Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

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50 Money Saving Ideas for Your Wedding (Part 1)

Wedding Details at Cinnabar Hills Golf Course, San Jose, CA

Wedding Details at Cinnabar Hills Golf Course, San Jose, CA

Weddings suppose to be fun. But ask any bride and you will hear about the frustrations they have experienced while planning their weddings. The reason: Hard to stay on budget.

Only if every bride could have unlimited budget for her wedding to fulfill the dreams of the most spectacular and perfect wedding. Wouldn’t be great to get all a bride might wish for, without having to think about how much would it cost? Not having to make any trade offs.

Sure. It would be great, but the reality is that almost every bride has a wedding budget. Which means hard work is required to plan and have a wedding that stays on budget. So now we know what causes  the frustration many brides have.

As a San Francisco Bay Area wedding photographer, I talk to many brides before and after their weddings. The ways how they all approached and solved this problem are different but a common theme emerges: Almost all of them found a way to compromise on one or other item, some on all items, for their wedding. And the most common way I heard over and over was: money saving ideas.

Frankly, bride’s ingenuity is impressive. The creativity deserves to be shared, so here comes the GUIDE! I hope many brides and their families would find it helpful. The following Part 1 of this guide, is the first part I am publishing to present 50 money saving ideas. The rest of the two parts would be published soon so be sure to subscribe to my blog and come back to read the rest of the ideas. If you would like to learn more about the topic, consider reading my other guide: How To Spend Less on Your Wedding

So let’s get started.

1. Get All Inclusive Venue:

Search and pick a wedding venue that has tables, chairs and linens all included into their price. This way you don’t have to rent these from another company. Prices for all inclusive venues is much cheaper than renting the venue and the chairs, linen and tables separately.

2. Spend Less on Shoes:

You can find cheap wedding shoes instead of going for high-end designer shoes. Chances are not so many people would see them anyway under your long wedding dress. Apart from saving ton of money, picking shoes which are more comfortable to wear would also save you from sore feet and blisters at the end of the wedding day.

3. Skip The Garter & Bouquet Toss:

Gone are the days when people believed in getting a piece of the wedding dress would bring them good luck. It was popular in the 14th century, but in today’s 21th century many couples choose to skip this part and save money. Both are basically throw away money.


Wedding Decoration at San Mateo, CA

Wedding Decoration at San Mateo, CA


4. Borrow a Veil:

Have a friend who got married recently. Ask her if you can borrow the veil for her wedding. Many would be happy to let you use it for a day and would even offer you once you share the big news with them. Don’t be shy. Ask around.

5. Shop Aboard:

Next time you visit Mexico or other foreign destination, check out anything you might need for your wedding. Shoes are less expensive there, so why not combine fun (vacation) with saving money. Store the shoes in your closet until your wedding and use the cash you would save on your honey moon vacation.

6. Save on Taxes:

Many wedding items can be bough online from states which don’t collect sales tax. Every dollar counts, so look online for deals that would save you money. Minnesota does not tax clothes, while in California you are expected to pay up to 9.5% sales tax. If you wedding dress costs $1,000 for example, this is $95 for you to keep.

7. Be Your Own Florist:

Using seasonal flowers and ribbons for a hand-tied bouquets will reduce your floral arrangements bill. Lots of ideas online, plus any craft store in your area would have the materials. Recruit someone crafty to help you with this or do it your self on the day before the wedding. You will be surprised how easy it is.

8. Use Flowers Wisely:

Feel like killing fresh flowers by trowing them around is a waste of money. You don’t have to and would save you money if you use fake flowers to make your bouquets. Fresh flowers from your local grocery store can still decorate your tables and cake.


Wedding Desert at Saratoga Country Club, Saratoga, CA

Wedding Desert at Saratoga Country Club, Saratoga, CA


9. Trim The Guests List:

A seat and meal for every single guest on your wedding costs your money. So be smart and practical. Cutting down your guest list to your immediate family and close friends would make your wedding more intimate. Not to mention the savings you would get. This is by far the biggest saving you can get for your wedding as accommodating, entertaining and  providing meals for your guests is the largest expense you would have.

10. Tie The Knot Off-Season:

Many wedding venues are in high demand and command higher prices during the wedding season (June – September). Having an off season wedding off season translates into immediate and significant savings. Venue prices are up to 50% cheaper off season compared to the pick time of the wedding season. On a $10,000 venue, this is up to $5,000 of savings.

