Planning Your Dream Wedding on a Budget
The average Australian wedding costs around $30,000.
When it comes to weddings with large guest lists the reception is generally the singular most expensive aspect, and you could expect to pay $100 or more per person. For 120 people, you’ve already spent $12,000- and more if you’re marrying on a Saturday or during peak wedding
season. If you really want to cut the price of the wedding reception there are various ways you can do this. Rather than a three-course meal think about a buffet style feast for your guests; they’ll still fill up on all the lovely food, will be able to socialise more with each other while sharing, yet is a far more inexpensive way of dining.
Also consider the location. Rather than paying a fortune on a reception centre, hotel or restaurant you could have the reception at a park,
your home, or the beach. Hiring a caterer or organising the food yourself will cut the prices dramatically, and outdoor weddings are always a hit. If you’re marrying in cooler weather you could always hire a marquee in case of rain. Also try to keep the wedding guest list to a minimum.
Although you may think your wedding gown is one thing you might not be willing to cut costs for, you can still find your perfect dress without sending yourself broke. Online auction websites like Ebay are a great tool for finding pre-loved dresses- which are likely to still be as
good as new since they’ve only been worn once! Second-hand and Salvation Army stores also have great finds from $200-$500, and another idea is to go to the factory outlet of your favourite designer if possible rather than the main boutique.
And then there’s the option that’s becoming more and more popular-making the dress yourself. If you, your mother, your friend or anyone close to you is handy with a sewing machine you could create your dream dress for half the cost, basing the design on one you’ve had your eye on. If you don’t know anyone who can sew, consider purchasing the material and hiring a dressmaker.
The modern bridal party is based very much on personal choice. Long, flowy dresses, knee-length party dresses, or elegant
cocktail dresses are just a few styles bridal parties tend to opt for. With no restriction on what dresses your own bridal party wears it means the shopping world is your oyster! With large bridal parties especially, the price of the dresses- especially if you’re paying for them yourself- can quickly become a high one.
Consider inexpensive shops like Target, Big W, or the women’s’ clothing chains you often walk past at your local shopping centre. You might be surprised with the styles you’ll find and will pay a fraction of the price than if you purchased bridesmaid dresses at a bridal boutique.And again, if you or someone you know is handy with sewing machines, why not buy some fabric from a store like Spotlight and make them yourself? You can create exactly what you want, without a huge price tag.
Fancy wedding invitations can easily cost into the thousands. We all want to make an impression with wedding invitations, as it
is the first aspect of your wedding that will be visible to your guests. But is it really worth breaking the budget for something you can often replicate for far less? An easy way to cut on wedding costs is to browse invitation stores or online for a design you like, purchase the materials, and do it yourself. One great idea is to digitally create your wedding invitations- you could even include photos of you and your fiancé in the design! DIY invitations can look just as good, and add a real personal touch to your wedding. Your guests will appreciate the time and care you spent putting them together.
Depending on your wedding theme, decorations can easily be a huge factor in your overall wedding budget. But keep in mind that there is always a way to create a very similar effect for a theme or style you have seen or been quoted for a fraction of the price. For floral arrangements, call around to get the best quote. The floral industry is particularly competitive, and those involved are often open to (reasonable) compromise. Alternatively, you can create similar arrangements yourself by sourcing artificial flowers from variety stories. Additionally, consider enhancing or completely replacing your floral arrangemetns with cheaper options like candles, fairy lights, balloons and paper lanterns. Remember that the intention of all decorations is not only to look beautiful, but more fundamentally, transport your guests. These items all fulfil this brief, and are all far cheaper options.
Similarly, creating simple themes with minimal requirements is a great way to keep non-essential costs low. For example, use simple chair covers and linens tied with cheaply- purchased ribbon rather than elaborate covers. Actively seek out items and combinations of items that you can replace on the cheap. Whatever your dream theme is, have a look at variety and craft stores to purchase the materials to put together yourself- rather than hiring someone and paying a fortune.
Wedding cakes can tend to be expensive, yet really don’t have to be. Although all brides-to-be would love a stylish cake to
impress their guests, it doesn’t mean you can’t create that effect yourself- so why not bake your own cake? Look up ideas online and you’ll probably even find a step-by-step guide of how to go about making the cake online. If you’re not much of a cook, look to family and friends. If you’re not comfortable asking for their help outright, offer to either pay them, or consider asking them if they’d be willing to exchange the favour as their wedding gift to you.
DIY bonbonniere is also becoming more and more popular, and for good reason: they’re not only cheap, but personal and therefore add an instant element of sentimentality. So why not join in on the fun and adopt a new temporary hobby? For example, you could create an elegant bookmark, hand-painted wine glasses, whip up your own chocolate goodies, or maybe design something sewn, knitted or crocheted. Play to your strengths to both have fun creating them product and ensure a memorable, useful item. Not only will your guests be grateful for the trouble you went to, but your own design is sure to be something they’ve never received before, ensuring its uniqueness.
Good wedding photographers can easily set you back thousands, and unfortunately, there’s no guarantee you’ll like the photos in any case. If you happen to know someone who enjoys (and is a particularly competent) photographer, you could potentially offer them a small fee to take yourwedding photos. With a meal thrown in also the person would likely be more than happy to help, and you could save a bundle. And if you do have your heart set on hiring a professional photographer, consider hiring them for a few pivotal hours rather than the whole day. You’ll save a lot of money while still getting all the important pics of getting ready, the ceremony, family shots and the bridal party.
Before booking in a wedding car from a hire company, ask around. Perhaps someone you know has a perfect car they’d be willing to lend out. If they’re a friend, you could again offer to swap the car- borrowing for their wedding gift. If they’re not someone you’re close with, offer them a small fee or wedding invitations in exchange. Note: Try to see if you’ve got a particularly generous family member or friend who’d be willing to be your chauffeur for the day.
The music you have at your wedding is important for creating an atmosphere and keeping your guests entertained- but again, it doesn’t mean you have to break the budget to achieve that. Rather than sourcing a professional wedding band, you could local pubs, hotels or bars for an up-and-coming band that would jump at the opportunity to be a part of your special day. Also note that even though they may ot be playing the style that you’d like for your wedding, many would be willing to adjust to your preferred style. Ask around to know if any of your friends know of an inexpensive DJ. Or simply forgo a music person completely, and compile a song list that includes both meaningful and fun, dance-worthy songs. As long as you have everyone up enjoying the music as much as you do (hopefully tearing it up on the dance floor), you’ll have achieved the goal of creating a night your guests will never forget.
Employing some or all of these ideas is an absolutely sure way to cut your wedding costs. Starting your life with your partner doesn’t
mean you have to start a huge credit card debt with it- so cutting your wedding costs, no matter what your financial situation- is a brilliant idea!