Your wedding is an incredibly special, unforgettable and life-changing milestone. It’s an event you’ll look back on for years to come as one of the happiest days of your entire life. But let’s be honest – it’s also a very expensive milestone that can take a serious chunk out of your savings!
When it comes to planning your wedding, there’s no denying the fact that every little detail adds up. From the venue hire, catering and decorations right through to your own bridal accessories, it can start to feel overwhelming as you desperately try to stick to your carefully planned budget.
With the average Australian wedding now costing over $65k (yes, really!), it’s only natural to look for ways to cut down on these costs wherever you can. But when you’ve been dreaming about this day for so long, the very thought of cutting costs might feel like a hard reality to accept.
Well, we’re here to set the record straight! Because contrary to popular opinion, cutting costs for your wedding doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your vision for the day.
Saving money on your wedding is all about being strategic. It simply means prioritising where your money is spent. If you’re a bride-to-be, you’ll be pleased to know that there are always clever solutions to maximise the budget that you do have, without skimping on the details that are important to you.
Whether this means taking on some DIY tasks for yourself or being thoughtful with your choice of wedding date and suppliers, there are so many creative ways to save money on your wedding without compromising on quality. And we’ve just rounded up our top 15 to get you started!
1. Reconsider your guest list
This is probably the most obvious place to look – and for good reason, as it could save you thousands.
Your guest list is going to be one of the biggest influences when it comes to the cost of your wedding. Think about it: each individual guest also means an extra mouth to cater for, an extra plate, set of cutlery, glassware, napkin, invitation, guest favour… and the list goes on.
If you’re really struggling to keep the costs down for your wedding, it could be worth revising your guest list and creating a more intimate wedding as opposed to a full-blown celebration.
Take another look over your guest list with a fine toothed comb. If you know that you’ve been overly generous with plus ones, or have included certain guests purely out of obligation, this might be something to reconsider.
2. Host a weekday or off-peak wedding
When it comes to choosing your wedding date, why not consider a weekday wedding?
The wedding industry is seasonal, and this is reflected in the costs you can expect to pay for your wedding suppliers. Saturday weddings during peak-season are the most popular dates, so the pricing of wedding vendors are reflected accordingly.
It might seem unconventional, but weekday or off-peak weddings can save you hundreds with many vendors offering reduced rates in order to fill up their schedule.
3. Hire a wedding planner
It might seem confusing to hear that you can actually save money by spending more money, but hear us out!
Investing in a wedding planner allows you to benefit from their many years of experience and expertise in the industry. You have to remember that wedding planners work with budgets for a living – it’s what they do best!
Whether you have $5000 or $50000 in your budget, a good wedding planner will know exactly how to maximise the money you have to play with. They’ll know exactly which suppliers to contact and can recommend strategic ways to style and decorate your venue without breaking the budget. It’s a smart investment that can actually save you money (and time!) in the long-term.
4. Replace paper invitations with a wedding website
Paper goods can take a big chunk out of your budget. Not only do you need to dish out for your wedding invitations, but also the envelopes, RSVP cards and postage costs that come with it. Multiply this by the number of invitees, and you can see where it starts to add up.
The solution: send your save the dates and invitations out digitally via a wedding website! (Link to reasons to have a wedding website article) Not only will this reduce your spend on stationery, but you can also track your RSVP’s online too and streamline the entire process. It’s easy to see why many modern brides are opting for creative wedding websites (Link to Wedsites features) to connect with their guests while saving a few dollars along the way.
5. Choose local suppliers
From your photographer to your celebrant, keep in mind that many of your chosen wedding vendors are actually charging you for their time. This includes transport to and from the venue on the day itself, along with any pre-wedding site visits or meetings.
Travel times all add up to additional labour from your wedding suppliers, so try to save on these costs by choosing suppliers that are local to your venue. The other advantage here is that local suppliers will generally be very familiar with your chosen venue and can offer their unique insight and advice based on their previous experiences.
6. Opt for shared dining
Your choice of wedding menu style is another big influencing factor on your overall budget.
A 5-course degustation dinner is obviously going to require more tableware, staff and labour than shared family-style dining, so it can be one of the more expensive options.
Instead, consider a shared meal to cut costs on catering. Most wedding caterers now offer feasting style (or family style) menu options that provide you with more value for money.
