We’ve all heard how easily the costs of a wedding can blow out. My Mum’s voices echoed in my head during my wedding preparations. ‘You can compromise on price but not style and quality.’ She was the best event planner I’ve seen. Her secret was that she started with the feeling she wanted to create. How she wanted guests to feel.

Setting your wedding budget
Excel spreadsheet to help with setting a wedding budget.

To get started make an Excel document using the layout displayed above or email us at info@encorestudio.com.au and we’ll happily send your ours.

Our top tips to keep you budget on track

  1. In the ‘Predicted budget’ field write how much you would like to spend for your wedding. Be conservative in case you need room to move.
  2. Take the ‘Marie Kondo’ approach to each item on your wedding list. Decide what truely brings you joy and what you can do without. This is a guide only. You may need to add or remove what doesn’t apply to you.
  3. For each item on your list put an estimated. You will see the total add in the ‘Estimated budget’ field. If your budget is blowing out, are there things you can remove from you list? Or DIY to reduce the cost?
  4. Use the due by column to keep your wedding planning on track. You can use the sort filter then to re-sort the spreadsheet based on the next task.
  5. As you lock in a service, in column 3 record the suppliers name. Column 4, their contact details and column 6 the actual cost. Under ‘Actual Budget’ you will this the ‘actual costs‘ total tally up.
  6. The big cost of a wedding is the amount of guests you invite. Is everyone on your list someone you truly want to celebrate your day with? Whether you are having a big or small wedding, it really has to be, who do you want to spend your day surrounded by?
  7. Generally speaking the largest cost on a wedding day is the reception, with food and drinks. It is important to really think here what is your dream wedding. Is it a traditional wedding venue or something outside the box. Is it a sit down dinner, banquet style or a cocktail party?
  8. Will you host cocktail hour. This is the time before you arrive where your guests wait outside your reception room and receive finger food and drinks.
  9. Remember that it’s not all strictly about budget and know where you are prepared to move and what is truely important to you. How do you want to remember your day?
  10. Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime event, find a way not to compromise on what will still matter to you 10 years from now.

How important are clear, in focus, creatively shot images? How important is your wedding?
A day you will cherish forever? If so, read one…

Is a professional photographer worth the expense?

Think of when you’ve attended weddings: what did you notice? What mattered to you? Did you love looking at their wedding images later?

Our advice: spend on what matters to you.

How does a pro photographer’s equipment differ to your smart phone?

In a nutshell, thousands of dollars! Your small handheld mobile has a single lens, nice enough if you’re happy with snapshots … informal photographs taken quickly. Pro photographers understand their top-of-the-range cameras and how to use them:

  • the subtleties that produce a quality picture
  • how to use low-lighting
  • how to configure their cameras, and what lenses to use and when
  • adjusting to the discrepancies between natural and artificial light
  • Imperfect lighting? Your photographer will find good light – or create it. 
  • fine-tuning a lens to capture the entire bridal party and decor, along with photographs that capture those up close and personal moments. As the saying goes: memories are made of this.

People skills

Have you ever seen a group of 50 or more people work together harmoniously with no leader? Me neither. When it comes to formal group shots, having everyone turn up is the first challenge. Your photographer should work with you pre-wedding to make this part of the day seamless – as possible.  Direction is vital. Knowing what to look for helps you and your guests look your best:

  • like turning into the bride and groom
  • keeping an eye out for un-required accessories in formal group – sunnies, booklets, drinks, food, hand bags. A simple slide of the foot to put the body in a more flattering position
  • Yes, there’s a place for candid shots but not in the formal portraits. Someone hunched up? We notice and correct posture. It’s about an eye for detail.

Back up, back up, back up

We have backups of everything: cameras, lenses, batteries, memory cards, lighting equipment, gear cleaners, umbrellas – down to safety pins and sewing kits.

On the technical side, two cameras are each writing to two cards. Those cards are meticulously guarded. Back at our workplace, the files are backed up to two external hard drives. Until final delivery of images, those four copies are stored safely. Final JPEGs are sent to you. They are stored on to hard drives and backed up online.

On this, your wedding day, we leave nothing to chance.

We understand the value of wedding photography. Many of us grew up staring at our Grandma and Grandpa’s black and white wedding portrait hanging in their living room. Videography…well that’s another thing. Wedding videography is a relatively new craft. Rather than a picture you pass each day, it’s a DVD or clip you watch on a special occasion with your family or when your children say ‘Mum, can we watch your wedding again?’ When friends ask about your wedding you pull out your 3-10 minutes highlights video and relive the action.


