How to Have a Free Wedding

Updated on September 25, 2019
ChrisLingCheng profile image

Pani is a graduate in the field of biomedical sciences and future housewife.

Source

You want a meaningful and beautiful wedding. The only way to have that is to spend $2,000 on your wedding gown, at least $10,000 on food for your 200 guests, $5,000 on the venue, $5,000 on the flowers and decorations, $1,000 on the three-tiered cake—the list is neverending.

Halfway through your wedding preparations, you both sit down to figure out where you both are in your budget. After happily clicking the calculator keys for an eternity, you finally have the projected cost. Alas! You are already $5,000 over your budget. How did this happen?

This sets off a heated conversation filled with finger-pointing. Every single cent from the purchases after that are inspected thoroughly and can easily set off another round of the blame game and accusations.

Then comes "the day" itself. We expect a calm bride, but instead, we have a bridezilla walking down the aisle. The hope for a meaningful and beautiful wedding is gone, replaced by the apocalyptic ambiance of a wedding fraught with arguments and debt.

Weddings Are Expensive

Banks can offer high lines of credit. They are happy to do this because they want you to borrow more. It is simple, really. The more you borrow, the more the bank earns (from the processing fees down to the interest you have to pay). A wedding founded on debt is doomed to a lifetime of monthly repayments, and this is the worst way to start your life together.

This usually means you get to spend tens of thousands of dollars that are not really yours in the first place. The average American wedding costs around $27,000. Imagine spending all that in a one-day event.

It is especially vital nowadays not to follow the trend of impracticality and spending beyond your means. Modern-day marriages are often disposable. "'Til death do us part" has now become "'till debt do us part."

A Wedding Cannot Really Be Free

I have a confession to make: a wedding cannot be entirely free. You will have to pay for the wedding papers and registrar. A Catholic couple like us cannot skip the church ceremony, so we factor in the fees for that as well. For other Christians, you would also have to pay for the officiating minister's time.

However, you can still have the rest free—if you follow the advice in this article.

How Can I Plan a Free Wedding?

  1. Have a small, intimate wedding.
  2. Find free wedding and reception venues.
  3. Have free food.
  4. Find a free wedding dress.
  5. Find a free photographer.
  6. Get a free DJ.
  7. Have a free bouquet.
  8. Design your own wedding invitations.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source

1. Have an Intimate Wedding

This is probably the best tip I can give you to start your wedding preparations. Let's get back to what a wedding really is. It is a ceremony where two people are ritually or legally united as one. I initially wanted a grand wedding, but after realizing how it could affect us—crippling us financially for at least the first few years of our life together as husband and wife—I knew I had to redefine my wants and stick to my needs.

We have become fixated on the material details of weddings, and emphasize impressing people we probably do not even know that well. By slashing down the number of attendees, you can really lower your wedding cost.

How low can you go? Ask yourself that. How many people should be in your wedding? 300? 200? Are you planning to invite your whole clan and village to your ceremony? I am sure you can do better than that. 100? That is still the entire clan, inclusive of 50 or so friends you have not even talked to or seen for years except on Facebook.

How about 20? 10? 6? 4? 0? You didn't misread that. Many couples have gotten married with no guests before. I myself will not go that far. 25 is a perfect number for me, so I will stick to that number, give or take five. Let's analyze the 25 guests who are coming to my wedding:

  • 4 (Parents-his and mine)
  • 4 (Siblings-his and mine)
  • 2 (Grandmas-his and mine)
  • 2 (Grandpas-mine)
  • 1 (Sibling's wife-his)
  • 2 (Siblings' kids-his)
  • 5 (Closest friends-his)
  • 5 (Closest friends-mine)

Intimate Wedding
Intimate Wedding | Source

A wedding should be about the two of you being united as one, and the closest people in your lives should be there to see it. It makes a ceremony even more meaningful when the people witnessing it care about you both. Ask yourself: who are the people who have always been and will always be part of our lives? They are the perfect guests for your wedding.

Source

2. Find a Free Wedding Reception Venue

A wedding reception area can easily cost you $5,000. Below is a list of free wedding reception venue ideas.

  • Church: Sometimes, it is possible to have the reception free in the church grounds if you are a parishioner. A small donation would be at your discretion.
  • Backyard: This is the first location people think of as an affordable location for their wedding reception. If you have a nice enough, good-sized backyard for the number of guests you have, then you might as well take that. Another alternative is to ask a friend (or a friend's friend's friend) who owns the perfect backyard to allow you to have your wedding there.

What's good about a backyard wedding? First off, you can customize it the way you want. If you are opting for a jungle-themed wedding, just prop in some plants and voilà! Your own paradise. The second and more important reason why this works is that it is free.

  • Park: Many parks allow gatherings without any fee. There will be no privacy, but a lake on one side and a beautifully-maintained garden on the other are nice compromises. A picnic-themed wedding is a great idea. Browse through the photos below and see how other couples have used this theme to make their weddings charmingly memorable.
  • Beach: Some beaches are open to the public. Try to find a nice, secluded-enough spot to hold your reception in.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
  • Boat: Perhaps you and your spouse-to-be would enjoy a nautical theme for your wedding. If a friend or relative owns a boat, that could be a great place to host your reception. Alternatively, the boat could be used to ferry guests to another location (if there are islands nearby).
  • Library: Some libraries could be considered beautiful, magical places to host a wedding reception. There are plenty of well-known libraries that charge fees for hosting events (such as the New York Public Library), but it may be possible to find a library near you that would be willing to host a small reception for free.
  • School: Maybe you met your future spouse at school (or in college) and want to start your lives together by paying homage to the place where you first fell in love. There may be fees involved (especially if it's a university campus), but you might be surprised about how affordable it can be to book a local, scholarly venue.
  • Unusual location: If you would like to hold your reception in the place where you both met—say, the airport—then prepare to convince the airport big shots and perhaps have the media get wind of your plans as well. Businesses want advertisement, and a wedding could boost their PR. Please note that this tactic is risky in that there could be a high chance of your request being rejected, depending on the exact location and venue type.

