Marriage is the union of two people, who have found love in each other and who want to share their companionship for the rest of their lives. A wedding is a couple displaying their choice in front of friends and family, and for all to take joy in celebrating that they’ve found each other.

For a marriage, you need two people in love and a signed form. For a wedding, you need a celebration in addition to that form. How you decide to celebrate differs from couple to couple, but one thing that everyone seems to have no matter the size or length of their wedding is a photographer. The moments of this celebration are going to be memorable, and photographs help you remember for when you grow old together.

Of course, weddings these days can cost a fortune when you have to find your dress, pick your colour scheme, rent a venue for ceremony and reception, purchase decorations & meals, hire a DJ, hire a photographer, and maybe even a wedding planner to help you will all of that. The thing is, since most can’t afford the best of the best in every category, we choose to skimp on a few things.. Skip the wedding planner because “I can do this on my own with my maid of honour; that’s what she’s for right?” or skip the DJ because “I’ve got an iPod that I can load a playlist onto and attach to speakers” or DYI the decorations because “I’m super crafty so this will be easy, and I’ll have my MOH to help me” or having uncle Bob take the photographs because “he has fancy camera so I’m sure the photos will look just as awesome as if I were to hire a professional”. Sometimes being frugal is a good thing, but skimping on a photographer for this ONCE IN A LIFETIME event that you can never “do-over” is a bad idea. Whether you have uncle Bob snap a few candids throughout the wedding and maybe a posed bride&groom shot here and there OR if you hire a photography school student who still has no idea what aperture means for “exposure” to practice with your wedding OR you have a friend do it to save money, you are NOT going to be satisfied with your images and you will always regret it years down the road. You mind as well not hire a photographer at all because you won’t have any portraits to hang in your wall, and you miss out on all the great products that a professional photographer can offer you: professional prints, canvas art, frames pieces, a wedding album, keepsake boxes, etc. No amateur photographer can provide you with quality print products, no matter how “good” they say their images are, because they don’t have access to these quality products because only registered professionals do. All they can offer is mediocre digital images. Don’t get me wring, some professionals also offer printable digital files WITH their PRINT collections or a minimum investment/order/purchase.  There’s also the business aspect; professionals have a licence to conduct business and have insurance in case things go wrong. Another great article that goes a little more into detail on each point, and bring up some extra ones too.

That being said, I absolutely believe in taking a DIY stance on the reception decor for many reasons: you get to be more involved in the process, it gives you and the mister/misses something extra to bond over, it allows you to relax a little despite the chaos, sometimes hand-made items are much prettier, and bonus: it can save you a few dollars. Just make sure you can afford the extra time spending being crafty and that you don’t end up over budget because sometimes all the craft supplies separately cost more than pre-made items, or they can end up being a bust all-together.  Educate & Enjoy :)