How Much to Spend on A Wedding?

Wedding Budget

So the big question was popped. Exciting times lie ahead. You tell your closest friends and family and start picturing the wedding ceremony and reception in your head. But another big question needs to be answered: How much do we spend on the wedding?

I spent last weekend at my very good friend Lori wedding day. Her handsome husband is a plastering contractor who runs his own business, Plasterer Central Coast. They are such a lovely couple.

Wedding couple

There is a demand for weddings. Always. With need comes supply, and that supply is crazy-expensive. All businesses that provide services to weddings are undoubtedly charging more. The average cost for a wedding in the U.S. was $33,000. That is more than some people’s annual income per year. Imagine all the things you can purchase with that money. 

In order to determine the specific amount you are willing to spend, let’s look at the factors that can affect your decision:

  • How Much Do You Actually Have To Work With?

One of the first steps is to determine how much money you and your fiancé have gotten when you don’t mind taking out of your savings account right away. You would have to look at your current savings and ask yourself, is there a sufficient amount of money left that won’t drastically affect your lifestyle at the present moment. If you subtract a hypothetical amount and it doesn’t phase you, then you’ve got a good starting point. However, if it does worry you, then read on! These next steps are for you. 

wedding flower bunch

You would also need to take into consideration any contributions from your family. It certainly doesn’t hurt to assume and ask since this is common in many cultures. Families are just as excited to have a large, joyous gathering event. 

  • Number of Guests 

The next decision to be made is the size of your party. This is the ultimate factor that determines the cost of your wedding. This factor affects the size of the ceremony venue and reception venue that you choose, as well as the amount of food (per head cost) and drinks you will demand from the caterers. The smaller the guest list, the more money you’ll have on the little details (stationary, rentals, décor, favors). So the question here is: a large guest list or the finer details? 

  • Pressure To Get It Right

This could be pressure from yourself and pressure from friends and family. A wedding is a momentous event and, in some cultures, an important value/custom. Your loved ones may view this is a time to gather after so long of not seeing each other. So there’s the pressure to deliver and invite the whole clan. There is also pressure to present a lavish, picturesque wedding to compete with other grand weddings that are portrayed in the media or by your friends. Admit it; some want to impress on this day. 

how much to spend on a wedding

There could also be pressure from oneself. After all, this is the only wedding you’ll have, so we don’t blame you if you want perfection. The stress may get to you, but remind yourself of this: an expensive wedding doesn’t correlate to a perfect marriage. Please sit down, organize your resources and spending, because it is possible to cut back. 

  • Your Financial Standing and Future Goals

Other than looking at your savings account (as we previously mentioned), the couple must consider their monthly income in the next few months and then subtract monthly living expenses, emergency money, and monthly payments towards any debt. The two latter could be reduced to accommodate the wedding. If you can sustain a good financial standing, then you’ve got a little more to add to the budget. Really try to ask yourselves if the money going into the wedding will hinder your future goals. 

  • How Important is the Venue and Dress 

The two next things that cost a lot in your wedding are the venue and the dress. So, try to look at all of your options. Do you want a local wedding or destination wedding? If your dream venue is too expensive, can you search for something very aesthetically similar? For the dress, do you mind keeping it simple, or something vintage, or do you mind shopping off-season?

The real question is do you have the time to search for cheaper options actively? It takes a lot of effort and time to go to different stores, track down cheap tailors, buy the samples, and follow trunk or bridal shows. The same goes for taking the time to search for hidden-treasure venues. 

  • How Much Do You Value A Wedding

Finally, you have to ask yourself this question. As simple as it may be, you and your partner must sit down and discuss this. Do you really want a big wedding as much as your loved ones do, or do you want to focus solely on each other on the day? 

wedding cake

In Conclusion…

Ask yourself all these questions and don’t stress about it too much. If you start to dread the planning process, then it isn’t fun anymore and you lose the purpose of what a wedding is. Take the average cost of $33,000 and ask yourself how you feel about that number. If it doesn’t faze you, then you’ve got a lot to work with. But if that number scares you, then don’t worry! As we mentioned, a fantastic wedding doesn’t have to be an expensive one. 

Six Crazy Marriage Proposals

Uncategorized

Today is the day that you’ve decided that the time has come for you to propose to the love of your life. You have been thinking about your proposal for a very long time. You don’t want it to be too simple, but you also want to keep in mind not to go overboard. There are so many thoughts when it comes to choosing the right proposal. Getting married is exciting. What’s even more impressive is the unexpected marriage proposal. 

