Creative Budgeting

A wedding day…possibly the most money you will ever spend in one day, other than a home purchase.

Budget is usually the driving force behind wedding planning. Every action you take has a price tag attached, and if you move without a plan you can see your budget get out of control quicker than a Bruce Lee punch. So then what do you do?

You adjust. You trim the fat. You take the package below the one you had your heart set on, opting for the one you can afford without dipping into your 401K. In short; you make it work.

However, planning ahead can help take some of this edge off. See how many favors you can call in. Who has something you can borrow and make it work for your day? Is there a discount for getting married on a Friday or Sunday instead of a Saturday?

Lots of friends of yours are probably sitting on elements you can use toward your day, as well, with little or no cost involved. All you need is a little creativity to put things together.

While we were planning our wedding, I saw that someone had a bucket of pebbles they were giving away for free in a Craigslist ad. I contacted them, picked them up, and BOOM, we had the filling for the vases at our reception. Total cost = zero dollars. We were able to afford to serve sandwiches later in the evening at the dance with some of our leftover money.

We shot a wedding where the bride had set up a wheel of fortune game instead of simply kissing every time someone clinked their glasses. It had different results every time it was spun, such as the spinner might have to sing a song to get them to kiss or had to kiss someone themselves. Lots of fun. When someone we got married later, they were looking for something fun for their reception. We suggested this game and contacted the bride to see if we could rent it from her. She was gracious enough to just let us borrow it, as it was gathering dust in her garage. The cousin had a great game at the reception which everyone enjoyed, without spending a dollar.

So if you’re budget is stretched, take a look at what you have, what you want, and what you need. You might be able to think outside the box and get everything you wanted but thought you couldn’t afford.

Just Ask

It’s your day. Hopefully, you’ll hear your vendors say this over and over. It’s your day.

You should make sure you get what you want. It’s our duty as vendors to give you what you want. If someone doesn’t feel like a good fit for your needs, don’t use them. Find someone who does. One vendor may not provide what you are looking for and you may have to move on. Make sure you feel confident in who you have booked for various tasks on your day. As time gets closer, you should be able to sit back, let the professionals take over, and enjoy your day. Just soak it in, every step of the way.

Don’t forget, though, that wedding vendors have experience and can offer guidance. If you know what you want, but you’re not sure how you want it, ask. We have suggestions, tips, “do’s and don’ts” and lots of knowledge that can help you. Maybe you’re planning something that we’ve seen before and it went horribly wrong. Or went off like a dream. If you’re the least bit confused or not clear on something, ask your cake maker, photographer, or DJ. Chances are, they’ve been there and done that and will be happy to steer you in the right direction.

You can effectively learn from others’ mistakes if you do some research. See what has gone wrong for another couple and avoid it. See what has gone right and try to emulate it.

Don’t you get bored?

We get asked this question A LOT when we are shooting.

Oftentimes during a shoot, there’s a good amount of standing around. It’s not boring, necessarily, it’s more of a “hurry up and wait” situation. You know an important event is going to happen soon, and you have to be ready and waiting for it. Whether it’s a groom seeing his future bride in her dress for the first time, or a father doting over his little princess – letting her go to be another man’s prize – you don’t want to be rushed. And when these moments unfold themselves in front of you, and you nail it, there’s no feeling like it. It’s something that always has an effect on us when we shoot; we’re capturing a moment that will only happen once in these people’s lives.

It doesn’t matter how many weddings we shoot, we always lose ourselves in these moments. Our clients – brides and grooms – are trusting us with one of the biggest days of their lives. We don’t take this lightly.

We always tell prospective clients that the edit isn’t finished until we’ve teared up, and it’s absolutely true. But that begins with capturing the moment. You can’t recreate that in the edit. You can heighten it, make it a little more grand, but if you don’t capture it while it’s happening, you cannot fake it. And when it’s happening, you know it. And if it doesn’t get you a little misty – or at the very least, make you smile – you need to check your pulse.

A Coach

When most people think of a coach, they think of a leader of a sports team.

We had the privilege of listening to a coach for our wedding video business. We went to the National Association of Wedding Professionals (NAWP) meeting this week, they had a speaker that gave us some tips on how to improve MatKat Productions.

It was great to hear some things we were doing right and also some things that we can improve on. We hope to keep improving our business every year, so stay tuned for some great things coming on the horizon!

The Century Barn

We were recently lucky enough to be at a wedding show recently with a wonderful woman named Beth Dahm. She was representing a unique venue called, The Century Barn in Mount Horeb, WI.

We have never had the privilege of shooting a wedding there before (wink, wink), so we were in awe at the pictures she had and what you could do with it.

If you have never been there, like us, you should really check out the website:

When you book the barn, you get an empty barn to decorate how you would like and let your creativity run wild! There is a stage (for band, head table, etc…), tables provided, and an adorable little outdoor patio/pergola area to enjoy the sunset.

So, give Beth a call if you are in need of a unique venue for your wedding!

Any other unique venues in WI that we have not discovered?

Planning a proposal?

Attention, all guys-and girls for that matter (it is 2011 after all).

With proposal season in full swing and Valentine’s Day right around the corner, are you thinking of popping the question? We would love to be your videographers for your proposal!

We would create a video that you could show your loved ones, documenting the question that started your lives together.  If you are planning a big surprise proposal and want it captured so you can relive the moment over and over, contact us.

Here is an example of a very sweet proposal video:



It is probably the first word that comes to mind when I think of Jen Towner.

We were lucky enough to work a wedding with Jen a couple years ago, as she was assisting Studio Noveau Photography.  She just has this ability to connect to you, no matter who you are.  She makes you feel comfortable and has a way with her talent that you can’t help but notice.

Now she has a website, blog and studio to create amazing work of her own…and man, is she doing it!

Whether you need a wedding, family, senior picture or maternity photographer…Jen can down it all.  Her website is:

Make sure to like Jen Towner Photography on Facebook to see the great work she is currently doing.

See her talent for yourself, here are a couple that caught my eye:

Congrats on your success Jen, you deserve all the best!  Katie