How Much Should You Spend on Wedding Photography?

Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit Wedding Photographer

Pin It Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit Wedding Photographer

We recently asked a number of wedding planners for a list of the most common questions and items related to budget and photography topped the list.  With so many people asking “How much should you spend on wedding photography?”, we thought we would try to help clear the muddy waters.

What we heard was that the average stated wedding budget was around $15,000 with nearly half of the couples saying they’re paying for the wedding themselves. However, when it is all said and done, we’re told most couples in Southeast Michigan end up paying between $20,000 and $30,000 for the wedding day (not including the engagement ring and honeymoon).

Metro Detroit Wedding Photographer

Pin It Metro Detroit Wedding Photographer

That’s right, most couples end up spending 50-100% more than they had planned to spend! We’re told this is largely due to two items: 1) Most couples do not realize the actual costs related to the products and services needed to host a large party, and 2) Most couples inadvertently forget a number of essential services when planning their budget. Fully understanding the impact of these statistics will help you with planning your own wedding budget when you starting speaking with vendors.

Professional wedding planners recommend setting aside 10-15% of your budget for professional wedding photography, regardless of your overall budget. A professional wedding photographer will help you understand the factors that go into your wedding photography investment and will provide multiple options. Remember, it’s okay to ask questions, but it is equally important to set an appropriate budget up front so you’re not surprised later.

Detroit Photographer - Detroit Wedding Photography

Pin It Metro Detroit Wedding Photography

For an average wedding with 150 guests and a $25,000 budget, here’s what you can expect to pay:

Reception $ 12,000 48%
Photography $ 3,000 12%
Wedding Gown $ 2,500 10%
Flowers $ 2,000 8%
Entertainment/Music $ 2,000 8%
Stationery $ 750 3%
Ceremony $ 750 3%
Parking/Transportation $ 500 2%
Gifts $ 750 3%
Miscellaneous $ 500 2%
Tuxedo $ 250 1%
$ 25,000 100%


Investing $3,000 in wedding photography may sound like a lot; however, what you get in return is priceless. Literally. But, 12% is just an average. There are things you can do to help save money on wedding photography to lower your investment, but you can certainly invest much, much more. Some bridal albums can cost over $2,000 alone based on styles and options selected.

Let’s take a quick look at the percentage of your budget you should be setting aside for professional wedding photography in relation to your overall budget.

$10,000 wedding budget – $1,200 photography budget
$15,000 wedding budget – $1,800 photography budget
$20,000 wedding budget – $2,400 photography budget
$25,000 wedding budget – $3,000 photography budget
$30,000 wedding budget – $3,600 photography budget
$35,000 wedding budget – $4,200 photography budget


How much should you spend on wedding photography?

Detroit Photographer - Detroit Wedding Photography

Pin It Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit Wedding Photographer

It is important to remember that you will get what you pay for when determining your wedding photography budget, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Sure, “Uncle Bob” can take some snapshots for you for free, but that is not recommended if you are cutting corners on your wedding photography. It is equally important to know what you want. For example, if you know would like photography coverage for the entire day, it is not realistic to expect to invest less than $1,000 on having a professional wedding photographer document your wedding (not including albums, prints, etc).

Everyone is on a budget these days. Let’s face it, the economy is tough. But, it is important to remember, at the end of the Big Day, you only get to keep the ring, the dress and the photos. The food, flowers, decorations, favors, music and stationery will all be gone.

Your children and grand children will ask to see your wedding photos and will likely hang them on their walls in the distant future so future generations can cherish them. What will you have to show them?

Paul Manoian Photography takes great pride is being able to offer a variety of options for brides planning their wedding day regardless of budget. If you are recently engaged, please contact us using the form below or call 734-776-0497 to see if we still have your wedding date open.   We are looking forward to the opportunity to provide professional photography of your Big Day that future generations will be able to enjoy!

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