It may seem like a cost effective option to rely on your guests to photograph your big day, rather than hire a photographer. It is important to remember though that a photographer is a trained professional who knows exactly what to snap and when, so it might be worth considering hiring one for the moments you want captured on film, and then relying on guests for the rest.
Most people nowadays own digital cameras and will take them to weddings. To be sure to get a copy of the snaps, it’s a good idea to place cheap memory sticks or blank CDs at the place of each guest next to the wedding favors, so they can load their pictures on to them and send them on to you.
You may also want to provide disposable cameras, so guests can snap each other at the tables and then leave the cameras for you to collect at the end of the night. In theory, this is a good idea as the photographer won’t be available to snap every moment at every table, but you must bear in mind that you may just get blurry shots of your guests drinking.
Make sure any guests who are taking photos on your big day know the rules of the venue. Some religious or particularly old buildings do not allow flash photography. You may personally decide that you don’t want your service punctuated by the flash and whirring sound of cameras, and if that is the case then you are allowed to request that your guests don’t use them, or that if they do, they’re on silent mode without a flash.
If, however, you do want your guests to capture elements of your big day, whether you hire a photographer or not, it’s a good idea to provide certain guests with lists of different things you want captured, to make sure you’re guaranteed to get photos of all the important moments you want to remember.
It’s worth considering hiring a professional at least for the service, as they will be able to get closer to you than your guests will, and they will also have more access to you before the ceremony, so you’ll have photos your guests would otherwise fail to capture. It’s up to you whether you have a professional on hand for the rest of the day, or if you just rely on your guests.