As a wedding photographer, I get asked a lot of the same questions from brides– one of them being how to make your wedding look expensive! Over the years I’ve learned some tricks that I want to share with you as you begin planning your wedding to help elevate the day! Some of these ideas will help you save a little money, others might just help you think outside the box.
First and foremost, if you take no other advice from this post please take this nugget:
There are plenty of beautiful venues that fit a wide range of budgets. Here’s my advice when looking for a venue: pick somewhere that speaks for itself!
You need to envision a general vibe of your day as you begin planning so the venue fits your style, but beyond that, what is important to you? Is it the ease of location? Is it a beautiful ceremony spot? Is it different areas for guests to linger for reception and cocktail hour?
The best way to make your wedding day and your photo gallery look high-end is having LOTS of different “backgrounds”. Picking a venue that speaks for itself not only saves you money with not needing to bring in lots of decor and florals (not that that’s ever an issue;) ), but when there are beautiful options for photos and guests to mingle, it creates an elevated atmosphere.
Venues that have character bring charm to your photos with different backgrounds for first looks, family photos, bridal party photos, sunset photos, etc. This is one of the biggest ways to make your wedding look expensive!
Making sure you’re booking a photographer that’s reputable and has a style + personality you LOVE will ensure your wedding is documented perfectly. These images are the only professional photos you’ll have from your wedding, so getting a talented photographer that knows HOW to shoot something in a beautiful way will add to the high-end vibe you want.
Here’s an easy way to make your wedding photo gallery look high end: gather a lot of flat lay details for your photographer!
I ask brides to have a box ready for me when I arrive of the entire invitation suite with envelopes, a few place cards or menus, all jewelry, bride bouquet and extra flowers, ring boxes or do-dads, his + her shoes, veil, and so much more. The options are endless! Do you have a painted print of an engagement photo? Do you have an heirloom ring? Do you have a rehearsal dinner purse that says “BRIDE”? Did you get your bridesmaids a cute welcome basket? Lets photograph it!
Details help tell the story of the wedding. For example, I absolutely love it when I show up to a wedding day by the beach and the bride has oyster shells for the flat lays. Taking some time to think about what to bring costs next to nothing and gives your wedding a better chance to get published in a bridal magazine! You can’t get more elevated than that.
My biggest advice for your flowers is to make sure YOUR bouquet is the money bouquet. Bridesmaids don’t have to match you for size, and truly you’re probably only going to post/print one or two of the bridal party photos in real life! Obviously if you have the budget for it, beautiful flowers all over is the BEST way to make your wedding day feel fancy! But if you want to scale back a little, focus on the flowers for you. Your bouquet will be in 100% of the photos before the reception!
Another little life hack that a florist can help talk you through in designing your reception: decorate every other table with the “bigger” arrangement. To make sure your wedding looks expensive in photographed, there will need to be a few tables that has more of the bells and whistles. But don’t think you have to do this for each one! Sprinkle them around! Do you really love a fabric and you’d want to have it as your tablecloths but can’t do the whole room? Literally just do the head table where you and your groom, or your bridal party will be seated! This adds such a statement, and is a win win!
Easy ideas to make your wedding look expensive:
Get a DJ, have them play jazz the first hour while people are eating
Get a guitarist or violinist for ceremony. They are a lot cheaper than booking a band!
No matching bridesmaids dresses! Places like Anthropologie, Lulus, Revolve, Dillards, etc have gorgeous maxi dresses that are the fraction of the cost of true bridesmaid dresses. Give them a color and a vibe, and have them pick it out! Not only can they wear it again, but it makes your wedding truly look more designer if not everything is matchy-matchy.
Get Rent the Runway for wedding weekend / honeymoon. A lifesaver!
I read this somewhere, but having the servers wear white gloves during cocktail hour or as they bartend/serve is a fun way to add a little fancy flare. If it goes with your venue, go for it!
Decorate with things you have at home. Have lots of ginger jars? Candle sticks? Pretty picture frames for the bar or gift table? A pretty couch or chairs or coffee table? Use them and save on rentals!
Depending on your wedding day, I’ve loved seeing brides incorporate citrus in their reception decor. Figs, pears, oranges, limes and lemons all add a real-life touch to your reception tables without spending much!
Don’t use silver dollar greenery.
Certain roses and flowers cost pennies more than greenery! Ask your florist about what’s in season around the date of your wedding to save on shipping.
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Looking for a wedding photographer? I would love to chat with you! Contact me here.