Amy Aiello Photography

Budgeting for Wedding Photography


When budgeting for your wedding, how much should you expect to spend on wedding photography? What a question, right?

So many people will tell you different things, but I'm here to set the record straight!



Every geographic location has different pricing averages on what a couple will spend on their entire wedding day. This includes every little cost, including shoes, favors, food, and more. In the Chicago area in 2016, couples spent an average grand total of about $34,000 in the suburbs, and $56,000 in the city proper (although that city average, in my experience, is actually MUCH higher; nearly double).



In figuring out how much to spend on photography, the first thing you need to do is determine what elements of your day are MOST important to you. Maybe you're a foodie. Maybe you are huge into music and the party aspect of your big day. Whatever is important to you, be sure to keep this in mind when allocating your budget. Remember this tip as you begin signing contracts: going a 'little bit' over your budget adds up quickly!!!

I have found one thing consistently with every one of my clients: photography is one of the most important aspects of their wedding day.

For wedding photography budgeting:

  1. Determine your total wedding day budget
  2. Expect to spend approximately 10-20% of your entire wedding day budget (using the 2016 suburbs average, expect to invest at least $3,500 - $6,800 on your initial contract).
  3. If photography is ultra important to you, consider adding a bit more to the upper end of this budget
  4. Remember that you DO get what you pay for, especially with photography. You'll generally find more luxury products and higher skilled photographers with higher price tags, however, make sure to use your discretion
  5. Don't forget to consider wedding day cinematography. Remember that cinematography is NOT the same as wedding photography, and requires a separate budget. It is recommended to use the same formula in budgeting for a high quality wedding cinematography team.

Finally, be on alert if you are investing any less than $3500 on your wedding day. Yes, you may find a hidden gem who is priced too low for the market; however, are your forever memories worth that risk?