How making room in your budget for high-quality photography can make your special day last a lifetime

Some call it “the most important day of your life.” Many spend thousands of dollars to create a fantasy, a fairy-tale event that will represent everything that is style and perfection to all who see it.

So why is it that so many soon-to-be brides and grooms don’t take the same care in capturing that day and its moments as they do in creating it? Why would they take a chance on a “friend of a friend” or “someone who will do it for cheap” but no experience photographing weddings (as well as no proof their vision matches that of the couple’s)?

While the cost of wedding photography can be daunting, there is no doubt that making it one of your primary expenses will be worth it in the long run. Wedding photographer Jessica Wong from Jessica Q Photography explains, “Photographs are the only tangible thing you have left of your wedding day.” For that reason, Wong recommends setting your wedding budget early on and making adjustments to other aspects of the day. “I had created my own centerpieces with fake flowers and used the floral budget towards a great team of wedding photography and video coverage. Your flowers will die, and all the other stuff only lasts for one day – but photography is forever.”

Jordan Demos, half of the married photography duo that makes up Amy and Jordan Photography, agrees that no matter what your overall budget may be, that it’s important to spend more on the photographer and make cuts other places. “When it’s all over, that’s all you have left,” he explains.”

While it may seem obvious to have a photographer suggest that you set a larger percentage of your day’s budget to photography, the reason is actually quite pure. Karie Denny of Ace & Whim, a fine art film photography team comprised of her and her husband Field, explains that having seen countless brides get caught up in making it the event of the year, leaving their grooms to feel helpless and flustered.

Instead, “Focus on being engaged and in love!” Denny suggests enthusiastically. “Weddings are chaotic and fast-paced. You want someone who has worked under that much pressure before and can take the lead.” So instead of your Aunt Martha with the nice camera or your mom’s neighbor who offered to do it for only $100, having someone who has photographed several weddings and can take the lead and save you some stress is more than worth the investment.

Another important focus in selecting a photographer for your big day should be your connection to the photographer and their work. Wong suggests meeting with them in person, so you can ensure you have a good vibe and will solidify that both personalities mesh and the experience will be a good one for all involved. “You’ll be spending more time with the person clicking the shutter than anyone else on the wedding day, so make sure you like them and can picture them as one of the girls or one of the guys.”

Denny agrees, elaborating that a connection to the photographer’s style is also important. “There should be a connection to the artist’s work,” she explains. “If there is not and you hire them anyway, you may be disappointed in what you get.”

The value of quality wedding photography on your big day goes beyond a group photo of you and your cousins from New Hampshire that you haven’t seen in seven years. And it’s more than someone taking a photo of the bride in her dress. Demos, Denny and Wong may vary in styles and price points for their services, but they are all passionate when they speak about past couples and share a similar commitment to the importance of the day.

“Our goal is to preserve a couple’s love in its raw, pure, joyous, unfiltered, emotional state for generations to come,” Demos explains, “so that fifty years from now, when our clients are grandparents, they’d be able to open their wedding album and feel the real, fresh, vibrant emotion come back to life and jump off the page, so their granddaughter who just got engaged herself can see how much her grandpa truly loved her grandma.”

And let’s face it – party favors, open bar, and five-course meals could never be (and should never be) more important that that.