Big Day Budgeting: how much should you splurge on your wedding?

With the average Australian wedding costing over $65,000, should you say I do (or I don’t) to a big budget wedding?
When it comes to planning a wedding, there are seemingly endless costs to consider, including extravagant flowers, a swanky venue, custom-made wedding attire, unlimited alcohol, vintage wedding cars and the list goes on. While digging deep into your pockets to give your guests a party they’ll never forget is a tempting idea, many couples are choosing to curb their wedding budget in favour of a more secure financial future.If owning a home, buying a new car, starting a business or having children are important milestones you’d like to tick off once you tie the knot, planning a cheaper, more affordable wedding makes more financial sense than blowing all your savings on a party.
BudgetTo start, create an overview of the general costs you’ll have to cover in planning your wedding. This may include:

  • Ceremony venue
  • Celebrant
  • Fees for lodging your marriage certificate
  • Reception venue (if different)
  • Food and alcohol
  • Wedding clothing and accessories – for the bride and groom and the bridal party (if you have one)
  • Wedding cake
  • Entertainment, such as a band or DJ
  • Wedding invitations
  • Flowers and decorations
  • Hair and make-up
  • A photographer and/or videographer
  • Transport, such as limos or vintage cars
  • Accommodation, like a hotel for the wedding night

A list, like the one above, may help you and your partner better understand what your wedding could cost and how to approach budgeting for it. To ensure you don’t forget anything (and have nasty expenses sneak up on you) ask friends or family who have recently organised a wedding – they should be more than willing to share their experiences to help you.


DIY your “I Do’s”

Spending within your means is the first rule of planning a wedding, but can be hard to do, especially when there are so many beautiful luxuries available for modern weddings. Luckily, there are ways to create DIY indulgences and save some much-needed dollars without blowing the budget.

Here’s some ideas:

  • You can choose not to have wedding flowers on the bridal table and instead use your bridal bouquets as centrepieces.
  • When it comes to wedding decor why not buy second-hand (it’s “vintage” right?)
  • Hiring a professional wedding stylist is expensive, so why not consider undertaking the decorating yourself? With plenty of websites such as eBay, Gumtree, and Etsy pedalling affordable and near new wedding decor, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for at a fraction of the cost of getting a professional to do it.
  • Shop around! Make enquiries and get quotes from different vendors. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save across costly things like catering, cakes and flowers with some intensive research. Even if you fall in love with the first provider you speak to, by getting alternative quotes, you may be able to squeeze a discount out of them.
  • Have an off-peak wedding! Many venues offer discounted rates for weddings held during the week, or in quieter months or seasons, like autumn, over spring or summer. Whilst having a wedding on a Wednesday may sound strange, your guests will love the excuse for an extra-long weekend.
  • Look at easy ways to cut costs. For example, do you really need a live band or will a DJ with a carefully curated playlist suffice? Do you really need to arrive in a limo or could you ask a friend with a vintage car to drive you there? Are those gold embossed wedding invitations really going to matter in 5 years time, or can you order some simple designs online?


Don’t forget the rest of your life

The important thing to remember is that your wedding day is just one day! Of course, it should be memorable and unique, but what you spend won’t necessarily guarantee either of those things. At the end of the day, your guests will appreciate being invited to witness the love between you and your partner most. They won’t really notice the embroidered napkins, the personalised stationery, or the engraved bonbonniere.

Planning the wedding of your dreams within a realistic budget is the first step towards achieving a dream life that includes financial security. If you’d like help from an expert to budget for your big day, make an appointment here.

Fortress Financial Solutions Partner Emma Linton Doig specialises in budgeting and cashflow management, helping people achieve financial security and wealth creation. Make an appointment for help making a budget, sorting your debts, building your retirement savings or protecting your family with adequate insurance.  Fortress Financial Solutions Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Gallagher Benefit Services Pty Ltd ABN 49611343803 AFSL 488001. This article first appeared on Money & Life by the Financial Planning Association of Australia:

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