Couldn't afford it, don't regret it: why I skipped wedding photography

May 5 | Guest post by Branwyn

Everyone knows that we loooove us some amazing professional wedding photography, but what about those of us whose ENTIRE wedding budgets are less than a photographer costs? Here's one bride's perspective.

David & Cayla Wedding
Thanks to Tribesmaid Ceiladh for uploading this photo to our Flickr pool.

When my husband and I started planning our wedding, there were few things that he insisted on, including "no strangers." Every person present at our wedding should be a friend or family member we considered close enough to invite to our small, intimate wedding. I couldn't help but agree. I didn't want any strangers there either — not even just passing at a distance.

My husband and I are both introverts, both very private people. We have an independent streak a mile wide, and a strong DIY ethic. We saw no reason for our wedding to be any different. Thoughts of hiring caterers, servers, or musicians were considered and quickly dismissed. No strangers. We even briefly considered hiring people we knew, and dismissed the idea as well. If we wanted them at the wedding, then we wanted them as guests.

Everywhere on the internet I went, everyone echoed the same sentiment: "Hire a good photographer. If you don't, you'll regret it. Doesn't matter if you don't think you want it or can't afford it. Make whatever sacrifices necessary to make it happen."

We could either have the wedding we wanted, or a low- to mid-range photographer with absolutely nothing else. Put that way, the decision was easy.

But the budget for our entire wedding was $1500. That was how much we could afford and felt comfortable spending, and we felt confident we could make everything we wanted in my wedding happen for that amount. We were both unwilling to put off the wedding to save up money, and both unwilling to go into debt for it.

In our area, an "average" wedding photographer charges about $1500. A "good" photographer, about $3000. A photography student from the university, about $800. So, we could either have the wedding we wanted, or a low to mid range photographer with absolutely nothing else. Put that way, the decision was easy.

I want to be very clear here: It's not that we lack appreciation for the art form of photography, or don't think there's any skill involved. It's just not something we chose to prioritize.

I thought about how weddings have been taking place for probably tens of thousands of years, and how photography has only been around for a couple of centuries. Even a couple of generations ago, it was not uncommon to have only a dozen pictures of a wedding, or maybe only one.

That was all I wanted! A dozen nice candid shots of my loved ones. One good picture of my new husband and I together. No group shots, no hundreds and hundreds of pictures to have to sort through, no picture editing to remove my less than flattering bulges or zits or any unfortunately-placed bystanders. Simple and honest and low-stress, like the rest of the wedding we wanted.

So, I said, "fuck it." We would not hire a photographer. If we were to regret it, then so be it. At least we would be honest to our own values.

And you know what? I DON'T REGRET IT!

I made little cards for our photo sharing website and stuck them in a basket of M&Ms for guests to take. My sister-in-law took the majority of our pictures. Several other people also took pictures and shared them with us. We ended up with more than I expected, a few dozen all told. Lovely, honest, imperfect pictures that take me right back to the overwhelming joy and love I felt on my wedding day.

I wanted a wedding where I could truly be present in the moment. I got exactly what I wanted, and I don't regret a thing.

What difficult decisions have you made with your wedding budget? What were your deal-breakers that you couldn't live without? How did you pick what to prioritize?

Get your daily dose of Offbeat AWESOME

  1. I love this post! Great photography was our top priority but I scrapped almost all decor, since we were getting married in my mother's garden which is full of flowers and already lovely. when you're working with a tight budget you gotta make tough decisions!!! I made a different decision than you did but it still felt hard.

    28 agree
    • This is me! My main priority was to get a beautiful venue that would have amazing decor alread so very little was needed. Might do at least center pieces (and obviously table numbers are need), but other than that, the place speaks for itself and needs no sprucing up!

      Admittedly, it isn't just about money…it's about effort. ^__^

      5 agree
      • I feel the very same. I can't stand "special day" " bride" BS to the point that we are having a 2 minute ceremony with 0 guests. No aisle, white dress, flowers or anything typical. At first we thought we should get a witness/photographer but then realized we wouldn't want photos taken during the actual ceremony-it would ruin the intimacy of it. We also don't want corny posed photos or more than 20 shots. Overall it would be dumb to hire someone for that.

  2. While I can't even begin to fathom not having stellar photography at my wedding (I would seriously DIY the whole thing if it meant our budget could go to pictures!) I think the main point here is that you put money into what is important to you and your fiance – which I totally love.

    The best way to make your wedding completely person is to play to your passions. If you are nuts about linens, go crazy on the linens! If your dress doesn't matter that much, but the cake does, find a kickass bakery and go thrift or retail shopping for your outfit.

    If you follow your heart and let go of societal norms, you and your guests will enjoy a wedding that is 100% reflective of you as a couple. No regrets!

    50 agree
  3. Kudos to this bride for knowing herself and her budget and her priorities. As a photographer, I think it's important for couples to understand their budgets and make choices that work for them. As much as I wish I could offer my services for $400 sometimes, it's just not feasible for me…… and I respect that my prices aren't going to work for all couples!

    I'd remind other photographers that couples who can't afford you, aren't your target market. There's no shame in that, nor is there a reason to be offended by it. Do you want a client who asks you to devalue your work or asks you to sell yourself short? No, so just respect that couples who aren't interested in wedding photography, aren't lost clients.

    55 agree
  4. I so appreciate this view being represented here. I had a friend make a very derogatory comment about the low-cost photographer we hired for our wedding, and it just didn't seem like they could grasp that the cost of one of the amazing photographers you see here costs more than what we spent on food for our wedding. I love ooh-ing and ahh-ing over other people's photos, but couldn't justify that cost against providing things that actually made the lived experience of our wedding memorable, comfortable, and what we wanted it to be on the day of. Not to mention that neither of us love having our photo taken! We'll take our basic shots and feel just fine about it. πŸ™‚

    21 agree
    • perhaps you chose a budget package from a very good photographer, but if the derogatory commenter was so unhappy about your choice, did said friend offer to help you find a better photographer and help you pay for that service? I think that would only be fair.

      9 agree
    • I'm so sorry someone made you feel that way.
      As a wedding photographer I try to make sure I have a package that fits a 'budget' bride while still paying me what I feel my work is worth, but I have to understand not everyone can or wants to put that kind of money toward photos.

      That being said, anyone who badmouths the quality of photographer you hired is extremely rude. If this person is in the industry, they should be ashamed of themselves. You have to respect the choices of the couple or keep your mouth shut. This is not the milestone where others get to be Judgy McJudgerson.

      6 agree
  5. Thank you so much for this. Ultimately, my fiance and I are hiring a photographer, but she's a university student and it's going to end up costing us about 1/5 of what we were going to have to pay. Our wedding budget is slightly larger than yours, but not by much, and like you, the prices I've seen in this area range from about $1500 to some at over $4000. Photography isn't a huge priority for us, but we wanted one person dedicated to taking pictures just to be sure we had some. They can be candid or staged, just as long as we have a few. I'm so glad to see that I wasn't the only one who felt this way.

