How to Have a Free Wedding

Updated on January 24, 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 out: donatemyweddingdress.org, myexwifesweddingdress.com.

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

        RanitaSmith 

        3 days 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 

        6 weeks 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 

        2 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 

        2 months ago

        Good Job on teaching everyone how to be a choosing beggar

      • profile image

        RS 

        2 months ago

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

      • profile image

        JT 

        3 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 

        3 months ago

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

      • Molly Layton profile image

        Molly Layton 

        3 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... 

        3 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 

        3 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 

        4 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 

        4 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. 

        5 months ago

        This whole article deserves 1,000,000 facepalms.

      • profile image

        das some bs 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        ten 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        um its me 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        This is messed up 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Holy god 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

        Absolutely shameful.

      • profile image

        Are you kidding me 

        5 months ago

        I hope no one followed this advice

      • profile image

        What 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Christopher McIntosh 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Fuck you 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Sham 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Photographer Jade 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Joe Alfano Photography 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

        Worst. Article. Ever.

      • profile image

        MH 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 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 

        5 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Edwin 

        5 months ago

        I'm a photographer is just soooo loooow on soooo many levels.

      • profile image

        kimkimkim123456 

        5 months ago

        chris ling cheng is the type of person to overfeed his parents sugar, salt and pig skin so that he can get his inheritance faster

      • profile image

        5 months ago

        Well, I suppose that it's appropriate to title this "How to Have a Free Wedding", not "How to Have an Amazing Wedding"... Or even a good wedding. There is just so much wrong here.

        Every single park or backyard that I've been to has been a disaster. From random people showing up at a park and taking chairs, to generators not working, to chairs in the back yard sinking up to the braces in mud.

        Free food? Great in theory. Bad in practice. Many guests travel distances to weddings, so how will the food stay cold/hot? Also, they may be made not only with love, but also a touch of food poisoning. Oh yeah, let's not forget guests with food allergies.

        Free Photographer? If you have a friend in the family that has a photography business and OFFERS to shoot your wedding, great. But asking for it is a big no no. Photographers are artists that make their living from this. And if you just ask good Ole Uncle Bob that has a camera somewhere to shoot your wedding... Don't expect to get all of the shots that you want.

        At last we come to the DJ...where do I start? Sure, use your ipod or laptop if you want dead space in between songs. By the way, that will kill your dance floor. Oh, and so will just playing from a play list. Good Djs read the floor to keep guests on it. Not only that, where are you planning to get speakers? How about an Emcee? Do you need an Emcee? Only if you want people to know when youre having pretty minor things happen likeyour first dance, or cutting your cake. But then again, maybe you don't need a DJ...sounds like not many people will be hanging around this party for long.

        I could go on and on, but I'm almost out of characters. The bottom line with weddings is that you get what you out into it. Can you cut some corners? Sure. But trim away too much like this article suggests and you risk having the regret of missing out on something for the rest of your life. If you can't afford it, either wait to get married or get married in a courthouse and call it a day.

      • profile image

        Jeremy 

        5 months ago

        Great article with good advice on how to have cheap wedding. Some more advice I would include-

        - carpool with guests to wedding to save money on gas

        - buy expired meats and fruit from local grocery at discount for reception

        - use opportunity to sell Lularoe or recruit potential team members to your skin care downline

        - cash bar/BYOB

        - sell your guests’ contact info to telemarketing centers

      • profile image

        Ultra 

        5 months ago

        Dude is good and all you write an article but you just making our creative industry worst and i know you gonna take exposure with all this hate comment, we the one commented just gonna make you famous but please feel ashame

      • profile image

        Ethan 

        5 months ago

        This is legit the worst article I've ever read...

      • profile image

        TheChrisTopher 

        5 months ago

        Your tips on getting paid services for free is very disrespectful. Just because you don’t value someone’s skills doesn’t mean you shouldn’t convense people don’t need to pay for them.

        Here’s what everyone should do...turn on an ad blocker so that ads don’t run on your articles. This is the equivalent to what you’re saying.

