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Wedding planning: Budgeting tips for your big day

06 February 2017

Bride holding a bouquet

Money & Life team

Money & Life contributors draw on their diverse range of experience to present you with insights and guidance that will help you manage your financial wellbeing, achieve your lifestyle goals and plan for your financial future.

With the average Australian wedding costing over $65,000, is it more financially savvy to say 'I do' or 'I don't' to a big budget wedding?

When it comes to planning a wedding, every couple has their dream day in mind, which often includes extravagant flowers, a swanky venue, custom-made wedding attire, unlimited alcohol, vintage wedding cars and the list goes on. While digging deep into your pockets to give your guests a party they’ll never forget is a tempting idea, many couples are choosing to curb their wedding budget in order to spare their financial future.

If owning a home, buying a new car, starting a business or having children are important milestones you’d like to tick off once you tie the knot, planning a cheaper, more affordable wedding can make financial sense and, you’ll be happy to know, is easier than you think.

The big picture (and budget) for your big day

To start, create an overview of the general costs you’ll have to cover in planning your wedding. This may include:

  • The ceremony, including the celebrant, the wedding certificate etc.
  • The venue.
  • Food and alcohol.
  • Wedding clothing and accessories – for the bride and groom and the bridal party (if you have one).
  • The wedding cake.
  • Entertainment, such as a band or DJ.
  • Wedding invites, flowers and decorations.
  • Hair and make-up.
  • A photographer and/or videographer.
  • Transport, such as limos, or accommodation, like a hotel for the wedding night.

A list, like the one above, may help you and your partner better understand what your wedding could cost and how to approach budgeting for it.

Get creative to stay within your budget

Spending within your means is the first rule of planning a wedding, but can be hard to do, especially when there are so many beautiful luxuries available for modern weddings. Luckily, there are ways to create DIY indulgences and save some much-needed dollars without blowing the budget. For example:

  • If your flower budget is stretching a little thin, you can choose not to have wedding flowers on the bridal table and instead use your bridal bouquets as centrepieces. And when it comes to wedding decor why not buy second-hand?
  • Hiring a professional wedding stylist can cost a small fortune, so why not do yourself a favour and consider undertaking the decorating yourself? With plenty of websites such as eBay, Gumtree, and Etsy pedalling affordable and near new wedding decor, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for at a fraction of the cost of getting a professional to do it.
  • Shop around! Invest some time in making enquiries and getting quotes from different vendors. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save across costly things like catering, cakes and flowers with some intensive research.
  • Don’t want to compromise on your dream venue? Speak to them about off-peak weddings. Many venues offer discounted rates for weddings held during the week, on say a Friday, or in quieter months or seasons, like autumn, over spring or summer.
  • Look at easy ways to cut costs. For example, do you really need a live band or will a DJ with a carefully curated playlist suffice? Do you really need to arrive in a limo or could you ask a friend with a vintage car to drive you there?

Saving for the future

The important thing to remember is that your wedding day is just one day out of the rest of your life as a married couple. Of course, it should be memorable, of course, it should be unique, but you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to achieve that. At the end of the day, your guests will appreciate the venue, the food and the love between you and your partner most. They won’t really notice the custom-made napkin holders, the diamante-encrusted chandelier, the personalised stationery, or the engraved bonbonniere.

Planning the wedding of your dreams within a realistic budget is the first step towards achieving a dream life that includes financial security.

Working with a financial planner can help you to achieve your life and financial goals. Discover more here about how financial planning can help you budget for your big day.