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Skip Your Wedding And Buy A Fully Loaded Honda Accord!

How To Plan A Wedding On A Budget

By Jeffrey House Photography


"People are spending too much on their weddings!"

This is the the title of the article written by Emily Guy Birken from the website "Wise Bread."  Honestly, I'm not familiar with the website or the author, but from what I can tell, neither are wedding industry experts.  And based on what I read, they shouldn't be.  

Everyone can use insight on how to plan a wedding on a budget, but this article on Wise Bread was simply ridiculous.  I'll be honest with you, this article is going to be a little harsh and little controversial.  It's articles like Emily's that literally do nothing to help couples in the process of planning their wedding.   

The internet is loaded with too many useless articles.  Offering advice on how to plan and budget a wedding, but many of them are just plain horrible!  Their suggestions aren't practical or realistic and they do little to actually help you.  In fact, much of the advice you'll find will only lead you to regretting your own wedding.

The information we provide couples, as wedding professionals, should be more than publication "filler" or "fluff."  It should be valuable, thoughtful, trusting, and helpful.

how-to-plan-a-wedding-on-a-budget | jeffrey-house-photography

should you have a wedding or buy a fully-loaded honda accord?

According to The Knot, the average couple spent $35,329 on their wedding in 2016 and that number continues to increase every year.  Couples also spent an additional $4,800 on their honeymoon.  When all is said and done, couples spend nearly $40,000 on their wedding.  

Emily's article made several comparisons on how that money could have been better spent, but she completely lost me when she said, "you could buy a fully-loaded, brand new Honda Accord."


A wedding is much more than an expensive party.  Some of life's most meaningful and sentimental moments are shared at a wedding.  And it's these moments that give our lives meaning and purpose.  Through wedding photos, these moments can be shared with your children, grandchildren, and generations to come.  And one day, these photos will essentially be the only way you are remembered.  

But, I'm sure the story of your fully-loaded Honda Accord would live on forever too.    

Let's take a closer look at the article, "People Are Spending Too Much On Their Weddings" and see why the advice conveyed in this article can be detrimental to your wedding.

If Emily or someone at Wise Bread was to read this article, I'm sure they would say to me, "Of course you don't like our article about overspending on weddings - You're a wedding photographer and you want brides and grooms to pay your prices just like every other wedding vendor."

As someone who has experienced bad wedding advice, I understand the impact it can have on brides and grooms.  My perspective isn't from a wedding vendor, but rather a victim.  That is why I work extremely hard to create free articles and resources for couples getting married.  More importantly, the information I provide is honest and useful!  Whether a couple hires me or not, I want to provide them with quality information, so they can make the best decisions possible for their wedding.  Not every couple is going to hire me to photograph their wedding and that's fine.  However, I want every couple that interacts with me to have an experience that's honest, trustworthy, and beneficial.  

Securing future

have a weekday wedding

When you imagine your wedding, what do you see?

Do you see people laughing and have a good time?  Maybe even enjoying some cocktails and dancing?


Do you envision something very subdued?  

The author, in her article, suggested having a weekday wedding.  She shared a story about her friend and her Monday wedding that saved 80% on the wedding venue cost.  However, because it was on a Monday, many of the guests she invited couldn't attend, so they got the smaller wedding they wanted.  

If you want a smaller wedding, invite less people.  You don't need to strategically plan it for a day that prevents many of your guests from being able to attend.  

If you are fine with a very small and low key wedding, then a weekday wedding might be a good option for you.  

However, 99% of the couples we work with, want anything but low key or subdued.  They want their guests up on the dane floor having an amazing time!  If this is more along the lines of how you envision your special day, a weekday wedding is definitely something you'll want to avoid.  A weekday wedding means the majority of your guests will have to get up and go to work the next day, and they probably won't feel much like dancing and drinking the night away.  They will be sitting in their seats trying to figure out how quickly they can get out of there.  

don't hire a professional dj

This is one of the biggest regrets brides have every year according to studies performed by wedding industry experts.  The author suggests you skip hiring a professional DJ and hire a college student, or better yet, DIY your wedding music.  

What is the big deal?

DJ's just play music.  Anyone can do that, right?  Play a few dance songs, mix in some slow songs, and everyone is happy. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

Professional DJ's are experts at "reading" crowds; therefore, they are highly skilled at knowing what types of songs to play and when to play them.  Have you ever been to a wedding with a bad DJ?  Their music is obnoxiously loud and they can't get anyone up on the dance floor.  Your guests are practically running for the exit after the cake cutting.  

Another huge consideration with a DJ is trusting the person in charge of the live mic!  Many couples have hired an amateur DJ that was loud and very inappropriate.  A great way to kill the party atmosphere.  

Of course, you can always DIY your music.  If you want to ensure the same 5 people dance all night long while everyone else jabs themselves in the eye with a fork, this is your ticket!

DJ's also play a vital role in the timing of your reception.  They are responsible for making sure the events taking place run smoothly and on time.  This includes events such as: first dances, toasts, cake cutting, etc.  Your DJ will will be in constant contact with your photographer and videographer to ensure everyone is on the same page and these moments are properly documented.  

how-to-plan-a-wedding-on-a-budget | jeffrey-house-photography

don't hire a professional photographer


The author specifically states in her article, "you can get professional grade wedding pictures without paying professional prices." She further states that all you need to do is hired a local photography student to get these results.

