Petronella Lugemwa is an international wedding and marriage proposal photographer, speaker, writer and storyteller based out of the New York area who specializes in helping multicultural couples celebrate their love in a modern way and believes that what makes you different makes you beautiful. As a wedding photographer, Petronella sees it all and has put together a list for us all about how she sees couples spending money on elements at the wedding day that really don’t ‘matter’ to guests. We’re talking about impact, priorities, and putting the money where it really matters on your wedding day.
Top ways couples spend money that doesn’t matter to guests
*1. Investing in decor that’s trendy that will “look” good for Instagram or social media but doesn't mean anything to you. *
This list includes: attire, shoes, decor, wedding traditions like garter toss, diamond encrusted cake cutting knife engraved with your name.
Decide why you’re doing something. Don’t do something because you feel like you’re supposed to do it. There is no “must have."
What does it mean to you as an individual vs couple?
Story: Sweetheart tables with all the things - initials, candlesticks, signage, florals, sparkly linens = Innate ability to tell when something is intentional.
Guests want to see you happy. If you're doing something purely out of obligation and it doesn’t mean much to you, it’ll show in your photos & guest experience.
Who are the most important people: family, out of town guests traveled far, grandparents, who might not be there much longer.
How can I make the most important people feel special
2. Too much Cocktail Hour or Dessert Food
A room overflowing with cocktail food means no one will eat dinner & cake.
A room with too many desserts but most of your guests aren’t into dessert or because it’s a Sunday wedding, guests head out soon after speeches, so the food goes to waste.
Think about who your guests are & when you’re having wedding - what makes sense in terms of food.
What day & time of day - will my guests enjoy this & actually eat this?
3. Ceremony Chair cover upgrades
Invest in comfortable, good chairs that look good on their own Most ceremony are short
Ceremony chair cover takes away overall decor.
4. Favors: A grab bag filled with a hodgepodge of random favors chosen because that’s you feel like you need to put together
1. a. Story: I’m sorry our favors were so cheap vs expensive favors like some friend’s wedding -
Robes & lotion & makeup
Think about your guests
Story: rum cake = ties back to person’s culture
Better to have 1 intentionally curated, thoughtful favor OR nothing
5. A specific shot list of specific Pinterest images curated for “the Gram”
Curate a list of 25 Pinterest images in 3 different locations that end up making guests waiting for hours during cocktail hour for you to show up
Your guests won’t care that you have
Most of my clients love the images that happen organically
So much can’t control on day, it’s hard to say I want this specific Pinterest image
Decide if it’s worth it to you to get ready several hours earlier or the day after the wedding
to do a shot list of 25 Pinterest images in different locations before the wedding
6. Ambient Lighting vs Uplighting vs Upgraded Laser Lighting from DJ
My recommendation is always continuous, clean, white or yellow lighting on the dance floor
and colored lighting as uplighting on the sides vs on dance floor
Opt for clean, natural light from lighting professionals = colored lighting can look cool for
reception dancing but during first dance
Story: couple hired lighting team who put up blue lights but her look was all white
Make sure lighting will not overpower decor and color or theme
Story: colored spot lighting during first dance
Guests: the DJ & MC make the wedding cele