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17 clever ways to save money on a wedding

17 clever ways on how to save money on a wedding

Did you know that the cost of the average Australian wedding in 2015 is apparently $65,482?

That. Is. Serious. Cash. Holy. Crap. Wow.

According to the Bride To Be 2015 ‘Cost of Love’ survey, it’s almost double the average spend of three years ago, which was $36,000.

So what’s changed? The rise in destination weddings overseas is one thing that’s driven up the average. So too has more brides buying couture or made-to-measure bridal gowns.

The price increase might also reflect a change in the way we approach weddings. 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/start selling their body, because that’s not what this is about. You can plan and enjoy the most amazing wedding on a shoestring. 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 recent 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.

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.

Via Pinterest

2) Do your own flowers

Feel comfortable putting a bunch together? You can save cash by doing your own bouquets and floral styling. Or, better yet, pay a stylish mate to do it for you. Realistically, you don’t want to be worrying about your flowers on the day, but if you pick hardy, long-lasting flora like Australian natives, you could make the bouquets and table arrangements the day before and just store in buckets of water somewhere cool, like a bathroom or laundry.

3) Get married on Friday. Or Sunday.

Or Mon-Thurs if you think your friends and fam won’t be too annoyed. Basically, getting married any day other than Saturday can help score you a discount.

4) Choose a venue that allows you to bring in your own vendors

By having the flexibility to work with your own preferred wedding vendors, such as caterers, you can shop around and pick a team based on your own personal preferences and budget.

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.

Via Mitch Pohl Photography

6) Op shop and bargain hunt

Did you know that things like knives and forks often cost less to buy from an op-shop than to rent from a hire company? And you get to keep them and sell them afterwards. If you have the patience and time (or a very kind mum and mum-in-law, like one of us), hit up second hand stores. Also, check out garage sales and council clean-ups of nice suburbs to find old lounges, chairs, rugs, coffee tables and other items that you could use for styling.

7) Use your Christmas’, birthdays and tax returns wisely

Any time you’re likely to be gifted, use it as an opportunity to get something for the wedding. Shopping vouchers can be used for wedding shoes, tax returns can be spent buying 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. Sign up to receive deals from different liquor outlets and stock up on your wedding grog when it’s on special. Or, purchase a bulk order from a boutique winery/brewery to see if there’s a deal that can be done.

9) 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.

Via Pinterest

10) 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 BBQs, animals on a spit, picnic hampers and other fun ways to serve your grub.

Via @lombardihouse

11) Replace (or ditch) 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 replace the wedding cake with a fun and cheaper alternative like a:

  • stack of lamingtons
  • donut bar
  • cupcakes
  • milk and cookie station
  • churros and hot chocolate table

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.

12) Choose a venue that is already stunning and doesn’t need 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.

13) 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.

14) 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, without the price tag.
  • Shop the sales – sign up to all the e-newsletters from all the boutiques 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

15) Enlist your friends

Does one of your mates have beautiful handwriting? Get them to paint wedding signs or hand-write your invitation envelopes. Have a chum that works in hospitality? Get them to design you a signature cocktail. That’s what friends are for, right?

16) Design your own invites – or send e-invites

Have you heard of Canva? It’s this genius, free online design tool that enables even the most uncreative person to create surprisingly professional-looking design work. Save cash by putting together your own bespoke invitation, and shop around for the best printing price.

OR: forego paper invites. While they’re a beautiful keepsake for you, for everyone else they’re just a fridge ornament and then most likely a piece of recycling (was that too harsh?). Consider cutting costs by using a service like Paperless Post to send out stylish digital invitations.

17) Do your own hair and makeup

If you feel like you usually do a pretty good job of beautifying yourself, why not consider doing your own hair and makeup? Or perhaps getting a friend that has a knack for it to do it? Depending on how big your bridal party is, hair and make-up can be quite an expense, particularly if you pay for a pre-wedding trial (which, can we add, we definitely recommend if you go down this route – you don’t want any surprises on your wedding day).

 

Have you got any tips you’ve read or been passed on that you can share? Please give generously below. 

14th May, 2015.
  1. Brilliant set of tips wedshed! Love the honesty and practicality.

    • Cheers guys! x

      Amy Parfett
  2. We shared the cost of our marquee with the couple who were getting married the next day. We got married on a Saturday, they got married the following day so we were able to share the cost of the marquee which brought the cost down significantly.

    • Awesome idea – love this Amanda.

      Amy Parfett
  3. I love this its so helpful! We decided to cut costs and book a private property recently Riverbend Byron Hinterland Retreat, in Byron Hinterland that already looks amazing and has a barn so we dont need to pay for a marquee. fantastic cutting costs. The best part is they are open to us using our own suppliers as long as there is a planner to co-ordinate it so the wedding runs smoothly. We will be saving heaps.. love the idea of bargain shopping for couches etc and furniture xx Thank you!

    Anna Blue
    • So glad it hit the spot Anna, your venue looks awesome. Hope you have an amazing big day – let us know if there are any other blog topics you’d like us to tackle to help your planning.

      Amy Parfett
  4. Along with the Op Shops, Brides can check out Upcycled Bride for some fabulous preloved items and Dresses! Bargains to be had! Amazing tips Wed Shed! We’d love to share this on our blog and newsletter if this interests you?
    Jacqui x

    • Hey Jacqui, for sure – we’d love you uys to share. I’ll drop you a line now.

      Amy Parfett
  5. These are all fantastic (and totally achievable!) As I’ve already booked a lot for our wedding, I was so relieved to be able to tick off doing most of these things already.
    My maid of honour is a graphic designer and gifted our wedding invites, we’re getting married on a friend’s stunning property at no cost (who would be perfect for WedShed should they decide to go ahead and use it as a venue for others!) and our local butcher is doing a spit roast for us. Great minds! 😉

    Simone
    • Thanks so much Simone – awesome to hear you’re all over it! And do let us know if your friend decides to make weddings on the property a regular thing (we’re all ears). Wishing you guys the best wedding ahead.

      Amy Parfett
  6. Doughnut* !!

    Great list though, only in the infancy of planning so will make sure I will incorporate many of these ideas.

    Brigette
    • Awesome Brigette, and congrats on the engagement. Hit us up if there are topics in particular you think we could help you with – we love solving problems with blog posts 😉

      Amy Parfett
  7. Great list! We’re going to see our first venue later this month (a WedShed venue, of course!) and I’ll definitely keep this list in mind when doing up our budget.
    Any chance for a blogpost on not inviting kids to a wedding? Nice ways to ask, or alternatives to just saying ‘no, sorry’. We’re having our own two year old but are thinking that’s it.

    Jenny
    • Hey Jenny, awesome idea – thanks for the suggestion, we’re happy to help lend a hand via the blog. Hope the venue viewing goes really well!

      Amy Parfett
  8. Hi everyone I need help I’m looking for a private venue in Brisbane I really want to use my own catering and alcohol so any suggestion ?????

  9. Found my venue through WEDSHED and just locked it in. Needless to say, for the fluidity of being able to find it so quick and precisely, I will be following all extra tips, tricks and recommendations that come through you guys- very closely!

    Cleo H
    • So awesome to hear Cleo – thanks for letting us know. If you’re stuck on any part of your planning and need some advice, let us know as we’re always looking for new blog content ideas that help our couples. Congrats, btw.

      Amy Parfett
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