QUESTION: Is photography worth the investment?
I hear far too often “Oh, I don’t need a wedding photographer. I have a [INSERT RANDOM PERSON HERE].”
Fair enough. But let’s look at it as more than just a savings for a minute.
According to a 2017 study conducted by The Knot, the average cost of a wedding was around $33,000. That breaks down to about $400 spent on invitations, around $2000 spent on attire (dresses and suits/tuxes), $2400 dedicated to flowers and decor, $15,000 on venue rental, $1200 on a DJ, $540 on desserts, and roughly $70 per person on dinner (which, with the average guest count of 136 according to the same survey, leads to $1000+ for food).
That’s like $21,000 right there.
What do you have left at the end of the day to show that investment? Some iPhone photos? A few images on social media attached to a hashtag that might be hijacked by another couple in the future? A few decent shots taken by [INSERT RANDOM PERSON HERE], but hardly a handful that can be used? All because you thought you’d save money by not hiring a photographer.
I get it: Photographers are expensive. But being a photographer can be expensive. Between gear and education and contracted labor, it all ads up. And granted, not everyone’s wedding will cost this much (but then again, some will cost more). Whatever the cost is, however, hiring a professional photographer keeps all other parts of the budget that much more worthwhile. All elements of a wedding budget are an investment, but they are mostly consumables—items that only have that one use. Yes, the dress can be preserved, but how often is it looked at? Not as much as that awesome canvas hanging on the wall. The beautifully covered walls that a rental company delicately draped can be explained, but will that description do justice? Probably not as much as an album can do. When telling the story of the Big Day, it is known that the bouquet was white and pink…but what flowers again? If only there was a decent, clear, professional picture…
Nothing speaks the truth of the past quite like photographic evidence. As a history teacher, I can tell you the importance of primary documents such photos in the retelling of time’s narratives. Your wedding day is the start of your history, your legacy, and every moment of that beginning deserves to be saved and recored for not only your recollections, but for the generations to come. Those generations, after all, are all because you fell in love.
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Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer. She provides services to elegant, authentic, sentimental couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest!