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How to save on your wedding (avoid these mistakes!)

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Sally is a makeup artist, a beauty junkie and a coffee addict that loves finding new products and techniques and using them to give her clients an amazing experience – every time.

Whether you have $50,000 or $5,000 here's how you can set your wedding budget and save money on your wedding costs.

Getting married is (for most of us) the biggest, most expensive, party we’ve ever planned.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can cost a lot to get the wedding of our dreams.

In a survey by Wedded Wonderland, they found that the 2019 typical wedding cost was $53,168.

This included the cost of engagement ring and honeymoon. They did also find that there was a larger spread – “more couples spending more, and more spending less. This means the actual average is not indicative of what most couples are actually spending. Budget weddings are sitting at the 10-20k mark, whereas luxury spend is excessive of 100k.”

Here are some of our top tips for wedding planning:

Think about the kind of wedding that you want to have

This might be the one thing that you already know, but if not it’s time to start dreaming of your perfect wedding day.

Don’t let anyone else influence your decision.

Search Pinterest and see if you can find a wedding style that vibes with your style. Don’t spend too much time on the specifics right now, decide on the feel that you want.

A wedding is a celebration of your relationship with your partner. Do you want a church wedding, with all the bells and whistles? Or is a low-key garden wedding more your style?

Create a dream wedding Pinterest board and start pinning the ideas that you love – you’ll soon see a theme develop.

This will stop you from ordering anything that doesn’t fit in with the theme of your wedding.

Decide on your budget

Sit down and work out the numbers. If you start out with the end number in mind most couples find it easier to stick to their budget.
 
Use our handy wedding budget spreadsheet to give you some ideas about your numbers.
 
Calculate how much you have available to spend on your wedding, and how much you’ll be able to save before now and your wedding date to put towards wedding expenses.
 
Do you have other people that are helping you with the wedding costs? This is the key time to discuss with them what and how they will be helping. Sometimes this is a dollar amount that you can build right into your budget, and other times might be a service or a part of the day that they want to gift you.
 
It might be an awkward conversation, but it’s important to know the details before starting your planning.

Set your priorities

You and your partner should each select the top 2 or 3 things that are most important to you for the wedding.

This could be anything from the specific top-shelf whiskey you love, the photographer that your cousin had at her wedding or the venue that you’ve always dreamed about.

Spend money on the thing things that you really care about, and save money on ones that aren’t so important.

It’s important to know what these priorities are so that you can spend a little more time, money and effort to make sure that these things are included in your day.

We recommend that you each make a list, then come together to talk about them, so that you’re not influenced by each other.

When you talk about your lists you’ll then need to agree on what to focus on for your perfect wedding day

Count your guests

“We only invited people to our wedding that had been to our house in the past 12 months” – Laura

Do a rough draft of a guest list so that you have some ideas about numbers. the guest list will influence the cost of your reception, but also will impact whether your perfect reception venue is able to cater to the number of guests.

All venues have a maximum that they can cater to and some also have minimum numbers (or spends) that you’ll need to know about before booking the venue.

Maybe you dreamed of a huge sit-down dinner for your 250 closest friends and family, but you only have $4,000 to spend.  Is there a way to achieve that? 

One of the easiest ways to save money on your wedding is to limit the number of guests.  At $130+ per person  it doesn’t take much to save hundreds of dollars.

Don't get married on a Saturday

“We got married on a Friday and got a 15% discount on our venue” – Kaylene

Saturdays are the most popular day for weddings.  To save big on reception costs consider having a Friday or a Sunday wedding.

Have your ceremony and reception at the same place

This can save you hundreds on venue fees and transportation between the venues. 

Try to choose somewhere that has some great photo locations within walking distance, so you get the wedding photos you’ve been dreaming of

Find a venue that lets you use your own vendors

Being able to choose your own caterer, DJ, bartender, alcohol, etc can save thousands- with the added benefit that you can pick vendors that you adore!

It will be more work for you to co-ordinate, but it will be worth it.

Use a calculator

Using a wedding budget calculator (like the handy one we’ve created for you) put in all of your estimated numbers. You might be surprised at how it all adds up.

Source second hand items

You can find a bargain on Facebook in groups like Wedding Goods Buy Swap Sell Melbourne (which has over 12,000 members), Melbourne 2nd Hand Wedding Dresses (over 3000 members) or Wedding Buy, Swap & Sell Melbourne (over 1000 members). 

You can find everything from decorations to dresses, which have only been used once.  You’ll also find plenty of wedding vendor recommendations here.

A friend of mine scoured op-shops in her local area buying gorgeous (and budget-friendly) teacups to use as DIY candles for her table settings

Get quotes before committing

This is where it starts getting real.
 
Prices on anything wedding related varies hugely depending on brands, locations, styles, and vendors. You might be in love with a wedding dress but then find out it’s $7,000, not $2,000.
 
Some places can be…. salesy ….. so make sure that you get written quotes, and read over the contract before committing. 
 
You may need to adjust your priorities, your expectations or your preferences to keep within your budget. Make sure that you keep your costs updated in your budget tracker

Track what you are spending

And we mean track everything!!

Once you’ve started booking in vendors and venues update your actual spend in your calculator. This will avoid any financial surprises once your wedding day rolls around.

It might be easy to skip tracking smaller value items (like this gorgeous guest book we found online for $23.99), but the small expenses can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars.

Put every dollar you spend into the Wedding Budget Calculator and your wedding day will roll around with no surprises.

Do you have any tips on budgeting for a wedding?  Maybe you have an awesome money-saving tip?

Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.

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