    5 agree
  6. If not for the fact that my best friends are photographers and willing to do it for us as a wedding gift, we too would have to scrap the wedding photos in order to afford the wedding. Luckily, my friends will be doing the photos. So not only will I get great shots, but they will be special to us because she knows what is important to us, what memories we would want to treasure forever, and she is very creative. I so respect that you prioritized on this.

    5 agree
    • Yeah, I'm with you. 10 years after my wedding my biggest regret is not prioritizing wedding photography… but for some couples, photography just isn't in the budget OR something they're that interested in. So even though I don't share Branwyn's experience or opinion, it felt important to represent her perspective here.

      32 agree
  7. Props to you for doing what you want with your wedding & SUPER congrats!

    BUT something about your post made me a little sad, particularly with idea that you wanted your wedding photos to be 'honest'. As a wedding photographer, my goal is to accurately portray weddings for what they are. The ugly cries. The back fat bulges. That time your aunt make a really drunk speech that she won't remember in the morning. My work IS simple, honest, real. Of course, not every photographer operates in that way, but wedding photography, in itself, is NOT dishonest. Wedding photography can be simple, honest, and it doesn't have to interrupt your day. You can be present for your wedding & also have professional wedding photography. We aren't all divas.

    Maybe you had some bad experiences in the past, but I couldn't help but share my perspective.

    46 agree
    • That stuck out for me, too. "Simple and honest and low-stress" and "having a wedding photographer" are not mutually exclusive concepts! There are tons of great wedding photographers out there, who really care about their clients and about making meaningful pictures. I'm sorry that some people have a hard time finding them. πŸ™

      For me, I can't really relate to this since I AM a wedding photographer, and the wedding photographer we've hired for our wedding accounts for by far the biggest piece of the budget pie. Those are my priorities and I regret nothing; I am glad the OP stuck to her guns and made a decision based on her priorities, and that she has no regrets.

      20 agree
    • OP here. Thanks for your perspective. I'm glad to hear you provide simple, honest, real photography to your clients. Even with a pretty good idea that we weren't going to hire a photographer, just trying to do some research and find local photographers and figure out how much they charge and what they provide I found to be anything but simple and low-stress, but I also recognize that I may have a bit of an unusual perspective. For instance, I found the idea of staying up until 1am the night before my wedding cutting steaks and steaming artichokes to be far less stressful (and, in my mind, simpler) than the idea of hiring a caterer.

      As to the "honest" part, it was not my intention to imply that professional photography isn't or can't be honest. From what I could gather on their websites, the local professionals around here offer photo editing and touch ups, which isn't something that appeals to me personally (I wouldn't even call it dishonest, but it seems less appealing to me). I've even spoken to some people who talked about asking for unedited, un-touched pictures from their wedding photographers and being told no. This might just be a small minority of professionals that do that, but it was something that I didn't even have to worry about.

      10 agree
      • By photo editing, especially for wedding photographers, that doesn't mean extensive photoshop, its usually a clean process (contrast, exposure, white balance, cropping ) A photographer will never give you an unedited file because its not processed (these are things that the lab used to do in the day of film) So you are essentially asking a photographer for their film, Just wanted to clarify. Some photographers do more extensive editing but thats usually more apparent in their portfolios and upon consultations πŸ˜‰

        22 agree
  8. I couldn't have said it better. We shopped for a photographer in the beginning of the planning process but it just got overwhelming. I actually do portrait photography on the side and it just didn't seem fair to have someone else do my wedding photos when I have always done my own photos. Lol. So I have set up a time and place to take our wedding photos of just our wedding party, then all other photos will be candid, all natural.

    1 agrees
    • "So I have set up a time and place to take our wedding photos of just our wedding party, then all other photos will be candid, all natural."

      I was thinking that! Seems like a good compromise between no pro photos and an all day photographer.

      2 agree
  9. We were the same way. We couldn't even think about getting a photographer because their prices were more than our entire budget.
    We lucked out because a high school friend of my husband, who is an amateur photographer, offered his services as his wedding gift to us. He was just close enough of a friend to include him in our celebration but not too close that we would feel bad about him taking pictures instead of enjoying himself. The pictures were jut fine and I don't regret not shelling out hundreds for some pictures that only I will care about in a few years.

    1 agrees
  10. I feel the same way. Too many people transform into completely different people for their wedding. .. but I can't think of a better day to just be the person your friends, family, and spouse love you as. I've never been professionally photographed before so it would just be awkward. I also had trouble finding a photographer who didn't try to blatantly overcharge while having no set prices or wedding photos on his site, or a photographer who didn't feel the need to pressure me into several shoots. What's the point of engagement photos? I have no idea; therefore, I don't need them. Pictures of me getting dressed? All the bridal shots. .. Why would I want a bunch of pictures of myself by myself on the day that no other day beats as being about TWO people?? Why do NONE of the photographers I've said that to understand the simplicity of it?? ? My sister photographs as a hobby and I honestly have never seen anyone pull out their album of wedding photos, or display more than one, if any, so I fully trust that we can get quality photos. Profesional just means it's done as a profession, not that they're the best. Plus it's just way too expensive.

    7 agree
    • "Plus it's just way too expensive."

      I strongly disagree with this. The amount of work photographers put in is massive. I completely respect that some of us don't have the budget for photography, but I'm not ok with dismissing the value of what photographers do, or criticizing them for charging enough to make a living wage.

      I'm really hoping we can talk about this issue without being reduced to dismissing photographers' work OR dismissing the value of photography for those of us who DO prioritize it.

      Very much related post:
      http://offbeathome.com/its-out-of-my-budget

      75 agree
    • I would just like to point out that most photographers throw in a free engagement session so they can get a feel for the couple. Mine specifically told us that the engagement pictures were a way for us to get to know one another and for the day-of pictures to go smoother. We will be "practicing" certain poses so instead of wasting time during the short window on the wedding day, she can just say "elbow" and we'll know what general pose to hit and she can move us around from there. It's also a way for us to communicate with the photographer what kind of pictures we liked or didn't liked. So maybe we didn't like the way one particular pose looked, like it was too formal or made my arm look fat. Then she knows not to waste time shooting that for the wedding pictures.

      8 agree
    • "What's the point of engagement photos? I have no idea; therefore, I don't need them. "
      It's a test run, a practise so you guys can get used to working together and talk about anything you didn't particularly like. A lot of people use them in the wedding somehow too – whether it's the Save The Date cards or favours or whatever. It might sound dumb to you, but when you're forking over big bucks for wedding photos, the practise-run is invaluable.

