lifestyle

How to save thousands on your wedding day.

Yes, weddings are expensive. But these tips will save you thousands.

It’s not news to anybody that weddings are freaking expensive.

Recent stats show that the average cost of a wedding for Australian couples is now more than $65,000.

wedding day savings

Who can afford that without delaying home ownership dreams by a decade or going into debt (something 60 per cent of Aussie couples are doing, according to an IBISWorld report)?

Wedding days are special. They should be lovely and memorable. But they are just one day in a lifetime full of many days. Of course, no one wants to scrimp on the good things – venue, food, alcohol – but saving on other less-noticeable items would certainly save a few headaches.

Here are some tips about how to save thousands from someone who’s been there:

1. Channel your inner craft goddess and DIY.

When it comes to wedding planning, you’ll quickly notice that anything with the word ‘wedding’ attached comes with a massive mark-up. The easiest way around this? Make as much as you can yourself.

From stationery to wedding decorations and everything in between, it’s amazing how much you can make yourself with a few friends and bottles of wine.

If you’re not the crafty type, use your contacts. Family, friends, family friends, colleague, strangers.

Seriously. People are totally thrilled to be included in the ‘big day’ and they can be surprisingly resourceful.

Also, Pinterest is your friend. Snapshot and replicate.

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This is what I managed to conjure up for our wedding day (with a little help from my friends):

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2. Do your own flowers.

I got a whole bunch of quote from florists for my wedding. The cheapest was somewhere in the vicinity of $4000 and the most expensive was double that. Yep, $8000 for those colourful things that grow everywhere and die within two days. (I’ve heard of others being quoted anywhere between $1500 and $30,000.)

wedding day savings
Collecting bottles and jars to display flowers is an easy and effective way to DIY. (Though a florist did these.) Image: Sean McDonald Photography.
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I ended up having a florist do my flowers because our wedding was on New Years’ Eve, that annoying holiday period when the local flower markets were shut, but I’ve helped a friend with her table flowers and buttonholes for the bridal party – and it was super easy. I’d recommend getting the bouquets made by a florist, unless you’re feeling particularly brave. And if DIY-ing, don’t forget to pick flowers that won’t wilt at the first sign of heat.

Savings: $3500+

3. Get a friend or relative to drive you around.

Seriously, no one cares about what kind of car you rock up in. Unless you’re planning on driving right on into the church/garden/ceremony venue, it’s highly likely no one will even see it. A car that is clean, safe and free is a much cheaper alternative.

wedding day savings
We went home in this very fancy wedding Hilux. Note the fancy ribbon.

Savings: Transport for an entire wedding party can easily cost around $2000.

4. Make your own cake (or get a friend to).

There’s nothing like drunkenly agreeing to make a friend’s wedding cake with no idea how to, and then having to follow through, to get you to tap into your creative side. It turns out it wasn’t TOO difficult and that most imperfections could be hidden one way or another.

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Easier options include roping in a relative to take on this responsibility or going for a simple buttercream icing and buying a lovely cake topper from Etsy for less than $30.

wedding day savings

We made decorating our wedding cake a family affair (and cheated by covering styrofoam rounds for the cake on display and icing slabs of chocolate cake to be served from the kitchen).

This was the final product.

wedding day savings
Image via Sean McDonald Photography.
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Savings: $800+ depending on number of guests and fanciness of cake.

5. Buy a dress off the shelf.

Wedding dresses are super expensive. But you know what’s cheap? A white dress.

I bought mine on sale from Zimmerman for $200. It’s not the nicest dress in the entire world, but it did the job and saved me thousands of dollars.

wedding day savings
$200 dress. Tick.

Made-to-measure dresses start at around $6000. Of course, if you’ve been dreaming of having the big princess moment your entire life, you’re unlikely to settle for anything less. But if you want the Kate Middleton look without the royal price tag, check out second hand dress sites, like stillwhite.com.au, or look at recouping some of the cost by selling yours after the event.

Related: ‘I hated my wedding dress. And I’m okay with that.

6. Get the bridal party to contribute to their outfits.

This one may be a little controversial etiquette-wise, but generally Gen Ys don’t have a problem with paying for some of their wedding outfit. Our bridal party did it and I have done it as a bridesmaid in weddings before and after my own. No problemos.

wedding day savings
Some of our bridal party. Image via Sean McDonald Photography.
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If you do go down that route, a nice gift or paying for part of the outfit (as well as making it something they can wear again) might soften the blow. And don’t be a complete Terry Tightarse – paying for the ladies’ hair and makeup is a must if you’re getting it done professionally.

7. Stay at home on the big night.

Why pay hundreds for a hotel room that you won’t even arrive at until well past midnight? Plus, if you’re honeymooning, you’ll be forking out enough on accommodation already.

The benefits of staying at home include no packing or worrying about transport the next day. Fancy up your digs with some lights, candles, champagne and cheese, then enjoying a long, glorious sleep-in with the knowledge you aren’t being charged for it.

wedding day savings
Pancakes, ice cream and champagne. A breakfast of champions. At home the next morning.

Savings: $300+ (presuming you’d be going more Park Hyatt than Travelodge.)

*Obviously, all these savings are estimates. Prices vary greatly depending on wedding style, number of guests and providers.

Have you got a tip to add?

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