Your wedding photography is arguably one of the most important wedding planning decisions you will make as a bride - after all, once the plates are cleared and the flowers die - all you'll have left of your wedding day is the photographs. Bottom line - scrimp on photography, and you'll regret it forever.

You should plan to allocate a significant portion of your wedding budget to ensure photographs are perfect. Expect to spend at least $1000 on a professional wedding photographer to document your event. Albums and prints are usually extra. Other extras that may increase your bottom line include additional hours, additional photographers, custom albums etc. etc. Add on too many extras - and your photography budget could quickly creep to $5000 and beyond!

Before you panic, remember that just like every other element in your wedding day, there are ways to save on wedding photography without sacrificing on quality. Save on wedding photography with these photography budget tips:

Cut the Extras
Purchase a basic wedding photography package from a skilled photographer. By paying for the photographer's expertise only, you will ensure great images - and you'll buy yourself some time to save up for the custom album and prints after the wedding.

Get the Proofs
To that end, try to find a photographer who will let you keep the proofs. Many photographers consider themselves to be photographers only - artists not in the business of selling photographs. After the big day, they'll hand over your proofs and be on their way. They're yours to keep - you can print them in any manner you please or save them for printing after you've saved up some cash.

Enter the Digital Age
Digital photography is less costly than film, and with technological advances in equipment - digital images are no longer a sacrifice in quality. Many photographers have taken the digital plunge - which results in savings for you!

Cut the Timeline
The longer your event, the more it will cost to document it. Since photographers often charge based on the number of hours they will spend at your wedding, a shorter/smaller wedding celebration will yield big savings in your photography budget.

Do Your Research
This sounds like a given, but you will find that a number of photographers in your area offer similar skill levels and packages - yet varying prices. We're not saying to go on price alone, but definitely take your time to shop around and REALLY compare what you are getting. Determine the skill level, photography style and products that suit your needs, and then shop for the wedding photographer who meets your requirements and budget.

For a complete guide to keeping your sanity while creating an elegant and memorable wedding celebration, visit http://www.elegala.com, your ultimate wedding planning resource.