If your child’s future in-laws are coughing up some or all the dough for the big day—let’s be honest, you might be over the moon that you don’t have to fork out for it.
After all, sources say the average Australian wedding today costs anywhere from $36,200 to a whopping $65,4821, with much of that often going toward just the venue, food and drinks.2
If you were however set on contributing money that you just don’t have, the good news is there are non-financial ways you can help and some less expensive things you might also be able to do.
Ways you could lend a hand
Less expensive financial assistance
- Offer to host a pre-party. This could be in the form of an engagement party with close family members of the bride and groom, or a more intimate kitchen tea with a few of the girls. Remember, something quaint at your residence with home-cooked appetisers and a few little wedding-themed decorations is a beautiful and affordable way to pitch in and celebrate.
- Supply the drinks at the wedding. Filling the reception fridge with wine and beer or buying a bottle of scotch for each table, if the venue allows it, might mean the future bride and groom can avoid paying premium prices when it comes to alcohol for their guests.
- Put forward your contacts or creative skills. If you know a budding photographer, florist or hair and makeup artist that your child is happy with, you could try to arrange their services at a discounted rate. Similarly, if you’ve got a bit of an artistic flair, perhaps you could offer to help with some of the small touches like the invitations, place cards or bonbonnieres.
- Assist with the wedding attire. You may be able to put some money toward what your child plans to wear, whether it be a beautiful gown or strapping suit. And, if they’re after something extravagant that they’re only wearing once, you may be able to hire it for a fraction of the cost.
- Put something toward the honeymoon. It could be the flights, maybe a helicopter trip over a white sandy beach with picnic basket and champagne, or a full board meal plan, which means breakfast, lunch and dinner is taken care of.
- Support good money habits. With 35% of couples spending more on their wedding than intended5, helping your child remain realistic about what they can afford and what their future in-laws are chipping in could mean there’s money left over for things like a honeymoon, property plans and growing a family. Check out our tips for managing a wedding budget.
- Encourage negotiation skills. Shopping around, comparing quotes and knowing how to haggle can go a long way, particularly if you’re happy to help your child when it comes to shortlisting a range of suppliers. The future bride and groom might be able to secure a cheaper deal on a getaway car, or a venue package with extras, such as a DJ and MC.
- Talk about needs versus wants. Everyone wants the perfect wedding, but depending on the budget, that could mean forgoing a couple of less important things. Suggest to the couple writing down what’s important to them and weighing things up. Marrying on a Friday or Sunday, which is often cheaper, may be preferable to sacrificing that vintage Rolls-Royce.
- Emphasise the devil’s in the detail. You’ve heard the horror stories - couples unknowingly losing funds on hidden fees and tricky clauses. That’s why it’s worth explaining the importance of reading contracts carefully and offering to help if you know what you’re doing. Also highlight that most places will still pass on credit card surcharges or include gratuity fees.
- Share useful apps and websites. Easy Weddings provides a wedding budget tool. WedShed can help with the venue search and other suppliers. Tablerrr can assist with floor plan arrangements. WeddingHappy counts down the days and keeps couples on track with related tasks. And, Pink Frosting has loads of bonbonnieres online for order.
No strings attached
Remember, regardless of the help you provide, it’s nice to give assistance without there being strings attached—the number of your own friends you want to come, a prime example.
And, if there are going to be some conditions, it’s worth considering what they are and addressing these with the couple upfront so there are no surprises or confrontations down the track.
In the meantime, a wedding is supposed to be one of the most memorable and significant days of your child’s life, so enjoy the preparations and make sure to savour the moment once it arrives.
Whether it’s the war on waste, human rights abuses, animal rights or climate change that is your issue of choice (or perhaps you’re concerned about all of them), more of us are taking an interest in making decisions with our money that reflect our values.