For guests, weddings are an opportunity to have a party with all your mates, leaving you with precious memories and a sore head the next day. For the couple there’s a lifetime of happiness to look forward to but no doubt the couple and their parents are left with a mountain of debt.
According to IBIS world research’s info-graphic the cost of a wedding in Australia is $36,200. It’s a massive expense for what is essentially an 8-hour day.
Ways to keep wedding costs down
Set a budget
Sit down with your partner or parents (if they are involved) and work out what you can afford. Without a budget, things can get out of hand very quickly.
A rule of thumb is allocate half your budget to the reception venue and the rest between music, photography, flowers, the dress, suit, cards and invitations.
Be ruthless with the guest list
Figure out who your closet friends and family are and set some rules early. Maybe you’ve had to see everyone on the list within the last 12 months or only long term partners are invited. Forget the ‘plus one’ invite. Remember everyone on the list is costing you money.
Time it right
Out of season and off peak times like Fridays or Sundays will make a huge difference in price for reception venues.
Don't mention the 'W' word
When getting quotes from potential suppliers do not mention the ‘W’ word. The minute you mention it’s for a wedding everything from the cake, to the DJ and car hire car know they can charge whatever they like aka ‘wedding surcharge’.
So as hard as it may be, try and keep it a secret from sneaky suppliers. Find out their normal rate is by asking for quotes for a birthday party or low key event. Just don’t mention the ‘W’ word until you have agreed on a price.
As pretty as they are, professional invitations do not come cheap. Set some time aside and design a cool E-card using canva or even record a video of the pair of you inviting your guests. Its way more personal, environmentally friendly and saves you on postage. Your guests aren’t going to appreciate those scalloped gold trimming edges that cost you an extra $5 each to print. Let’s face it, most invitations are stuck to the fridge for 2 months then binned.
Think about having a big engagement party for everyone and small wedding for close family and friends? A small wedding reception could be held in a nice restaurant or in backyard.
Cut the extras
Flowers on every table are going to be a lot more expensive than candles on each table. Put some time aside with friends (or Pinterest) to get ideas and get creative and make your own table features and decorations. Borrow nice cars from friends to save on fancy care hire, cut spirits from the bar and stick to beer and wine, or choose a venue that already has a nice ambiance and character and does not need to much extra dressing up.
Give new talent a go
Choose an up-and-coming talent who need work to put into their portfolio–the most expensive photographer/makeup artist/DJ isn't necessarily the best! Check with some local universities/collages for makeup, photography, music students.
Choose the right shoes and suits
Brides probably won’t wear the wedding dress again, so may as well buy shoes and jewellery that they will. Wedding outfits are a big investment, so are worth getting the most out of. Same goes for the groom’s suit and shoes. If you’re buying all these things brand new (there are heaps of places you can hire designer gowns and suits or buy pre-loved wedding dresses) think beyond the one day you’ll actually wear them and whether they can be worn again