Hi, I'm KARA.
Hi there! Welcome to the blog, a journal about our photography, love stories, seniors, education, and more. Stay a while and say hello!
Learn more
Learn how to get the most out of your photography experience with this free resource

The Kara Hanes


Interested in booking? Check out the experience and pricing for weddings or portraits

Wedding Wednesday

10 Ways to Elevate Your Wedding

We all know that weddings can get pretty expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice that elegant feel you’ve always dreamed of. Here I have 10 Ways to Elevate Your Wedding, that won’t break the bank.

10 Ways to Elevate Your Wedding That Won’t Break the Bank

1. Fresh Flowers

A lot of brides try to cut costs by going with fake florals. As a photographer, I gotta tell ya, it can be really hard to get those detail shots. When it comes to synthetic flowers, they can look fine from a distance, but up-close they won’t capture that romantic elegance you’re going for. 
Some ways to cut costs on florals would be to utilize greenery. You can still get a gorgeous, organic look with eucalyptus and shrubbery. You can also use flowy fabric to separate all the greens and soften your overall look. I recommend using sheer curtains. 
Lastly, if fresh florals are really stretching the budget, I recommend at least splurging on your bridal bouquet. This will be in most of your photos and will go a long way to elevate the overall feel. 
*You’ll see simple ways to do this in the reception photos below. 

2. Invitation Suite

Some may say that formal invitations are outdated, but this is the one event of your life where you get to have them. Plus they make for gorgeous detail shots.

Even if you just order some for close family and friends, they are totally worth it.

If you go with an invitation suite, make sure you order invitations that match your wedding theme and colors. 


3. Collection Box

Provide your photographer with a box of items for when they arrive. Items in the box should include the invitation suite, any fresh florals/stems, hairpieces, rings (all three), shoes, jewelry, perfume or cologne, ceremony program, anything borrowed or blue.

In addition, your photographer will want to photograph the bride’s dress and veil, his and her’s shoes, ties, pocket squares, cuff links, watches or memorabilia, etc.

If you have any items that will be relevant to the reception it’s always good to include these as well such as ribbons, lace, favors, etc.

These detail photos will elevate your wedding photos immensely, and help you really remember the day.


4. Calligraphy

Name cards with calligraphy are a beautiful, elegant touch.

It can be as simple as a name with a pretty silk ribbon tied, placed on your table settings. Even if you just have them on your head table, your photographer can capture them.

If you’re not interested in learning calligraphy, there are many artists on Etsy that do these services.

5. Linens

Linens that coordinate with your wedding color pallet will make your wedding feel like a red carpet event.

You can also use white or black table linens and then just use color for the napkins to save on cost.

6. Frames

Victorian-looking frames will automatically bring in an elegant look. Use these for table numbers or signs.
You can even find some of these items at a local thrift store, and metallic spray paint can go a long way if you’re looking for something fancy. 

7. Center pieces

Fresh flowers, real candlesticks, lanterns — all of these things can bring a big impact and brighten up the space. If you don’t have a lot to splurge then I recommend having a more ornate centerpiece on half, or a third of the tables, and something more simple on the others.

This is more about creating an overall mood or ambiance. Your guests aren’t going to care about what’s directly on their table.


8. Skip the favors.

This can be very costly and isn’t necessary for guests. There’s no need to find little m&ms or mints to put on the tables. Sometimes these can even take away from the elegance unless it’s done well and professionally. I’m just saying. 

9. Ask your photographer for tips

Even if your wedding is more budget-friendly, the right photographer can make it look like the fanciest event of the year. What I recommend is to 1. Do your research, and find a style you love. Then 2. Make a mood board with your photographer to ask what items make a wedding photo look expensive

Your photographer may even have detail items they can bring with them to set in the space to give it something extra.


10. Hire professionals such as an event coordinator or rental company that can provide an amazing experience

TRUST me on this! There is nothing that cheapens the feel of a wedding more than chaos, disorganization, and confusion by the vendors and the guests. This is your day, you deserve to be taken care of. Tell them your budget and ask them how to make the space work. I’m certain you’ll be able to find a professional that works for you.

There you have it! 10 ways to elevate your wedding that won’t break the bank. Below you can find examples of what we just talked about from a styled shoot I did with some local Michigan wedding vendors! You can find all their information below!

10 Ways to Elevate Your WeddingMichigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0001.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0002.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0003.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0004.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0005.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0006.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0007.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0008.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0009.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0010.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0011.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0012.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0013.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0014.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0015.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0016.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0017.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0018.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0019.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0020.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0021.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0022.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0023.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0024.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0025.jpg
Michigan Photographer-Kara Hanes Photography_0026.jpg

Style Shoot for WeddingDay Magazine // Venue: Frugthaven Farms This location is specifically the little barn, Planning, Coordination & Decor: 1945 Event Co., Florist: Alex Nazar Floral, Videography: Unnamed Films, Dresses: America’s Bride, Menswear: SuitShop,  Stationery: Pretty Petal Papers, Rentals: Copper & Lace Wedding Rental and Special Occasions LLC, Cakes & Desserts: Sugar & Spice Bakeshop, Models: Jessica & Griffin Tomasik. Brittany Andring: Makeup Artist (Jessica’s makeup) & Glammed by Samm (Jessica’s hair)

reader faves


browse by category








Learn more


welcome to my blog

I'm Kara, West Michigan Photographer, Wife, Mom of two kids and our sweet Maltipoo. I hope you stay a while or reach out to chat!



Learn how to get the most out of your photography experience with this free resource




I'll give you all the tips on how to maximize your Kara Hanes Experience

want to plan?

the senior lounge

with tons of information on how to maximize your senior session and plan to make it your own. I've got lots of resources for my high school seniors.

error: Content is protected !!