      "Pictures of me getting dressed? All the bridal shots. .. Why would I want a bunch of pictures of myself by myself on the day that no other day beats as being about TWO people?? "

      It's their job to capture the whole day. Seems like its pretty common for the whole wedding day to rush by in a whirl of colours and peoples faces – the photos provide a permanent memory of the day, more than just a picture of how the bride and groom looked.

      If none of that is important to you, that's totally cool. But I don't think you can be dismissive of it.

      6 agree
      • "It's their job to capture the whole day."

        It's their job to capture the whole day if that's what the couple want.

        For me, photography wasn't a big priority. All I really wanted was a photographer for the for the ceremonies (so we could tell guests to put their cameras away during the ceremony), a few of the standard posed shots with relatives and a few candid shots of guests before and after the ceremony. I found a cheap local photographer who charged by the hour and hired him for a few hours to just cover the ceremonies and the time immediately before and after. I didn't particularly want a stranger around whilst I was getting dressed and the blurry photos of the reception were enough for me to remember it by. (Plus, I don't think it would have been a appropriate for the photographer to capture some of the more memorable parts of the reception, like when I realised that two of my friends were having sex in the kitchen.)

        4 agree
        • Nothing wrong with not wanting getting ready shots. I usually seek to avoid things like "bride without her makeup" shots, because lots of us tend to severely dislike these.

          When I'm shooting in the bridal suite, I like to be capturing moments like a parent or loved one zipping up the bride's dress, or helping her put on her garter and shoes. Those are the kind of getting ready shots people love.

          I'm surprised there wasn't a 'tog around that would cut you some kind of deal for just ceremony and a couple formals? Significantly less work (I think); most of my stress as a wedding photographer is from being in the bridal suite with a very anxious woman who put down or whose family put down a lot of money on this event.

          1 agrees
    • As someone who prioritized photos (and found an amaaaazing price for how talented and awesome the photographers were — after the OBB discount, it was $1300 (plus tip) for 2 photographers all-inclusive, in Seattle. and i would promote them here, but they moved out of state and are not doing wedding photog anymore)…
      I had also never been professionally photographed before, but it was not awkward at all. In fact, I basically never noticed they were there except for during the few posed family/friends portraits and the 'first look' (and even then, my mind really was not on them. it was a really emotional, really "real" time, and their only posing advice was, 'keep kissing if you want.')

      We did not do an engagement shoot, but we answered a big Q&A beforehand, so they knew what we were about and what our photo priorities were. That way, they didn't need to check in with us about anything. We could just have our day and later have beautiful photos of it.

      Having them there allowed us to have an otherwise "unplugged" wedding, which meant to me that everyone else was actually much MORE present (we are not smartphone people, and it would've driven me crazy for people to have their phones out at the wedding), and then, soon after the wedding, I got an incredible DVD full of photos (over 1300) which I actually had trouble narrowing down into a 300-photo album. Looking through the album never ceases to bring me (or my husband) joy, and 2 years after the wedding, I do look through it at least once a month. It is especially good if we get in a small fight, to look at it to bring us back to reality. We also got a massive photo-on-canvas (cheap with a groupon) of one of our favorite shots from the first look, so I get to see that hanging up every day. It calms me.

      There's only like one (amazingly gorgeous and unposed, btw) picture of me by myself, and at the same time, the other photographer took an unposed picture of my husband, reading over his vows before our first look (so cool for me to be able to see later!!) But, anyway, (for me) a wedding is not just about 2 people. If we felt that way, we would have eloped. It is about our whole community celebrating our love. I am so happy not just to have pictures of my boo and I, but also my parents' reaction when we surprised them by using the same vows they had, my friends and I laughing hysterically while they tried to put makeup on me, my little dog running to give us the rings, etc etc.

      And the day was such a love blur that there were actually people there (of 125 guests) who I didn't even talk to that day. and then I saw them in pictures and said, "What!? I didn't even know they were there!" but there was the proof, them watching the ceremony with sappy well-wishes all over their faces. Love love love.

      We looked extra-amazing that day (got my hair done, dress that gave me never-before-seen cleavage, husband in costume tux) and so it is nice, on days when we're sitting around in food-stained pjs to be able to look and say, 'We clean up nice.' (Not to say it's about fake perfection. I LOVE the copious amounts of "ugly" crying pictures of me, which, once again, I never noticed them taking.)

      Friends were very happy to get copies of pictures as well, since they were all lookin' stylin' in beautifully taken photos. It took some work, but I managed to send out selected prints with all the thank you notes.

      I completely respect that people have all different priorities (this comment is not in response to the original post but to the comment, with more of my own babbling thrown in), and I fully believe that even people who really value photos can often find a talented friend to do them for free/cheap (yay!), but I just needed to gush about my own experience and to say, actually, some of us DO pull out our albums.

      I do think it helped that I found my photographers on OBB.

      P.S. Living in a punk house with a bunch of roomies for our first 2 years of marriage instead of off on our own easily offset the cost of photography and a million other things. Sometimes super-debt is an issue, but for us, it was all about priorities.

      2 agree
  11. Thank you SO much for this. Our wedding budget is $3000, and with the prices of photographers, there's just no way that we could fit a "good" photographer into that. I've felt so much pressure to have a pricey photographer, especially from all the blogs and comments of people recanting on how very necessary it is. But at the end of the day, I look at it like this: Of all the precious memories in my life, the amazing moments, my children being born, my grad convocation, my grandparents, I don't have a single professional picture. My cherished memories are captured by Polaroid, blurry 4X6's from "old school" film cameras. Even newer, digital cameras, or cell phone. Does that lessen the memories? Not at all. As long as I have a handful (or two) of great candid shots, I will be more than happy!
    Also, in lieu of gifts for our Jack and Jill wedding shower, the guests will be asked to contribute money towards one major gift, which we chose to be a really nice camera. πŸ™‚

    7 agree
    • I'm the opposite; I don't have any Polaroids or blurry 4X6's or even many cell phone photos of ANYTHING that's happened in my life, because I'm too busy DOING it to take pictures. I'm super sad that I don't have a single good picture of my partner proposing to me–it was one of the things I'd specifically asked for, that he'd arranged for, and it didn't happen because the person who was supposed to do it wasn't paying attention. And then the couple pictures we did get are suuuuuper washed out because it was foggy and they used a flash.

      It was that disappointment that made me realize how much I really wanted professional photos. There will be 10 professional photographers at our weddings as guests, but we hired someone else. Because I couldn't ask my friends to not be fully present with us at our wedding, and because if the pictures came out horrible I didn't want it to ruin a friendship. Thankfully, we don't have to pay for the photographer until 4 weeks after the wedding, which means it's due 2 months after just about every other expense has to be paid anyway. So, some of our wedding present money might be spent on it. *shrug* In any event, it's part of our budget and we're saving toward it even as we are buying the other things, and it's most decidedly going to be the biggest piece of the pie, but that's ok.