        Bottom line if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it. Or if your willing to be content and happy with amateurs then go for that route.

      • profile image

        This article sucks 

        5 months ago

        Beside the fact almost nothing is free, this article is garbage anyway.

        If you use a 'free' reception venue, like a beach or a park, remember that it's public property and you can't just block off a part without securing the right permits, which can be hundreds of dollars. Use your backyard if you want to be cheap.

        If it's in lieu of a gift, potluck is fine, but otherwise, don't just assume your guests will be a-okay supplying everything for an event they were INVITED to. They didn't decide to have a wedding and reception, so don't be shocked if people decide they don't want to bother. Outside of your own mum, good luck getting a free cake, ingredients can be expensive and it takes time to bake/decorate. Go buy a Coles mudcake.

        HA HA HA. A free photographer? Look, if you get a free photographer, you're going to get whatever the hell they want to do on the day. The photos are blurry? Boo hoo. They don't turn up? Fine, you get what you pay for: nothing. No one is going to see your cheap-ass wedding as a good opportunity for 'exposure'. They already have exposure, what they want is paying clients.

        Don't ask a guest you've invited to an 'intimate' reception to babysit an ipod for hours.

        What a mess of an article.

      • profile image

        Victoria W. 

        5 months ago

        What an ignorant post! Maybe that’s why you’ve barely scrapes 200 likes on your Fb page.

      • profile image

        Jorge 

        5 months ago

        I am pretty sure the teenage unemployed cousin of the owner of this site wrote this article for free.

      • profile image

        papapapa 

        5 months ago

        YOU are an IDIOT ! please can you come to clean my toilet I will give you free exposure as well !

      • profile image

        KristenRLF 

        5 months ago

        Absolutely not. I don’t agree with any of this. Do you work for free? How do you eat? How do you have a shelter over your head? I would be appalled if someone asked me to take WEDDING PHOTOS for free. Um, what?! And insinuating that you wouldn’t pay for the wedding venue if it were at the church ⛪ facilities... Those people need to feed their families, too! They can’t just be there for several hours and take time away from their families without expecting payment. They pay for electricity, water, sewage, insurance, etc. This whole post is absurd.

      • profile image

        Your Fiance 

        5 months ago

        Your Fiance is right to be afraid. He's about to marry someone he's realizing is willing to exploit others. If people offer to help, that's one thing. But to expect people to give you for free a service that they have thousands of dollars invested in is both ignorant and insulting.

        You reap what you sow. Never forget this.

      • profile image

        Free fotographer 

        5 months ago

        I hAvE sMaRtPhOnE, wIlL tAkE pHoToS fOr FrEe

      • profile image

        YoureGarbage 

        5 months ago

        I wonder if this writer is still a writer, I sure hope not.

        I’m sure Holidappy can ask some of their relatives to write new articles for the low, since they’re budding writers.

      • profile image

        free writer for hire 

        5 months ago

        I freelance write as well as have invested my time money and passion into being a wedding photographer.

        I will gladly take over this guys job, for free aka exposure... just to teach this person an amazing lesson....

      • profile image

        Al 

        5 months ago

        Disgusting! Even if you ask friends or relatives u shouldn’t exploit them

      • profile image

        Kay 

        5 months ago

        I hope that were all just completely missing that this is satire.

      • profile image

        Rita 

        5 months ago

        You are stupid. I have noting else to say here...

      • profile image

        Michael 

        5 months ago

        This article is absolute garbage. You obviously belong to the 'those who can't do, write shitty articles to take advantage of those that can' group.

      • profile image

        Jimmy G. 

        5 months ago

        Here how you do a true budget wedding.

        Get eloped at City Hall make sure someone has a 2018 flagship phone for photos...

        Have a party in your backyard. Bam done.

        Or else save up and pay all parties involved what they rightly deserve.

      • profile image

        Work and earn some money! 

        5 months ago

        I will happily shoot your wedding for free for my portfolio.

        Yes as statedy portfolio no you wont be getting any photos from me because as stated its for my portfolio.

