MONEY ON YOUR WEDDING
tricks to avoid surprises & have the best
wedding day possible
not IMPULSE-SPEND at the
FIRST vendor you speak with sees you coming in
their door with a pile of cash, because you haven't
spent anything yet. So they may up-sell you to
spend too much.
result, you could be left with too little funds for
other wedding categories which are more important
please have a simple wedding budget established
before signing up with anyone, no matter how
excited you feel.
planning software is available to help you do this
($29 to $49). Since you're paying money for it,
your results will be private, too.
are also FREE internet resources for wedding
planning. But "free" websites are supported by
marketing, so personal info may be shared with
budget help you could also ask someone from your
church who has wedding experience, or hire a
are industry average wedding costs?
to 10,000 for just the catering (holy tapioca!)
= photography average for
$4,190 = reception venue average for Sacramento
Bride and Groom magazine, Summer-Fall 2013 issue,
page 12 and Bridal
Guide Magazine, May-June 2012 issue, page
you'll choose YOUR OWN priorities, whatever
you care about most (venue, photos,
partying, clothes, food, decorations, flowers,
sales person believes THEIR product is the most
and will try to get you to spend more money with
them. Which leaves less money for other
into debt for wedding cost over-runs isn't
ideal because money is a #1 source of
marital stress. But parents giving the
bride a "free" wedding is even worse.
Lately, almost every divorce I've seen had
a "free" wedding involved.
marriage hits some rough spots. Brides
& grooms who are personally
"invested" in their marriage are more
likely to stay together through the rough
spots, compared to folks who got a free
Locations: Wineries, prime resort hotels, art
galleries, glitzy downtown libraries, some country
Expensive Locations: Churches, local parks,
national parks, state parks, city-owned event
centers. Some country clubs have also held costs
down to encourage weddings.
week: Sundays are cheaper than Saturdays.
site is naturally pretty you may not have to rent
decorations. Please note that outdoors, you need a
so guests can hear the minister & vows over
POPULAR: Have the ceremony in a church (which needs
very little decoration and already has a sound
system). If you plan to have extensive partying you
could hold the reception elsewhere.
POPULAR: Have both the ceremony and
reception at a church! That can save you quite a
bit of $$. Here's what a wedding planner
site means [only] one site
this is one of the most cost-effective options
Bridal Guide Magazine, May-June 2012 issue, page
about your church's policy for dancing & DJ's,
some churches are fine with it, some
my article "disc
for suggestions about his Play List. On church
propety you'll want dance music with G-rated song
FEES: Many churches are very, very reasonable in
cost. A few are expensive.
my article "questions_to_ask_a_church"
for explanation of how churches set
catering is a huge expense category, it pays to
compare catering options carefully.
aren't required to impress your guests with high
costs... They're happy just to celebrate your
read my "dietary cautions" list below.
DISCUSS WITH YOUR CATERER
ALLERGY is among the most common food allergies
in America and causes life-threatening reactions.
Statistically SEVERAL of your guests will have this
concern. Shellfish = shrimp, crab, lobster,
safest route is to instruct your caterer to
serve absolutely NO shrimp, crab, lobster, or
oysters -- and not even to permit these onsite.
Because in the rush of a buffet or mobile
catering, guests or staff will cross-contaminate
foods with serving spoons. Don't ruin a guest's
experience by sending them to the hospital after
your wedding reception.
ONIONS: Not an allergy but many guests don't
want uncooked onions in their food due to
the odor and bad breath. Remember, people will be
in close contact.
is a huge profit maker for venues --- but can give
you unexpected higher costs.
a charge for every open bottle of champagne or
wine, regardless of how little is consumed from a
particular bottle. Even if an open bottle sits on
an empty table.
economical: Have champagne poured by
volunteers (if allowed), this will use fewer
FINAL BAR TAB COULD BE A BIG BIG
BIG SURPRISE! Two horror stories I
observed first hand, I hope people can learn
#1... We photographed an Old
Sacramento wedding where the bar total went into
orbit, and a relative had to put it on his
own credit card afterwards. Awkward.
how it happened: A modest open bar
plus table champagne were added at the
last minute. It added up way beyond the
verbal cost estimate.
lessons from this story:
Don't add any services at the last minute. The
verbal cost estimate may be unrealistic.
If you want an open bar, ask the venue about
controlling alcohol upgrades that would increase
your cost. (You could request the bar to use only
"house" brands of alcohol, and limit mixed drinks
to non-exotic blends.)