      I think to me, the most interesting part of this article is seeing how people's personalities are reflected in their priorities!

  12. Thank you for this! I've been in an uncomfortable camp regarding this for a while now, namely: "Photography is important to us, but also… we can't afford it." I tried to let it go, even though it was important, but coming across those "if photography is important to you, spend as much as you can on it and prioritize it!" articles made me deeply unhappy, every time.

    What we have done is found an up-and-coming photographer (on Craigslist – he had actually posted an ad looking for a gig as a second photographer on a wedding to build up experience), who we are just paying as much as we can scrape together. I will always wish we could pay him more than what we'll be able to, but I feel a million times better that we will have a photographer (one whose work we like, to boot!), and I am glad that someone like him will get some portfolio-building out of it.

    7 agree
    • If you like the photos, you could always give him a bonus later when you can afford it. Maybe save up a bit and get some anniversary photos, hire him and pay him a little extra?

      1 agrees
  13. I'm glad to see this post. Although amazing photography is amazing, and I'm not knocking it, it's not everyone's priority.

    I had a much larger budget that's the OP. I only hired a photographer because it was important to others to have someone responsible for taking pictures (and nothing else), and he was a low-key, affordable small town guy willing to do post-ceremony and reception only. I did not want a photographer there during set up or while I was trying to get ready or during the ceremony. I have some great photos, some adequate photos, and no regrets, despite the near-constant message that photography should be the top wedding priority because the photos live on. For me, the photos are there to help trigger the memories, not so much as an entity in themselves.

    6 agree
  14. Im getting married June 2015. found out recently that the photographer i wanted is moving to another province so she wont be available. My dad (who used to be a wedding photographer) told me not to worry there will be plenty of cameras. But still i think if anything i will ask a friend to take photos for me plus any pics my dad isnt in he can do some and if we need lighting my dad has the who setup of lights ( he did weddings, proms, the works) incase of rain and we need indoor pics we have lights already.. i was worried when i found out the photographer was moving.. but hey thats money im saving and can go somewhere else. like more for food or the DJ or more decorations.

    1 agrees
  15. Where is it that "good" wedding photographers get paid $3000? Ooof, do I live in the boonies or something? I'm a photographer who has a BA in photography and wide range of experience, and I've never been able to get a fee more than $1000. Not that I'm, the most amazing magical photographer in the world or anything — I'm certainly not — but I've never left a couple unhappy!

    1 agrees
      • Also, while that's the average, we've got one for $1,100. She's fantastic, but just getting started. If we really couldn't have found someone good for less than 5k, we would have gone without and had only candids. You'd remember the moment just as well and while they're less frame-worthy, they're still evocative. I agree with the op, we very nearly went without photography as well due to budgetary constraints.

        1 agrees
    • In major cities $3,000 is low-midrange for a good photographer. I'm in NYC and charge around $4,000. You should consider raising your prices especially if you have happy couples that can vouch for you!

      8 agree
    • Philadelphia suburbanite here… When I was searching for a photographer, that was about the going rate for "basic" packages with most of the "experienced pro's" I looked at. What was included varied greatly, but almost never included all hi-res digital or a copyright release (something that was vitally important to me… I dreamed of creative commons, but not one photographer I spoke with was willing to go there with me) .

      We ended up going with an 'up and coming' photographer who recently finished art school and worked with my wife. After a year of experience (and building up a decent portfolio), her prices are currently about $1500 for 8 hours of coverage, including a 2nd shooter, editing, a DVD of hi-res images, and a copyright release. As one of her first weddings (and real-life friends), we received a significant discount.

      I was apprehensive at first, since when we booked with her she had no previous wedding gigs, but she had a good enough art porfolio and we had a limited enough budget for photography that I was willing to take a chance. Looking back now, I would happily pay the full $1500 for what we received.

    • In central MA, most wedding photography starts at the 3k range. Thankfully I've found a photographer who will be about $1200 – we still have to meet with them to make sure my fiance likes them. I'm sure he will, but if not, I think I'll have to reach out to friends and family for help/ideas because as much as I want great photo,I ddon't want them badly enough to break the bank. For us, it's partly important to have nice/professional photoz, but more important that all of our guests can party and have a good time without relying solely on them to capture everything on film.

    • I've found if you set your fees that way, they will come.
      Wedding photography is a touch different, but with portraits I found my clients are less likely to flake out on a session or hassle me with strange requests, and they usually really value the pro-lab prints I include in that price, prompting them to order a bunch more.
      Ultimately, pay yourself what you feel your worth. As long as you're not hurting your business, there is absolutely nothing wrong with charging <1,000.

  16. So glad this post came along when it did. I'm getting married Friday and our photography is being done by my step-dad and a close friend. Photography actually was very important to me – I fucking love pictures – but we had a very small budget and I knew that if I was going to pay, I was going to be very selective about who I'd work with. As such, the photographer I really wanted – an OBB Sponsor! – was just out of my range. So I let it go. My step-dad is great with a camera and really excels at posed shots, and my friend is excellent at candids. Combined with everyone else's photos cropping up on facebook and the like, I'm not worried. Of all the weddings I've been to over the past couple years I've liked the guest's photos best. (Not to knock professional photogs- you guys are mostly awesome, I'm just not into the style of the ones that come across my dash.) And honestly, with how low-key and laid back our wedding is, it just makes more sense to do it this way. But that's just us.

    So I'm just hoping I don't regret the decision. I don't think I will, because when it comes down to it they are just pictures. I'm not making a big wedding album or scrapbook. I just want a couple to look back on and smile.

    5 agree
  17. I can totally understand this. I married in 1990 and was the only photographer among my friends. (This was back in film days when most people did not own a camera.) My total budget was Β£600 and a photographer back then was Β£500!
    So from the start I accepted that we couldn't afford one. Fortunately my husband had a friend who was a keen amateur photographer and he did the photos for us as a gift.
    I wish I'd taken my own camera to the wedding to capture candid shots, I never thought to take it.
    Also, having an amateur meant that the group shots took AGES and we had far too many of them. Sadly, there are no photos that I have ever liked enough to display around the house. Not because they are bad photos, our friend just didn't have the confidence to arrange us or capture me from flattering angles.
    My teenage hobby eventually became my job and I now work as a wedding & event photographer. It's made me realise how much skill and practice is required to get great candids and natural looking portraits!

    3 agree
  18. Unfortunately it's not you, the bride and groom, who suffer. It's your children, grand children etc that will only have faded low quality prints to marvel at. That's really sad in my opinion.

    Wedding albums are usually the first heirloom, and the longest surviving.
    I personally have my great grand parents albums and I cherish them, and I appreciate the legacy they represent.

    I had hired a low budget shooter for my wedding – regretted it every time my children pulled the family photos out.

    Perhaps you should have waited a tad longer, saved a little longer. Just say'n.

    10 agree
    • This isn't a place for shame, Greg. Your experience is regretful, and that's unfortunate. I have one picture, a group shot of the whole bridal party at the altar, of my parents wedding, and they're divorced so it's in a bin somewhere in my garage. They spent a fortune on a photographer. Just sayin πŸ˜›

      36 agree
    • Hey Greg, I'm going to assume you're new to Offbeat Bride. To echo what Shayna said, we are not about shaming anyone's choices here. As much as we don't want people dismissing photography in this thread, we also don't want to shame those who can't afford or didn't prioritize certain things.

      I would also recommend not assuming that all couples are even going to have children, or grandchildren. This coming from a child-free editor who shelled out some big bucks for wedding photography. That was a choice made for ourselves, not for anyone else. And that's what we encourage here.

      43 agree
    • For what it's worth, I'm the only surviving member of my mother's family. When my grandmother died a few months ago, all her children had already predeceased her, and I was the only grandchild. Which means I inherited boxes and boxes and boxes of family memorabilia. Too much for one young woman. And I'll cherish many of them for years and years, including the one posed photo I have of my grandmother on her wedding day. But I'm not planning on having children, so I have no idea what happens to all those family heirlooms when I die. And I can't turn my house into a shrine to display the memories of my mother's family.

      So I'm chiming in here to say that no couple should feel obligated to pay for something out of their price range/ interest level on the off-chance they have grandchildren who expect professional photographs. Maybe the couple in the story isn't planning on having kids. Maybe they'll have a boatload of kids and those kids will never have kids. Maybe they'll have an army of great-great-grandchildren who will be thrilled with the photographs they do inherit, professional or not.

      33 agree
      • Just a small suggestion about what to do with the family photos/heirlooms. You could maybe get in touch with the historical society in your area an see if they would be interested in having them?

        My family is on a huge genealogy kick right now, and we have been able to find pictures of relatives/ancestors online because people have donated collections like that. Enjoy your link to the past, and don't feel guilty when it's time to downsize.

        3 agree
    • OP here. I'm sorry that you regretted the choice that you made. But the thing is, we could have waited longer and saved up more money, but that doesn't change the "how much we were willing to spend" number. If I'd had more money at the time, I would have spent the same on the wedding and put more towards other things I've been saving up for in my life. It's more about priorities than budget.

      There are only a couple of pictures of my grandparents' wedding floating around in my family. They are faded. They are probably what you would call "low quality." And I love them! They are almost magical. On the other hand, there are several hundred high-quality pictures from my sister's wedding, and I feel like I can't enjoy any of them because I find the quantity totally overwhelming.

      Some people like having hundreds of pictures, and that's awesome. Personally, I'm a "less is more" sort of person.

      24 agree
    • My parents' wedding pictures are entirely a friend's candid shots and some assorted polaroids. They're plenty.

      6 agree
    • ps, No. I saw one picture of my mom and my dad together in dess/tux and I really never cared for that. I dont knwo what they did at their wedding, I dont really know how moms dress looked (bc the picture was Bust-style)

      So, you know, not every child cares for such stuff. I never saw Picture of my grandgrand parents or of my grandmas mariages, because I am german and both parts of my family at that time had to flee, my grandma from Kaliningrad in January. She just simply had not the time to take anything with her (she had no documents) Similar the other half of my Family.

      So I dont think pictures are so important per se- for some people they are, for other people (like me-I dont have any pictures of me or important stuff in my life because I never cared for them. I think that there are other people like me with no regards for pictures/old Picturebooks)
      So, maybe thats why its not important to me-because both could tell me about their experience and didnt need pictures for that. You take what you can get- in their cases, which are extreme, other stuff was far more important.

      But maybe its a cultural thin, I dont know.

      Also, my parents can tell me of their Marriage should I show interest enough to indicate.

      1 agrees
  19. Thanks so much for writing this! I've been reading article after article about how important getting "the right" wedding photographer is – and since my engagement is fairly short, we went with the wedding photographer we could get/is available. I've been semi-stressed ever since about the photos not ending up being as awesome as they should be because I didn't make the right choice when it came to a photographer.

    This post reminds me that wedding pictures are just one piece of the puzzle – and that it does not have to be the most important piece! This thought has relieved a great deal of stress for me – so thanks!

    5 agree
  20. My parents didn't hire a professional wedding photographer. They had two "formal" shots taken at a local photography studio (I think it was like a Sears studio equivalent). One of them together and one of my mom by herself. They wanted to have a professional portrait of themselves all dressed up on their wedding day, but couldn't afford/didn't want to pay someone to take photos for the whole thing.

    7 agree
    • That's the good old-fashioned way to do it! Might be a little trouble to get dressed up twice, but it's still less expensive than a full day of photography. This is how it was done for decades πŸ™‚

      8 agree
  21. I never actually understood the whole wedding photographs hoopla. All of my sisters and and friends had the expensive photographers, paid the equivalent of down payment on a luxury car for the the photos, stuck one in a frame and the rest in a book that got looked at a couple of times and then relegated to a closet. Or uploaded on line to be looked at a few times then forgotten. So now that we're talking about getting married I'm having a hard time with the whole photographer issue. Everyone says I'll regret it if I don't but honestly I'd rather create a wedding facebook page, let our friends and family take all the pictures they want and upload them for everone to see. We are not formal people by any means so for us it seems silly to pretend otherwise but I'm having a hard time convincing anyone of my point of view. πŸ™

    16 agree
    • I am using WedPics, a free smartphone App for my guests at the wedding. All the pictures they take, upload in real-time to the same online account, and anyone who knows the password can view them πŸ™‚

      7 agree
    • For whatever it's worth, our photographer uploaded some of the wedding photos to a downloadable phone app. Any time I want a little "pick me up" I just click the icon on my phone and look at my wedding photos. Our wedding was 6 months ago but I probably still do this at least once a week. There were SO MANY good memories packed into that one day that I like to just bask in the memories of feeling so happy and loved.

  22. As a wedding photographer who is getting married at the end of June with a $1,500 budget, I have also decided not to hire a professional. The first question everyone asks me is, "Who's going to shoot your wedding?!"

    I understand the whole "people spend their money on what's important to them deal" but I don't want to give up an enormous chunk of my budget in order to have wedding images because it's not the most important thing to me in terms of OUR wedding. I'm sure others will GASP at a wedding photographer who confesses that but it's how I feel as a person who is planning a budget wedding.

    My ideal clients aren't faced with the same predicament. Fortunately for my couples, they have people helping them pay for their weddings so they don't have to make such difficult decisions about the budget.

