Your Wedding Budget – what to spend it on

How I’d spend my wedding budget if I were getting married next year!

It’s my 20th wedding anniversary next week. This led me to thinking about what I’d do differently with my wedding budget if I could do it over again and what mistakes we made at the time. It was still a great day, but there are definitely some things we would do differently. Of course things were very different back then. When I got married in Hereford in the year 2000 I never dreamed that I would be a wedding photographer in Berkshire. I also never realised how many weddings I would end up seeing in my lifetime, I still enjoy them tremendously though and every one is different, even if they do follow a general pattern.

Food at a wedding at the Granary in at Fawsley
Food is important but the memory won’t last

Food, Drink and the wedding budget

This is important, I wouldn’t want my wedding guests to starve, or worse be poisoned! These days everyone has allergies, is on a diet or is picky about what they eat on principle. Get your guest list sorted out early and find out who are the people who need special attention for their diet. You won’t be able to please everyone, so don’t stress about it too much. And remember, 10 years on, unless it was a disaster, people won’t really remember the food too much. At my wedding we had beef wellington and my mum, being an awkward customer, didn’t like beef…. Of course a good wedding photographer should remember to capture some shots of that delicious nosh that you paid for…

Mmm..feeling hungry yet?

The Wedding Venue

Coombe Abbey - Coventry Wedding Venue
Coombe Abbey – Coventry Wedding Venue

This is the big one I guess. This is where a lot of your wedding budget will go. Most venues will bend over backwards to make you happy, if they don’t, you should look elsewhere. Just be aware of a couple of things I’ve learnt over the years documenting weddings. Some venues will have multiple weddings running at once ( generally the really big venues ). This can make your day feel a little less special, and it can be more prone to chaos. Secondly, don’t let them bully you into hiring certain people, they will have a list of favoured vendors but if they don’t tick the boxes for you, do your own thing, it’s your wedding! Check if they have any plans for changes in the next year, our venue was a building site on the actual day…

The Dress

I’m not just talking about THE dress here, but all the bridesmaids outfits and groom’s party outfits. It does seem kind of odd to spend quite so much money on outfits you will wear just once. It’s worth shopping around until you find something that you feel comfortable in though, as you will be spending all day in it. If you book a photographer who does engagement type shoots you could always ask them to do a pre-wedding or post-wedding shoot ( like this one I did recently ). Those epic bridal images you see on pinterest are very often not shot on the wedding day, as there simply isn’t time to hike up the nearest mountain or head for the beach and wait for sunset. While I do take photos of the dress hanging up I prefer to focus my attention on how it looks on the bride!

Natalie in her wedding dress - bridal prep at Dunchurch Park Hotel

The Photographer!

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Part of my point in this article is that people spend a fortune on “things” at a wedding, and then scrimp on the person tasked with recording those things in a beautiful and artistic fashion. I’ve been asked to shoot weddings for less than the price of the starters at the wedding breakfast before ( I didn’t accept before you ask! ). You should really be setting aside 10% of your budget for the photography. The images from your wedding will last a lifetime, long after everyone has forgotten what the pudding was.

Berkshire Wedding Photography - cupcakes at the wedding of Coco

Our photographer was an old school film photographer as digital hadn’t arrived yet. Our photos are very old fashioned and we barely glance at them. I do remember our guests being a bit scared of him. My wife is quite envious when she sees the type of images I deliver to my clients. I don’t think any wedding guests have every found me intimidating as a photographer, most of the time they don’t notice I’m there as my cameras are discreet and silent.


I hope this was food for thought…I don’t regret anything about my wedding 20 years ago, it was a wonderful day filled with my friends and family. The only unfortunate thing is that the photos don’t really take me back there. Oh and it rained, which I still get the blame for….


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