It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, maybe even expecting. He’s finally popped the question. You tell all your family and friends, post it on social media. But then the reality settles in- you have a wedding to plan. If you’re a budget conscious bride like I am, then just thinking about the cost of your wedding could be enough to give you cold feet. But weddings don’t have to be expensive. Now I’m no expert, but hopefully these tips that I’m about to offer you, will help you save on your big day.
The average Australian wedding costs around $40 000, which for somebody like me seems too much to spend on one day. In fact, I am doing my wedding for just a quarter of that and not skimping on anything. Yes, I still have the dress of my dreams, a photographer and videographer, lovely flowers and cake and a venue by the water. You just have to be clever and shop around.
The first thing my fiancé and I did as an engaged couple was sit down and decide on a budget. We looked at how much each of us is earning and how much we could put away each week without breaking the bank. This is how we came up with our budget of $12 000, plus we’d still have money left over for our dream honeymoon to New Zealand.
With our budget in focus, we began to look at venues that would suit our budget. I really didn’t see much point in even considering venues that we knew would be way out of our price range. That way we couldn’t fall in love with a place where we would have to live off 2-minute noodles for 18 months in order to afford it. We’ve chosen a beautiful place by the water in Newcastle where, for just over $100 per head, it includes canapes and 3 courses; beer, wine and soft drink; table centrepiece and chair ribbons plus more. And because we knew we would only be having a small wedding, we looked for places that specifically had a low minimum number.
Through my research, I found that most places can be quite a bit cheaper if you have your wedding during Winter or through the week, so also consider this as an option if you are looking to save money. Most venues will also give you a discount if you wanted cake as dessert.
Once we worked out the total budget for our wedding, we were then able to put on a budget on all the different elements. So for my dress, the limit was $2000. I think it’s important to know your limit when it comes to dresses and only try dresses on within that budget. The last thing you need is to fall in love with a dress that you can’t afford. Thankfully I found the dress of my dreams for only $700!
In terms of photography, it can be one of the most expensive things on the day. In fact, most photography companies charge in excess of $2500 just to capture your big day. For some people, they wouldn’t mind paying this much for photography but for couples like my fiancé and I, we just can’t justify spending that much. So we shopped around and asked friends and family for recommendations. We have found a photographer who takes amazing pictures and doesn’t actually earn anything from doing so. As a couple, we make a donation to the charity of her choice and she then photographs our day. For us, this was an easy decision because helping charity is the ultimate gift.
The same went for videography, we could not justify spending $3000 on someone to video our big day. Again, we have shopped around and found a lovely couple to video our big day for a fraction of the cost of what most people pay. We get 2 videographers for 14 hours who follow us from preparation until our first dance. We also get a 2 hour feature length film of our wedding day completely edited. This is only costing us $1800, nearly half of the average video company charges, Again, every couple is different and may wish to spend more money on videography than other things.
One can also save money by DIYing. We are making all our stationary (invitations, place settings and cards), saving hundreds by doing so. We are also using the help of family and friends to help us save money. My dad is making the wishing well, saving us a couple of hundred dollars. Our MC is a family member and our wedding performer is a friend. Our cake is being made through a friend and is costing less than $200 and because I know a florist, I am getting the bouquets made way cheaper. I also know the Hair and Make-up artist so am getting a great deal on these also. Use your friends and family’s talents to your advantage, then you are saving money and can spend more money elsewhere. Trust me, friends and family will actually feel privileged that they can help you out on your wedding day when there are so many other vendors out there you can use.
Now, I don’t need to go through all the elements of planning with you, but what I will say is that every decision you make needs to be one that both of you are happy with. Remember to shop around and do your research- attend wedding expo’s, join social media groups, negotiate prices etc. Above all do what you want. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone by feeling obligated to invite all of your cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins, your mum’s best friends friend etc. We are only having parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and our closest friends because we want a wedding of about 50 people. We haven’t let anybody influence that decision. Your day is about you as a couple, and you need to be happy with what you have planned together.
So when you’re planning your wedding with a budget in mind, remember to research, shop around, negotiate, do some things yourself and utilise the talents of family and friends.
Featured Image: KLK Photography