7. Take on some DIY tasks
If you have the time to spare, taking on some DIY tasks can be a great way to cut costs when it comes to styling and decor.
The best place to look for inspiration here is Pinterest! Think about the elements that you’re happy to DIY, such as your guest favours, table flowers or place cards. Simply run a search for this in Pinterest and you’ll find plenty of step-by-step tutorials to get you started.
8. Choose a venue that requires minimal styling
The existing look and feel of your chosen venue will determine how much you need to decorate the space. It might seem like booking a cheap venue is a great way to save money, but it’s actually likely you’ll spend even more money on styling and decor hire in an attempt to “transform” the room.
It can be a better idea to spend a little extra on a nicer venue that doesn’t require as much additional styling. This will allow you to save money on furniture, flowers, lighting and other styling details that you might otherwise go overboard on.
9. Go seasonal with your flowers
Seasonal flowers are always going to be friendlier on the budget!
It really pays to be flexible with your flower choices here and trust your florist. If you are strictly requesting a specific flower that isn’t naturally in season, this will mean additional labour and transport costs for your florist to ship this in for you.
Instead, ask your florist for their recommendations based on your chosen wedding date in order to bring your flower costs down as much as possible.
10. Go green
Another way to reduce your flower bill is to embrace foliage and greenery as opposed to the more expensive blooms.
There are some gorgeous foliage varieties out there like olive leaf, eucalyptus and ferns that work perfectly for wedding arrangements. Incorporating more foliage into your bouquets and table arrangements will cut flower costs down, while also helping to create a natural and organic look.
11. BYO alcohol
If you’ve found a venue that allows you to BYO alcohol, this can lead to huge savings for your wedding.
Purchasing your own alcohol for the night means that you can buy in bulk and take advantage of any discounted prices available both online or at your local bottle shop. You’ll then just need to hire a bartender or two to serve the drinks during the night, which still works out much cheaper than ordering alcohol through your venue.
12. Reuse items where you can
It’s all about working with what you already have! Avoid doubling up on furniture and decor costs by reusing items throughout the day for different purposes.
For example, utilise the flower arrangements from your ceremony aisle for your reception tables. You can also reuse your signing table as your cake table, or your ceremony arbour as a photo booth backdrop. Get creative and think about what you might be able to repurpose in order to avoid paying for the same thing twice!
13. Minimise your bridal party
As much as you might love to have your 12 closest girlfriends up there with you on the day, the reality is that each bridesmaid comes with a price tag!
From their bouquets and attire to hair and makeup costs, a large bridal party is going to cost you much more than an intimate group of 2 or 3. The same applies for the groomsmen, with each one requiring their own suit, accessories and boutonniere.
You can always spend some time celebrating with your girl squad on your hens night or bridal shower before the wedding, so consider minimising your bridal party on the day to save some cash.
14. Extend your planning timeline
As much as you might be itching to get married, if you’re finding it hard to compromise on any of the above tips then consider pushing back your wedding date.
This will give you more time to save, plan and prepare, so you don’t need to make as many sacrifices along the way. Plus, you can enjoy basking in that engaged glow for a little while longer!
15. Prioritise your spending
Finally, and most importantly: take some time to clearly define your wedding vision in order to work out your priorities for the day. This will allow you to see the areas that are worth investing in, and identify the areas that you might be able to cut completely.
For example, if entertainment is a really important factor for you, allocate a little more of your budget towards a live band or acoustic performer. In exchange for this, you might want to cut costs in other areas like deciding against a wedding cake or guest favours.
There’s no rule that says you have to include every traditional wedding detail, so feel free to cut things out that aren’t particularly important to you in order to save or invest this elsewhere!
Yes, weddings are expensive, but there are definitely some creative ways to work around those budget woes. As you can see, there are many ways to save money on your wedding. It all comes down to working strategically and allocating your funds according to priority.
You’ll be surprised how much money you can save simply by working seasonally, taking things online (Link to Wedsites features) and choosing your vendors carefully. By using the tips above, you can bring together a beautiful celebration without sacrificing on the details you’ve been dreaming about for so long.
And for some final motivation, think about it like this: the more money you save, the more you can spend on that European honeymoon with your brand new beau. Now that’s worth every penny, right?