        But if your lucky i may pull out my favourite camera i use when it comes to people trying to get free from me.

        I think they sell them in 'toys r us' you know that really high tech one made by fisher price.

        I mean you want something for nothing seems only fair that i use my state of the art equipment!

      • profile image

        The writer of the article is an idiot 

        5 months ago

        Maybe you should work and write for exposure/free since you expect other artists to do so. If you can't afford a wedding, simple....don't get married! Don't expect other people to cover your costs. Don't go around teaching people to rip off other artists or use people to get free stuff.

        Do you think my mortgage company will take payments in exposure? They'll laugh at me and foreclose my house. Same with photographers. It's how they make a living and feed and take care of their families. The can't feed their families on exposure you idiot.

      • profile image

        KellyS1 

        5 months ago

        Yes, many photographers do run their own business. That's how they make money to pay their bills. If you can get their power company and insurance carrier to accept "exposure" or "advertising" as payment, by all means, offer it. Otherwise, pay them with actual money. And if you're going to expect some family member to donate the use of their home/backyard for your reception, I hope you at least have the decency to help them clean up afterwards.

      • profile image

        George 

        5 months ago

        You spelled "How to ruin your wedding" wrong.

      • profile image

        Kris A 

        5 months ago

        How DARE you suggest an artist not get paid for their work??? A photographer comes with a ton of expensive equipment, plus their extensive knowledge, and you want them to devote HOURS of time and effort for EXPOSURE??? Artists are professionals, just like in any other career. Would you ask a lawyer to represent you for “exposure” or “practice”? NO. As an artist myself who often gets asked to perform for “exposure,” this is degrading and disrespectful. PAY ARTISTS FOR THEIR WORK, no matter the venue or situation!!!!

      • profile image

        Chris Thomas 

        5 months ago

        So basically your entire article is about exploiting people around you and selfishly asking them to provide you with services you are too cheap to actually buy. If you can't afford a wedding how are you supposed to afford kids? College? A house? Hey I have a great idea, how about you stop running ads on your blog and let business post on here for free. Maybe, you should give every photographer, cater, DJ, venue, florist, and officiant a free page on your site since you have decided to be the worst kind of person expecting other people to do stuff for you for free.

      • profile image

        Veronica George 

        5 months ago

        I'm sorry but your advice for free wedding photography is ridiculous. Ever hear the term "you get what you pay for?"

        My equipment is over $10,000 not including my knowledge. It's going to take a lot better photos than a cell phone or disposable camera or Uncle Bob who doesn't know anything about color casting, lighting, posing, editing, capturing special moments, remaining invisible and not bothersome to others, etc.

        If someone is fine with hiding their photos in a box under their bed due to embarrassment then definitely go the free route. But if someone is wanting to capture this typically once in a lifetime moment. Then save up the $$ and get a photographer who has the experience to capture those special moments. Because in 50-60 years your grandchildren & great grand-children will be looking at these photos. Professional images will stand the test of time, while the cheap stuff fades and doesn't look nearly as nice as a good quality product.

        Lets also not forget that pro's have insurance, so if the stuff is screwed up a couple is covered. While your friendship with Jane might end. Is it truly worth being cheap?

      • profile image

        Someone who values their time 

        5 months ago

        Or how about: If you don't have the money, don't get married. This is the most ridiculous article I've read.

        Free Photography?

        Can I get my rent paid? Or groceries bought? Or clothes paid for?

        What a dumb fucking article that insults hard-working people.

      • profile image

        Don’t have a wedding 

        5 months ago

        You might as well not have a wedding if you can’t afford it. I can’t take this article serious at all as you probably wrote it for attention.

      • profile image

        Yet another Tog 

        5 months ago

        Camera £1,500

        Lenses (at least 3) £2,500

        Lights £450

        Insurance £200 pa

        Travel £variable

        Taxation £variable

        Hours at wedding = 6

        Hours planning =3

        Post production hours = 18

        Editing software £15 pm

        Sure, I’ll shoot for free if you can give me marketing ‘exposure’ to the same value as above .