3. Have Free Food

A potluck wedding may not seem mainstream, but budget-conscious people occasionally do this. Other couples have also done this for generations, and it is embedded in many cultures.

You may ask, "Isn't it rude to ask your guests to bring food?" Well, if your guests are the ones closest to you, they most likely would not mind. In fact, they would be willing to help any way they could. In lieu of a wedding gift, perhaps you can ask each to bring a certain type of food or drink to be shared by all after the ceremony.

For instance, one guest would be tasked to bring a case or two of Coca-Cola, while another might bring pork on skewers to be grilled afterward. One positive thing about this is the fact that each puts so much heart into making/buying the food— and you'll be able to taste it!

Caterers could easily cost you $10,000 for a 200-head party.

Free Wedding Cake

If your mother-in-law knows how to bake delicious homemade cakes, ask her to make one for your wedding. It may not be the cake in the magazines, but it could be perfect for your wedding.

Asking a friend or relative with excellent baking skills to bake your wedding cake can help them feel as though they've participated in the big event, and also shows them that you trust and respect their culinary skills.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Source

4. Have a Free Wedding Dress

If you think that the wedding dress is a must-have and you simply do not want to purchase or rent one, you may want to find out if there are local organizations that accept donated wedding dresses to be given to brides who are seeking budget-friendly options.

You may also want to check these websites like Donate My Wedding Dress or My Ex-Wife's Wedding Dress.

Another way is to approach friends or relatives (or their friend's friend's friend) who recently tied the knot. If they are willing to lend you their dress, then you do not have to spend $1,000 to walk down the aisle.

5. Find a Free Photographer

A professional photographer can easily cost you $800-3,000. As photographers run their own business, you may want to approach them and propose a bargain—cover your wedding, and they can use it as a platform to advertise their business. That has the potential to be a win-win situation.

Not all photographers will be willing to trade their artistic talents and skills for free advertising, but if the professional photographer is someone you know or perhaps someone up-and-coming in the photography world but not yet established, you might have a better chance of working out a deal for free or reduced-cost photography.

If that does not work out, look for a budding photographer in your family, or perhaps that friend of yours who is brilliant when it comes to taking photos. You will be more comfortable and confident striking pose upon pose when you know the person behind the camera and can avoid paying the high fees associated with professional photography.

Before the big day, try out different angles and lighting, and describe to your friend/relative how you want some of your shots to look. This preparation gives them an idea of the kind of photos you'd like for your wedding.

6. Get a Free DJ

The question is: do you need a DJ? They cost around $500, minimum. Disc Jockeys play music; music you can find on iTunes. There you have it, fellow brides! Your iPod is the answer. Just hook it up to a loudspeaker and ask another guest to serve as a DJ for your wedding.

If you do not have an iPod, use a reliable laptop. Download tons of wedding-appropriate songs beforehand and let them play out on your special day.

Tip: If you have specific music in mind for the reception, it might be worthwhile to compile a playlist beforehand, so you're not leaving the song selection up to chance (or one of your guests).

7. Have a Free Bouquet

One way is to harvest newly bloomed flowers from your backyard or someone else's. However, if it is winter and flowers are nearly non-existent, try the toilet. The secret to having a free bouquet is the tissue paper.

Below is a video tutorial on how to transform that toilet or Japanese crepe paper into a beautiful bouquet.

This is a bouquet that you can keep days, weeks, or months before the wedding. If you prefer another design or color, you can always change it up without spending anything.

8. Design Free Wedding Invitations

There are tons of free DIY crafts online that demonstrate how to create incredibly cheap wedding invitations. There are also printable and customizable ones. The only things you have to spend money on are paper and ink.

But if what you want are 100% free wedding invitations, you might want to call up the guests you have in mind by phone, or better yet, go house to house and invite them personally. If you do this, you can properly explain and ask for their help when it comes to the potluck meal aspect of the wedding.

Final Words

Now my fiancé is worried that we might end up asking friends and family to bring their own food. Well, what's wrong with that? Everyone's family, and at least at one point in our lives, we all ate the delicious dishes cooked by our family and loved every single bite.

If we can all remember that a wedding is not supposed to be only about the brides, but about how two souls are united by the holy sacrament of matrimony, then it would be easier to stick with the needs and not the wants.

Congratulations on getting engaged! Now, go plan that free wedding!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image

        Kb 

        9 days ago

        Free photographer....if you want horrible pic of an horrible free wedding

      • profile image

        Roy 

        11 days ago

        Free photographer? Why don’t you ask your grandma to snap some pictures with her old Nokia?

        Lah!

      • profile image

        Daniel 

        11 days ago

        Exposure dont pay rent miss, crappy article

      • profile image

        Steve 

        11 days ago

        You literally haven’t got a clue!

      • profile image

        Gena 

        12 days ago

        In the beginning, you mention how easy it is to end up "$5,000 over your budget". Really, if youre THAT much over-budget, then you should be reading articles about how to budget. We went slightly over on my wedding budget, but it was less than $1,000 over. We spent a lot of time researching costs, developping a budget, and then shopping around to find vendors and whatnot to fit in our budget. You should never end up $5k over unless you intentionally decide to ditch your original budget anyway.

