The only 3 things you will keep from your wedding day.

If you are planning a wedding, congratulations!  Now, I want you to think about something. Imagine in your mind 10 years from now when you will be celebrating that big anniversary. There are 3 major things that you will have from your wedding day ..

1.       Each other
2.       Your rings
3.       Your pictures.
 That's it. 

OK, you might still have your wedding dress but that thing will be stuffed away in a box somewhere slowly suffocating itself out of date. No, I'm talking about three things that you get to enjoy each and every day from your wedding event. You won’t have the church or the hall. Long gone will be the band, the DJ, those flowers, the dinner and that $3000 cake (yes, I've seen one wedding with that glorious cake and yet they went as cheap as possible on the pictures … are you kidding me?!?!)

Now think about this … What you WILL have during your anniversary celebration are the photos of said cake, hall and flowers, etc. so why on earth would you cut back on the only investment that you will get the pleasure of enjoying for years to come? Now I understand that you can’t blow half of your wedding budget on the photographer, although I have seen it done, you still could probably benefit from taking a step back from that wedding planning microscope that you are currently looking through and look to the future. When you prioritize your future, things should definitively start to become clearer.

There are a few sites available on line where you can get a ball park figure on how much you can expect to spend on a wedding. I ran across Cost of Wedding that says that an average wedding can cost around $25,000 and they go on to state that

                “Averages are based on spending of other couples not wedding vendor prices. Spending and prices can vary widely. You should expect to pay, on average, 50% to 100%+ more when choosing well-experienced professionals, designer labels, popular event locations, unique or custom products and services. “

Notice how experienced professionals is first on their list. And for good reason. Too many times I have seen brides & grooms talk them selves down to the lowest possible priced photographer yet ironically, what's the first thing they start asking for when they get back from the honeymoon? It's not a re-visit of their church. They don't ask to hear the band play again. They don't go to the caterer and sample their salad dressings one more time. No, they start bugging the photographer for the pictures. Even if the contract says that they wont get a thing for weeks or possibly months, they still seam to find a way to start going after those images.

Over the course of over a decade of wedding seasons I have had the awesome opportunities to work with many budget savvy B&Gs as well as the impatient Honeymooners personally or I have at least heard of them through fellow colleagues. And I have often asked myself why do these couples insist on cutting corners where they should not be? And I think I have come up with a possible answer.

Photography is an emotional investment. It's not something that is tangible like most other things in your wedding. You can't taste it before the wedding. You can't smell it like your flowers. You can't hear it like your dj .. and so on ... you get where I'm going with this. I think for many this is the reason why people have a hard time sinking a major investment into the photography before the big day simply because B&Gs just aren't emotionally invested in it ... yet. But sadly, once the excitement is over and the every day realities of life start to come back into the scene, then they start looking for that emotional connection .. and by then it can be too late.

My hope in this post is not to ask couples to blow their entire budget on photographic services, yet it's to hopefully educate them into thinking about investing wisely in their big day. Photography is NOT the place where you want to go cheap as possible. When I sit with a bride and groom and start learning about their big plans. I begin to see the wedding through their eyes. I start to learn what the feel of the day is all about. I ask who is on their guest list. Are there going to be people coming that you haven't seen in years? Is there a family member that very possibly won't be around in the near future? Questions like these help me to find the important emotions that need to be captured. 

Another thing that I explain to my couples are is the speed at which I work. Nothing frustrates a couple more with their photographer is a 3-4 month turn around. I purposely shoot and work in such a way that before the plane leaves to whisk them away there are already images from the wedding posted on line. Not 3 or 4 ... more like 30 or 40! Why do I push myself to be so fast? Once again, it all goes down to that emotional investment. I want my couples to be able to ride that rush while they are still on that wedding day high and I can do my clients a much better service by posting images rather than spending time editing them! Can a budget photographer offer that? Usually not. 

More than likely they are spending all that time hard at work trying to tweak a so-so image in the hopes that it might be a decent image that the B&G won't notice all of it's visual or technical disasters. One of my calling cards is that I almost never edit an image ... I don't have too and I can promise you that clients truly just don't care about all of those vignettes, textures or selective colorizing (Why won't that atrocious fad just die already? LOL!)   If you have captured the emotion of the day cleanly and correctly, then there is no need to waste time editing and it's this style of shooting that allows me to share in the delight of the day quicker that you can say "You are free to move about the cabin."

It is my hope that if you are hearing wedding bells in the future and have read this article you will now have a little bit clearer understanding of the importance of properly and purposefully investing in a quality wedding photographer. Please don't become like so many of those other couples that come home from the honeymoon ready to cry those disappointed tears because they went the budget route with their imagery and now they have horrible, or worse, zero quality images of their beautiful day. 

Your wedding is art. Life is art. Invest in an artist.


If you live in or around the Kansas City area and are planning your wedding day, please contact Erika for a personal consultation by email.