Below is a list of crazy proposals that will definitely be stored in the memory book.

The Underwater Proposal

That’s right! Underwater. If both you and your partner are water babies, then this is an amazing option for proposing. 

A couple planned a visit to their nearest beach where they went scuba diving for the day. The calming blue waters has definitely set the mood for these two. Their experience was unique and extraordinary. The blue waters allowed for a romantic environment where the guy went on one knee and proposed to his dream girl. All she said was yes!

The Icy Mountain Top Proposal 

This is not the first option you think of when it comes to proposing. However, someone thought this would be a unique and special way to propose to his partner. Right on top of the mountains, in the midst of the cold temperatures, he decided to go on his knee and propose. All you heard was yes on the top of the mountain. There was so much love exploding in the midst of the cold that the temperature didn’t even matter to them anymore. 

The Flight Proposal

Normally you would find this type of event taking place amongst the passengers. In this case, it was the pilot’s idea to propose to his partner who happened to be an air hostess on the plane he was flying. As usual, the pilot welcomed his passengers on board and took this opportunity to propose to his girlfriend. She couldn’t believe her ears and said yes instantly. All the passengers and staff were filled with joy and excitement.

The Color Run Proposal 

This was not your ordinary 5k colour run for everyone. For one specific couple, this would be a day to remember forever. Once the competition was complete, the guy decided to propose to his girlfriend and make it a memorable day. He went down on his knee and asked his partner if they could start their own race as a couple for the rest of their lives. What do you think she said? She said, yes! Not only was this a fun colour run, but it was a colourful and beautiful memory for this couple.

The House Roof Top Proposal

Unlike other rooftop proposals, this one was crazy because it was done on the top of their house. The guy performed a rooftop stunt where he pretended to fall off. When his girlfriend came down to him in panic, he was awaiting her with a marry me a sign. 

The Crazy Beach Proposal

On this day, a couple went for a walk on the beach. The guy saw this as an amazing opportunity to propose to his girlfriend. He waited until he saw great waves approaching before he proposed. Right after he proposed and his partner said yes, they were swept away by waves approaching the shores. What a great start!

 

Wedding Planner, Are They Useful?

Hiring for your Wedding

Summer wedding or winter wedding? Indoor or Outdoor? Lilies or Roses? DJ or Band? Wedding planner or not?

in doubt 

Yes, there are many choices to be made, and often there are many details that couples miss when planning their wedding. Hence, the ultimate question, should you hire a wedding planner? 

We’ve all seen some shows or movies where a wedding planner is very much involved in the picture. It’s often portrayed as a glamorous job, and at the end of the day, when all goes well, and everyone is happy, it’s the wedding planner who is to thank. 

In real life, however, are they beneficial? And are they worth the extra expense to hire them? Here we shall look at the pros and cons. 

PRO: They can manage your budget 

Wedding planners will be able to help you determine our budget and find ways to stay within it. Due to their extensive network and many vendor connections, they can find resources and materials/supplies quickly. Still, they may also have special prices or deals from businesses they often go to. Wedding planners obviously carry out many weddings each year and already know the local market. They can also bargain with sellers that they are comfortable working with. 

CON: They are an additional cost 

Yes, they save you money, but they, themselves, are not free. Depending on how involved they are, there are different levels/tiers of service. Make sure to check their price lists to see what is included in the price. Also, decide whether you want a wedding planner (involved with the concept, planning, managing, coordinating months before the wedding) or wedding coordinator (involved mostly on the day itself to ensure everything goes smoothly).

PRO: They know all the details

Wedding planners have many experiences with the organization of a wedding. Through the years, they’ve probably accumulated more and more little components to add to the wedding. So when it comes to the basics, they’ve got you. With them is probably a book of contacts and categories of details that couples may forget about. Napkins? Plating? Lighting? Where to print invitations? They’ve got everything. 

CON: You don’t have as much control

Since you hired them and it is their job, you may have to give up some of your control. If you’re someone who has a fear of missing out, or you’re incredibly detail-oriented and want to know everything, then hiring a planner may be uncomfortable for you. Since planners do this often, they have the eye to tell if something is aesthetically pleasing, and if something just doesn’t go with the rest of your theme. You have to be open to their opinion and feedback. 

