LaHu Wedding Photography


      So guys! You’ve said yes. In your excitement, you’ve told everyone and anyone who will listen that you’re engaged. You’ve posted a picture of that sexy rock on Insta and you’ve already started browsing venues and dresses and asking your friends for recommendations. You’re at the beginning of your wedding planning journey!?


      This.   Is.   Awesome.


      But I bet you’re wondering “WHERE THE HELL DO I REALLY START!?” Boring as it is, my recommendation before anything else is to figure out your budget so you know just how crazy you can get with each aspect of the wedding.


      I’ve done a ton of research and gathered all my experience to give you the best, most money saving, wedding ideas I could shove together in one nice ‘n’ tidy blog post which you can see here, so now it’s time for you to do some work 😉

      Before you start spending, figure out what your priorities are. Are you all about the dress and creating that jaw-dropping wow factor, are you guys total foodies who want your guests to have a culniary experience to beat all others or do you want to keep everyone entertained morning, noon and into the night and put on a party they’ll never forget. Once you’ve figured out what you want your wedding to be remembered for then you’ll have a better idea of where the biggest chunk of your budget should go.

      I’m all about making your lives easier so I’ve collated a rough guide for budget use below. You’ll find here a list of pretty much every expense you can imagine for your wedding day. It’s by no means comprehensive and I’m sure I’ve missed a few but I am just a lowly photographer and not a super hero wedding planner….as much as I’d love to be! That said, it’s a great starting point.

      This gives you an idea of how you should consider divvying up your funds. You’ll find a list of potential wedding expenses and a rough idea of how much of your budget should be set aside for each.

      Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

      From the following checklist of expenses, figure out which are the least and most important to you by placing them into one of these three categories…


      Go on…put together a spreadsheet if you want. We all know how spearsheets fool us into thinking that we’re fully in control right? But seriously, this will help you to work out how much of your budget should go on each;


      CEREMONY 2%

      Ceremony Site (if separate from reception venue)

      Church Donation

      Officiant Fee

      Marriage License

      Ceremony Accessories (ring pillow, flower girl basket, unity candle, etc.)


      VENUE 18%

      Room Rental Fee

      Venue Deposit

      Ceremony Fee (if ceremony is being held at reception venue)

      Additional Rentals (such as tables, chairs, china, etc. if not provided by caterer)

      Dance Floor Rental (if not already installed/included)

      Parking Fees

      Liability Insurance

      Tax and Service Fees

      Security (some venues require it)


      CATERING 18%

      Tasting Appointment (if not complimentary with your catering package)

      Hors D’oeuvres

      Plated, Buffet, or Sit Down Meal

      Food Stations

      Service Staff

      Catering Equipment (such as plates, silverware, glassware, serving platters, etc.)

      Catering Rentals (such as tables, chairs, linens, etc.)

      Supplier Meals

      Setup and/or Cleanup Fees

      Bar/Beverage Service 


      CLOTHING 7%

      Wedding Dress

      Wedding Dress Alterations

      Wedding Lingerie


      Wedding Shoes

      Bridal Jewelry / Accessories

      Groom’s Suit+ Shoes

      Reception Outfit (if you’re changing out of your dress) or After Party Outfit

      Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation

      Bridesmaid Dresses

      Groomsmen Suits



      Pre-Wedding Haircuts or Color




      Professional Shave for the Groom

      Spray Tan

      Lash Extensions

      Hair Trial

      Wedding Day Hairstyle

      Makeup Trial

      Wedding Day Makeup



      Engagement Party Invitations

      Save The Dates

      Wedding Invitations (including inserts like RSVP cards or maps)

      Postage (for invitations and RSVP envelopes, as well as thank you cards)

      Return Address Labels

      Order of Service

      Place Cards

      Menu Cards

      Favour Labels

      Thank You Cards



      Engagement Session

      Second Shooter

      Wedding Day Coverage

      Albums and/or Prints

      Boudoir Shoot



      Bouquets for bride and bridesmaids

      Brides bouquet for tossing

      Boutonnières for groom and groomsmen

      Corsages for Mums and Grandmas

      Flower Girl / Ring Bearer Accessories and Flowers

      Ceremony Arch

      Ceremony Arrangements

      Reception Centerpieces

      Guest Book

      Guest Signing Frame

      Card Box

      Guest Book Table Arrangement

      Wedding Cake Flowers

      Wedding Day Signage

      Specialty Décor Rentals (e.g. tenting, lanterns, candelabras, etc.)

      Delivery Fees

      Oversize Balloons



      Guest Favors

      BridalParty Gifts

      Gifts for Flower Girls and/or Ring Bearers

      Spouse Gift

      Parents Gifts

      Welcome Baskets for out-of-town guests

      ‘Necessities’ baskets for Washrooms


      CAKE 2%

      Wedding Cake

      Basic for extra servings

      Specialty Design Elements (like sugar flowers or hand painting)

      Cake Topper

      Cake Stand

      Cake-Cutting Fee

      Delivery Fee

      Additional Desserts if you’re doing a dessert table



      Ceremony Musicians

      Cocktail Hour Music

      Evening Reception DJ

      Live Band

      Microphone (for wedding ceremony and reception toasts)

      Sound-system or extra speakers 

      Photo Booth & Dance Floor Lighting 


      Photo Booth



      Bridal Party Transportation to the Ceremony Venue

      Bridal Party Transportation to the Reception Venue (if different from Ceremony Site)

      Shuttle Service to transport guests to/from their hotels

      Valet Parking Service 



      Wedding Bands

      Wedding Band Resizing Fee

      Wedding Ring Insurance

      Any Customization / Engraving



      Day-Of, Month-Of or Full-Service Wedding Coordination

      Venue and/or Vendor Referrals and Liaison

      Budget Development

      Timeline Creation

      Rehearsal Coordination

      Wedding Day Setup and Management



      Vendor Tips

      Sales Tax

      Service Charges

      Wedding Insurance

      Alcohol License (if not provided by the venue and/or caterer)

      Overtime Fees


      OTHER 8%



      So now you’re armed with all the info, add in any extras you have going on for your epic adventure and then start banging them into boxes for each category. This will help you figure out what is most important to you and then you can start to consider where to best spend your money. But seriously check out my money saving blog post because there is little compromise involved in each suggestion and even a few awesome ideas for switching things up and making your day stand out from the rest!

      See my money saving suggestions here!