11. Buy and Resell Instead of Renting:

Renting linens, centerpieces, flatware, plates, paper lanterns and lighting, and spotlights for uplightingcan cost cost you lots of money which you will never get back. Some brides buy all these for a reasonable price and then resell them to revover most of the value. It will save you lots of money which you would otherwise be giving to the leasing company. Buy and resell, instead of renting everything.

12. Skip The Extra Fees:

Many stores would have an extra “convenience” or “delivery” fees. Be careful and plan ahead as this is just another way these stores are making extra money from you.  If your wedding cake store adds a delivery fee for just few miles from your venue, opt to pick it up by yourself and save on these fees.

13. Skip The Limo Drive Home:

If you must have a limo to bring you to the ceremony and to the reception venue, consider skipping the pick up from the reception to your home. The limo service charges by the hour, so one more trip would cost you more. How hard would be you and your husband to get ride home but your friends or designated drives.

14. Simplify Your Invitations:

Skip the extra ribbons, belly bands or anything excessive in your invites. This just adds extra weight which means more postage to mail them. For a 200+ person wedding, this extra postage you have to buy adds up quickly. Settle down on a simple invitation only.

15. Make it Simple Rehearsal Dinner:

If you must have a rehearsal dinner (many couples choose not to and rather save the money for as well), consider ordering pizzas instead of catered meal. Save your money for the wedding day meal instead.


Bridal shoes at intimate DIY wedding in Benicia, CA

Bridal shoes at intimate DIY wedding in Benicia, CA


16. Consider Used Wedding Dress:

Instead of buying a new dress consider getting your dresses at a wedding consignment store. You can find a quality dress which can be cleaned and altered to fit you perfectly for almost 1/3 of the original price. Look around and see what’s available in your area before you visiting a bridal dresses store.

17. Choose Non Bridal Salon For Your Dress Alteration:

If your wedding dress needs alterations, look for an independent seamstress instead of a specialized bridal salon. In most cases they would do the alteration for less money than a specialized bridal dress store. Remember, all specialized bridal stores overcharge for their services, just because they can and there is so much demand. Be smart  shopper and save your money for what matters more to you.


This is the end of Part 1 of the 50 Money Saving Ideas for Your Wedding guide. I will be post the remaining two parts to complete the overview of all 50 ideas. You can access the rest of the parts, from the links I will post in each guide (yet to come…). Consider reading this guide, for additional ideas on Wedding Tips for Brides From Photographer’s Point of View.

Weddings are expensive and takes a lots of efforts and planning to have the perfect one. There are simple tips that could help you to stay within your budget. Most of these tips were collected by talking to brides about the ways they saved money on their wedding and how they managed to stay within their budgets. I am sure there are so many other ways, so if you have a tip, any comment or a feedback, feel free to drop me a line or two into the comments section. I would love to hear from you on how you managed your wedding budget.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on social media (links in the top right sideblock of this blog) or check his latest photography projects on his Wedding and Portrait Photography Site



Why Wedding Photographers Hide Their Prices

Wedding reception at Reimgstorff House, Shoreline Park, Mountain View, CA  A wedding budget is one thing many brides consider when starting to plan their weddings. Like a shopping for a new car or planning a vacation, most of us have a predetermined amount (budget) they are considering to spend on something. If you are one of the lucky ones, who don’t have worry about a wedding budget limitation: Well. Congratulations! This article might not be relevant for you then.

For the rest of the brides, who do have a wedding budget and are determined to fit into it, here are few thoughts on why not all wedding photographers advertise their prices. It is one of the most common complains I have heard from brides and widely discussed online, so decided to summarize my experience into this blog article.

So back to the question: Why Wedding Photographers Hide Their Prices?

Before we dive into the reasons why the prices for wedding photography might not be easy to find and understand, let’s first take a look at what a bride looking to understand how much a wedding photographer might cost, could find out on her own. There are basically three most likely outcomes:

#1: Zero Information: Some wedding photographers don’t list any prices on their websites. Nothing related to prices at all. If a bride is lucky, she might stumble upon few sentences as: “Your wedding is unique and we would like to ensure you would receive the best service possible. Contact us for further pricing information  …  etc”.

#2: Some Information But Not All: Other photographers might have listed a starting service fee and explanation of how a package can be customized to tailor the bride’s needs. Items as prints, albums, second photographer, etc can be added to the starting price as one see fit but no pricing for these items is provided. The pricing info available would look like: “Wedding packages starting at $3,500 (this will vary from photographer to photographer). Contact us for detailed pricing information … etc”.

#3: Comprehensive Pricing: The last group of wedding photographers provide detailed information not only about the service fee and the complete wedding photography package, but details on all included items or services. This would be example: second photographer, prints, photo retouching, high-resolution images, digital images, etc.


Bride & Groom Portrait in Mountain View, CA

Bride & Groom Portrait at Rengstorff House, Shoreline Park in Mountain View, CA


So now that we know what a bride can expect to find online, let’s analyze why a wedding photographer would opt for choice #1, #2 or #3 and talk about the pros and cons for each approach. Hopefully that would help you to understand some of the reasoning and answer the main question we started with: Why Wedding Photographers Hide Their Prices?

#1: No Prices or Whatsoever Pricing Information Exist:

Why you might ask?

Well, the reason is that these photographers consider themselves the most sought ones, the cream of the crop, among all wedding photographers.  Because the demand for their services is so high, they think clients would pay any price for their services and as the money are not an issue for these types of clients, why bother to list prices in the first place. Most of these photographers (well respected and established professionals indeed) have built their reputation of masters of the wedding photography business and don’t take on any client. So if they can pick and choose their clients, and would be a privilege for the client to book their services, so they can name their own price too.

Word of caution here: It also, could be that you are lured into a wedding photography scam. To learn more about protecting yourself from fraudulent wedding photographers, consider reading How To Avoid Wedding Photography Scams

Pros: Unless you are dealing with a wedding photographer who just launched its website and hasn’t posted any prices yet, you, like a bride, would already know enough about the photographer’s style, reputation and have the money to afford it. You would get an amazing wedding images to remind you of your wedding day and bragging rights of having hired a famous wedding photographer.

Cons: Not everyone can afford to hire a photographer who can name its own price. It also might get you a while to hear back from the photographer or not hear back at all. He or she is busy working with other affluent clients and even if you can afford it, you might have to book way in advance to get your date or consider getting married next year.

#2: Starting Prices Available But the Entire Wedding Photography Package is a Mystery That Needs To Be Unraveled:

This scenario is somehow better than #1 but still doesn’t answer our bride’s question: Can I afford this wedding photographer and are his/her services within my budget? To find the pricing, a bride has to email, call or leave a voice message for the photographer and hope to receive a prompt response. To make things worst, the response on “How much a such and such package would cost me?” question, might not be what she expects: an easy to understand price tag.

Why? There are many reasons, but the most common one I have heard, after speaking with brides and fellow wedding photographers, is: The wedding photographer who doesn’t provide complete pricing information but only a starting price, would first try to find out the date and name of the wedding venue.


Bridal Formal Portrait at Rengstorff House, Mountain View, CA

Formal Wedding Portrait at Rengstorff House, Shoreline Park, mountain View, CA


And you guested it right: high demand, creates shortage and therefore justifies higher prices. Not all wedding dates and venues are created equal. Some wedding dates are more popular than others because of  the weather pattern, relatives availability, religious and ethnic reasons. So are the venues. Many are simply more are expensive than others. So if many seek to book the same wedding date and the bride can afford to spend more than $20,000 on a venue, that speaks to the total amount of bride’s wedding budget.

And so these wedding photographers are simply adjusting their prices according to the demand for the wedding date and the overall wedding budget. Think of it like a floating pricing. The more budget the bride has, the more they charge. What would be the target price you might think? Well, let’s say it is between 10-15% of the wedding budget. So once these photographers figure out the total wedding budget, it’s simply a matter of calculating 15% of this amount and naming it as wedding photography package price.

Well, I can feel how some of you might have their brains exploding right now and getting their blood pressure raising. Some might be even ready to scream: This is an outrage! It feels like, me spending more than 6 hours in a car dealership, dealing with sleazy salesman who was trying to extract as much money as he could for my new car. I hate being taken advantage of. It feels like I am begging someone to answer a simple question: How much would it cost?

Well, I don’t blame you. You have the right to feel this way and most of you after not even considering option #1 and being completely outraged by option #2, now hope there is an option #3 to calm down your nerves. Well, you are in luck because option #3 does exists and might provide the answer to your question: It this wedding photographer for my budget or not?

But let’s first review the pros and cons of option #2 before we move down to option #3.

