So you have worked out a wedding budget, then received quotes back realising you can’t just pluck numbers from the sky like my hubby thought!
You’ve gone and had your first wedding budget freakout.. maybe had a fight about it with your lover and now find yourself Googling ways to save money to get you those things you have always dreamed of. I hear ya! I’ve been there.
Here are a million ideas on ways you can save on that wedding budget – good luck!
While you’re here don’t forget to sign up to my wedding budget spreadsheet to help you stay in control of your time and finances!
My biggest tip to couples…
Separately write down your top 3 priorities you both value the most. Write down 3 things you couldn’t care a less about.
Take budget off those bottom three, remove them completely if possible and put budget towards your top non-negotiable items. Don’t neglect things that matter.
(And I might be biased but photos are one of the only things you are left with after the day, and hold all the memories for years to come. )
Along the way, you will have things pop up that you think you need for a wedding, well you don’t. Ignore anything ‘weddingy’, you do you!!
The only thing you need is a licenced person to marry you, 2 witnesses and the two of you. Remember that.
Have your Ceremony & Reception in the same place
My favourite! Not only will you save on paying for (and staffing, cleaning and coordinating) two separate venues, but you can cancel the transport all together with Ubers to the venue and reuse the flowers and decor from the ceremony for the reception. It also lets you spend more time with your loved ones and allow heaps of time for photos. Win-win all round.
Don’t Hire fancy cars
That no one will even see. Splurge on a fancy Uber! Or, I’m sure you know someone with a cool old car
Hire a great photographer
So you don’t find yourself spending more on trying to get someone to fix your dodgy images or reshoot it! It sounds crazy but i get at least 1 email per month from distraught brides with these requests, wishing they had compromised on other services rather than their memories which they can’t get back.
Find the perfect venue
A pretty venue with awesome views won’t need much decorating and believe me, flowers and decor is flipping expensive and dead the next day so I find it sad seeing people’s 8k flower budgets. I always say lights can be just as effective as flowers and if you saw our backyard you’d be sold on buying your own and reusing them after the wedding.
Hire a private venue
Find house rentals / Airbnb’s or the odd mansion that will accommodate the entire bridal party with partners and also enough space for the wedding, and a killer view. Just make sure they allow events!
Downsize your Bridal Party
Before you start getting excited about asking all your besties just realise that’s 10 x everything – hair, makeup, bouquets, dress, tans, nails, gifts, robes, champagne glasses etc. Of course, you could cut out all gifts and personalised goodies and get the girls to buy their own dresses, but you’ll still need a larger bridal table and transport for photos.
Do you really need all bridesmaid and groomsmen wearing the same thing? Rather have them over to join you getting ready but let them wear their own outfits, organise their own hair and makeup etc. Having such a big bridal party can be tricky and look odd in photos as any group shots are super wide and everyone is so small! It’s also a lot harder to coordinate and takes longer getting everyone ready and moving from venue to venue.
Do your research
Compromise on things that don’t matter TO YOU.
Don’t compromise on the quality of the things that matter to you, you will most likely regret it.
Print your own invitations
If you dare. You should probably be a bit tech-savvy. I found myself hand feeding every single one onto handmade torn edged paper from Feather and Stone.
Otherwise, forego paper invites altogether.
Paperless Post and Greenvelope are great apps for sending e-vites.
Want a beautiful keepsake for yourself and flat-lay photos on the day? Print just one!
Instead of printing invitations and rsvp with stamps that nobody even posts back anyway. We used Greenvelope for our engagement invitations and they were awesome. Paperless post is another awesome and very inexpensive app. View my comparisons and review of the two here.
Get a wedding Email Address – this will be easier and have less get lost/ people forget to post them.
Set Guest List Boundaries
Refrain from inviting kids if you are not close to them and invite significant others but not casual dates. My thing was trying to not invite anyone we both hadn’t ever met before.
I’m not sure if this is the done thing so don’t quote me but I’ve heard a few of my couples sharing costs of vendors styling the same venue the day before or after their big day. Why set the same design of festoon lights up only to have them taken down on Saturday night and re-setup by let’s face it basically the same design from a different company the next morning. You could even try your luck with the furniture. Marquees and Teepees are flipping expensive and take forever to put up, contact the company to see if the other couple is happy to share the bill.
