Start with the guest list : Invite close family and friends only
wedding attire : Do not be affraid of clearances or closeouts or even thrift stores or even a prom dress.
bouquets and bouts and table arangements : flowers can be bought at a grocery store cheaper then having them made, take a look online for do it yourself bouquets way to easy not to do.
Venues : local churches, outdoor pavillions, family back yards, or take out a post on craigslist for someone to rent their barn.
Food : Hah that is easy, ask friends and close family to make up a dish or two to bring and present them with a thank you gift for their services, most cases they would be eager and willing to help out and leaving the meat up to you.
Wedding Cake and desserts : If you do not have anyone to do your cake as a gift then go to your local bakery and purchase 1 6" or 8" cake - 1 10" or 12" cake and 1 sheet cake or just a sheet cake. Never I say again Never tell the bakery it is for a wedding as the cost doubles or triples, stack the layers together on a cake plate or wooden board covered with aluminuim foil then place flowers or petals onto layers place a dowel rods through the middle of the cake so the cake doen't slide off at each layer.
church weddings are very expensive so maybe do it at a park or at someones home with an ordained minister. Check state and local laws pretaining to ordainment before doing this.
As for centerpieces : Make your own fruit or olive / pickle arrangements from cookie cutters or just cube and using toothpicks stick them into an apple orange half of a lettuce head that fits into a small bowl. That way they can nibble on the centerpieces. Cheese can be another with crackers of different flavors around the base of the arrangement.
Entertainment : Let's face it, Everyone has at least 2 cd's laying around of their favorate music so ask to barrow them and pick out 1 or 2 songs to record onto your own personal cd that you can keep for yourself then play the musical cd's at the reception keeping the noise down so that the guest's can talk to each other. You can even appointe someone to change the cd's when one has ended. Use a home entertainment center or portable cd player with speakers.
You can also incorperate them around local events as the entertainment.
As for those fancy shoes : ouch!! I have seen so many brides suffer throough the reception and end up taking the shoes off, purchase a white pair of slippers as the gown if floor length will cover them up.
I hope this helps some of you posters and if there is any other issues that I can help cheapen the cost on just post and I will try my best to answer them for you
OK, I didn't read anything about photography. I've heard way too many newly married couples complain because they went "cheap" here. Many photographers don't publish a full price list on sites like these. Why, too many variables. Regarding sites like these, give a realistic estimate of your budget. If you want a $200 photographer say so. But realize professional photographers won't pay money to get your contact info. Yes, we pay to get your lead from sites like these. Ever heard the saying - "There's no such thing as a Free Lunch!" Yeah you thought everything is free. Don't expect a photographer/business person to pay for a $200 opportunity. We're not interested.
So here are some considerations:
First, you get what you pay for! In addition, just because your friend hired someone doesn't mean that's the right photographer for you. Photographers have different styles and Personalities. The more creative the images, the more comfortable you want to be with your photographer. If you're uncomfortable with your photographer, it will show in your images.
Pro photographers will have a lot of equipment, they know how to use it and they understand lighting. Understanding light is very, very, very, very important. Get my drift here?? So here are some thoughts on budgets:
Professional photographer and assistant(s) can range from $1500 and way more for the entire day.
Shoot and Burners range from $500 to $2000. when you're done you have a disk of images and You have to manage everything. Make sure you understand the copyright terms and who's responsible when the print comes out lousy.
Everyone else including students and amateurs alike, $200 to $500.
When the photographer is FREE - run the other direction. For the most part, something is going go wrong.
Any photographer should be able to show you samples of their work. Meet with them to view their work and talk to them. Please, don't, don't, don't, and I'll repeat don't hire someone without meeting them. Remember what I said about your comfort reflecting in the final product. Make sure the photographer has back up equipment for everything, camera, flash. lenses and tripod. Altogether you're looking at tens of thousands of dollars in "stuff".
Your wedding party size and clothing may impact the need for an assistant. Assistants are generally photographers also. So this will cost you.
Don't think the fee you're being charged is just to cover photographic services the day of your wedding (unless you get a CD at the end of the day). Professional photographers will spend time with you before the wedding, spend time with you the day of the wedding, Spend hours preparing your proofs, spend hours editing images for printing or burning to CD. You pay for all this time. That's whay we're expensive! We want to pay for the most up to date equipment, pay for an office, pay our mortgage, eat and maybe take a vacation. Just like you! We love our art and craft, but we need to make a living.
If the photographer won't give you a contract, run, don't walk, run the other direction. You have the right to know what service is provided, photographer arrival and departure time, locations confirmation, fees, and deliverable.
If you've decided to have your friend with a big expensive looking camera and a big lens shoot your wedding, then give them a list of shots you expect, arrival time, departure time and description of the deliverable. Make it clear what you expect.
Regarding this misunderstood thing called "copyright". As soon as the creator of an image pulls the trigger, they are the owner of the image. That one and all subsequent images are protected under federal copyright laws. Violation of copyright laws puts you at risk legally. All you can do is negotiate the rights to the photographer's images. Those rights should be spelled out to you in writing. Read them in detail. The more rights you want, the more you will pay.
I've only touched the surface on the topic of photography. I could go on and on. But this should get you started. Feel free to email me with questions.
Tom Szabo, Photograpoher
A Thomas Image