      • profile image

        Free Willy 

        5 months ago

        Im a whale..I stared in a few films and didn't get paid a penny.. No one should be made to work for free..

      • profile image

        Not A Free Photographer 

        5 months ago

        You Sir (the author) are an idiot. Holidappy.com you are even bigger idiots for letting the afore mentioned idiot write this article. Im sure you idiots paid the idiot to write it, or did the idiot do it for free? Actually judging by the content of the article I image it was free. Maybe the idiot who wrote it for you idiots is a vert talented writer but didn't want to charge for his time, effort, skills.. Or maybe a family member if the idiot wrote it for free..

        I think moving forward a subtle rebranding of your company could work out better for you.. May I suggest dropping the Holi from your name as dappy.com seems far more appropriate .

      • profile image

        Shite 

        5 months ago

        Your blog is utter shite

      • profile image

        Yet another photographer 

        5 months ago

        So this article suggests you shouldn’t pay a photographer. But also on your site is this, taken from the article about working with professional photographers for your wedding...

        You Get What You Pay For

        I know, we're expensive. And it can be hard to see at first, but - you get what you pay for when it comes to wedding photographers. Keep in mind, when choosing a photographer that you are paying for...

        Equipment. Many of us are still paying off the cameras and equipment that give us the ability to capture all of those little moments.

        Time. For some photographers, weddings aren't their full-time job and they may be taking time off from their day job to shoot your day. Then, there is the time it takes post-shoot to sort through and edit your photos.

        Insurance. Both business and health. Since we operate independently we must pay that on our own.

        Assistants and Employees. They gotta get paid too.

        Taxes. Again, since we operate independently, we have to pay out self-employment taxes at the end of the year and that comes directly out of our upfront price.

        Wardrobe. Hopefully we're not showing up in rags.

        Gas, food, and lodging. If you're hiring one of us to travel, we have to factor those expenses into our final package price.

      • profile image

        Laura 

        5 months ago

        Yeh don’t bother paying a photographer just get your ban to take blurry out of focus pictures of the best day of your life

        It’ll be fine

      • profile image

        Pay people for their job dude! 

        5 months ago

        Lol. Cheapskates don't deserve a nice wedding. Don't do it big if you're not financial ready. These article is garbage, so is the author's logic. I'm writing this just because all the traffic here's gaining this person some money and I'm one of them helping. So gotta express my disgust here. Oh yes! Make a good use of ad money to pay people cheapskate! Prop to the last part, yes potluck! We do it all the time for friends gathering here. That's called gathering, not a wedding.

      • profile image

        Photographer 

        5 months ago

        This stupid article is 5 years old and its still stupid. The only photographers that work for exposure and not professional photographers. Also playing music from your iPod or iTunes other than for your own private listening is a violation of the music holders copyright. You are now broadcasting and unless you have procured broadcast rights its just illegal.

      • profile image

        Photographer3000 

        5 months ago

        Exploiting up and coming amateurs of photography, is wrong. Plus no one should work for free.

      • profile image

        EMR 

        5 months ago

        I got married almost 12 years ago and I found the cheapest photographer I could. I had never seen his work and he handed me a disk of unedited photos when all was said and done. My wedding photos are absolutely awful. It is my biggest and only regret about that day. I cringe, especially now being a photographer, when I look at them. I have tried to fix them myself but the files are just terrible in the composition is awful. Aside from purposely ruining your wedding photos with an uncle Bob, how rude to ask a professional to shoot an entire WEDDING for free/exposure. We have pricing so we can pay our bills! Do you not have a job to pay your bills?

        This is the worst article I have ever read for wedding tips or advice. Don’t ruin one of the most important days of your life by being the cheapest person on earth. Have your guests bring the food? Omg. I. Can’t. Even.

      • profile image

        Photographer 

        5 months ago

        YOU, who write this article, YOU are an IDIOT ! Go and work for free ! Do you like it ???

      • profile image

        Donny TrumpsterFire 

        5 months ago

        Just hire them and then don't pay them. I do that all the time.

        DJT

      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)