Wedding costs can vary considerably depending on the style and location of your wedding, the number of guests you have, and of course, how far you go in living your dream day.

In recent years, there has been a decline in the amount spent on weddings as the cost of mortgages and changing priorities has meant couples have less money available to spend on their wedding.

The average cost of a wedding in 2014 was $36,200, although some other sources put this as high as $60,000!   For many couples, they are happy to spend this sort of money to get exactly what they want for their wedding day.

But for others, these sorts of figures are a bit scary, and are way out of their budget.  So, how can you save money on your big day?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Instead of a 3 course sit down reception dinner, look at the option of a cocktail style reception for lunch (cheaper!)  or dinner.
  • Location.  Home, in a park or at a more formal venue.
  • Pick an ‘off-peak’ day for your wedding.  Fridays and Saturdays are peak wedding days and the months of September, October, November, late February, March and April are the peak season months.  Many wedding venues and suppliers offer discounts for off peak times.
  • Everyone should have a professional photographer (there are many horror stories of ‘my friend has a nice camera’ photographing a couples wedding – disaster!!!), but you can save by only having them there for the minimum amount of time.  For example, the ceremony, family/ group photos and then the formal photo session, and maybe the first part of the reception.
  • Be tough with your guest list.  Do you really need to invite all your friends from work, or the school friend you haven’t seen in 10 years?  Receptions are the most expensive part of the wedding budget, so the smaller the list, the lower the total cost.
  • Avoid buying expensive gifts for the bridal party and guests,
  • Look for 2nd hand decorations for the reception venue.  There are a number of groups on Facebook where brides go to sell items after the wedding,
  • Beautiful cars are fantastic to have as props on the photo shoot and for your arrival, but look at your venue and decide if your guests will actually see you arrive.  Some couples hire a mini van for the wedding as it doubles as a taxi and handy vehicle for moving things!
  • Look for packages that may include a number of services such as a venue, photographer, celebrant, flowers etc for the one price.  Some only offer this on specific days, whereas others are more flexible (Canberra Small Weddings is an example)
  • The dress!  The average cost of a wedding dress in Australia is $1925!
  • The other stuff!  Accessories, flowers,  invitations, wedding cakes, music, suit hire etc    Shop around!   For invitations, some suppliers actually offer a DIY service, for the music, remember off peak days could save you some money!
  • Quality!  With all wedding service providers you can chase the cheapest possible option, but do be careful as a poor choice on price could result in a major disappointment and ruin your day!

The above is not an exhaustive list of ways to save, and everyone will have different priorities for each part of the wedding day and many will be constrained by a strict budget.   An interesting point is that couples will spend 53% MORE than their initial first budget!

So if you are on a tight budget, look carefully at what really is important to you, go for an off peak wedding day and be creative with your planning.