Pros: At least, you have a starting point to qualify the photographer, although as you heart might be telling you this might be a trap to get you into the door only to find out latter than the “add-on’s” quickly add up and make the overall package not affordable. You will at least get some idea about the pricing and something is better than nothing. You can continue to inquire for the rest of the information and get a chance to communicate with the photographer, therefore understanding how fast it responds to information requests, how detailed is, how it communicates: verbally or in written form, etc.

Cons: The final price might be miles apart from the listed starting price, so you might be wasting your time with this photographer. You might also have to spend an additional time and further questioning before getting to know the final price. It will for sure, delay you getting the answer to the question: Can I afford this photographer or Not? and if you are on a hurry to make a decision or don’t like to be interrogated before seeing to the price tag, you might be better off to consider option #3 instead.

So, don’t get depressed. There is a hope. So let’s jump to option #3 and see what it is all about.


Bride & Groom Portrait at Rengstorff House, Mountain View, CA

Bride & Groom Portrait at Rengstorff House, Shoreline Park, Mountain View, CA


#3: Not Only the Entire Wedding Package Price Information is Available But Also All the Services Are Listed in Great Details:

There are photographers who are listing the pricing and detailing their services on their websites.  These wedding photographers understand how valuable your time is. They themselves, feel that price and services offered should be easy to find and understand as walking into a store and reading the price label.  Or like shopping online where everything has easy to see and understand price. They believe that in today’s information age one should not have to call, text or email to get a price for a service.

These photographers also understand that answering their client’s questions before they even ask them is simply matter of great customer service. A bride visiting their website, doesn’t have to struggle into finding the information she is looking for. After all, anticipating client’s needs and providing answers before any questions arises, it is what clients want. To see an example of detailed pricing for wedding and other portrait photography sessions, take a look at Trifon Anguelov Photography Pricing

Pros: Pricing and services information is available at first sight. No need to waste time for inquiries and communication back and forth before qualifying a photographer for the wedding budget. Knowing everything about the pricing and services makes it easy to make a decision. You will not feel like taken advantage of or have post-wedding remorse when finding out other clients paid less for the same photographer and same coverage. And if the pricing is straightforward to get hold of and understand, so would be your experience dealing with the photographer.

Cons: Well, I cannot think of any. In today’s instant gratification society and information age, it does make sense to see an easy to understand price of almost anything.


I hope this information was useful for brides to understand some of the reasons why some wedding photographers don’t post the prices for their packages and services. As with everything in life, there is no uniform truth, neither this does apply to all wedding photographers. Nor it is a rule you should follow 100%. Having or not having wedding services pricing available is also not a measure of wedding photographer skills or the quality of images he or she can deliver. So keep these considerations in mind and apply your own judgement when selecting a wedding photographer.

For additional information to help you plan your wedding day, make sure to read my Wedding Photography FAQ Guide.

If you found this information useful  and think your friends could benefit from it, please share it by using the multiple sharing options on the bottom. Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Think I am missing a point or two or three? Drop me a line in the comments section and I will consider adding it (with full credit to you, of course).

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Wedding and Events photography business based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in the entire San Francisco Bay Area, CA. You can follow him on social media by checking on the social links in the top right side block.

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How to Balance Your Wedding Spending Budget – What To Skip and What Not To Skip

12_IMG_7890 We all wish we knew not to do or what to do before it actually happened but it’s not always easy or possible to know it. True many sources of information are available nowadays and it hasn’t been easier to do research online, review other’s reviews or feedback and prepare. And many brides do exactly this: spent long hours planning their weddings, reading reviews for wedding vendors and working with wedding planner to ensure their dreams of becoming a bride are fulfilled.

However as with everything in life, there is always not enough time, money or resources to make a dream come true. So many brides are forced to make a choice. Do they don’t get videographer for their weddings, or book wedding photographer for less time, or get smaller and less elaborate decorations, or don’t hire a limo, or settle down for less impressing reception venue? Questions, questions.
Here is one article which addresses the question on what most brides regret not spending enough or spending too much on their weddings:

The bottom line is that wedding photography is not something to save money from. When it comes to wedding photography, one thing is clear: Don’t skim on the wedding photographer. Flowers fade, invitations are quickly forgotten and discarded after the wedding, the limo you hired for the short trip to the reception was it worth it..

Unfortunately, remembering the wedding moments and be able to pass these memories and images of you to your children and grandchildren, not easy when you don’t have any good photographs.

Agree, disagree, have feedback. Drop me a line or add a comment.


Written by Trifon Anguelov

Trifon Anguelov Photography is an upcoming Wedding and Event Photographer in Mountain View, CA

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