        And if you want free photos, you should not expect great quality images. You should not ask a professional to work for free, and you should not request a friend/relative to do it either. Shooting a wedding is a huge, high-pressure job. A loved one wont be able to enjoy the day as a guest, and they will feel really bad if they dont get amazing images- especially if you have unrealistic expectations for them. Honestly, if you want free photos, i would recommend just encouraging guests to take lots of pictures and share them later (a special wedding hashtag could be fun). If you want professional photos, then budget for that. Theres a big range of prices for wedding photographers. But again, make sure you thoroughly examine their portfolio and have realistic expectations for what they will deliver, especially if youre hiring an inexpensive photographer.

      • profile image

        Quynh 

        12 days ago

        What the hell is wrong with you.

      • profile image

        Randy 

        12 days ago

        You get what you pay for lmfao

      • profile image

        Brian 

        12 days ago

        This is bullshit

      • profile image

        Stephanie 

        12 days ago

        Delete your account - your advice is utter crap. But when you and “Pan” get married, I want to be there to watch you try and convince a professional photographer that it’s a “win-win” situation for them to shoot your wedding for free, and then watch them tell you to GTFO.

        Let’s see, you have ZERO experience in weddings but you’re offering this advice? Let me offer this as something to put in your bio: clickbait wh**e

      • profile image

        Lexi 

        13 days ago

        As a photographer, I make my living doing PAID work. Exposure doesn’t pay my rent, doesn’t pay for my kids, and doesn’t pay for groceries. Most photographers can’t afford to take an unpaid gig and more likely than not, if you decide to use that “up and coming” photographer niece of yours, she’s not going to have time to enjoy herself at your wedding, and you’re not going to be happy with the quality. You’re not just paying to have someone take pictures, you are paying for their time, their hours upon hours of editing hundreds, sometimes even thousands of photos, and footage, if you want a wedding video. Please pay people for their talent and their hard work.

      • profile image

        Laura Hansen 

        13 days ago

        This is laughable- a free photographer? A PHOTOGRAPHER NEEDS INSURANCE, EQUIPMENT, AND LOTS MORE. They won't care about etiquette, they won't be knowledgeable if you want free., You want free and you may never get those images due to disaster and no insurance, photographer not knowing software and accidentally deleting/corrupting them, , they may all be blurry, etc. This was clearly written by someone who has no logic when it comes to weddings. TRUST ME. I made that mistake.

      • profile image

        Tony 

        13 days ago

        Don’t listen to this advice about taking advantage of photographers. They have to support themselves too.

      • profile image

        Zac 

        13 days ago

        This article is a middle finger to photographers and other people whose work is undervalued. The entitlement is PALPABLE! I hope this backfires during your wedding.

      • profile image

        Josh 

        13 days ago

        Hahaha. No. As a photographer, people like you cheapen my work. If you want quality, you need to spend some money for quality work. Sure, if you don't mind having shoddy, poor quality photos from your wedding, go right ahead and try to get a buddy or a free photographer to cover the event.Guess what? You'll end up with less-than-subpar photos that aren't even worth the cost of entry (free).

        I strongly suggest you rethink what you're saying here. Unless someone is okay with super-cheap looking photos from their big day, I advise actually HIRING a photographer.

        This article is obviously clickbait for the entitled. Oh yeah, and exposure doesn't pay my mortgage or put food on the table for MY children.

      • profile image

        Hellmark 

        13 days ago

        Yeah, I am going to just give you a big middle finger here. Working for exposure never works. Most of the time when people like you suggest it, it never actually is in relation to something that will generate enough exposure to offset the cost. Your wedding won't equate to that much work.

        Tl;dr - you are a selfish ass for suggesting people to ask professionals to work for free.

      • profile image

        I hate Karens and Brians 

        13 days ago

        Chris Ling Cheng, the perfect example of an entitled choosing beggar that everyone hates

      • profile image

        Holicrappy 

        13 days ago

        Did you write this article for free for the exposure? Because this piece of shit is just about the quality I'd expect to have done for free.

      • profile image

        Al 

        13 days ago

        "Lah"

      • profile image

        Mr. Sterner 

        13 days ago

        You get what you pay for. Please don't try to chisel freebies from friends and family... or professional photographers.

        Want a free wedding? Get a Quaker wedding license. You sign, your partner signs... ta da, you're married.

        No photographer, no videographer, no flowers, no catering, no venue... so much money saved!

        True it's not exactly free(you'll have to pay for the wedding license), but you'll definitely feel better about yourself than following the recommendations listed in this stinking pile of rotting tripe.

      • profile image

        Simon 

        13 days ago

        If you cant afford a wedding, instead if trying to be cheap af and have a cringy reception why not, not getting married ?

      • profile image

        idan 

        13 days ago

        absolutly disgusting. baggers like you are scum. if you can't pay for a big wedding dont have a big wedding or dont marry at all

      • profile image

        Dan 

        13 days ago

        NO! I will not take my photography gear worth thousands to shoot a budget wedding for exposure. If I am shooting a free wedding for exposure/portfolio purposes you better bet it will be a nice glamorous wedding that has many designers involved that are catering the event to me and my portfolio, in other words a staged wedding. Get the fuck out out of here with that budget wedding exposure.

      • profile image

        Aaron 

        13 days ago

        Hi there! Pro wedding photographer/videographer of 15 years here. Your comment about finding a free wedding photographer just might be the biggest bunch of bullshit I've ever read. We professionals all went to college, busted our asses, bought our equipment with our own money, and spent literally years building our experience and reputation.

