10 smart ways to save money on your wedding

10 smart ways to save money on your wedding

The average Australian wedding now costs $36,000 meaning many couples start married life saddled with debt. Although your wedding day will be one of the most important days of your life, there is no reason it should cost you more than you can truly afford and certainly no reason to be paying for it years after you’ve forgotten most of the details from the whirlwind day.
 
Weddings are big business and there will be plenty of people trying to get you to spend more than you ever could have imagined on your special day. But there are weddings for all budgets, and keeping costs down doesn’t mean your wedding day will be any less beautiful or memorable than the most lavish production for those who can afford it.
 
In fact, it’s more than likely keeping things simple will make it even better as you remove the stress and pressure associated with throwing an elaborate event and strip it back to what it’s really all about – a celebration of love.

Of course, you could remove the pressure by refinancing your mortgage, if you have one, with a lower rate lender, potentially saving tens of thousands of dollars. To see how much you could save, check out our calculator here.

If you can’t refinance, no problem! Here are some wedding ideas to save money on your special day: 
 
1. Reduce the guest list
 
It might seem tough, but considering you only need a handful of people to get married (you, your partner, the celebrant and two witnesses) try to think of every extra person as a bonus. This day is really all about you and your partner, and while sharing it with family and friends might be non-negotiable for you, no-one will hold it against you for keeping your guest list limited to those closest and dearest to your heart.
 
It’s not a networking event, it’s not an opportunity for distant family or work colleagues to get a sticky beak at your personal life, and it’s not a party for your old high school friends to get drunk and go wild. It’s a personal celebration of your commitment so if you wouldn’t invite them over for dinner, don’t invite them to your wedding day.
 
2. Rethink your venue
 
 Could you have your wedding at home? Could you book a large table or private room at a restaurant or bar for the reception? Could you book a venue that lets you use your own caterer and bring your own alcohol? Obviously a wedding at home won’t be a good option if you live in a studio apartment and have 30 guests you want to invite, but if possible, having your wedding at home, at the home of someone you love or at an alternative venue can be a real money-saver.
 
 It’s so easy to decorate a home or other wedding reception venue to make it look beautiful, bring in caterers, buy or hire tables and chairs and hang up lights that will cost far less than hiring a popular wedding venue.
 
3. Make your own music playlist
 
Having a band or a DJ at a wedding is great, but if you really want to save money you can make your own wedding day playlist on your laptop or iPhone and just hit play. It’s like the ultimate mixtape that can be played through a decent set of speakers (which you might need to borrow or hire) when the time comes to hit the dance floor. Just make sure you give the music a test run in the venue before the big day to make sure it’s loud enough.
 
4. Take your time
 
A long engagement will give you time to research different options and book everything from your venue to your honeymoon far in advance so you’re not paying elevated last-minute prices.
 
5. Cheap wedding food and drink ideas
 
You don’t want your guests to go hungry or be serving them cheap finger foods in an attempt to save money. But there is no reason you have to serve a three course sit-down dinner either. More and more restaurants have moved away from traditional fine dining meaning more people are used to a variety of options come meal time.
 
Maybe hire a gourmet food truck and have them serve your guests on platters, or bring in caterers that make delicious share plates. Supplying your own alcohol will also save loads of money if you’ve chosen a venue that allows it. If you’re sticking with the venue’s own bar, keep alcoholic options to wine and beer.
 
6. Rethink your wedding cake
 
 Cakes suddenly quadruple in price the moment you add the word wedding to the front of them. It’s flour, eggs and sugar, people. Yes, there is an art to making beautiful and delicious cakes, but if you’re trying to save money, opting for a simpler cake really isn’t a big deal. Choose pretty and yummy cakes from your local baker or even plain round white cakes and decorate them with flowers or simple crafty decorations. No cake looks that pretty once it’s been cut up, so keep it simple.
 
7. Do your own flowers
 
 Much like cake, flowers need not cost the earth. A simple bunch of flowers in a basic vase has a big impact on any table setting. And bouquets for the bridal party are so easy to make. If you’ve got a local flower market nearby, head down the day before the wedding and choose the prettiest flowers you can find. Tie them in ribbon for the bouquets and put them in simple vases with water for the table settings on the day.
 
8. Create your own photo booth
 
 Set up your own little corner of the room along with handmade props and an iPhone or iPad and get snapping. Consider asking a friend to be the official photographer on the day and put your own album or photo book together.
 
9. Get married on a Sunday or on a weekday just not on a Saturday which is the most expensive day.
 
 Just bear in mind that it can be difficult (and annoying) for guests to take weekdays off work or use up their annual leave for various weekday weddings throughout the year. If it’s just the two of you of course, even registry offices are cheaper during the week.
 
10. Do your own hair and makeup.
 
 Not only will it cost you less, but you and your bridesmaids will actually look like yourselves instead of some strange magazine version you’ll probably never resemble again. Keep it real.
 

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