Congratulations. You’re planning a wedding – that is awesome.
What’s not though, is the kicker in the piggy bank that you’re probably about to encounter. Recent surveys place the average cost of a wedding somewhere between $35-65k. Of course, there are plenty of outliers above and below this mark, so don’t worry if yours is way below or above this.
Did your mum and dad say their wedding cost 5K? What’s changed? Besides the cost of living in Australia. The rise in destination weddings both here and overseas is one thing that’s driven up the average. More and more of us choose to make it a long-weekend event, gathering friends and family for three-day celebrations. Same goes for hens and bucks ‘nights’, which often are several days long.
Now, the last thing we want anyone to do is suddenly panic and take out a loan/re-mortgage the apartment/sell an organ, because that’s not what this is about. You can plan and enjoy the most amazing wedding on almost any budget. Weddings aren’t about flashing big bucks, they’re about joining families and celebrating with your loved ones. Remind yourself of this as often as you need to.
But these figures do highlight the fact that, in all honesty, your wedding will most probably make a dent on the savings. You know your budget and what you can afford better than anyone so spend your money the way you want to and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty. Don’t want a cake but want to fork out on a giant slippery slide? You have our support. Prefer to make a playlist than hire a live band? Whatever you wish. You do you.
Also, just keep in mind that the wedding tax is a myth. Suppliers are not rolling around in the latest Telsa or wouldn’t we all become a wedding supplier if it was that easy and lucrative? You’re asking for a personalised service which means you get that care, expertise and finesse you’re after on your day.
Know your budget and stick to it. You got this!
We thought it might be helpful if we shared some of our top ways to save money when planning a wedding.
1) Have a small bridal party
Always dreamed of having your six besties stand by you at the altar? That’s potentially 6 x $$ for hair and makeup, flowers, boutonnieres, tans, nails, clothes, gifts and accessories. Of course, these aren’t all necessities but typically, the bigger the bridal party, the bigger the cost.
2) Hold your ceremony and reception at the same place
Most of our amazing WedShed venues fall into this category – the all-encompassing, one-stop place to say ‘I do’, then party the day and night away. By having your ceremony and reception at the same place, you save money on hiring two spaces and also the travel costs incurred from getting everyone from A to B.
3) Get married mid-week
Basically, getting married any day other than Saturday can help score you a discount.
4) Choose a venue that is already stunning and doesn’t need too much decorating
Ahem, such as all of our WedShed venues. Just add a few flowers, some pretty lights and you’ve got an unforgettable space on your hands.
5) Enlist local wedding vendors
Travel costs money. Try and save here by hiring wedding vendors that are local to your wedding venue. You’ll also be supporting the surrounding community, which is a feel-good thing.
6) Op shop and FB marketplace (and sell after)
Dream of drinking out of vintage crystal glassware? Op-shop. Have your heart set on a particular bridesmaids dress that’s not in stock? Facebook Marketplace. We know it can be tedious searching both online and in op-shops but your hard work will pay off – literally. Our co-founder Mel purchased her bridesmaids dress full price but knowing they were popular dresses then sold them shortly after to another bride.
7) Use your Christmas’ and birthdays wisely
Any time you’re likely to be gifted, use it as an opportunity to get something for the wedding (cheeky we know). Shopping vouchers can be used for wedding shoes and tax returns can be spent buying extra styling items that you can then display in your home post-wedding. Double-win.
8) Buy alcohol when there’s a deal
Alcohol lasts a long time, so sign up to receive deals from different liquor outlets like Vinomofo and Boozebud to stock up on your wedding grog when it’s on special. Or, purchase a bulk order from a local boutique winery/brewery to see if there’s a deal that can be done – we know this can be done as our bestie just did it. Also, Dan Murphy’s has a great returns policy if you’re worried about buying too much.
9) Share food
Big, banquet-style platters of food to share are going to make a caterer’s job easier than the chicken–fish-chicken-fish plate drops of more traditional venues (plus, we think platters are more communal and fun). Also, cocktail-style weddings with canapés and charcuterie are a money-saving way to feed plenty. Consider gourmet Pizza, BBQs, animals on a spit, picnic hampers and other fun ways to serve your grub.
10) Re-invent the cake
So long as guests have something to satisfy their sweet tooth, we sincerely doubt anyone will miss the wedding cake if you decide to cut costs here.
You could chat with your fave cake/dessert supplier about fun and cheaper alternatives like a:
- stack of lamingtons
- doughnut bar
- milk and cookie station
Or, do what one of us did and contact the local Country Women’s Association, as many branches in country towns will be happy to offer their baking services. This way, the money you spend goes to bettering the lives of women and kids in rural settings.
11) Talk to your vendors and provide them with a budget
This may sound obvious but vendors are the pro’s and will know how you can save $$ on your big day and where you might not want to skimp. Your florist might suggest you opt for more green foilage rather than the out of season flowers you’ve shared on your Pinterest board to match your budget. By providing them with a budget rather than asking for a quote you’ll be totally on the same page and be able to work together.
12) Accept offers of help
Time is money. By accepting help when it’s offered to you, you’re less likely to take time off work to get things organised.
13) Be smart about your wedding dress
We have a few tips here:
- Check out non-bridal boutiques to find gorgeous dresses that you could wear as a wedding dress
- Shop the sales – sign up to all the e-newsletters from all the boutiques and designers you love, so you’re the first to know when there’s a discount up for grabs
- Hire a dress – hey, you’re likely to only wear it once, so renting-a-dress isn’t that crazy if you can find one you love
- Buy a second-hand dress – there are plenty of different online outlets that allow brides to buy and re-sell used wedding dresses
14) Enlist your friends
Does one of your mates have beautiful handwriting? Get them to paint wedding signs or hand-write your invitation envelopes (or you could do a calligraphy course with someone like The Blackline Bottega and DIY afterwards). Have a chum that works in hospitality? Get them to design you a signature cocktail. That’s what friends are for, right?
15) Chat to the locals
Looking for a generator, 100 chairs or a trailer to hire? Ask the locals. Our friend was looking for chairs for her big day and had exhausted her hire budget on the all-important floors and tables so she called the local pub who knew someone who knew someone who had a stack of old school chairs. She ended up spending a cheeky greenback for chairs which would have ordinarily cost $7-15 a pop. Disclaimer – there was some heavy lifting a logistics involved which is where you save that money paying someone to make things magically happen on your big day.
16) Share your wedding vendors
Once you have your venue locked in, find out if they have a booking the night before yours or after and if they’d be happy to share your details with the other couple – you could potentially share floral installations or extra hire items? Or if it’s a destination wedding and you’ve got your heart set on a photographer from your hometown they might discount their price if the other couple books them in too.
17) Hit the sales
Besides booking your suppliers, you’ll also be hitting the shops – so make note of the big sales like Black Friday, Cyber Money and Vogue Online Shopping night where you could pick up dresses, suits, gifts etc.
Have you got any tips you’ve read or been passed on that you can share? Please give generously below.