Wedding Pictures & Video

What you spend here depends on how important pictures are to you. Our personal choice was to put disposable cameras on all the tables and have our "good photographer" relatives bring their cameras and hope we got some good shots (We did! I have two whole albums full of pix!).

A visitor to this page says that she always arrives early at weddings and stations herself outside the church to snap pictures of the guests as they arrive then later assembles these into an album for the bride & groom...a nice gift and a great way to be sure you have pictures of everybody. Thanks for the great idea, Christy!

If hiring a professional photographer is important to you call around and compare prices and packages. These can vary wildly so be persistent and make lots of calls. You might have better luck getting a bargain if your wedding is scheduled for an odd day or time or an unpopular time of year. Note: popular times vary from region to region. In New England it's from May through October with not so many in August because of the humidity. Southern California leans more toward winter to avoid the heat.

You can also dispense with the professional photographer for the whole wedding. Hire one for just the ceremony and the formals and leave disposable cameras on the reception tables for the rest.

Tiffany Powell suggests that you might want to try the local community colleges and universities for photography students. They almost always have courses specifically for wedding photography, so there will be people looking to build their portfolio. You might end up having to pay for the development and/or the enlargments. But they will usually work for free or very cheap.

Emily Purchase from Brantford, Ontario combines photograpy and favors with this high-tech idea: take advantage of disposable cameras, digital photography and CD burners! Those cute little table mementos end up collecting dust in bathrooms across North America. Instead, compile the best of the formal and informal wedding photos burned onto CDs and mail them to everyone with the Thank You notes. I enjoy the informal photos taken at my friends' weddings more than the formal shots. What better way to remind people of what a great time they had, or how nice they looked, or how silly the guys looked wearing the girls' crinolines on their heads at the end of the night! You could also include scanned pictures from childhood or family events, so everyone can laugh at their old bell-bottom pants and bad hair. Or include a photo of someone who is no longer with us but had fun playing with the kids on the beach in '93. Add a couple of nice "wish you were here" honeymoon vacation shots. That way, if there is a photo someone really likes, they can make their own prints in any size they want. Of course, if Nana isn't into computers, splurge a bit and give her a little photo album. Supply each table with a disposable camera, or an email address where they can send their digital photos for you to use. Announce that you'd like some great family and friends shots and those cameras better be full by the end of the night!

Apply the same strategies to hiring a videographer. Friends of ours had three people bring video cameras then made a composite of the best parts of each tape.

You can also set up the camera on a tripod, focusing on the bride and groom during the ceremony and in the receiving line. One of our readers points out that you will have a video tape of every guest who goes through the receiving line this way, some of whom may get missed by the still camera.

Here is professional videographer Angie Sickler's opinion on having friends or family videotape for you. She includes some websites you can visit and a few suggestions for saving money and using a professional:

I applaud your awesome ideas for saving money on weddings, but as a professional videographer, I have to say I dissaprove of the idea of just having friends do your video. Most people who've done this say that they regret it, because the video is very shaky, a lot of footage of people's feet, the on-camera microphone doesn't pick up ANY of the vows or readings...and the list goes on. To be able to see what a great video can do for your wedding, I suggest you visit these sites:

- bigskymovies dot com (Oregon)
- bluecoremedia dot com (Canada)
- blueskymediagroup dot com (Texas)
- peggyandsteve dot com (This is a husband and wife film student team that made some very funny and creative short films for their wedding. I guarantee you'll laugh so hard your sides will ache.)

However, I do have a money saving idea for video. If you can't afford a big wedding package, then take the smallest wedding package that you can and ask the videographer if you can take some things off. You might be able to scale it down to a more swallowable amount. I do think you should know, though, that you should be paying THE SAME AMOUNT or more on your video than your photos. Why? Well, because video will capture your WHOLE DAY, but photos will only catch a few glimpses and fake poses. Don't get me wrong, I cherish my wedding photo...but a well done video would've been even better. Back when I got married, I wish that I had hired a professional videographer instead of just letting a friend do it...it was an awful video, and the friend that did it for us never got to enjoy our day, because he was so busy with the video camera...he didn't deserve that!