Weddings on a Budget

I always ask my couples why they are getting married and it’s always the same answer…. Because we want to be husband and wife and we love each other. Spending $5,000 or spending $40,000 doesn’t make you any less husband and wife. You are getting married because you want to. Don’t get me wrong I believe every bride and groom should have a magical day but make sure the day is for you and about you, not how much you have spent or how much debt you are in. If you can afford to have your dream wedding and it costs you thousands of dollars then that is great but not everyone can do that or wants to do that. These are just a few ideas for those who would like to be married but don’t think they can afford it.

I am yet to walk away from a wedding where everyone was critical of the bride’s flowers, the cake or the table decorations. Prioritise what is important to you and not others. It is YOUR day, not THEIRS.

The average wedding in Australia costs between $30,000 and $40,000. A lot of people don’t have this type of money lying around and start their married life in debt. This is not a good way to start out. So if you want to get married but don’t have a big budget  here are a few simple ways you can save money.

1)      Invitations….. Making our own invitations can be hard and time consuming if you don’t know what you are doing. There are several university students out there studying graphic design who may be able to help you out then get them printed via Vistaprint or your local Officeworks. Save the date cards can be sent electronically via several websites and RSVP cards very rarely come back. Most people will respond verbally.

2)      Reception…… there are a few ways to cut costs when it comes to your biggest expense.

  • Look at your numbers carefully. Is everyone on your list a close family member or friend? You should be celebrating your day with those closest to you, especially if you are paying $100 a head for them to be there.
  • Have a large engagement party with everyone but only immediate family and friends at your wedding and reception.
  • Have a cocktail party instead of a sit down dinner.
  • Do you own catering. I have attended weddings at the bride and groom’s home where there was just hot finger food coming out prepared by the bride’s parents. Some bottle shops will supply alcohol and allow you to return what isn’t consumed (provided it is still consumable and saleable)
  • Ask guests to pay for their own meal instead of a gift. Keep in mind not every couple can afford a $100 a head meal though.
  • If your best friend has a partner who you have never met pay for your best friend’s meal but ask her to pay for that of the partner (this applies to family as well).
  • Be careful when thinking that hiring a hall and then hiring tables and chairs and a spit roast is easier and cheaper than a sit down dinner. Remember hiring plates and cutlery and wait staff can be expensive.

3)      Ceremony…While you want your ceremony to be beautiful think about what you really need to get married…… a Celebrant and that’s it.

  • Only hire chairs for those who are elderly. Everyone else can stand for 20-30minutes.
    Shop around for quotes when looking for red carpets and arbours.
  • Celebrant – When it comes to getting a Celebrant prices can range from anywhere between $350 – $700. Choose a Celebrant that you feel comfortable with but at the end of the day they all have to abide by the same rules and laws and lodge the same paperwork.
  • Have your Ceremony at the same place as your reception. Some places will allow you to have your Ceremony at the venue for no extra charge.

4)      Music…. When it comes to music for your ceremony most Celebrants will have a PA system you can use. For the reception consider hiring a good amp you can hook up to a laptop and get your MC to run it for the night.

5)      Wedding dress and suits…. Most wedding dresses are worn once therefore buying second hand isn’t a big gamble. Some second hand stores also specialise in wedding gowns and suits. This is a great option for those on a budget. Also look for suit hire places that do hire four suits get one free etc. When it comes to bridesmaids dresses again look for second hand gowns and consider having them taken up and taken in, if required. Jewellery can also be bought second hand or made; if you are feeling creative.

6)      Hair and make-up. Most people know how to do their own make-up but if you aren’t sure consider going to your local beauty school who can offer you hair and make-up at a reduced price when done by students.

7)      Flowers….A lot of brides are making their own bouquets now either using fake flowers or wholesale flowers from flower markets. They are something that will die at the end of the day and can sometimes be more of a nuisance than anything else.

8)      Cake….The best advice I can give on this one is to shop around and get several quotes but again this is something that gets a couple of photos and is going to be eaten. Use your cake as dessert instead of having a three course meal.

9)      Table decorations and gifts……Your local Spotlight, Bunnings or craft store will become your new best friend when it comes to decorations. A few sprinkles and flowers and you are done. People are at your wedding for you, not to admire your table while they are eating.

10)  Photographers and videographers…. Again your local university can be a source of talented young people eager to expand their portfolios. Also consider making your own wedding album instead of having one put together for you.

11)  Honeymoon…..Consider staying local if you can’t afford to go somewhere big and take the trip of a lifetime at a later date. All you really need is a couple of days for the “we are husband and wife” time that every newly married couple should have.

12)  Cars/Transport….Local car clubs often have members who would be willing to drive you to and from your Ceremony or ask a friend who has a nice car if you can pop a ribbon on it. Most people don’t see the car you arrive in.

13)  Elope…..For those who really want to be married and don’t want the fuss eloping is always an option and then have a vow renewal at a later date with family and friends.

I hope this helps!