Can't Afford A Wedding Photographer? No Problem.
First thing is first.. Relax! Find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. There are hundreds, if not thousands of bride and grooms who can't afford to hire a professional wedding photographer (OR) they have simply opted to spend that $2500++ elsewhere. We know of plenty of bride and grooms that have 'let the guests take their wedding pictures’ or asked a friend/family member with a 'good camera' to rise to the occasion.
Option #1: Ask for Less hours
Ideally, you would want your photographer there all day from your "getting ready" photos to your first dance as a married couple, BUT this can be, and often is, very expensive. If you've done the math and simply can’t afford a wedding photographer for the whole day, then try asking for just 3-4 hours of coverage. Hire a professional wedding photographer to capture the KEY elements of the day (i.e. the ceremony, the first kiss, the portrait session, a few group shots, cutting the cake, and maybe the toasts). After all, how many pictures of friends/family drunkards dancing actually make it to your wedding album?
Option #2: Forego the Album, and Opt for Disc Only
A big part of the expense in some of the wedding photography packages is the actual album and prints. BUT, with SO many sites offering to create albums, books, coffee mugs professional prints etc, you have other options. How about just asking for a high resolution photo image disc. This will undoubtedly give you more freedom to print from your preferred photo lab, AND will save you money = win, win.
Option #3: Maybe Hire a "2nd shooter"
2nd Shooters are simply photographers who have photographic skills and good experience working with wedding professionals. While they may still technically be in "training," they can save you a TON of money, and your pictures may be still be just as good. 2nd shooters are looking to gain experience, and can certainly offer a full day of wedding coverage, for a fraction of the cost.
Option #4: How about hiring a Student Photographer
Like 2nd Shooters, Student Photographers are looking for experience, and can often offer full wedding coverage, at a fraction of the cost. Try putting an ad out on Craigslist or contacting your local university and seeing if there are any photography students that are up to the task. We would still recommend that you meet with them beforehand and review their portfolio before hiring them to capture the moments of your big day. After all, they will only get one shot at this come actual wedding day, and you'll want to make sure that your styles are alike.
Option #5: Try an Alternative Style Wedding
Photographers LOVE a unique opportunity, especially if it means expanding their wedding photo portfolio. By all means, take advantage of this!!! If you opt to have a wedding that is non-traditional, or alternative, you may find that you have a LOT more bargaining power when it comes time to discuss final pricing and packaging options. Just a thought...