    Thanks for sharing! I'd love to see a breakdown of where your budget went because finding good budget wedding info on the Internet hasn't been so easy for me!

    21 agree
  23. Thank you for posting! My husband and I made a similar decision, despite what everyone was saying. We have a few family members and friends who are great amateur photographers with nice cameras, and we ended up with enough great, high quality photos to fill an album. It was fun to crowd source, especially since it helped involve people in the wedding. Side note: we found that involving people in various stages of preparation (like decorating) and execution (like photography) was a good way for our guests to spend time with each other, and they loved it. Best of luck to you!

    6 agree
  24. I am in the boat of "photographers cost more than my entire wedding budget."

    I told my fiance that more than anything else I wanted nice pictures of us getting married, even if we got married in a courthouse. I now am struggling with the idea of basically doubling our costs for a photographer.

    I'm not sure where I'll land when it comes down to it. I really value the photography, but I can't even fathom spending that much on it when we aren't even spending that much on the entire shebang. But I know I will regret it if I don't get pictures like I want. :/

    1 agrees
  25. My wedding is in September and I'm also forgoing a wedding photographer! Thank you for this! I get the whole "photos for a lifetime" thing, if that's your thing! I guess I'm totally happy looking through digital photos. I don't print anything out anymore. And with all the free filters out there, everyone can make everything look great. Not great like a professional photographer, but totally good enough for me!

    10 agree
  26. I wish I felt the same way in the end. I didn't hire a photographer. I had a few family members shoot some pics, thought all would be great. Well it wasn't. I ended up with not even one good photo. It is the only regret from my wedding. The only thing I didn't really scrimp on was the honeymoon, looking back, we could have went somewhere else and spent some funds to get someone who was able to at least get us a few awesome images from our wedding.

    7 agree
  27. We also didn't hire a professional photographer, photos were not a priority for us. My uncle and aunt as a wedding gift to us took photos on the day, and also a few videos (my uncle has always been the guy behind the camera at all family occasions). We had no expectations of our non-professional wedding photos while in the planning process, and after the wedding we loved them.

    I love my non-professional photos, in all their home-done messiness. Sometimes the lighting is weird, or the photos have strange compositions, or people were caught with their mouths open trying to eat dinner: these photos will never win awards but they are ours. I like that these photos look just like the photos of every other family party I've ever been to. Our wedding is visually a part of a long family tradition of get-togethers. It's this strange continuity that I didn't expect and really appreciate.

    My favorite part of the whole shebang is a random five minute video shot before the ceremony where my aunt left the camera on (facing no one in particular, and for the first ten seconds facing her very pretty shoes) while family members made small talk (and in the background is my cousin being absolutely flummoxed by how to sign a guestbook with a quill pen, which is a really brilliant bit of accidental physical comedy). I watch it and I remember how much of the day was spent sitting around and catching up with people.

    The choice we made wouldn't work for everyone, but it worked really well for us.

    10 agree
    • That sounds awesome and would totally appeal to me too. I love the phrase "home-done messiness."

      I think it's the expectation that matters most as to whether forgoing the pro photography will be something you regret or not. I can appreciate some nice wedding pictures, but they were never something that I really wanted for myself. If that's what you want and you don't hire a photographer, you probably will regret it. Personally, I've always loved candid shots. Little glimpses into peoples personalities and what they were doing right then, like your cousin and the quill pen.

      There's a picture from my parents' wedding (I was 9 or 10 at the time) taken by one of my relatives that just shows, for all appearances, my Grandfather and I both standing together in our fancy clothes, sneezing. Why we are both sneezing, I have no idea, but I laugh joyously every time I see it. The picture is interesting, and personal, and silly, and it tells a story. That's the kind of photography that I really, truly love.

      5 agree
    • If they didn't want any strangers at their wedding, it makes perfect sense that they wouldn't put the pics on the internet for countless strangers to view! Their choice.
      Luckily this site is filled with awesome wedding porn, so we can still all get our fix. πŸ™‚

      13 agree
  28. Hi, I'm the OP's husband. I thought I would chime in and explain some things from my perspective.

    Price considerations aside, I simply do not believe that "professionals" are the only ones who can create the results you want, in any field.

    For a little background you should know that the wedding took place on a terrace next to my fortified tower house that me wife and I built ourselves. We poured our own concrete, where our own carpenters plumbers, electricians, architects, etc. There were no professionals involved and this is our one and only home that we have now been living in for six years. It doesn't leak, hasn't burned down and keeps us warm and comfortable and safe.

    If we hired a professional for our wedding photos it would have been virtually the only professional to ever be hired to work on our property and I can't help but feel it would have felt weird. I think I would have ended up spending the whole day wondering what kind of judgments the photographer was making about us.

    It's not that I don't believe professionals have value, but they are not the ONLY way to do things and I think in general the innate skills that most people possess or are capable of learning have been suppressed by our professional obsessed society that allows 'hobbies' but expects that all the real work be done by professionals.

    13 agree
  29. I had to check to make sure I didn't write this post. πŸ™‚ So many of the things you mentioned were important for us as well.

    After spending so much time apart in a long distance relationship and the fact that our families live far apart from each other, I just wanted our wedding to be about TOGETHERNESS. So we spent our money on a lake house where everyone could stay spend quality time with each other. I didn't want to fuss over outfits, hair, endless poses for photos, etc. because it's not our jam.
    My husband's uncle is far from a professional photographer, but he captured some nice moments for us. I wanted that singular "THIS IS A WEDDING PHOTO" photo to hang on our wall, and we got it. The rest of the wall is filled with our pre-marriage adventures, and we have to leave room for what is to come.

    So 2 years later I am still 100% happy with our choices!

    5 agree
    • Sounds like we have similar ideas. My hair and makeup were done by my mother (who is not a professional hair or makeup person, just an awesome, loving mother), each in less than 10 minutes. I think I wore less makeup on my wedding day than most women wear on a daily basis. Mostly I wanted to hang out with my guests and have a fun party.

      2 agree
  30. I guess I should also say that perhaps unlike my wife I really do like photography, I did want pictures, lots of them! And I got them too. My wife was being conservative when she said several dozen, we ended up with over two hundred. Many them are not great, as in they they may not be artistically framed or choreographed but every one is an accurate representation of a moment in time and place that for whatever reason, the photographer found important. The pictures I have are not of my wedding the way an outsider saw it, they are of the way my friends saw it. I think that is the magic of photography, especially digital photography where anyone can take hundreds or thousands of pictures cheaply and easily and to store them and share them forever.

    6 agree
  31. Your wedding photos are great! I love your beautiful smile, gorgeous dress, your husband's totally cool togs, your cake, your family, your DOG – it's all wonderful. The happiness and the love just shines out of your pictures. How lovely!

