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]