Client Portal

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

Advice For Those Engaged And On A Budget

There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding, there’s no surprise there. However, you’ve probably never done this before. I turned to my readers and asked them to give advice to those who are engaged and planning a wedding. The question was what were things you wish you knew, could have done better, or would give someone for advice. Some of these readers are newlyweds, married for 15-20 years and some 50+. Here’s what they had to say:

flower bouquet sitting on a table at a wedding reception.

Details and Stress:

Don’t focus so much on perfection for that day that you can’t totally enjoy it. I let myself get so exhausted. Not a great way to start a marriage. – Liana

Sleep, easier said than done but makeup artist and photographers can only do so much. Have a master and mistress ceremonies and put them in charge of all of the duties on the day of the wedding to help you de-stress. Shout wipes are your best friends have some handy for the wedding day spills. – Amye

Go simple! The little details, decorations, centerpieces etc. no one will remember. They will remember the couple and how happy they were!- Jill


My advice is get great pictures, we got married at the courthouse and used the money we would have put towards a wedding as a down payment for a house. I regret nothing except not getting pictures done – Cristyn

I second Cristyn on the pictures…it was the one thing I was sad to not have from the day. We did do a session a couple years later and I’m so thankful we did – Cacia

If I could do it again, I’d elope! My wedding was too much! Should have skipped it. – Jenna

Wedding Party:

Make sure your ring bearers and flower girls nap and that your wedding ceremony doesn’t run into nap time if you’re planning on asking little ones- Amye

wedding agenda book and pen


I am glad we used a videographer. Pictures are nice but video, especially of our loved ones who are no longer here, is extra special. – Mariah

I regret not hiring a professional videographer. I relied on my cousin to video and she messed it up so we have no video of our wedding and no recording of my best friend singing at our wedding- Sarah

Plan a simple wedding without worrying about the fine details and go with a smaller business photographer. Our photographer continuously asked me what pics I wanted and on top of that, I have no picture of me with my family on that day because the photographer never noticed my Dad and sister were covered up. I just would have liked that one picture.- Missy

Intimate Wedding:

We celebrated with all our guests at the church with drinks and wedding cake (cupcakes), then we had a more intimate dinner with wedding party and close family (I think there were 30 of us). Felt like we got to have quality time with the people who matter most on a special day- Kelli

a wallet with dollar bills coming out of it next to a keyboard.


Spend more money on the things that matter most to you and not on the little things that you think “I have to have”. Your budget can go quickly is you look at it this way. I actually spent a lot of time working through our budget and with the remaining I was able to pay off the rest of my car. This surely helped get rid of any debt before entering a marriage. – Kara

Today I want to offer something that can really help you get off on the right foot when it comes to your finances and keeping track of everything so your head is not spinning with all the things you have to keep track of. I have created a resource (for anyone planning a wedding) that I offer to my bride and grooms and I’d love to offer it to anyone else who is planning as well. The reason it is free is because I believe that this is a vital way to communicate with your future spouse as well as keep track of everything so you can spend more time being engaged and not worrying about everything else.

If there is one more piece of advice I could give is add date nights to your wedding planning budget. It’s so easy to spend all the money on your wedding and not spend time with one another aside from the planning. Remember that this is just one day of your life. Spending time with one another is huge and will set you up for success in the long run.

So without further ado, here are my Wedding Planning Templates that I offer on my Bride and Groom pages.

A screenshot example of the Big Picture Budget template worksheet in google showing who is paying for what parts of the wedding.
An example of the wedding budget big picture showing how much would be spent in each category.
A screenshot example of the Budget template worksheet in google showing who is paying for what parts of the wedding.
Main budget page example from the free templates. Options to dedicate amount and who is paying for what so that you know how much each contributor has or will pay.

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 !!