10 Tips For Planning a Wedding on a Budget.
You meet the person of your dreams, and after what feels like 34,000 years, they pop the question. You're officially engaged and it’s time to plan the wedding of your dreams.
A million thoughts and ideas run through your head. There will be 15 Bridesmaids, a designer dress, the most elegant setting and flowers upon flowers covering the venue. Then you look at your bank account and reality smacks you in the face like a wet fish.
How will you get the wedding of the decade with $1.54 in the bank?
The amount a wedding costs in Australia these days varies depending on who you speak to. But one thing’s for sure – they're bloody expensive.
But they don’t have to be. Check out these tips that'll have you walking down the aisle like a princess without spending a house deposit.
1: HAVE A BUDGET.
To keep your costs down, set a budget and stick to it. How much you can / are willing to fork out for your big day will depend on your own personal circumstances, but decide on a figure with your partner and stick to it.
2: DO YOUR RESEARCH.
It’s going to be tempting to jump in and plan the big day about 2 minutes after you get engaged. You’re going to want to get this party started as soon as you can. But don’t. Take your time to do your research on everything to make sure you are getting the best possible price.
You are only going to do this once, so you want to make sure you do it just right with no regrets. Rushing in and buying / booking the first thing you see leaves you open to disappointment down the track.
Looking back, doing the macarena wasn't the best choice for our first dance....
3: KEEP IT SMALL.
Limiting the amount of people on your guest list is going to help keep your budget down. Don’t succumb to pressure from your mum to invite your 3rd cousin John who you met once when you were nine just because he’s family.
You will likely find this one hard, especially when it comes to friends. I’d suggest making a shortlist then knocking people off until you are below your maximum number.
4: PICK YOUR TIMING.
Having your wedding “out of season” and mid-week will save you some serious coin. Just like holidays see prices increase, popular times of the year for weddings will see costs rise also. High demand for services means vendors and venues can charge more, and some will.
This can be a hard task in Australia as our weather is generally pretty good all year round but if you steer clear of Spring, the most popular, and Autumn, you will have a better chance at cheaper rates.
Where you choose to get hitched will play a big part in how much money you will spend. Try and first work out what type of wedding you want. Beach, garden, modern, rustic.
Then think about the small things. Will you need a permit? Can you have the ceremony and reception at the same place to cut travel costs? Do you have any friends or family with gorgeous acreage or a beautifully landscaped backyard that would allow you to have your wedding there?
Want to get married on the beach? You'll need a permit.
6: DITCH YOUR BRIDAL PARTY.
When you add up everything you need for the bridal party you will soon realise they cost a small fortune. Clothes, flowers, hair and makeup all add up quickly so this is a great way to cut costs. It also allows you to be the centre of attention.
If you must have your nearest and dearest by your side (literally) then keep the numbers low and discuss sharing the costs with them. Just remember to keep it polite. If you expect your bridesmaid to pay for her dress, it’s only fair she gets a say in what she wears and how much she spends.
7: DIY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
The reason weddings can cost so much is because there are so many things that add up to lots of money. Making some of the things you need yourself will mean not having to hire someone to do it for you, cutting down on labour costs. Pinterest is filled with great DIY ideas for everything from bouquets to invitations to decorations.
Bouquets / Flower Decorations – If you are the creative type, or really good at stalking florist websites, you can easily make your own bouquets. See if there are any flower markets in your area so you aren’t paying full price. Enlist the help of your mum or friends to make them for you the day before the wedding. You may not be able to get the exact type of flowers you want due to availability, but there will be enough selection for you to create your own floral masterpieces.
Invitations – Have you heard of Canva? It’s an awesome site that has thousands of free templates for all sorts of documents, including invitations. Make your invitations on there then get them printed through somewhere like Vista Print. Bam! Gorgeous invitations for about $15. If you’re having a sit down reception, you can also make your name cards this way.
Table Centrepieces, Cake Knives, etc. – Don’t pay an extra $30 for a cake knife because it’s a “special” wedding one. Have a good stalk on Pinterest, decide on the look you want to achieve, then head to the $2 shop or Kmart to hunt down the things you need. Another time to ask friends or family for some help putting everything together.
Music – Hiring a live band or experienced DJ can cost you big time. Instead, make a play list of all of your favourite music, get a good speaker and ask one of your friends to play DJ for the night. You can add a section to your RSVP’s where guests can write down one song that would get them up on the dance floor. The play list will almost write itself then.
Bonbonnieres – You’re only limited by your imagination (and obviously your budget) with this one. There are so many great ideas that you can DIY for guest gifts. Lollies in jars, plants, cupcakes, stubby coolers, magnets. Basically, anything you can buy in bulk that you can add a personal touch to. You could even go full tight ass and skip them altogether.
8: ASK GUESTS TO PAY.
OK, I’m not talking about calling your buddies in the lead up to the wedding and asking them to fork out for the flowers or pay your celebrant. I’m talking about guests paying for their own meal in lieu of a gift.
Something along the lines of “Bob and I feel that having everyone we care about at our special day is far more important than receiving gifts. And due to the fact that we are poverty stricken and on the verge of homelessness we probably won’t have anywhere to put the gifts anyway. It’s for this reason we are asking our guests to pay for their own meals instead of bringing a present.”
If you are going to go down this road, make sure there are cheaper meal options at your reception venue so everyone can still afford to come and enjoy the day with you.
9: LOOK FOR THE BEST DEALS.
You’ve got the photographer, hair and makeup, the celebrant. These are all services you’ll need on the day and they can get pricey.
Subscribe to all of your local vendors email lists so you can be in the know when they have specials coming up and jump in and book them then. Also try and book those who offer more than one service you need. Try and book a business that offers both hair and makeup, or a photographer that offers videography as well. You will have more chance of getting a package deal that way.
Also think of any friends or family who might have the skills you need and would offer their services for a discounted rate or as their gift to you. Just make sure you are happy with their skill level as there will be no opportunity for re runs later if you hate your makeup or your photos are crap.
Happy with photos from friends? Then ditch the photographer!
Grab your partner, pack your bags and get the hell out of town for the weekend and get married by yourselves. Needless to say this would save you the most money!
This idea will likely get you in hot water with those closest to you but you can combat that with a kick ass, informal party when you get back so everyone gets to celebrate.
There’s no doubt your wedding day will be one of the best days of your life. But that doesn’t mean you should put yourself into debt for it. You can have a champagne day on a beer budget if you’re smart enough about it.