Our gay discount: how same-sex couples occasionally come out on top

December 19 | Guest post by Jennifer
Kiona and Jennifer's engagement photo by John Newsome Photography

Now that we have a venue and the date is set, my partner and I set out on a mission to get an awesome photographer. Our whole wedding is going to cost under 12K, but we budgeted $1500 for photography. We are going the DIY route for most things. The only other expenses that come close are venue, food, alcohol (we have a guest list of 250+), and changing our names. I have been moaning and groaning for a while about the fact that hetero couples get to change their names as part of their marriage certificate stuff, for generally less than $200; while my partner and I each have to cough up $400 so we can share a last name.

Luckily, karma is real.

We found an awesome photographer for our engagement shoot. He did it for free because we are two ladies and he wants his portfolio to show that he's an ally, and will shoot same sex weddings and commitment ceremonies.

Our engagement shoot was in California, where we live, our wedding will be in Arizona, where both of our families live, (I know, I know, the irony of the SoCal lezzies going to AZ for a wedding at a ranch). We looked into some Arizona photographers and asked what we could get for $1500. Answer: not much. 3-4 hours of photography, 100-200 images, the end.

So we decided to ask our engagement photographer if he would be willing to travel to Arizona for our wedding, and what his packages would cost. Answer: Yes, I'd love to have your wedding in my portfolio and I love Tucson. Look at my packages, select what you want, and NAME YOUR PRICE!

At this point I was dancing on my couch reading his email. For $1500 we are getting an awesome professional photographer for the full day of the wedding, 400 images (all of them edited!), a trash the dress photo shoot after our honeymoon, AND he's willing to stay in the lodging at the wedding site with our families which means he'll be present at the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and brunch the morning after the wedding! Normally he would charge $1900 plus his flights. Sometimes being a queer bride gets you a super deal!

So, word of advice to other LGBTQIA brides: if your photographer seems super chill and they don't already have queer weddings on their website or in their portfolio, remind them of the business they could get by expanding their portfolio and ask them how much that's worth. :)

[Editor's note: When I was shooting weddings, I definitely took a hit and gave a discount to the first lesbian couple that booked me, so as to show a more well-rounded portfolio, as well as to help the cause. This shit is REAL, folks! Also, remember, it's not just same-sex couples that could reap the benefits of photography discounts, check out the offbeat advantage negotiating with wedding photographers. -Megan]
  1. Nothing to contribute, really, except to note that Kiona and Jennifer are ADORKABLE and I want to give them hugs for being so prosh.

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  2. I'm a bridal designer and I've been waiting for the day that a same sex couple come along and ask for matching dresses. I would absolutely do this at cost price because I would love the photos in my portfolio. I have made lots of dresses for same sex marriages, but never for both brides.

    Early on in my business I made dresses for brides who I knew were totally going to rock their dress for huge discounts to fit their budgets. My advice is to always ask – you may get lucky!

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    • Where are you located? My fiancée and I are struggling to find two simple, yet elegant gowns for an October wedding (our setting is a beautiful, rustic barn!). Our struggle is around the difficulty of finding two complimentary dresses, and have decided to have one of us wear white and the other red (traditional Eastern wedding color)…the issue is that most red dresses are bridesmaids dresses and we want two bridal gowns. So, at the risk of being opportunistic, what would you say?

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  3. OMG you two are beautiful and look like models! Have an amazing wedding and marriage, and please share some of the gorgeous photos after the wedding!

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  4. You two are beautiful! Congrats! Just so you know, if you file for a legal domestic partnership, you can change your names for only the cost of the filing ($33?). When my lovely other and I filed, we couldn't change our names because of other reasons. Now, I wish we had and just dealt with it. Also, the domestic partnership won't interfere with a legal civil ceremony should it ever become legal in CA. Best to you both! I hope your wedding is all that you want it to be and more! (:

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    • Leah ~ Was your comment specific to CA or which state? My partner and I are having a civil ceremony later this fall in PA and Julia wants to change her last name to match mine. I need to figure out what the policy is here in PA.

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      • Tiffany – Yes, I was specifying California. I'm not sure how it works if you get married in another state. Best to you!

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  5. I found JayLee photography (Seattle- and Phoenix-based) through OBB. They are giving my partner and I an incredibly stellar deal, and I can't say enough positive about them! We are currently planning an early honeymoon to Seattle to go get our free engagement shoot. Very exciting!

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  6. We had the same thing happen! We approached a family friend who's also a professional wedding photographer. Her prices usually run in the $1500-2000 range, and she offered to do ours for a fraction of the cost — also because she wants to show her support for gay couples!

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  7. Is there any not-tacky way to ask for a discount like this? We're a two-bride couple, too and I've gotten some recommendations for photographers through an OBB photographer that is booked and their portfolios are pretty traditional. I can imagine it's possible they'd want to diversify things a little, but pointing that out seems pretty critical. What do you think?

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    • The least tacky way is to be completely upfront from your very first email. Don't lead them on, and be very clear what you need and what you can give. Give as many details as you can, and if you're doing something unique or unusual on your day that ads to the awesomeness of your already awesome wedding, be sure to mention it. If you are respectful and direct, you'll most likely be very pleasantly surprised.

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