Wedding videography is for the wedding dance you practiced, remembering your vows years down the track, seeing the laughter and joy that surrounded you on your special day. Videography brings alive the sound and motion. For the majority of us, the only professional video we may ever have is our wedding. It captures the messages, words, mannerisms and feelings in a completely unique way.

Your style

Your wedding clip is unique to you and your style. You have a say in the editing process. If you have a highlights video as part of your package you can cut and add clips, change the order of footage and have a say in the music so it perfectly reflects you and your wedding day.

And action

Sound is professionally recorded through plugging into the main sound system and wiring up the groom during the ceremony. Footage is recorded through multiple cameras to give you different angles and prospectives to the day.

It is important to understand that wedding videography is a different art to photography. As the years pass, they are the memories of the day that remain with us and that not only we can cherish but the generations to follow.

It is such a privilege to be around a bride and a groom during their preparation. It feels like a sacred time, when their very dear people are present. It’s an exciting, occasionally stressful (for the bride or groom) but always momentous, hopefully cherished time. If wedding detail shots are important to you, here are a few tips to make the most out of this time.


This is such a special time. Anything that you think could potentially be stressful, plan around it so that you can enjoy your preparations. On my wedding day I didn’t want to be stressed, so I worked with my hair and make up artists to make sure we would be ready in time. Just beware time slips away on the wedding day so make sure you have enough time padding into your prep time. If there are groom preparation shots your photographer/videographer will go first to the groom and then come to the bride. Your hair and make up artists will most likely advise you that the bride needs to do their hair before their make up. If you want some detail shots, organise for your photographer to arrive a bit before your make up.

Detail shots

Give your detail shot list of what you would like captured to your maid of honour for the bride and best man for the groom. If you don’t have a bridal party give this to whoever else is there that you can rely to take it off your hands. Make sure they gather up anything the photographer/videographer needs to capture.

Typically with the groom:

• Wedding rings
• Shoes/socks
• Cufflinks
• Boutonnière (buttonhole flowers)
• If a loved one has passed on you make like a framed picture of them in the background

Typically with the bride:

• The invitation
• Engagement ring (keep it on your finger until they are ready for it)
• Bouquets
• Bridal jewellery
• Bridal shoes
• Veil or head piece if you are not yet wearing it
• Your perfume
• If a loved one has passed on you make like a framed picture of them in the background
• Anything else that you want to remember


If you can, your photographer will be in heaven if you choose a room to get ready in with gentle light streaming through the window. If there are nice curtains all the better!  It heaps if the room is as uncluttered as possible, as the clutter will detract in your photos.


Have the group shot somewhere pretty where there is enough space for your film crew to stand back. This may mean outside (a zoom lens is more flattering for portraits than wide angle lens).


Take a moment to breath, take note of all your senses and cherish the moments that are unfolding.

Couples often like to have an engagement shoot for a few reasons. It gives couples an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera and get to know your photographer before the big day. You may wish to have a photo of the two of you on your ‘gifts table’ or for your ‘save the date’ cards. Or it might just be a nice opportunity to get some professional photos of the two of you. There are a few things to think about before booking your engagement session.

Time of Day

It’s good to bear in mind that the best time for shooting is at sunrise or a bit before sunset. This is when the sun is most flattering. It won’t leave harsh shadows on your face and it will make for some pretty backdrops. If you are having this session a few weeks before your wedding, you are probably very busy. However, it is worth shifting your schedule and working in with your photographer to see if you can find a time of day with the best light. Since the sun doesn’t wait for anyone, it is important to arrive on time.


It’s a good idea to choose somewhere with a nice backdrop. If there is somewhere sentimental to the two of you perhaps you can get some images there and a few locations nearby. Bear in mind the time of year, anywhere with nature looks different at different times of the year.

What to wear

Firstly I’d suggest what makes you feel beautiful. Often smart casual is a good dress code to go with but whatever you choose make sure that you both look like you are going to the same event. Co-ordinate your outfit with your fiancé/fiancée to make sure you don’t clash. This doesn’t mean you need to match (if that isn’t your style) but make sure both your outfits are visually appealing together.


This may be the perfect time to get your make-up done professionally. If you are getting a make-up trial for your wedding and are not too worried about your fiancé seeing your make-up before the big day, get it done then. Alternatively, if you are like me and loooovvvvee Napolean they give you a make over redeemable on product (as do other make-up companies), so if your kit needs replenishment…the day of your engagement shoot might be the perfect time to stock up.

Enjoy it

Your photographer will do their best to make sure you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Look at it as a time for you and your betrothed. Perhaps plan your engagement session as the beginning of a date night, something to look forward to. The main point have fun!