PRO: They can make a useful timeline

Wedding planners will have a ready binder or book that clearly organizes their time and yours. They are extremely organized as they may have other weddings to handle too. If you’re too busy with work, they are the ones who can attend site tours, cake testing, meeting caterers, and meeting venue managers. Part of their timeline is not just finding people and signing contracts, but following up with everyone to track the progress and confirmation. 

CON: You don’t have access to the schedule all the time

If you are not the main organizer of your wedding, then it would be hard to keep up with any progress or changes. Schedules may have to be altered some times, so when your family has questions about your wedding, you can’t always answer. 

PRO: All members of your family can focus on the wedding

With a wedding planner at hand, they can handle and coordinate everything that goes on in the ceremony and reception. That is what you are paying them for: to stay on top of things and ensure all aspects of the event go smoothly. Hence, no family members should be distracted by the little things and focus solely on the wedding. 

Wedding and family

CON: It’s hard to find someone you can actually trust

The search for the perfect wedding planner may be hard. Not to mention, it takes a lot of guts to put your trust in them. You’re putting the most important day of your lives in their hands. So best make sure you get along with your planner and openly discuss your expectations for the day.

In Conclusion… 

The decision to hire a wedding planner really depends on you and your fiancé’s lifestyles. If both of you are too occupied with work, then yes, a wedding planner may be useful. If you don’t mind having a little less control over the small details, then yes, they’re helpful. If you can allocate your budget to hire a planner and cut back on the more minor things, sure, they’re useful. 

If you happen to be a wedding planner and you are looking to establish your wedding business, check this post out.

How To Hire A Wedding Photographer

Hiring for your Wedding

During the preparation of a wedding, the bride must put a lot of her trust in a lot of people. This includes her family, her planners, the venue managers and, heck, even faith in her groom to show up on time! Additionally, the one other person that the couple should not have to worry about trusting–are their photographers. 

It’s no doubt that they are an essential part of the ceremony. If you think about it, the service, the flower choices, the bridesmaids, or the dinner will come and go and stay in the past, but the photos are everlasting. 

Photographer

So, it’s crucial that when planning your wedding, you choose a reliable photographer. Reliable in terms of the quality of their photos, their availability throughout the event, and their communication with you after. Here are some steps and advice on how to hire a wedding photographer. 

  • Do Your Research!

It’s essential to look at as much wedding photography as you can to get an idea of what look you want for your album. Take note of what you find most aesthetically pleasing, color schemes, and which moments-captured you liked the best. 

  • Social Media

If you’re too busy in the beginning, a good start would be to lightly check social media. Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr are great platforms. You can instantly save, pin, and like the photos you enjoyed. 

  • Wedding-Planning Platforms and Websites

There are numerous platforms specifically designed for wedding organization. The most popular would be Zola, The Knot, Wedding Wire, Mint, WeddingHappy, and much more. There are also databases/search engines specifically for looking at wedding photographers near you: SnapKnot or TheKnot Marketplace. 

check website and do reaserch

It would also be a good idea to keep up with wedding magazines and blogs. These sources often write articles and recommendations on the best photographers and the latest wedding photo trends. 

  • Check Their Websites 

Once you’ve compiled a list of photographers that caught your attention, the next step is to look at their portfolios thoroughly. Make sure to review all their work, ensuring there is consistency in the quality of their photographs. The design and layout of their website is also another indicator of the photographer’s style and personality. 

Their websites should contain links to all their social media, so try to thoroughly look at those to view how they interact with their followers and maybe, even past clients. It’s definitely a good sign if their business has numerous client feedback. If you are willing to pay more for someone credible, then client testimonials are obviously crucial in your search. If you really adore a photographer’s work, but they’re still entirely new to the business, then this next step is essential. 

  • Contact Photographer and Set-Up Interview

Meeting your photographer in person could be the deciding factor in choosing your photographer. In-person, we suggest you demand to see full wedding albums from multiple occasions. It’s essential to do this because they may just show their best photos online, so by seeing all the photos, you can examine if all their work is pretty much at a high level of quality throughout. Also, ask for photos that have a similar setting as yours if you’re having an indoor evening wedding, best not look at the photographers’ work at an outdoor morning event. 

Interview

Another piece of advice is to see if you get along with them! If you and your photographer have the same vibe and attitude, then they’ll be able to feel passionate about your wedding too. Discuss what you like about their work and point out your favorite pictures from their album so they can keep that in mind and achieve the same thing. 

