Did you use a wedding planning calculator to plan your wedding budget? If so – you may be overspending thousands of dollars and losing out on the things you value the most!
How can that be? Wedding calculators are exactly that – a calculator that has a formula inside! Which means you better have a formula wedding!
Who decided that you should spend nearly half your budget – yes 50% – on the reception venue & the food? Who said that you should spend the same percentage on flowers no matter how big or small your budget is? Where does this calculator take into account your guests who love to drink & dance but would be happy with appetizers and not a full service dinner?
If you want to make sure you are spending the money on the things YOU want, you have to prioritize the key elements of your wedding day. If you dont – your calculator will tell you to spend the same amount of money on your wedding day music as your wedding day flowers. Which one do you think is more important?
Rank these key wedding expenses!
- Entertainment (Music, PhotoBooth, Gifts, Other)
- Open Bar
- Stationary (Before & After)
- Dress / Suits / Rings
- Makeup & Hair
- Wedding Planner
- # of Guests
Once you have decided what is important – you can start to assign dollar values. After all – if food is quite low on the list, you know you dont need to get the most expensive catering option being offered – saving thousands of dollars in wasted food! The wedding calculator doesnt even take into consideration the day of week or time of year of your wedding – cakes may be cakes but some flowers will cost alot more or not even be available.
But how do you decide how important your wedding photographer is? If you use the calculator – it will generate a number based on your total wedding budget. That number has no information about number of hours of coverage, number of photographers, albums, prints, images – nothing! – its only a number and suddenly you are shopping for a wedding photographer that costs X because your calculator told you photography was only worth 10% of your budget.
5 things you need to ask yourself before you meet any photographers or even start searching for them on google.
1) Do I want to have my wedding photos on my iphone or tablet & show them off to friends for the next couple months? Or. Do I want to be able to print a canvas to hang over the fireplace, a couple nice 8×10′s for the grandparents, and an album of my entire wedding day?
2) Do I have a few family members coming & most friends – none of which really want a group photo – what would they do with it anyways? Or. Is my wedding the family reunion where Im going to reconnect with all my cousins and Aunts and I know that its important to have family photos with everyone. In fact it may be the last time my grandparents will be able to travel and I want to create a portrait of them and I?
3) Do I expect about 50 or 75 guests at my wedding and its going to be a short ceremony and then a nice dinner – I probably dont need a photographer all day? Or. Are there going to be at least 100 guests, lots of dancing, a firebreathing magic show, some games, tons of opportunities for candid photos & an incredible setting for photos?
4) Do I need to have lots of photos of myself getting ready - after all im doing my own makeup & hair, and my dress is a simple gown? Or. Do I want to remember how much fun my bridesmaids & I had getting our hair & makeup done, putting on the dresses, sipping champagne, and gabbing about the guys – plus getting photos of the shoes with the red soles, my veil, my dress, my earrings, and even my garter? Do I want photos of my fiance getting ready and opening that card I made for him?
5) Am I happy with just a couple photos of my fiance & I standing in front of the reception hall where we got married – maybe by the trees or the flowers? Or. Do I want to have me & my fiance looking out across the lake with the sun in our hair & the bridal party leaping off the pier? Do I want to have photos of the two of us where we first met, how he proposed to me, and how my girlfriends all reacted when they saw the ring? Would it be awesome if I had a photo of the guys pushing me on the playground swing or going on a helicopter ride to the top of the mountains.
By answering these questions – youve already decided on your budget for photography – regardless of how much you have allocated for your entire wedding. Thats because youve assigned a value to photography – just like you assign a value to having the lasagna entree vs the Alaska King Crab. There isnt a right or wrong answer – its all based on your wedding – what events you are including, how many people are coming, and how you want to remember the day, your love, and your relationships.
So when you start researching your photographer – you can now be clear about your needs and the photographer can offer you a package not based on Price but on Service!
- number of hours coverage
- what events are being covered
- number of photographers
- number of locations for the photos
- how you plan on using the photos afterwards: prints, enlargements, albums, websites, emails
- style of photos: photojournalistic, candid, group poses, details, romance, traditional
Remember – the wedding calculator is just a formula and your wedding is unique. How much or how little you spend on each vendor should be a result of you deciding whats important for you – not what everyone wants you to spend.