#2... One of our brides became fleeced on
the bar tab at an elegant Lake Tahoe venue (which
had sub-contracted out its wedding services). A bar
tab is hard to audit or dispute after the fact. The
controversy ruined the bride's day.
she wasn't the only bride affected, the hotel
eventually shut down its wedding services. But a
lot of memories had been damaged by that time.
budget is tight, there's no law that says you have
to serve alcohol, or how much. Your guests are
happy to share the joy of your special day and
don't need high-end pampering to be glad they came.
QUALITY depends primarily on the skill of the
photographer. A "new" photographer or well-meaning
amateur is not a safe idea.
current average photography fee is
an advertised price will be very attractive, but
the cost will grow larger after some important
extras are added.
called a low-ball price. It's like shoppping for a
car, getting an attractive price over the phone,
and later the salesman asks, do you also want TIRES
on that new car?*
majority of wedding photographers are ethical
people! As in any industry, a few participants
will be on the fringe.
of a gimmick price: Someone advertises a low
cost "4 hour" photography package. Four hours
is not a realistic amount of coverage unless you
have NO partying, no dancing, no beer, and everyone
drinks lots of coffee. You should add overtime
hours to that low price quote, at $250 per hour, to
get a more realistic figure.
understand the total cost of photos, here are the
categories which add up:
PHOTOGRAPHER'S BASIC FEE:
Wedding + reception? How many hours? (Personally I
average six to eight hours, but charge a flat rate
= no unexpected overtime fee.)
DIGITAL COPIES of images:
High resolution images suitable for printing? Or
only low resolution images? Or no digital copies
unless you order extra goodies through their
PHYSICAL ALBUMS: Most photographers do not
include physical albums in their basic price now.
If desired, albums can be added a la carte.
top quality pro albums cost around $1,200 to
priced (but very nice) pro albums are also
photographer offers you high resolution images on
disc, you'll have tons of album alternatives. One
of these is to load copies onto an iPad or Tablet,
the newer screens are spectacular.
Above are actual unretouched photos - NOT some
sort of advertising samples.
Original photos taken using Doug's Nikon camera,
and displayed on a Samsung.
HOW TO ORDER PHYSICAL PRINTS &
photographers require ordering prints
through their website; these photographers will
leave wedding photos posted online for only a short
time so family must place orders early.
photographers will give or sell you copies of
high resolution digital images. You can have
these printed at any photo lab, with no markup. For
best results I recommend using professional photo
HOW MANY PHOTOGRAPHY
want the photographer on scene for enough time to
include reception coverage at least through the
boquet toss. Usually 6+ hours.
opinion, it's a mistake to cut the pro's hours and
rely on "amateurs" to take reception pictures
instead. You'll end up with a nightmare pile of
pictures that are hard to organize.
price lists offer two photographers as an
two photographers, similar scenes get photographed
from two different angles with no improvement in
quality. But it does make it more complicated to
organize images later. And a second photographer
annoys guests when duplicate poses get
seeing it both ways, I have concluded the
ideal way is a single photographer.
I were to photograph the wedding of a Kate
Middleton, I'd want two photographers. Otherwise,
included in the price?
current trend is to include engagement photography
in the package price.
engagement session helps photographer
& client feel comfortable with each other.
Even more importantly, photographer sees how the
couple will look in pictures. This helps him
improve his work on the wedding day.
included in the price, an engagement session will
add about $300.
TOTAL wedding photographer costs
average is $3702.
= Sacramento Bride and Groom Magazine, Summer-Fall
2013 issue, page 12.
Why so high? First, advertising.
Brides expect photographers to advertise in
bridal magazines, bridal fairs, and in
professionally managed Facebook accounts. These
cost money --- and produce higher prices.
Second, quality photographers have studied and
learned their skill over many years and that
experience was very costly.
Third, professional equipment is expensive.
Photographers are constantly buying new equipment
and these costs, too, get passed on to
SUGGESTION ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY
scheduling a limousine or caterer, please
discuss your wedding day schedule with a
you cut the limo schedule too tight to
save a nickel, you'll throw a monkey
wrench into the formals/group photography,
and catering schedule, and everything
important to allow time for portrait
photography after the ceremony,
transporation time to the reception, and
slack time in case the wedding starts
THIS HELPS! ...Doug at www.RosevilleWeddings.com
free to contact me with questions. There's nothing
I like to do more than see weddings &
releases for reprinting photos
video questions to ask
to reproduce this page if you credit the