So as the winter wedding season approaches us I look back on my own wedding and wonder how my outlook as a vendor is going to change now that I have been the one that all of the fuss is for. It is certainly an interesting experience being the center of attention, particularly for a couple like my wife and me who are not used to that kind of attention. But now having been through the other side I think it will become my mission to make sure the bride and groom get to experience the wedding again and again through their video or pictures the way they could never possibly hope to on the day of. If that doesn't make sense I'll just say that my own wedding, that I was at for a solid 10+ hours, went by in such a flash that it all just seems like it was a dream. But hey, that is why we hired someone to shoot our wedding and do photography for us. Its really the only way you could hope to remember such a deep and rich experience. In the interest of transparency and because I truly do love their work we used Angela from Unveiled Radiance and Cole from Cole Prine Wedding Videography to capture the day and then I did the editing.
It is actually kind of crazy how much you can do yourself for a wedding when you rally a great team of friends and family, and a coordinator to keep the wheels turning the day of (no seriously Liz was invaluable in keeping constant contact with all of our vendors andsticking tothe timeline). My advice to get the most out of your wedding are to put a majority of your budget into 3-4 areas depending on your situation.
1st Do not skimp on a cool location. There are hidden gems everywhere whether its Texas, Louisiana, New York, doesn't matter. The reason I stress this point, and this is just my opinion, if for some reason you are unable to get the best photographer and videographer the pictures and video will still look awesome because of the great location. Trust me when I say even the best photographer or videographer can only do so much in a plain hotel ballroom. But all that being said...
My 2nd biggest portion of the budget would be devoted to Videography. Though I feel this one should be fairly obvious considering my bias, consider what I said earlier your wedding day is going to be a blur and having someone capturing it all on video with moving picture and immersive sound is indeed a divine treat to be able to relive that day and see things that you didn't get to see because you were being pulled in so many directions the day of (and trust me this will happen). Though I put video as second, equally as important...
My 3rd biggest portion is a photographer. Now I feel like photographers and videographers are some of the most under appreciated in the wedding industry but what we bring to the wedding experience is some of the most important. There is nothing quite like the magic captured by an excellent wedding photographer, and there are far more top notch photographers than you would think out there. To put it in context for you, your wedding pictures are likely something that your grandchildren or even great grandchildren have in their home but are they going to care whether you served steak and lobster or had your wedding catered by Chick-fil-a? Probably not. The pictures and video are forever keepsakes like the diamond on your engagement ring no matter what you payed for it to your next generation it is priceless, its an heirloom.
Finally there is everything else. Flowers, Cakes, Catering, DJs, Bands, Photobooths (I recommend this one highly), and perhaps even doves to release upon this kiss. Different things are important to different people so saying there is an ideal amount to spend on something is kind of insane. Now there are plenty of guides out there that can help you plan on how much you need to set aside for different things but something I can say is that if you are willing to pull your non-monetary resources and get friends involved you will find that there is so much more you can do with very little. So go ahead! Go a little crazy and get that awesome location and fill it with the people and the things that are most important to you, but don't forget that the day will be over in a flash and having someone there dedicated to creating a beautiful film and gorgeous pictures that you can show for generations is truly worth any price.
A special thanks to Liz for coordinating and Cole and Angela for capturing my wedding in a spectacular fashion! I truly do appreciate you and all that you have done for Morgan and I making our wedding one we could never forget.