What percentage of the wedding budget should photography cost?

According to the website,  www.costofwedding.com, the average wedding cost in the San Francisco and Santa Clara counties is about $34,000; average wedding cost in the Napa and Livermore areas is about $32,000; average wedding cost in Monterey County is $30,000. If you do a Google search on the subject of wedding photography cost, the general answer is 10%. Depending on how DIY your wedding is, or how important wedding photography is to you, 10% is not necessarily what you want or need.

If your wedding budget is the average bay area cost or higher, likely this is a high-end affair with attention to detail. Usually a couple in this range often devote a higher percentage of their budget on photography, and include fine art albums or fine art reprints. If your wedding budget is lower than average ($15,000 or less), then likely you are a young couple making decisions based on making the most of your budget. It can be difficult choosing a photographer because usually talent and experience is proportional to price. Another reason that it can be difficult is that many couples simply want more coverage than their budget will allow for or think that they need 8 to 12 hours of coverage when that’s more than is necessary. (See question, “How much coverage do I need?” in our Tips & Resources section)

Decide how important wedding photography is to you and your fiance. (A good indication is if you are looking for a photographer right after you’ve booked your venue, or if you realize that it’s a month before the wedding and you haven’t looked for a photographer yet) Decide if 10% is enough to cover the type of quality that you want or adjust the amount to cover the quality of your documented memories. Decide what that percentage is from your budget. Decide if you are going to have photography only or photography AND videography and understand that your budget percentage should cover whichever of those that you chose.


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