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BubbleLife Staff
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If you're engaged and beginning to plan your wedding, then you've probably already seen how ridiculously expensive the process can be. Everything from the cakes to the flower arrangements can cost thousands of dollars. Here in Boston, couples end up spending an average total of $36,000 on their weddings, making the area one of the most expensive places to get married in the entire country. Yikes. 

According to Wedding Wire, most couples end up spending between $1,200 and $3,000 on the photographer alone. That's a big chunk of change, and although your photos from the big day are incredibly special, you probably don't want to spend thousands if you can help it. 

While looking for your perfect photographer, keep some of these helpful tips in mind. With luck, you might be able to keep your photography expenses under the national average, but you have to play your cards right. 

1. Don't assume that The Knot, Wedding Wire, or other sites list all of your options. Although these sites are helpful in many aspects of wedding planning, they can limit your scope when it comes to looking for cheap photographers. Browse their recommended services, then branch out and do some searches on your own to see if there are more affordable candidates in the area. 

2. Compare prices from at least four or five candidates. Even if you fall head over heels for one photographer's work, don't assume that your search has come to an end. Shopping around for affordable wedding photography packages will help you determine who actually has the best deals and how much you're willing to pay. 

3. Ask every photographer to break down their pricing for you. Many photographers will present you with a lump sum for their services, but don't take that number at face value. Have them break down how they charge clients. Is it by the hour? Are they including printed photographs in that price? The more you understand, the more you can negotiate for a lower price. 

4. Only book a photographer for the important parts of the day to avoid extra charges. Many popular photographers charge by the hour, so by reducing the amount of time they need to be present, you can save hundreds of dollars. After all, do you really need them to stick around after most of the guests are tipsy and the cake has already been cut? Probably not.