  • Compare Pricing Packages

Discuss the pricing in detail. Ask about the general, standard package, and what that entails. Ask what are the “extras”? Does it include editing, special effects? Ask if there is a special offer for an engagement photo session? Also, with the price you’re paying, how many photos are included? Or how many hours will the photographers be there for the price? What happens if you want them to stay overtime? For more established photographers, check online what past clients were charged. For newer photographers, try to bargain, so get your money’s worth. And of course, compare prices of all the photographers you’re interviewing. 

  • Go Over Logistics

Finally, discuss the details of the event: schedule, a timeline of the day, how many photographers are involved, what is off-limits at the wedding, which guests are essential, etc. Also, get details on the post-wedding process (how long after will you get the photos, in what form will they be sent and presented to you). If you all agree on the process, then consider this photographer hired. 

Final Thoughts…

Choosing a photographer may be an intimidating task, but just remember that you are not in this alone. It’s a good idea to have your spouse or friends and family to share their input on who would be the best photographer for your wedding. 

Lastly, if you are looking to become a wedding photographer check out my last post.

How to Start A Wedding Photography Business

Business Start Up

A wedding is seen as the most important and happiest day of one’s life. The first priority is to ensure the wedding goes smoothly and perfectly. The second priority: make sure you get a picture!

Wedding Business Camera

This is especially relevant in today’s society, where we document every moment in our lives to be shared and posted online. Hence, couples expect reliable photographers who are ready to not just provide the best quality photos, but also their full time and attention. 

Established photographers and businesses may charge extreme prices due to their popularity. So there will be a customer segment looking for cheaper alternatives. With the advancement of social media, anyone can be a photographer; but it takes much more to be a professional wedding photography business. 

The first, most critical steps, of course (and assuming you already have this) is getting proper camera equipment and obtaining a business license. The latter is something people deem unnecessary if you’re just starting out, but registration will help you to deal with any legal liabilities. 

Here are the next steps to really grow your business: 

  • Establish A Good Website

This means building a robust portfolio. In order to have a successful photography business, you need to have a bulletproof product/service. 

Ensure that your website layout is clean, concise, and minimalist. The latter is suggested because weddings are, after all, white. You want your viewers to be able to focus solely on your photographs. Also make sure that the organization of your website is easy to follow, dividing it into categories. Finally, try to limit the text, keeping it short yet informational. 

Wedding business website

IF you don’t have sufficient wedding photography experience, the best thing to do is to connect with local photographers through Facebook and inquire if they need a second photographer assistant and work for free. Contact as many photographers as possible and clearly express that you want this to gain a better experience and learn from the best!

  • Connect and Network!

These days, it’s not what you know but who you know. Get out there and meet the right people. You need to get in contact with wedding planning agencies, venues, hotels, and bridal shops. Talk to their people in person, on LinkedIn, or via email. Send them your work or tag them on social media. For example, for venues and hotels, take the best pictures you can take of their area and exhibit it to them. This could mean more exposure if they decide to feature it on their marketing materials and website. 

 

  •  Social Media

Probably the most influential marketing tool today is social media. For a wedding business, Pinterest maybe your strongest tool, but Facebook and Instagram are classic choices as well.

Social media account 

In the beginning, it’s best to follow accounts associated with your business (photographers, wedding planners, venues, flower shops, wedding-accounts, wedding magazines). The key to success on social media is consistency. Users want constant, creative content. So, yes, this means at least one post a day. Other important advice is to use the proper hashtags (popular/trending ones and relevant to weddings), to post at the peak hours and to tag popular accounts. 

Also, write on your bio that you are a business and are open to inquiries through direct messaging.  

  •  Platforms to Promote Your Business

One place you can promote your business is to search for platforms that cater to people searching for photographers. SnapKnot and The Knot Marketplace are specifically wedding photographer search engines/databases. Other options are Wedding Wire and Flickr. 

  • Do A Little PR Work

There are hundreds of wedding-related content available. This could be websites, blogs, apps or magazines. It’s crucial to do a little PR work to get the best reach. First, research their editorial calendar (here you’ll find what sort of articles these places are looking to write about next). Then it’s time pitch, pitch, pitch! In fact, even if they’re not searching for a specific topic, you can always provide them with a blog, your photos and your contact information. Here are the most popular ones: The Knot, Wedding Wire, Brides Magazine, WeddingWire, Wedding Happy, Zola, and Minted. 

Final Thoughts…

So yes, it’s going to take a lot of work to get your wedding photography business running, just like any other company. The good thing about this niche, however, is that there will always be a desire for weddings and hence, a demand for good photographers—and that person could be you.