Budgeting for your wedding

Weddings are expensive. Let’s face it.

According to CNN, the wedding industry is a 53.4 billion dollar market and the average wedding costed about 28,000 in 2012. Those are some crazy numbers, and I’m certain they are only rising. That doesn’t mean that you have to take a second job just to be able to afford your special day.

I believe that there are two main factors that need to come into play when you’re planning and budgeting for a wedding:

  1. Prioritization
  2. Effort

Wait, what?

Granted, those traits sound quite boring, but they are of utmost importance in my opinion.

What I mean for prioritization is to organize what you want your wedding day to be and then prioritize each component. Think about all the things you want in your wedding and then place them in order of importance. For example, you have a list like this:

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Officiant
  • DJ
  • Cake
  • Flowers
  • Dress
  • Etc

Then you need to organize them in importance to you. Perhaps flowers are at the bottom of your list and the venue is at the top. Then list everything else in order, for example:

  1. Venue
  2. Dress
  3. Officiant
  4. Photographer
  5. Cake
  6. Catering
  7. DJ
  8. Flowers
  9. Videographer

For this list, I put the venue at the top because I think that getting married in a beautiful location is the most important thing. Videography is at the bottom because I am not very interested in watching my ceremony video years down the road. Videography is still on the list though, because I put some importance to it. If my budget allows, I will hire someone to make a video. Perhaps the dress isn’t a big deal to you. List it lower. Maybe having photos is really important. List it higher. Once you have your basic list organized, you can really start seeing how much your wedding is going to cost when you start approaching vendors and seeing their price lists.

The second thing that I think is really important in planning a wedding I’m calling effort. What I mean is that the amount of effort you put into your wedding day should give it greater importance in your life. I don’t necessarily mean that you should try to arrange all your flowers or make your own cake, but by all means do so if that interests you. For me the wedding ring I gave my wife was really important. I wanted to make sure that not only did I choose a beautiful ring for her, but I actually wanted it to cost more money than I normally would have spent. I had to work more hours and save more money to buy her ring, but it was so worth it. For the extra hours and saving, I’ve ensured a lifetime of her being proud of her ring and the symbol it stands for. I’m not saying that anyone who chooses to buy a cheaper ring is going the wrong way. When you have your list of priorities, you’ll list what’s the most important thing first and I think you should work extra for that. If you really want your guests to have a great memory of your wedding day, perhaps a DJ who can keep the day upbeat and rocking is your thing.

So really take time to prioritize your list of wedding things by importance to you and then put in the extra effort for the important items on your list and you will be more successful at keeping to a budget and you’ll still have your special day, perfect for you.

Wedding Photography budgets for Oregon: What should I plan to spend?

Wedding Rings displayed on a flower.
Wedding Photography in Oregon: How much should I budget for?

How much should I budget for wedding photography?

Creating a wedding budget is a very important, and very stressful, step in the wedding planning process. It can also be extremely difficult because there is such a range of prices for wedding services. In no service is this truer than wedding photography. Depending on where you live, wedding photography can start anywhere from $300 to $10,000! So what should you budget for your wedding photography? This is a question that only you can answer, but I hope this guide will help you either choose a budget, or if you have already chosen a budget to know what to expect from a photographer in your budget.

*Oregon Wedding budgets – This guide is geared toward Oregon couples, but the general guidelines can be applied to any area. Price ranges will be different*

Photography Budget: Under $1000

This is a small budget for Oregon. The key to working in this price-range is knowing that the quality of the photographer you will get for this price is poor to moderate. The further under $1000 you go the less likely you will be able to get a professional photographer for that price. A photographer in this range is most likely an amateur, beginner/student, or a part time photographer (meaning they have a job other than photography). If you are looking for professional quality photography, be cautious of photographers in this budget range. Many times they will try and entice you with offers of “all day photography and get all the photos on CD for $600!” What they are really saying is something like: ” I only do this for extra money, I have no insurance, I am not registered as a business, and if something goes wrong you are basically S.O.L.” This isn’t every photographer in this category, but be sure to ask about insurance and if they are a registered business. It is absolutely ok to ask for a federal EIN (employer identification number) and state registry number. If you ask, businesses are required to give this information to you and it is public record to look up the information on the business, so do your homework. You can also check out if the person/business has any complaints with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). If your budget is in this area then wedding photography is not one of your top priorities (which is ok, photography is not everyone’s top priority!) and you may want to look into photography students or young companies looking to build a portfolio.

Note on Craig’s List: Many times couples in this budget range will post on Craig’s list looking for less expensive photographers. Be careful when receiving responses to see a portfolio or know that you are taking a risk when you go with someone without a portfolio. You get what you pay for!

Photography Budget: $1000 – $3000

This is a good, mid-range budget which will allow you to hire a high quality photographer and receive a good number of pictures. You can get digital copies of pictures in this price range, or you will most likely receive a print credit if a CD is not included. There are a good number of photographers who fall into this range in Oregon so you can expect to hire a professional wedding photographer with a budget in this range. This budget infers you believe photos of your wedding are an investment in your memories. With so many choices within this budget range, it can be difficult to choose. I recommend our article Finding Your Perfect Photographer if you are having trouble choosing.

Photography Budget: Over $3000

This is a high budget, inferring you consider your wedding photography one of your top priorities. You will be able to hire an excellent photographer and build a package to suit your desires. You can expect some sort of digital files, whether that is a high resolution CD or a DVD slide show, in this price range. Also an album is most likely to be included at this price point. There are a good number of photographers who fall into this price range in Oregon, so finding a photographer in this price range should not be too difficult.


If you haven’t set a wedding photography budget yet, I hope this is helpful information which will help you decide which budget range you want to be in. If you have set your wedding photography budget, I hope this information helps clarify what to expect from a photographer in your budget range.