        Our wedding photos are beautiful and hang on the walls of the couples' houses. How DARE you try to convince them that they're better off hiring a free photographer, and that we would be okay with advertising being our pay. We already have years worth of photos to advertise. We don't need advertising. We need to be paid because we have bills, and we worked hard for our money.

        And if ANY bride takes your horrible advice and finds some amateur photographer who would agree to work for free, I guarantee their work will be god-awful, the bride will ball her eyes out when she gets her pictures, and she will spend every day for the rest of her life wishing that she had not listened to you and hired a professional.

      • profile image

        A person that's not a c*nt like you 

        13 days ago

        I really hope you appreciate all the «exposure» you're getting! You c*nt! Artists deserve to be paid. You're horrible, and you're only teaching people to be choosing beggars. whoever greenlighted this sh*t also deserves to be fired. You are ridiculous to suggest all of those things to make a free wedding. If you are that cheap you honestly don't deserve to get married.

      • profile image

        Pro Photo 

        13 days ago

        This is the worst advice i have ever seen what a loser. If i could punch you in the face through my screen i would.

      • profile image

         

        2 weeks ago

        Imagine thinking you can get services for free in exchange for “exposure”. would you ever do your job for free???

      • profile image

        Nikki 

        2 weeks ago

        Your article is trash. You pay good photographers for once in a lifetime photos. You are saying find a photographer for free, find a friend. Not offer something. Completely unappreciative. Do you work for free? That exposure crap is nonsense

      • profile image

        no. 

        2 weeks ago

        as a photographer, no. just no. if you are too cheap to pay a photographer get your guests to download that stupid app where you share an account with them and they upload their shitty phone pics to it. get what you pay for. equipment isn't cheap, no one wants to take an entire day, probably more of you're wanting extra shit, for free as well as all the hours spent editing all the photos including going through and finding the best ones, weeding out any out-of-focus photos or ones that just don't come out right. there's too much that goes into photography for you to suggest asking for free services from professionals. at best, if you want GOOD quality professional photos, ask a photographer to just take shots at the ceremony and maybe a few at the reception and don't ask them to come early or stay after to get shots with their party/family. most charge weddings by the hour and how many different photoshoots you're wanting (such as engagement photos, bridal photos, first look, etc.) if you're not willing to pay for the services you're wanting, just go right in the trash and shut the hell up.

      • profile image

        Jim H. 

        2 weeks ago

        Interesting read until I got to tip #5. Then I knew this was a satirical article. What bogus advice.

      • profile image

        Ugh 

        2 weeks ago

        You’re the worst kind of customer anywhere aren’t you?

      • profile image

        LaQuisha 

        2 weeks ago

        Bull shit. I worked way to hard to be able to afford my photography equipment just to give away my services for free. Would you like for us photographers to post our monthly expense reports for the cost to run our business and them the receipts from the cost of equipment? You have some nerve thinking you can advise others to take advantage or manipulate others into providing free services. People like this make me sick.

      • profile image

        Brad 

        2 weeks ago

        If you want your wedding pictures, and in general, your wedding, to be unmemorable and relatively horrid and embarrassing to look at, by all means, follow this advice. Who suggests trying to have a free wedding where you ask all your vendors to do their job for free?

      • profile image

        John 

        2 weeks ago

        Your whole post sucks, trying to get people to work for free, you are just another idiotic entitled bride who thinks they can manipulate people, shame on you.

      • profile image

        Jana 

        2 weeks ago

        Find a free photographer? Look for a budding photographer friend or family member and practice angles before the day? If you want super posed, cheap photo studio style, enjoy! Photos are what you have left to remember your day, to look back on and reminisce. You want an experienced photographer who can capture emotions and moments. I understand not everyone can afford a big budget photographer, but there are OPTIONS for all price ranges.

        This advice is terrible, and I feel sorry for the people who actually follow it. It's also extremely rude and offensive to photographers. Get a free DJ is also absurd. What if they want a band? Maybe they could ask a guest who has a toddler to play on their toy piano.

      • profile image

        Confused Photographer 

        2 weeks ago

        Your advice is horrible. I get that everyone cannot afford a $3,000+ photographer and there is no shame in that, but to suggest a couple try and exploit a photographer by requesting them to shoot your wedding for free because you can’t afford them is extremely tacky. Does the couple work for free? Do they pay their bills with “exposure?” Probably not, so why are you expecting another professional to do the same? Speaking of exposure...what kind of exposure do you really expect them to get from your free wedding? It will mostly be your family and friends... and I’m pretty sure you will have bragged to them about how you got the photog for free...so they are going to expect to do the same thing. You wedding will likely have no professional value so you get thousands of dollars worth of service and the vendors get nothing in return.

        There is so much more that goes into photographing a wedding than just pressing a button... especially if it is indoors. It takes hours and hours of learning about lighting and composition and editing to produce those dreamy wedding pictures on a consistent basis. People should be paid for learning that skill.

        If you really think the wedding photographer is a waste, then just don’t have one. Let everyone use their phones, create a hashtag you can search for when they share, and leave it at that. Don’t be rude and entitled and speak someone to do all that hard work for free. (If a friend offers or even if you politely ask and they agree, cool...but don’t try to guilt them into doing it because you think it is just pushing buttons.)

      • profile image

        MB 

        2 weeks ago

        Pro photographer here. My sister tried to exploit my talents and told me I’d take photos of her wedding day for free...and I got mad at her (more than I would have if she had been a stranger). It’s one thing if I offer, it is a whole different story to ask or tell me. Family members are more likely to tell off someone trying to exploit them. And why would someone who owns thousands in gear shoot for free for advertising??? This article makes no sense on so many levels. Good luck paying for the Catholic ceremony and not having photos to remember it.

      • profile image

        Bri 

        2 weeks ago

        Super confused by this paragraph:

        "I have a confession to make: a wedding cannot be entirely free. You will have to pay for the wedding papers and registrar. A Catholic couple like us cannot skip the church ceremony, so we factor in the fees for that as well. For other Christians, you would also have to pay for the officiating minister's time.

        However, you can still have the rest free—if you follow the advice in this article."

        Why is it ok, in your esteem, to expect secular professionals to work for free but not religious ones? Your hypocrisy is astounding.

      • profile image

        Meg Bitton 

        2 weeks ago

        TRASH

      • profile image

        Christina-chiela 

        3 months ago

        Disrespectful article. You dont ask friends or family for free stuff. If you want something you cannot affort, too bad. Settle for less. You can get married signing the papers and taking your family out to dinner or whatever, be creative. You aren't going to write for free exposure are you?

      • profile image

        Photog 

        3 months ago

        This is why I don't do weddings even for pay. Free photographer

      • profile image

        PoopyButt 

        3 months ago

        Get a load of this guy lmao

      • profile image

        What is wrong with you all 

        6 months ago

        Are you KIDDING me? Reading this article is infuriating to say the least. Ever heard of a choosing beggar? Because that's exactly who you and everyone who supports this is. "But you could get lots of exposure!!!". No one, I repeat, NO ONE wants "exposure" on your wedding album that will only be seen by a reduced group of people who don't give a shit about the actual photographer, Karen. Imagine you make cakes for a living and someone just asks you to give them 10 cakes for free so they can eat them at home in exchange of exposure. Sounds extremely ridiculous, right? You guys are the most entitled people in the world. "But I don't have that much money, I can't afford it!!!" I, too, want things that I can't afford. It's a shame that I can't have them. What about budgeting? What about simply doing without things you don't have the money to pay for? If it's so easy to do, DO IT YOURSELF AND STOP UNDERESTIMATING PEOPLE'S WORK. Do you really think a photographer doesn't have to pay a rent? Have you ever thought of a photographer needing to buy groceries? Is exposure a new currency I don't know about? I thought so. I kindly ask you all to go fuck yourselves.

      • profile image

        RanitaSmith 

        6 months ago

        I found a free catering service and free photographer but both failed me the day of my wedding!!!

        I followed the advice here but it went all wrong!

        I should've paid them at least $100 :(

      • profile image

        Alexandria 

        8 months ago

        I have seen almost all the comments on here. That is just disgraceful. What about the people that want happiness and love. I'm sorry that some people dont want to ask you to take the pictures because of your prices. For those of us that dont have much to do. There are some ways to save. for those who think we are selfish. Listen to what you are saying to others. It may lead your "buisness into hell".

      • profile image

        Jade 

        9 months ago

        Very informative, thank you!!! I don't understand the negative comments. Not everyone has an unlimited budget. For some people, this may also be not their first wedding, so they want to pare down a bit. To Alex, RS, and all the other nay-sayers, I didn't feel like the author was suggesting "begging" for anything. If you can get friends and/or family to help, then that's wonderful (and isn't that what friends and family should do--be there for the couple?!). Also, if a reader doesn't like the suggestion, simply don't use it. For others, it may be helpful. Again, thank you for the informative article; many of us really appreciated it.

      • profile image

        Alex 

        9 months ago

        Good Job on teaching everyone how to be a choosing beggar

      • profile image

        RS 

        9 months ago

        Hey could you write some articles for free? You would get advertising out of it. Win-win

      • profile image

        JT 

        9 months ago

        Hey Chris! I was hoping you could write a little piece for our June newsletter! It will only be seen by close family and friends so the exposure opportunities are GREAT! The job probably includes a solid 12-24 hours of work with no monetary compensation. Let me know if you’re interested!

      • profile image

        Repins57 

        10 months ago

        What a garbage article. Don’t be a scumbag beggar like the author.

      • Molly Layton profile image

        Molly Layton 

        10 months ago from Alberta

        Hi! I'd just thought I'd let you know a popular Reddit post is currently dragging you through the mud for your suggestion to "get a free photographer". https://www.reddit.com/r/ChoosingBeggars/comments/...

        If someone asked you to provide services for free, would you do it?

      • profile image

        well... 

        10 months ago

        wow.. lol

        My best friend did something really close to this and it was 17 of us, I have to say it was unique and we all enjoyed the preparation of it, we had a blast.. no one got offended and we actually end up having an unforgettable moment. I agree, no one should do things for free or feel pushed, but I was the one doing the photographer.. and I just like to take pics for fun and did it for this event, but I was supper happy to do it! it was super fun, I helped my friend.. so I did not feel abused, Im glad she took me into account to help her.. what are friends for! this was her day and I was happy to not only be there to party but to help while I'm at it. I understand if you choose not to do it, because you don't want to offend or bother people , but I can only speak for me, I was glad my friend came to me for this favor as it shows she trusts me, and counts on me, and so I can express my friendship in a different way, not only with a gift. Then again, Its just me, I had a nice experience, and I respect how everyone else feels about it, and yes to us was really scary at first, but it turned out to be awesome. and as for artists and time and $... you are completely right, im sure this does not make you poorer , or take your abilities or knowledge away.. if someone asks you to do this and you dont want to, you are free to say NO.. just don't judge the person for thinking you could or wanted to help.

      • profile image

        Uhhhh 

        10 months ago

        So I get that not everyone can afford a super-expensive wedding, and being frugal and wise about spending is one thing. But stripping your whole day of pretty much any value and not paying people fairly for their work is a whole other thing. Even if they are your "friend or family member" it isn't ok to push them into doing something for free or "exposure". That is insulting to both their skills and the time they put in.

      • profile image

        Exposure doesn't pay the bills 

        11 months ago

        Lol, the people defending the article is sad. I get it, tight budget, you too need to pay the bills. But exploiting others out of money and the actual hard labor and effort they go through to be able to be good at their work is gross and shouldn't be taken advantage of. Yes, it's alright to try and cut corners, but if you're expecting high-quality items made by a professional, you're going to have to pay cash; not exposure. It belittles people who actually put in the effort to be professionals and it brings in an entitled mentality to people who think luxuries should be cheap and/or free.

      • profile image

        Max 

        11 months ago

        The photographs shouldn't be cut if you want the memories of one of your most important days of your life to be remembered...

        A free wedding just sounds like a miserable chaotic day full of confusion and dullness.

      • profile image

        Wow. What a waste of time. 

        11 months ago

        This whole article deserves 1,000,000 facepalms.

      • profile image

        das some bs 

        11 months ago

        A chance to Advertise my business at your crusty ass wedding?

        Sorry but that article is so offensive to all hard working people in that industry! Do you know how hard it is to afford all of that equipment that a photographer uses? The time we invest and thought that goes into a wedding?

        If you want a wedding on a budget be smart not an asshole!

      • profile image

        wtf 

        11 months ago

        You will get a lot of money back from gifts anyways.

      • profile image

        ten 

        11 months ago

        The responses to this article are so annoying and pretentious I swear lol Like people are allowed to budget and bargain on everything else BUT NOoo not a wedding! omg We MUST employ someone from every facet of the wedding industry because obviously that responsibility lies on us :( Ffs not everyone has $$ laying around and some people just do not prioritize stuff like professional wedding photographers and djs. I understand anger coming from business owners in these fields bc you're passionate about what you do, but not everyone is you. Get over it. If anything the response to this makes you guys sound so damn entitled. If i ever have a wedding in the future im sure as hell doing anything I can cut my expenses in those areas.

      • profile image

        Ariana Gulton 

        11 months ago

        Bullshit photography advice. Are you so entitled you think you deserve a free photographer? Bridezilla if I've ever seen one

      • profile image

        Zeejet 

        12 months ago

        A lot of hate in these comments from people who have been brainwashed by the wedding-industrial complex and are down right selfish (what right do you have to demand someone else's wedding be up to your standards).

        While I agree some of the points are a bit absurd, a wedding is whatever the couple chooses it to be. No one should dictate how you do a wedding.

        I think wedding venues are highway robbery; the price is artificially inflated because they know idiots will pay the price because society dictates that it shouldn't matter.

        I also agree with the smaller headcount; only your closest family and friend need to be there. I've been to so many weddings where I will never speak to the bride/groom ever again; I simply happened to be in their lives at the moment (work, school, etc.)

        DJs? Waste of money unless it's someone who actually mixes tracks and know understands the craft. Most wedding DJ's hit play on a machine.

        What I will defend is wedding photography and food services. Yes, sometimes you might know someone who is really good and isn't a professional, but like any specialty, wedding photography is it's own genre and someone who takes awesome landscapes or street photographs won't have the same skill set as a wedding photographer.

        Food/cake is also really easy to mess up if you try to go the potluck route. Plus, you are serving the people closest to you (some of who have traveled far and paid for accommodations in order to attend). Make sure that it is properly catered.

        Overall, I think this comment section is overly privileged, but I will say that there are some corners you shouldn't cut in weddings.

      • profile image

        John 

        12 months ago

        Ok - EVEN if you have a friend or relative who is a professional photographer ....and assuming hat they are an event or wedding photographer - some huge flaws as a result of lack of experience & knowledge by the author.

        A) it’s rude to ask someone to come to something as a guest and work - like really rude.

        B) they will NEVER do the job as well as a non-attached photographer as the nature of the event indicates that they will know people - they will be faced with being rude themselves and totally brushing off the folks who try to pull them aside and engage them in pleasantriesto stay focused on a job - or only paying partial attention to the job at hand,

      • profile image

        Harsh 

        12 months ago

        Just ask your friend to take pictures on their phone and someone to broadcast it live to 500 wedding guests/witness during dinnertime so they can eat at their home while you have a wedding with just 5 people (bride, groom, priest and 2 friends) in a court where you can sign a document saying you're married :)

      • profile image

        Done 

        12 months ago

        I’m all for having a small wedding and all but this article is a joke. This sounds more like how to plan a backyard bbq ... have your guests bring food? free dj and photographer? I’m surprised you didn’t suggest using Facebook to send your invites. You’re better off eloping if that’s what you’re expecting. Your wedding sounds like it’s going to be a burden to your friends and family. FYI - Food isn’t free. Your family has to BUY everything to make what you’re requesting. If you don’t see anything wrong with this post -you probably shouldn’t get married quite yet.

      • profile image

        juicerat 

        12 months ago

        “Exposure” doesn’t pay the bills. Pay artists properly!

      • profile image

        um its me 

        12 months ago

        watch jessica kobessi vid she did a review this article(ps.she's a photagrapher)

      • profile image

        This is messed up 

        12 months ago

        As a photographer I really hate tip #5..!

        (And tip #6 since I used to be a DJ at certain events..)

        When you pay a photographer to shoot your wedding your not paying for just the photos..You pay for their time (just as you pay for the officiating minister's time..!).. A wedding is such an important day of your life. Why would you not want high quality photos of you and your bride/groom that are taken by someone with experiance? Someone that knows what they are doing and not just pushing buttons..A photographer want to give you the best pictures. And that means that the photographer puts in time and effort in every photo, to make sure that you get the best shots you could! And of course..! -if you have a friend or a family member that are a professional photographer, sure! Ask them. BUT! You should still pay them since they are doing a job for you. If you are really good friends you might get a good and solid discount.!

        Remember that if you are inviting someone to your wedding and they say yes, they might want to go as a guest. Not everyone wants to get a task during their friends wedding.

        And everyone that works at a wedding should get paid for their work and time! Not only the photographer, but the DJ, caterers and every other person that makes your wedding possible. There shoudn't be a problem to make the day really special for not only you, but your bride/groom and your families and friends.

      • profile image

        Absolute Joke 

        12 months ago

        Hope you realise that disrespecting an entire industry is NOT gaining you anything. Whoever wrote this needs a reality check and a new job.

      • profile image

        Marcos 

        12 months ago

        If you ever wanna have the saddest wedding on earth just follow these "tips"

      • profile image

        Holy god 

        12 months ago

        Do you have a job? It sounds like you can't afford socks, let alone a wedding. The title of this article should be "HOW TO EXPLOIT YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS". When I first started, I photographed budget weddings. For one, I actually got paid, and two: it was crap. A wedding that costs no money is going to be horrible. It looks good on paper, but you'll get what you have coming to you if you actually try and pull this off.

      • profile image

        Alejandra 

        12 months ago

        Absolutely shameful.

      • profile image

        Are you kidding me 

        12 months ago

        I hope no one followed this advice

      • profile image

        What 

        12 months ago

        Extremely cursed wedding. Anyone who'd actually try this will have 8 years of pain before death.

      • profile image

        Christopher McIntosh 

        12 months ago

        Fire your writers. Did they get paid for it? Should've had them do it for free, use this platform for exposure! How bad could that be?

      • profile image

        No no no 

        12 months ago

        Only a fool would write this and only a bigger fool would take this info and use it

      • profile image

        Fuck you 

        12 months ago

        This is actually awful. How could you disrespect an entire industry of workers in one post? Whoever wrote this should be ashamed of their ignorance. Never coming to this clickbait bullshit site again

      • profile image

        Kari 

        12 months ago

        How dare you publish as actual advice that couples go out and try to coerce photographers into working for free on one of their biggest sources of income - weddings. You should be ashamed of your cheap ass. Your special day is never so important that the people who work at it should work for free and using THEIR own property to advertise their own service? Don’t be ridiculous, they could do that if you paid them. This is a completely bridezilla thing to do - delusional bride thinks she’s the smartest and most important thing alive and ropes everyone into making her day happen for free

      • profile image

        Ella 

        12 months ago

        Don't advocate trying to exploit professionals for free services.

      • profile image

        Sham 

        12 months ago

        If you cant afford to have a wedding then save until you can!! You dont rob photographers and djs out if their jobs. Douchbags

      • profile image

        Bordoy 

        12 months ago

        if you cant afford it, then dont. Dont exploit suppliers or friends.

      • profile image

        Photographer Jade 

        12 months ago

        it's perfectly alright to have a free or low budget wedding. If you said just having some "normal photos" taken by family will do is still acceptable. Engaging the service of professional photographers and trying to shortchange them is downright despicable.

      • profile image

        tinatalks 

        12 months ago

        Hi there! Some of your points here make a bit of sense and can actually be considered.

        But free photographer? Sure, absolutely no problem! Just please pay for a new camera and any other equipment (lenses, flash, spare battery/ies, etc.) since a camera's worth is devalued with every click of the shutter. Not to mention that the person will have invested time and effort going around taking pictures, and the time and effort spent post-processing thousands of images, just so you can have your "magical day" immortalized — for free.

        P.S. Enjoy all the photos — in low-res and with watermarks all over. :)

      • profile image

        Terrible advice 

        12 months ago

        Terrible advice, please remove this post. You are providing a misconception to so many different things that make a wedding run smoothly and the symbolism of it.

      • profile image

        You’re a freeloader 

        12 months ago

        When people flee from a house fire they take their pets and photos. Why? Because they’re some of the most cherished possessions. Thankfully your advice will allow them to leave their mediocre photos behind for something else.

      • profile image

        WriterWriter 

        12 months ago

        Dear blogger;

        The ONLY thing that will remain from a wedding in the weeks, months and years to come is the photographs.

        Secondly, in Canada and the US, photographers own the rights to their images and can use them whenever and wherever they wish; so your "let them use the images" comment is boGUS!

        You are CLEARLY uninformed, cheap, and misguided, and if you did have a fiancee at the time you wrote this, I hope she wised up before the wedding... because seriously.

      • profile image

        Annoyed 

        12 months ago

        Is this serious? Surely no respectable human being will actually try any of this! To undermine industry professionals like this! Its shocking!

      • profile image

        Ridiculous 

        12 months ago

        You're encouraging people to try and exploit professional photographers and other wedding industry services for free. What justification is there - EVER - for attempting to cheat people out of making an honest living?

        You're also completely undermining the amount of work, time, experience, physical labour, and technical/creative know-how it takes to deliver quality and professionalism to a client.

        People get what they pay (or don't pay) for. Asking your great aunt Sally to take shots with her $200 crop sensor camera yields exactly the kind of results any sensible person would expect. Not something couples planning the most important day of their lives want to risk.

        A lavish wedding with professional photographers, a DJ/band, catering, cake, lights, matching napkins, bridesmaids, groomsmen, center-pieces, scenic views and classy venue locations IS A LUXURY! If you can't afford it, you shouldn't be expecting others to foot the bill or badgering professionals to cut their paycheck so that you can live out your Disney fairy-tale wedding.

        I hope you're only getting paid in "exposure dollars" to write this because that's all you deserve for offering such terrible advice to your readers.

      • profile image

        Dan 

        12 months ago

        This is absolutely terrible. Author must be a spoiled brat who has never a worked a day in their life. Have you ever googled free photographer? You'll find that most listings are criticizing people like yourself.

        Get a real job and pay for photographers services, much like I would assume you get paid for yours.

      • profile image

        Insulted 

        12 months ago

        My photographer was well worth the pictures he took. And this is just insulting to all people who provide these services everywhere. If you know you're getting married you've probably known for some time. If you haven't saved even a little bit of money for this then that bodes worse for your financial future than a little bit of money for your wedding.

      • profile image

        Disappointed 

        12 months ago

        This article is not only poorly written and terrible advice, it’s desparaging and damaging to an entire industry of people and their livelihood.

        Nobody said you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on your wedding but the fact that you’re belittling the value of a DJ, photographer, venue, caterer, with your poor choice of words...

        “Disc jockeys play music” wow way to minimize their career. Have you ever hired or been to an event with a crappy DJ who runs nothing, announces nothing, organized nothing, and just pushes play? Have fun with that. And your snarky comment in reference to the cost of a wedding photographer being $800-$3,000 “Now that is a waste of money.” Again, I question whether you’ve ever been married or looked through a friend or family member’s wedding photos... after all the money spent on the party the ceremony the dress and tux and food and booze, the memories and photos are all that’s left. And to advise a couple to reach out to a photographer and offer your degrading and devaluing bargain, assuming the photographer is just in this for portfolio work or to pass the time so of course it’s a “win win” to shoot a wedding for free, right? Sure, 6-10 hours of walking around photographing an entire day with the pressure of importance surrounding one of the hugest days of a couple’s life together, followed by weeks sometimes months of editing...sounds like my second cousin who likes taking selfies and pictures of sunsets could handle that. I can only hope that this old article stays buried.

      • profile image

        Angry Reader 

        12 months ago

        Say hello to the worst weddings you have ever seen! As a business owner I feel disgusted that anyone would advise "bargaining" with a photographer. We have bills to pay too, and didn't get to where we are in the professional world doing "free weddings".

      • profile image

        Alabai 

        12 months ago

        Crap!!! Hahhahah...Hey, can I get you to plan my free wedding for free?

      • profile image

        Joe Alfano Photography 

        12 months ago

        To the person who wrote this article. Your advise is probably the dumbest I have ever heard in my life. You get one wedding day and you want to advise people to F that up. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • profile image

        WOW 

        12 months ago

        What a way to promote exploiting others for the sake of your convenience (FYI. "exploiting" is never a positive term), and add to the current struggle for survival of creative professionals (photographers and disk jockeys)! Congrats on hitting two birds with one crappy stone! Is this the best the writer can do?

        Why not advice them to take photos from their phone cameras instead? And asking the visitors to use a certain hashtag when posting so you can see them on social media? Ever thought of that? I think not.

        Also, what the heck is the blatant belittling of disk jockeys? DJs do not just play canned music from iTunes. They create, mix, and transform music depending on the mood and occasion. You can't just call someone pressing 'play', 'pause', and 'next' a DJ.

      • profile image

        Henri 

        12 months ago

        Worst. Article. Ever.

      • profile image

        MH 

        12 months ago

        I got paid in exposure for a job once.

        Turns out though my landlord didn't accept exposure for rent.

        The shop didn't accept exposure for food.

        The electric company wouldn't allow me to pay my bills with exposure.

        My insurance provider wouldn't accept exposure either!

        I couldn't even buy a new camera lens with exposure.

        Weird, right?!

      • profile image

        Andrej Hromin 

        12 months ago

        Well .. taking pics of your drunk friends and relatives is a great exposure only for a rehab clinic and devorce attorneys. Nobody gives a shit about your wedding pics

        .. you'll devorce way before the chemicals on photos evaporate anyway.

        A decent camera with a decent lens, a pc with adobe licence, few years of experience and ability to make you look half decent are worth more than your entire wedding.

        So pls .. by all means .. have your milky eye cousin take the pics with his new IPhone and let him have all the attention and benefits of that exposure.

      • profile image

        Studio 4 Lytham 

        12 months ago

        As a photographer feel free to negotiate the best deal for your wedding and I’ll do my best to negotiate an album, online galleries, prints etc etc as well as my time, fuel and other costings that go into making me wanna turn up and do a wedding and enjoy my job. A photographer isn’t cheap and yes, we maybe self employed but don’t screw us over otherwise you’ll end up with someone with no experience and bad images

      • profile image

        Cass Emily 

        12 months ago

        Ironic that the images included in the article were all shot by professional photographers, not a 'budding family photographer'. This article is seriously the biggest load of horseshit on the internet at the moment.

      • profile image

        Flavian 

        12 months ago

        I don't know how a 5 year old article got dredged up in my facebook feed, but here I am anyway. The author or any site admin should remove the section on having a free photographer and then issue a public apology.

      • profile image

        John Steele 

        12 months ago

        This article should be called how to f@ck up your wedding day.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, holidappy.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://holidappy.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)