    15 agree
  32. That makes a lot of sense! I've found there's often too much focus on preserving the wedding day itself through photos, videos, cake/dress/flower preservation, etc. I'd rather focus on the exciting future my husband and I have in store instead of reliving one day of the marriage over and over.

    Yet my dad is an excellent photographer, and he volunteered to take photos for my sister's wedding. He was too emotionally overwhelmed by the event to focus on the photography. He cried with happiness during the ceremony and later felt embarrassed he didn't take more pictures. I'm hiring an impartial photographer so my dad and other guests can just enjoy the moment.

    3 agree
  33. I love that you shared this view, as its not something people hear often!

    As a photographer I also find myself missing how just a few photos could feel like "enough". From my childhood I have a couple handful's of great photos, and I can't imagine how overwhelmed I would be if I had a full 'session' to go along with each of those. Does that make sense?? Haha.

    I'm glad you still got photos that will ultimately just help you trigger the memories you've made.

    4 agree
    • I think this is a big thing for some people. Many people, I gather, would like to have 700-1000 pictures so they could sort through and pick out the very best ones. Personally, I find this idea overwhelming, and looking at a few dozen (or as my husband pointed out, a bit over 200) felt about right. Or maybe it was just that since they were *my* wedding pictures I didn't lose interest as quickly as I do when looking at other people's wedding pictures.

      A side story: When I was a child, I attended my cousin's wedding. It was small: there were 9 people there total, including bride, groom, and officiant. It happened in my grandfather's living room. One of the family members, I don't remember who, had a camera (it might have even been a disposable, it wasn't much). Not sure how, I ended up with 4 of those wedding pictures in my shoebox of miscellaneous pictures, which I believed to be duplicates. Years later, when I hadn't seen my cousin or his family in probably 10 years, I saw a post on Facebook from my cousin's wife, still hurt and sad after all these years that no pictures of her wedding survived due to certain members of the family who didn't like her. I was surprised since I thought they had those pictures. So, I pulled out my shoebox, sifted through all those pictures until I found the 4 that I had, now a bit dinged up. I scanned them into my computer and emailed them to her. These four low-quality dinged up pictures brought her tears of joy! I got emails of thanks from her, my cousin, and their daughter.

      Some people would be horribly disappointed about having only 4 "low-quality" wedding pictures. She was overjoyed. It's all relative, and it's all about expectation. If you really want the 700 Pinterest-worthy pictures and you go without a professional photographer, you will almost certainly be disappointed. I expected and would have been happy with less than I got, so I was delighted. My cousin, who thought she had no wedding pictures for 10 years, was overjoyed by suddenly having four.

      11 agree
  34. Our wedding cost us $3000 in 2004. That included everything from the venue to the food to the dress, to the rings…everything. Having pictures to look back on was a huge priority (and a DJ….because this girl loves to dance.) We decided to forgo a wedding cake (hundreds of dollars saved right there), flower arrangements (I had my bouquet and that was pretty much it), wedding party costs (we had no wedding party, just the two of us up there!) and we got married on a Monday which saved us tons of money on our venues. Our photographer was still portfolio building…..so not the highest priced option by any means, but I spent countless hours looking through websites and portfolios to find someone whose work I enjoyed and could afford. She fit the bill…and while we could have had better photos from a more experienced photographer, I am just glad to have SOME professional images to look back on.

  35. Oh good grief! It's like I wrote this post to myself from 5 months in the future! πŸ™‚

    Thanks so much for sharing. We also have an intimate, $1500 budget wedding, and we're also DIYing a lot of the wedding (I'm making a lot of the decorations, our friend is officiating, we're having a potluck reception)! We decided to have a photo/video upload station (http://offbeatbride.com/2014/01/photo-uploading-station), but have still been going back and forth on whether to have a professional photographer for just a couple hours. My Guy and I are both pretty modest so before the ceremony pics are out for us, and we both like to edit our own photographs, so we don't necessarily need photo editing either.

    However, I still think I want a handful of "formal" pics, just because. But, this gives me a lot more to think about, so thanks!

    2 agree
    • A lot of 'togs aren't cool with the self-editing because they don't want an expectation of their brand to be different from what they do.

      I let ONE person do that. They selective colored things like shoes and eyes. Something I abhor. I had requests for months for it. :/

  36. Thank you for this!!! We've caught a LOT of flack for not having a photographer, but we're sticking to our guns πŸ™‚

    We feel it will be better for people we know and love to snap pictures of us and share them with us <3

    5 agree
  37. Love this! To me, the whole point of this post is that you two did what made sense for you as a couple. You were totally confident in your decision and your "amateur" photos rock! I can find nothing to regret here πŸ™‚

    We couldn't afford to shell out top dollars for photography, so I hired a high school friend who was studying photography at the time and had some wedding second shooter experience. I'm over the moon with our pictures, even if my mother had her constant and vocal doubts before, during, and after. We LOVE our pictures and have many of them framed in the house to see every day.

    4 agree
  38. It's so funny that this has popped up today! Our wedding was 6 weeks ago, and this week I've been drafting a little post (though I have NO IDEA how to submit it to the main blog) about just why I think it's worth paying for good professional photographers. It's great to read the opposite point of view!

    2 agree
    • I look forward to reading it! Look for the link in the very top right hand corner of main blog page that says "submit." I advise reading the requirements before you get too far in your draft (I had to cut out about 50% of what I initially wrote, for space).

      • Ooh thank you! I think some people are being borderline hostile on here, which is kind of hard to understand – its your wedding, your choice.

        1 agrees
  39. I find it interesting that you didn't include any of your wedding photos in your post.

    I for one would be interested to see how they fared compared to say professional photographers.

    What people need to decide when carving up their budget is what is important to them. If having well executed, exposed images of your wedding day is not important to you, then by all means, your approach is fine. However, I think you could have made this post a bit more rounded by saying just that, just to get people thinking about their wedding priorities in total and not the one thing that will be the main momento of the day.
    I do not regret a single penny spent on my wedding photography as that was important to us.

    • I included a link to a few of our pictures in a previous comment (look toward the end of the first page of comments). You can judge for yourself if they would be acceptable to you, and make choices about your own wedding accordingly. I love them, and wouldn't trade them for anything. I can understand how others might not like the lighting as well, or might be bothered by people or our ugly wood shed in the background of some images… but the lighting is the real lighting that was there on that lovely, hot summer day, the people are all dear to me, and the ugly wood shed is part of my home and I helped to build it. Pictures might have more appeal to strangers without those things, but they wouldn't have as much appeal to *us.*

      I included the considerations that were important to us and would fit in a reasonably sized post. Perhaps you'd like to talk about the importance to you of "well executed, exposed images." I was much more interested in the emotions evoked by my pictures and that of the way they were taken, not being trained in photography myself. That, and since this is clearly a minority opinion, I don't feel the need to get into every consideration… there are many excellent posts here on Off Beat Bride that discuss all of those things.