Ask for help
For me this was ‘Accept help’ – I am the worst at this, I became a control freak. You might have a friend that’s good at baking, calligraphy for your signage, bartender mates of mates, makeup artists etc.
By booze on special
Dan Murphys have a loyalty card – get ideas of what you like then wait. Get onto their email list and others like Vino Mofo (which could be dangerous if you love your wine). Dan Murphy’s also lets you return some unopened cartons so check with them first. We returned any undamaged (ice in the cool room wet stuff) boxes and then we kept all the leftover red for winter warmers.
Keep the alcohol options simple so you don’t get left with bits of things you don’t drink.
Don’t be so nice
Don’t feel like you have to buy everyone gifts or customised stuff – unless you really want to!
Forget about with Guest Favours – Let’s be real most guests can’t fit these in their clutches/ grooms pockets anyway on their way to the afterparty and majority get left behind for the cleaners.
Buy little things early online from overseas
Find your dream dress without the price tag
Checkout Still White for second-hand dresses, shop in local boutiques that aren’t wedding shops. Think of the planet?!
Buy Second Hand
While Etsy do a great glass wishing well – someone else recently has probably purchased the same once-off use box so checkout Marketplace and Gumtree for any that suit your style.
I’m sure one of your girlfriends has a veil you can borrow.
Want that epic Pallas dress but don’t want to drop $10,000 on a dress you’ll wear once?
Most are in perfect condition and come dry cleaned so they feel practically new. Especially great if you are sample size. Alternatively, check out dress shops that aren’t wedding dress shops.
Make things like your own wishing well – we just used a $10 seagrass basket from Kmart instead of the $150 glass one I originally wanted.
I used to say consider doing your own flowers and decor but after having a DIY wedding myself I have realised you don’t need that added stress!
Buy things instead of renting
..That you can sell afterwards. We purchased glasses in bulk from IKEA which were dish-washed on the night and put back into their original boxes and sold to another bride-to-be for her glamping wedding. Hold onto anything super cool to style in your home later – with making them super sentimental. We have popped our arbour in the garden and planted a rose behind it – I am loving all the candles for styling.
Pros: After selling them you would have only paid a fraction of hiring costs
Cons: You have to deliver, pickup and clean them yourselves, and then try sell them.
Put sales in your diary
We got married in January so hit the Christmas/ Boxing Day sales and got one of the bridesmaid dresses for $25, groomsmen staples and glassware on sale. Boxing Day, Australia Day, Easter, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and EOFY are some ideas to look out for.
Get married on a Weekday
Or in winter. Not only will venues have a higher chance of being available, but they might also have a cheaper rate too. In summer your ceremony will probably be around 4:30pm anyway so your guests could still go to work for most of the day on Friday if they needed to.
Everyone loves a long weekend and most guests would be able to take a Friday off. Sundays are great if most of your guests don’t drink or you are wanting more of an afternoon party.
Don’t get married peak season – if you are winter people look into indoor wedding venues.
Look for public holidays and consider the day before they start, giving you the full weekend to spend with everyone.
Cut the crap (not the cake).
Is that a bad pun? Seriously lots of venues even charge you extra for a cutting fee per slice of that already overpriced cake. Ditch the wedding cake and replace it for brownies, dessert bar, ice cream van (we got Mr Whippy!), doughnut walls, cupcakes or if you really like cake, the best ones I’ve tasted have been made by the mum/aunty/granny/brother/friend of the couple. If you’re going to do dessert food consider getting them from non-wedding suppliers like your local favourite bakery. They might not be over the top super fancy but by the time dessert comes out everyone’s already on the d-floor getting down and drinks are far more important.
As much as we love all the non-essential items, finding the ones that mean nothing to you as a couple and removing them could save you $1000’s of dollars from your wedding budget and shorten your to do list in the process!
Don’t get married in Perth
Lol jokes, but it’s so expensive
Be your own DJ
Consider cocktail over Sitdown
Getting rid of large tables, seating, dinner and tableware, seating charts etc.
Food Trucks or Share Feasts
Everyone loves Mexican or pizza and finger food allows everyone to mingle.