isn’t it worth the investment? The #1 regret I hear from Southall Eden brides about their wedding day is that they are not happy with their photos. Don’t be one of them. Besides, when else will all your family and friends be gathered in one place? Probably not until your funeral. My own sister had a very mediocre photographer at her wedding. Within a year, both my grandma and my mom passed away. Those are the last family pictures we will ever have, and they are not good. If only she had hired a great photographer…
2. It’s not just for you, its for everyone who loves you.
Of course your wedding day should be all about you and your fiance, but don’t forget how much time, effort, and money your family and wedding party have put into it as well. They deserve some nice photos to remember the occasion by. But even more than that, think about future generations. Won’t your kids and grandchildren want to see these? What girl doesn’t love seeing old wedding photos of the generations before her? This is the one aspect of your wedding (aside from your marriage itself) that will last forever.
3. A wedding photographer can anticipate what will happen next.
This is why you should not only get a great photographer, you should get a great wedding photographer. The word “photographer” encompasses a variety of people- family photographers, fashion photographers, commercial photographers, etc. Being good in one area doesn’t necessarily mean you are good in another. If you hire someone whose livelihood is shooting weddings, there is a pretty good chance they have done this enough times to not only know where they need to be in order to capture certain moments, but also random things like what kind of light will come through a stained glass window at 5:00 in May, etc.
4. A great photographer can turn an ordinary wedding into an extraordinary wedding.
I have seen this first hand on multiple occasions. A couple is on a tight budget and doesn’t have a lot of money for decor or fancy extras at their wedding. But they hire a great photographer, and lo and behold when you see the photos you would think it was a luxury event. The photographer captures everything at its best, and everything that is wonderful about the day, and when you look at your photos you remember your wedding day fondly.
5. If it doesn’t turn out well, you don’t want to have hard feelings with a friend.
This is a big one. If you hire (or ask a favor from) a friend and the photos don’t turn out well, it can seriously damage your relationship. Every time you see that person for the rest of your life you will think of how s/he “ruined” your wedding photos. It may not be intentional, but you will. Its kind of like if they ran over your cat with their car tire. You know its not intentional, but you can’t help but associating them with this one unfortunate act.
So how much does a great wedding photographer cost? This depends on where you live and what all is included in their rate. Some photographers quote their rates for shooting only, while others quote packages that include both shooting and prints, albums, digital images, etc. When you are researching photographers you should keep this in mind and make sure you are comparing apples to apples with regard to pricing. I encourage couples getting married at my venue to budget at least $3,500 for photography, but some spend as much as $8,000. Sure that’s a lot of money, but what you get in return is priceless. How can you argue with that???