      17 agree
  40. I think that this is a lovely post and think people should not be driven by what the industry says they should spend their budget on. I am a photographer and didn't have many photographs at my wedding as my aunt did them and we wanted her to enjoy the day too, not just work. Saying this, I think it is something people should think carefully about as they are memories from the day. You don't come away with much with all the money that you spend. If you choose to spend money on photography make sure your money is well spent. The cost of photography, even though it seems a lot, when broken down doesn't equate to much hourly in many cases. Obviously there is so much to consider but everyone should always do as they feel, it is YOUR day, no one else's!

    4 agree
  41. This is my wedding!! We would have loved to hire a photographer, but our budget is $5000, and well, that just doesn't leave a lot of room. We have a dear friend who wants to develop her photography skills (pardon the pun), and so we're subsidizing any equipment needs and endorsing the heck out of her. We have the same "no strangers" rule; my fiance is more introverted than I am, and it's been really helpful to have someone he knows behind the camera during our practice shoots — he actually smiles for her!
    Thanks for posting and congratulations on the wedding!

    4 agree
  42. The beginning of this post really spoke to me. My husband and I are both introverts but we value family and we wanted them at our wedding (I have a very large family so this meant we weren't having a "small" wedding). We invited very few friends but the friends we did invite (even our parents' friends that were invited) are our family. We had a no "plus one" rule – if we didn't know your partner they were not invited (this rule was mainly for teenage cousins but applied to everyone, though most of our single friends had previously told us that they would not bring a guest anyways as they understood we wanted an intimate wedding). When it came to "strangers" at our wedding we were careful about the people we hired. We needed to hire an officiant and we wanted a photographer. In both cases we got recommendations from people and met with them to ensure we were comfortable with them. It was also really good that we did hire people in the business since our wedding planning didn't go smoothly (family drama on my husband's side) and our officiant and photographer both reassured us that the issues we had were not unusual and they helped us get through them by coming up with alternative plans.

    3 agree
  43. I can understand both those who do want professional photos and those who don't (or can't afford them.) I was actually surprised by how controversial this topic turned out to be. I'm in a similar boat with the author. We just couldn't afford to hire a professional. They are great and I love the photos on this site, but we just don't have the money. FH and I agreed right away that at the end of the day we'd like to have at least one good shot of the two of us on our wedding day. My FFIL offered to take photos and he's a good amateur photographer. We have asked him for shots of us and the immediate family. My niece is also good and will take shots with FFIL in them. We didn't want any shots taken during our religious ceremony. But we are asking all our guests to use their cell phones (or cameras if they brought them) to take all kinds of shots of our somewhat whacky reception which will include a talent show. There will be photos. They won't be as professional but we will remember. It's what is right for us.

    6 agree
  44. We are scrapping nearly everything professional.

    We are having a small wedding in Las Vegas with family – but 6 weeks later, we are having a big party, nay, a fiesta! with our friends and family in town.

    It will be a casual, collaborative party. We have asked for party collaboration instead of gifts for those that are interested. One friend is renting a misting fan for the party, another is loaning us all his heavy duty extension cords. Another is bringing his popcorn machine.
    We are doing all of this on our big back patio in the heat of the summer night in Texas.
    So it will be a casual, fun affair. I will order a cake from the grocery store (they actually make amazing cakes there)… but otherwise the whole wedding will be our own efforts and those of our friends and family. No photog or caterer or wedding planner… just us and the people we love.
    It will still be stressful but it will be a different kind of stress.
    I am looking forward to it!

    2 agree
  45. This post came at a very good time for me, since just recently my MIL-to-be was trying to get us to have a pro photographer. While I do like pictures, it just wasn't a priority enough in our budget to warrant a pro (for us). However, we are lucky enough to have a few friends and family members who are very good amateurs and have taken wedding photos before. My fiance's aunt will be taking the pictures during the ceremony and then she and my bridesmaid (who took a picture for the first Lolcatz book) will take the pictures of the reception.

    However, I would recommend if you're going this route to think about what pictures are a priority to you and plan out how things will go. I have a list of posed bridal party/family shots in order so things move more smoothly and we'll know in advance who needs to be where and when. I've also modeled a lot for friends who were photography majors in college, so I know a bit more than average about how to pose for pictures.

    We just are going with what we think will work for us. This doesn't mean I don't appreciate what pros do, or that I think that people who hire them waste their money. It's just different priorities.

    • don't forget though…your guests want to be guests…Why not ask your MIL to help with the cost of it if she wants you to have it…then she can foot the bill for it and its win win πŸ˜‰

      • We did consider that, and we're only doing it this way because they've offered. It also helps that we don't want a ton of photos. As for asking MIL for help…she offered, but has no concept of how expensive they are. The amount she offered was several times less than the price of the lowest estimate I found, and we can't afford to cover the difference. Also, it doesn't help that she didn't bring it up until less than two months in advance, so at this point we'd have to really scramble to change our plans at this point.

        1 agrees
  46. I didn't have much of a wedding but people that wee our wedding photos think we saved for years. I couldn't imagine not having those photos, and not for me but for my kids and grandkids one day. I also would be a little jealous seeing everyone's beautiful wedding photos and not having my own.

  47. Thank you for this post. We have a very small budget like you did – ours is $2000 – and I was beginning to think that was just not practical. It seems like every wedding I see – even ones featured here – utilize vendors, and that is just not something we have money for (much to my dismay, as I have little DIY skills). But when one caterer, or one DJ, or one photographer is sometimes more than twice our budget, I just can't make it work! I just can't! We have real bills to pay and a real child to feed in the meantime! But the one thing I wanted, the one thing I knew we just couldn't do ourselves, was to hire a photographer. That was always very important to me. But between having a relatively short engagement (6 months) and such a small budget, we were never able to find a photographer. I would still love to have one, but I have made my peace with the fact that it's not going to happen, and I'll have to be okay with it. And it will be okay, because there will still be a wedding, and we will still be married, and I'm sure we will still manage to get some pictures somehow, between cell phones and disposable cameras. Anyways, thanks for your perspective! I was feeling like the only person to ever do this!

    1 agrees
    • Have you checked out thumbtack.com, I bet you could still find someone such short notice on there and you would list your budget right on there, its a free service that I have used in the past. The whole point of the post was she did not think photography was a priority and didn't want any strangers at her wedding, seems like you do not have those same views though, and may regret not having photos

      • I understand we have different reasons for not having a photographer, but the end result is the same, and I'm okay with not having a photographer. Thanks for the suggestion, I will look into it! Our entire $2000 budget is spoken for with zero wiggle room so I'm really not looking into it anymore, but it wouldn't hurt to check in out I suppose. πŸ™‚

        2 agree
Read more comments

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.