I'm curious whether the author truly believes her own insanity or it's a way to justify her own decision.  No offense to the photography students out there, but you're not even close to being on the same playing field as a professional photographer.  And that's okay, everybody has to start somewhere.  

I will personally guarantee you're not going to get nearly get the same results with a photography student compared to a professional wedding photographer.  The comparison of "taking pictures" to photographing a wedding isn't even close.  I've known professional portrait photographers that photographed a wedding for a friend as a favor.  They were blown away at how difficult it was to actually photograph a wedding.  They felt completely overwhelmed and stressed.  In fact, they all said they would never do it again!  There's way too much pressure to perform.  

I suppose the author of this article also believes her fully-loaded Honda Accord performs just as well as a Mercedes Benz S-Class (Starting Price $95,000!) . I'm sure the experience between these two vehicles is almost identical!

Before offering couples some of the worst advice ever, the author should consider the following facts:

  • 82% of couples regret how they planned their wedding and their biggest regrets include scrimping on wedding photography and not hiring a professional DJ
  • 85% of couples were dissatisfied with their wedding photographer
  • 71% of couples would hire a completely different photographer if given a second chance 

I understand wedding photography is expensive, but it's an investment.  Wedding photographers aren't rolling in the money.  A wedding photographer's annual salary averages around $28,000.  Some say wedding photography is pricey, but I believe it's priceless!  On average, couples spend $2,800 on their wedding photography, but in the end you walk away with a lifetime of memories.  

What other investments do we make that last a lifetime?  

And how long will that $35,000 fully-loaded Honda Accord last?  

how-to-plan-a-wedding-on-a-budget | jeffrey-house-photography

5 real ways to plan a wedding on a budget

Believe it or not, it's pretty easy to plan a wedding on a budget.  However, it's also very easy to get off track by trying to make everything perfect.  Here are 5 real ways to plan a wedding on a budget and none of them involve skipping your wedding and buying a car.  

1.  Personalization

One of the biggest trends in weddings today is to personalize your planning, but remember this key detail:


Rather than trying to personalize every detail, choose 2-4 details that mean the most to you and personalize them.  This will save you a lot of money and time!

2.  Control Your Guest List

The majority of couples look back on their wedding and wish they had invited less people.  The average wedding in 2016 had approximately 125 guests.  

But, how much would it impact your budget if you could get your list down to 115?

It's going to cost you, on average, approximately $240 per guest.  If you cut 10 people from your list, you're going to save $2,400!!! 10 less guests will also save you money on favors, centerpieces (less table settings), food, etc.  When you add up all of the savings you're going to save between $2,600 - $2,800!  

That savings alone pays for your wedding photography or DJ or a videographer.  

how-to-plan-a-wedding-on-a-budget | jeffrey-house-photography

3.  Wedding Date

Believe it or not, when you get married can also have a significant impact on your wedding costs.  Generally speaking, off-season weddings will save you a significant amount of money.  Off-season weddings typically include January, February, March, April, May, November, and December.  

While these months usually save you some money on the budget, you have to make a few sacrifices in return.  Obviously, it's unlikely you will be able to have an outside wedding.  Flowers aren't in bloom and you typically lose the aesthetic value that comes with being outdoors.  Lastly, you have to be concerned with the potential for inclement weather.  Nothing like a big snow storm to put a damper on your big day!

4.  Prioritize Details

Before you actually begin planning your wedding, sit down with your fiancé to prioritize the details.  Unless you have a huge or unlimited budget, you're not going to be able to afford the best of everything.  Make a list of up to 5 details that are extremely important to you and focus on making those details as perfect as possible.  

When it comes to weddings, a lot of details have very affordable options that don't look cheap.  

5.  Know Your Budget & The REAL Costs Of Planning A Wedding

When it comes to making a budget for your wedding, you will need to consider a few questions:

  • How much money do you and your partner currently have available for wedding costs?
  • How much money can you and your partner save from now until the wedding? (most final payments are due 2-4 weeks before the wedding)
  • How much money will both sets of parents contribute towards your wedding expenses?
  • How small of a personal loan can you consider to help pay for your wedding, but not put in you debt for the next 20 years?

What are the REAL costs of planning a wedding?

A lot of couples make the fatal mistake of assuming cots or using bad information.  At you can enter your zip code and research what couples are ACTUALLY paying for weddings in your area.  These are the REAL costs.  

You might know someone who got married last year and they paid $1,000 for their DJ, so you use $1,000 in your budget.  But, as you start researching DJ's, you're getting quotes for $1700!  That's almost double your budget! 

However, your friend paid less because she had an off-season wedding.  The DJ didn't have that day booked and they were willing to lower their price to $1,000 to fill the date.  Assuming costs can really damage your budget and cause a lot of problems.  It's critical to know the real costs of planning a wedding in your area, so you know exactly how to allocate your wedding budget.  


are you going to skip your wedding and buy a fully-loaded honda accord? 


how-to-plan-a-wedding-on-a-budget | jeffrey-house-photography