You may not be surprised to see a headline such as this on a photographer’s website. Just in the same way that a seamstress will tell you that a wedding is “all about the dress” or a florist will argue that good flowers can make or break a wedding.

I’d never say that photography is the No.1 most important thing at a wedding, because that’s simply not true. No, the most important thing, of course, is the presence of the bride and groom and the actual vows being exchanged – THAT is what makes a wedding.

There are lots of other important things too – sharing the day with your close friends and family, adding the little touches that make the day truly personal, and choosing the right venues to host the biggest day of your lives.

But once the day whizzes by – and trust me, it will fly by… think Usain Bolt running downhill to catch someone who has just stolen his chicken nuggets – what will be left to help you remember such a special day?

Flowers wilt, cake gets eaten (very quickly if you’re anything like me), and those ‘killer shoes’ will probably never be worn again.

Photographs, however, will last a lifetime.

Other mementos also last, but nothing can tell a story like a photograph (assuming it is taken by someone who knows what they are doing). That is why it is so important to pick a good photographer.

Ninety-nine per cent of engaged couples will be working to a budget (especially in times like these), and in lots of areas corners can be cut. Case in point: have you ever been to a wedding where the most memorable thing was the canapés that were served?

If I were to pass on one piece of advice to any couples planning their wedding – and again this may be no surprise given the source, but please hear me out – it would be to make photography your top priority when planning your big day.

Uncle Arthur may have a half-decent DSLR camera he got last Christmas to take photos of steam trains, but does that mean he can take a good photo of one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments in potentially tricky low-light conditions.

That moment when the bride’s parents see their daughter for the first time in her wedding gown. The nervous final minutes as the groom awaits the love of his life to arrive at the church. The first kiss between the bride and groom after being pronounced man and wife. Do you really want to entrust an inexperienced relative to capture such precious moments?

The internet is full of horror stories of couples who scrimped on their wedding photography and were left with nothing more than out-of-focus images and huge regrets. “Imagine having your photos still in a plastic bag nine years on,” says blogger Zarn Ballentine, who regrets hiring her wedding photographer. “That’s where mine are.”

“Don’t do what I did and end up with five photos from a 12 hour event,” says Amanda from Queensberry Albums.

“It has made me hate my own wedding,” adds this anonymous blogger. “I don’t look back at my photos and see a beautiful wedding, I look at them and see horribly dark and blurry photos.”

A few years ago I was a guest at a wedding where the photographer who turned up on the day wasn’t even the same person they had met when booking them for their wedding. On the plus side, he had an assistant. But on the down side, that assistant was his wife (completely inexperienced and using her DSLR on auto setting with the camera’s pop-up flash).

The couple booked these photographers simply because they were cheap. But after the big day, they had to pay for each image they wanted in high resolution, which resulted in them being no cheaper than any other half-decent photographer. And the images were presented to them in low-resolution on some tatty CD in a plastic case (the kind of things you’d submit your school coursework on) with scraggy handwriting and home-made stickers plastered all over it.

Your wedding is worth far more than that.

On the face of it, some wedding photography packages can appear pricey. After all, that £1000 could go towards a blingier ring, a make-up artist, or a few extra sausage rolls for the evening buffet, right?

But when that portion of your budget is being used to hire the person who will provide you with the lasting record of your day; a person who will spend more than 12 hours with you on the big day, from the first moment to the last; and someone who will supply you with hundreds of images, that have been carefully and tastefully edited over the course of several days following the wedding – then it may well be the best money you’ll ever spend on your wedding.

I’ll end this piece with a few quick tips to help you in hiring the right wedding photographer

– Find a photographer whose style (and personality) you like, then worry about the price. Don’t simply try to find the cheapest of the cheap. Chances are you’ll end up with images like the bloggers I’ve linked to earlier in this article.

– When planning the timings of your big day, allow some time for photographs. You may be a bit self-conscious and think you won’t want many pictures featuring you and your partner, but at least if you have some taken you can decide later whether to keep them or not. It’s better to have the option. Plus, your close relatives may want images of you. A good photographer will work to the timings and won’t eat into the schedule of your wedding or dominate proceedings.

– Be sure you’re clear on exactly what is included in the package you’ve booked. Will the disc of images be included? How many hours will the photographer be there for? Are prints charged separately?

– Show your images off in an album. What’s the point in hiring a photographer to capture the biggest day of your life if you’re only going to file away a few prints in a keepsake box or archive the images on your computer? This blog provides a great summary as to why your wedding images are worth treasuring properly in an album.

Picking the right photographer is important. Because no one wants to be left with images like this: