There are countless wedding photography myths floating around both on the internet and in the real world but one myth in particular seems to really be baffling brides this year.  Although I don’t know why this trend has started, it’s quite apparent that brides who are planning small and intimate weddings are now expecting discounts from all their vendors.

Below is a verbatim example of a recent request/email I received from a potential client.  Without any exaggeration, I can say that I have receive at least one of these types of emails per month for the past year and a half.

“Hi!  My fiancé and I are planning a small and intimate wedding with only our closest family and a few friends.  We would like to have coverage of the whole day including the bride getting ready.  We were looking at the platinum package but we were assuming that since we’re having a small wedding, the price could be adjusted accordingly?  Looking forward to hearing back from you.”

I always find it difficult to respond to emails like this because I simply can’t wrap my mind out why someone would think they are entitled to a  discount on their photography services simply because they are choosing to have fewer guests attend their wedding.

Whether you are choosing to have a small and intimate wedding because you are on a budget or you truly prefer the intimate style of celebration, there are certain things that you can expect to be relatively cheaper and there are certain things whose price will not change whether there are 30 guests of 300 guests!

So how do you know which vendors you can save on by having a smaller wedding?  It’s simple (and honestly, logical):

If the vendors price is based on a “per person/per guest/per table” calculation, then the fewer guests you have, the less the service will cost.

Let’s take catering for example.  If your caterer is serving fewer guests; therefore, making less food, your final cost will be lower than if you were serving double the amount of people.

Decorators generally follow a similar pricing structure: aside from head table decorations (which would cost the same regardless of the amount of guests present), if you are paying a per-table price for linens and centerpieces, then logically, the less tables you have the decorate the lower your cost will be.

If the vendors price is not based on a per person/per table calculation (ie: if the vendors job doesn’t change relative tothe amount of guests), then you absolutely cannot expect the vendor to give you a ‘discount’ simply because you have chosen to have a smaller wedding. 

Whether there are three-dozen guests or three hundred guests, as a photographer, my job would not change.  Sure there might be more people in the reception photos, but the act of taking the picture and capturing the moment is independent of guest count.

Asking your photographer to give you a discount because you are having a ‘smaller’ wedding is like asking your hair dresser to cut you a deal because there will be less people looking at your hair.  It’s like asking the minister to lower their costs because there will be fewer people to hear them speak.  It’s like asking for a discount on your dress simply because only a few people will be seeing you in it.  Vendors such as photographers, hair dresses, make-up artists and ministers (just to name a few) are providing you with a service that remains unchanged relative to the number of guests in attendance and to ask them for such a discount is, quite frankly, disrespectful.  Although you may not intend for it to be a disrespectful statement, asking for a discount when there is no rational reason  for deserving one shows a lack of a respect for the hard work and dedication that the artist puts in to their craft.

IMG 1099 CRAVE - Wedding Photography Myths: Vendor Discounts for Small Weddings
Adam + Renata had an intimate, rustic wedding with only their closest friends and families. Regardless of the amount of guests present, my job remained unchanged.

So hopefully this post has helped to clear the air in regards to how the size of a wedding can or cannot affect the price of a vendor.  Always remember that the way you start a relationship with your vendor sets the tone for your experience with them.  Treat your vendors, and their services, with the respect they deserve and you will have taken the first few steps towards developing a wonderful and professional vendor relationship.   Best of luck in your wedding planning, brides!



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[...] (or lack thereof) of the bride and groom in question.  I’ve written a complete article on small weddings and vendor discounts; but the long and the short of it is: if the vendors job remains unchanged regardless of the amount [...]
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