The word ‘wedding’ not only triggers smiles (or perhaps alarm bells), it also unleashes the dark forces of the dollar sign, eager to be worshiped and paid homage.  ‎Once the W word is mentioned dollar signs flash in every direction and numbers rapidly increment upwards. 

It’s a grand affair: Marriage is grand, and divorce is in excess‎ of 100 grand! – Even the wedding day itself can run into many thousands of hard earned (or borrowed) dollars.  

Everyone dreams of a wonderful wedding, with excellence in every detail, but only a tiny minority of folks have money trees growing within arm’s reach.  Therefore, concessions are made: the cloth is cut to suit the budget. 

But wonderful weddings and sacks of cash are not a mandatory combination. There are many expensive mediocre weddings, and an equal number of smaller budget amazing weddings: it’s all a matter of directing available money to where it is best spent, and not throwing wads of cash about thoughtlessly.

I know that one of the aims of this‎ great website is to share ingenious ideas to achieve fabulous Bad Ass effects, and I can barely wait to read about people’s special days and all of those special tips for fabulosity. 

I would like to contribute to that discussion with the following thoughts, which can achieve fantastic results and enable money to be saved and redirected to other parts of the wedding day expenses …….

One essential ingredient of the wedding is the visual record: the preservation of that perfect day in photographs for future revisiting of the event, the people, and also the hairstyles and fashion of the time that may become a source of remembered pride or, perhaps, awkward embarrassment.  

The photographic record is hugely important. It’s a life changing day celebrating the union of ‎the loving couple, supported by their closest inner circle of friends and family, and it must be preserved – and well preserved. 

So, what is the best way to create that great photographic (and, these days, videographic) record? Not many of us have an obliging Lord Snowdon or a Lord Lichfield in the family ranks, so the dark forces of the dollar sign are beckoned – and this can be a significant expense. 

There are some great photographers out there; skilled in the art of composition, technically ‎gifted to operate the most complex equipment, blessed with creative flair, and more than capable of creating and capturing the most wonderful pictures. And then there are the rest; those lacking special talents, who do their best but are only capable of basically producing a set of snaps. 

Unless you know of a great photographer you can rely upon, you have to make a decision of who to employ for this ‎incredibly important task based upon examples of their (best) previous work and their fee: The latter factor probably carrying considerable weight in your decision-making process. 

But there’s another method of acquiring a wonderful visual record of that wonderful day: Employ the guests! – They all have modern cellphones in their pockets, equipped with excellent cameras and video recording capability.  Some of them may even have access to photo enhancing software that can erase the facial character creases from the vain. 

Let the guests know you are not having an official photographer and would like everyone in attendance of the wedding to take informal photographs throughout the day and to send them to you afterwards

More and more people are taking advantage of this cool option. It not only saves a King’s ransom, ‎but provides a wealth of photographs captured through all stages of the special day, and not limited to those formal posed group shots.

When everyone sends you their photographs, select the best for your ‘official album’.  This can then be shared in its entirety with everyone for the cost of an email: $0.

All of the pictures showing people getting ready for the day, hanging around after the ceremony, making speeches, feasting on the food, rockin the dance floor, and staggering out the door at the end of the night will be priceless, but you will still need the formal group shots. Arrange for a couple of your most creative guests (not just one person – eggs and baskets!) to take the formal shots. Talk to them before the wedding so they know which groupings you want preserved in pixels – you do not want to leave this to their imagination on the day itself and later find out you have tons of shots of Sleazy Uncle Simon with the bridesmaids, and no pictures of the parents of the bride and groom.

A variation on this cellphone idea is to provide everyone at the wedding with a disposable camera.  There is some cost associated with this option (for the cameras and print developing), but when those cameras are handed in at the end of the day you can feel confident they will be full of a vast selection of pictures covering the entire event

It’s a fun thing to do. Everyone will enjoy contributing their secret skills and photographic prowess to the collective record – and those pictures will be treasure. 

Save money, engage your guests, get a ton of fabulous pictures. It’s a no-brainer to me. I love this.

Happy snaps.

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