I thought about posting this a while back, but I honestly wasn’t sure if it would really be of interest to anyone…I mean, how many times can I blog about my own wedding (that was over a year ago) before people get sick of reading about it? I hope you (readers) won’t mind if I post about it at least a couple more times though, because I have some really meaty stuff to delve into. Mmmm…meaty:)
Lots of bloggers post about their wedding, but not very many of them post about what it cost. I decided that over the next couple days, not only will I share with you how and why we spent a certain amount, I’ll actually break down what we spent as well. Why? Because I want people to know that you CAN have a great photographer on a budget. And it can be pretty and lovely and amazing on a budget too! You will have to have priorities and make some compromises on things, but I really believe that you can have a great wedding without spending more than the cost of a new car.
John and I spent 10,000 dollars on our wedding, and we saved up about 7,000 of that over a 2 year engagement. Our parents helped us with the other 3,000, and we will forever be grateful! Out of that 10,000 dollar budget, we spent about 30 percent on photography, a little less than 30 percent on catering, and then the 30 percent was divided up between everything else that was left, including cake, our coordinator, our venues, my dress, John’s tux, and our paper products, and flowers.
Why did we spend so much of our budget on photography? You might be thinking we did that because I’m a photographer and it was obviously always a priority to us, but you would be wrong! When we first started planning our wedding, I had never touched a DSLR and I really had no idea what photography cost or really what ANYTHING related to a wedding cost. I thought I would be able to get a great photographer for under a thousand dollars and maybe even less than that! Of course I knew that the photographers whose work I really admired were so out of the budget I set up for us, but I thought of them as more of a luxury…something that richer people got to have at their wedding because they could afford to pay $$$$ for them.
My attitude toward photography slowly evolved somewhere between getting engaged and starting to learn how to use a camera myself. I remember the first consultation I had with our wedding coordinator where she asked me what we were planning to do for a photographer. She just looked at me when I told her I was thinking about asking a friend to do it for a couple hundred bucks and then told me something that will stick with me forever….she said that we DESERVED to invest in the one thing we would have after our wedding was over. The way she explained it made it seem so logical. I wish I could remember exactly what she said, but the gist of it was that just because we weren’t rich didn’t mean we couldn’t save up and put our money toward a photographer we really loved. We deserved those memories and could find a way to make it work.
Though we decided we would invest in a professional photographer, we were still on a budget. Our photography budget was upgraded to maybe half of what we ended up spending in the end, so it was still a very small budget. I was somewhat determined we would find someone within that range. I looked at so many local photographers. So many of them had technically great images….properly exposed, good compositions, etc, but to me they were missing something. When I finally found our wedding photographers, Jodi and Kurt, I fell in LOVE with their work. I was particularly obsessed with this one wedding with mason jars and handmade bouquets. It was an outdoor wedding and seemed like what in my head a wedding should be…garden-y, romantic, and pretty! I just couldn’t stop looking at their blog….I loved their work, I loved that they had been featured on wedding blogs, and when I met them, I loved them too…if you have met Jodi and Kurt you know what I mean…they are so sweet and friendly, but so cool in their own unique way.
We talked about it and talked about it. And then talked about it some more. Our budget couldn’t expand anymore, so if we really wanted to hire Jodi and Kurt we had to cut (and I mean SLASH) our guest list, compromise on the type of catering, and we wouldn’t be able to hire a florist anymore either. The hardest pill to swallow was that we most likely could not afford a honeymoon either. If you’ve followed any of my wedding posts in the past, you know how this story ends…we chose to commit to making photography our priority and hire Jodi and Kurt.
I realize that not everyone will have the same wedding priorities as we did…some people would rather have a big honeymoon or a party with lots of incredible foods and drinks. I think it’s awesome everyone has different priorities! But if your priority IS photography and you don’t think you can make it work, I just want you to know that you can!
On Thursday I will share a list of ways we cut back on spending to make it all work. I think my ideas can apply to saving money at any budget, so make sure you check back for those!
All images in this post by Jodi Miller Photography