I love attending weddings. In fact, I’ve lucked out this Christmas with the lovely pleasure of ending the year with a wedding in a secret location in beautiful New Zealand. If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you’ll understand the costs involved and how they are all add up. Read on to discover the staggering average spend on an Aussie wedding (scary), how to get your beautiful flowers wholesale and other random money-saving wedding tips.
I hope you are sitting down, because here’s the figure on the average cost of a wedding:
Mmmm, that sure looks like a home deposit to me.
So let’s see how I can help you save big on your wedding, so you can then afford to live in a home after the fact. Note: Be sure to scroll the end of this article for an awesome infographic, which breaks down the above figure perfectly.
How to make big savings with wholesale wedding flowers
Did you know you can purchase market-fresh flowers online at wholesale prices? Sites like Tesselaar Flowers are wholesale and wedding flower experts. They offer a service where you can buy wholesale flowers by the bucket, order online (also in-person or by phone) and they deliver nationwide. They also make the process easy with a 5-step process including a centrepiece style, flower package, color theme, number of bundles and then delivery.
How to save big on the rest of your wedding
Ways to save money on wedding food
- Rather than have a ‘sit down’ meal-per-head reception, opt for a cocktail style wedding with canapés
- Organise a spit roast buffet
- Truck your food in – organise a cool retro-style food van
- Slip on an early afternoon wedding with nibblies and beverages
- Limit your guests meal options rather than allowing too many choices
- Make your reception a daytime reception
- Hand out pricey canapés (e.g including shrimp or scallops) rather than put them on a table where guests can feed themselves
- Add large bowls of colourful fresh salads to tables for dramatic effect, so you look generous but to reap savings (e.g a Giant wok full of vegetables)
- Skip big cheese platters and go for veggies, dips and creatively displayed cheaper items.
- Go for fried finger food (e.g Mini spring rolls) – these are very affordable to buy in bulk if you are doing the food yourself
- Hire people on Airtasker to heat food and hand it around to save thousands on catering
- Be creative with presentation such as serving mac and cheese in a Martini glass or rolling up sandwiches to look like sushi or serving mini tomato bruschetta
- Try setting up ‘stations’ with different types of food. (E.g Wok with noodles and veg) – present in cute boxes guests can stand around with.
- Fake your cake. Just make the top or bottom tier of your cake real.
- Opt for a cupcake stand rather than a full cake
Save money on alcohol
- Start your guests off on private land and offer alcohol you can purchase yourself
- Offer just Champagne, wine and beer at the bar – where guests pay for other types of liquor
- Have a period of time – between the wedding and reception when guests can stop at a bar or venue on the way and buy their own drinks
- Think kegs and signature cocktails too
- Buy liquor from wholesale stores and set up your own bar
- Get married midweek
- Try to keep the wedding ceremony and reception at the same place
- Get married in the off-season
- Get married at a registry office and have the reception elsewhere
- Pay a friend or relative (with a great house) to have the reception at their house
- Find a venue that doesn’t require you to use their catering or alcohol
- Again – hire people and bar staff yourself to serve food
- Rather than hire a DJ, make your own playlist and ask a music-savvy friend to manage music for your event
- If you know anyone in a band or a great acoustic singer – be sure to ask them to come sing at your wedding!
- Also consider fun and interesting entertainment like Karoake – you could enlist a cost-effective vendor and maximise the fun in the room
- Consider using genius playlists or apps like Spotify to create amazing DJ-quality playlists
- Consider creating a really cool presentation to music. Just don’t make it too long and make sure it is actually interesting! (Get feedback from others before you play it for real.)
- There are many ‘budding photographers’ out there now (you just have to think of Instagram) who own iPhones. Ask your guests to take pictures and put them up online after the event – some of your best pictures will come from your guests (You could hand out a little card requesting this at the beginning of the event).
- Hire cheaper photographers on places like Airtasker – just make sure you see their portfolio and work first!
- Hire a photography student
- Make sure you won’t get stung on ‘after the fact’ fees for release of photos in a zillion different shapes, sizes and CDs
- Put together your own wedding album or create a stunning photo book online – that actually looks like a real book!
- Create your own cool photo booth at your event. You can even have a box of ‘dress up’ clothes (e.g hats, boas) handy for your guests to have fun with.
- Anything with the word ‘wedding’ attached to it will cost you more. Consider purchasing a stylish formal dress in white or a stunning cocktail dress for a fraction of the cost of the wedding dress.
- Use accessories (e.g an interesting fascinator) to jazz up a plain dress
- Buy your wedding dress secondhand – there are thousands of brides who sell their dress after the fact for a heavily reduced price
- Purchase your wedding dress online or buy a pre-loved dress at sites like OnceWed.com or Preownedweddingdresses.com
- Pick a theme and a palette (Google ‘palettes’) and then stick to the palette
- Purchase decorations online according to your palette or theme
- Use sites like Pinterest for amazing inspiration and then copy the idea
- Shop at $2 shops to recreate ideas on Pinterest
Do small quirky things
People love small little things at weddings. Don’t underestimate the power of a little quirky idea at a wedding
- Little personalised notes on the table
- Nice little surprises halfway through the night
- A CD compilation of your wedding music they can keep forever
- Spot prizes
- Little gifts on the table that didn’t cost much (E.g $2)
- Envelopes with fortunes inside
- Give guests ‘things to do’ like a giant Kenga game or even ping-pong!
Other random tips
- Ask friends to be chauffeurs and drive you around
- Always shop when things are on sale
- Have a reception at a restaurant as you won’t have to worry about setting up the room, lighting, catering, waiters or pretty much anything!
- Try to keep numbers down
- Rent a large house on a large property that can be the venue, house the wedding guests and the caterers
- Choose a ceremony venue that doesn’t need much decorating E.g A Japanese garden
- Ask friends who recently got married for use of their ex-wedding items
- Definitely accept help from people who are offering
- Consider making your own cake
- Dress up your own place for your wedding night instead of investing in a fancy hotel
- Of course, you could always elope like I did and reap the savings, intimacy of a totes small wedding and a cute weekend away