If a wedding is on the horizon, some time spent budgeting and planning before you walk down the aisle could go a long way, both financially and emotionally.
We look at some trends and useful tips to help you avoid a wedding budget blowout, with 35% of married couples saying they spent more money than what they intended to1.
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Here are some figures that may help you to paint a clearer picture of what to expect when planning a wedding2:
- The average cost of a wedding in Australia is around $36,200, with more than half of that money going toward food, drinks and the venue
- Other contributors to that figure include wedding attire and accessories ($4,271), photography ($3,983), flowers and decorations ($2,896), entertainment ($2,896), additional things, such as cars, hair, makeup, accommodation and stationary ($2,534), and the ceremony itself ($941)
- More than 80% of married couples said they used their savings to fund their wedding, with 60% taking out a loan, 56% receiving some assistance from family and 18% using a credit card
- The top three sacrifices people made to cover the costs were having a less expensive wedding, delaying other plans, such as buying a home or having a baby, and putting their social life on hold.
10 tips to ease the pressure of wedding spend
Your wedding will likely be one of the biggest and best events you’ve ever thrown, but to avoid having to spend the rest of your life paying it off, here are some tips that may keep costs down.
- Set your budget in stone. Putting a limit on your spending will help you remain realistic. If you’re lucky enough to be getting some help, make sure you find out exactly how much and include that in your budget.
- Practice smart shopping. Shop around, compare quotes and don’t be afraid to haggle – after all you’re paying for several products and services on a day like this, so getting as much bang for your buck is important.
- Read the fine print. You’ve heard the horror stories before - couples unknowingly losing much needed funds on hidden fees and tricky clauses. Avoid falling into the same trap and read your contracts carefully. Remember that most places will still pass on credit card surcharges or include gratuity fees, so be sure to keep these on your radar.
- Weigh up wants versus needs. Everyone wants their wedding to be perfect, but being on a budget might also mean that you can’t have it all. Work out what’s most important to you. Driving off into the sunset in a vintage Rolls-Royce might mean that you forego a string quartet at the ceremony.
- Think outside the square. Choosing a date that’s out of season like autumn, winter or even a Friday or Sunday can often work out to be cheaper. You may also consider alternatives, like a charming backyard wedding or a cocktail party instead of a formal sit-down dinner.
- Bring your own. Cutting corners can help you to minimise spend while still achieving the dream wedding. Consider stocking the bar yourself to avoid paying premium prices for alcohol, or serving your wedding cake as dessert.
- Keep costs low by keeping guest numbers low. Think carefully about who you want to be there. While the saying might go “the more the merrier”, it can also mean more heads to pay for. This also includes your bridal party, because the cost of providing suits, dresses, accessories and transport can quickly escalate.
- Call on talented friends and family. Consider asking talented friends or family to contribute their skills to the wedding as their gift. Perhaps you have a budding photographer in your network, a hair and makeup artist, a hilarious friend who could be the MC or an avid baker.
- Don’t be afraid to DIY. There’s almost always one aspect of your wedding that you can do yourself and the best thing about it is that it’ll save you money. It could include small touches like making place cards, bonbonnieres, your own music list or going even bigger by doing all the floristry and styling for your event.
- Rent versus buy. If you’re only going to wear it once, why not consider hiring some of the wedding attire. It’s often a fraction of the cost of buying and you won’t need to worry about dry cleaning afterwards.
Popular apps that can help
There are a number of apps and online platforms that can help you search, plan and organise your wedding. Some include:
- OurDreamWedding, which provides a wedding budget tracker
- WedShed, which can help with the venue search and other suppliers
- AllSeated, which can assist with your floor plan arrangements
- WeddingHappy, which counts down the days and keeps you on track with related tasks
- Pink Frosting, which has loads of bonbonnieres online for order.
Other things to keep in mind
- Planning in advance and being organised will go a long way in helping you make your dream wedding come true. Check out our Q& page on saving for something big.
- Remember that staying on top of your finances is important practice outside of your wedding planning as well. Once the big day is over you’ll likely have some new goals to work towards. Find out more about simplifying your finances for the longer term.
- Finally, your wedding is supposed to be one of the most memorable and significant events of your life and it can often come and go very quickly. So, enjoy the lead up to your special day and savour the moment once it arrives.
Remember, no matter how you pay for purchases, at some point the money comes out of your hip pocket.