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It’s your big day - but it can also come with some big bills. Australians love a wedding, and we’re spending more than ever on our big day. It's estimated that a typical wedding can cost around $36,000. From venue hire to food and alcohol, clothes and accessories, photography, entertainment, flowers, accommodation, cars, stationery and hair and makeup, it all adds up. Even more so if you're planning on a honeymoon. 

Fortunately, a great wedding doesn’t doesn’t have to cost the earth. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the wedding of your dreams, without overspending.

The first step is to work out what you can truly afford to spend. So get out your calculator and ask yourself:

  • How much do you and your partner have in your bank accounts right now?
  • How much can you put aside each month until the big day?
  • Do you have any windfalls coming, like a bonus or tax return, which you can use?
  • Are your parents or other family members able to contribute?

Once you know how much you’ve got to spend, you can work out how to use it to your advantage.

Budget for big ticket items

There are two types of cost to budget for when planning a wedding. 

  • Fixed costs: Big ticket items like the venue, the dress and the celebrant. These are the costs that stay the same no matter how many people you invite, so you need to budget carefully for them.
  • Variable costs: These depend on the size of your guest list. They include everything from food and drink to stationery, even the size of your cake. These are the costs you can manage by keeping your guest list under control.

Focus on what matters most

Your wedding is probably the one day of your life when you don’t want to budget — but if you spend up big on everything, you could also find yourself paying it off for years to come. So focus on what’s truly important to you and your loved ones.

Choose two or three things you’re happy to splurge on, then look at ways to trim your other costs. For example, you might be willing to compromise on your venue if it helps you afford that beautiful ring and drop-dead gorgeous dress. Or you might be happy to go for a more casual look in a truly beautiful setting. Savings on little details like stationery and wedding bonbonniere can add up fast and help you to fund the things that really matter.

Top wedding saving tips

  1. Always shop around to find the best deal. Get two or three quotes for big ticket items, like your venue and catering.
  2. We all know that when you add the word ‘wedding’, the price automatically increases. So look beyond the bridal boutique for beautiful things that don’t carry the wedding label. For instance, an elegant designer dress can be half the price of a traditional wedding dress, and just as beautiful.
  3. Even better, get a dress tailor-made online, or plan ahead and shop for the bridesmaids’ dresses during the sales.
  4. Serve the wedding cake instead of dessert.
  5. Platinum wedding rings can cost a few thousand dollars, so get your rings made from stainless steel, silver or titanium. They look great and they’re just as durable.
  6. If you’re getting married overseas, currency movements could have a big impact on your overall costs. Using a Travel Money card lets you lock in the rate in advance, so you know how much you’ll have to spend while you’re there.
  7. If you’re going overseas, don’t forget the cost of visas and travel insurance too.

  • Set up a wedding budget. Similar to your normal budget list out all the things you expect to spend. You may want to speak to a friend who has already wed to help you identify costs you have not thought about yet.
  • Set up a joint savings account with your partner. We’ve got some tips on saving together – it can often be a tricky thing to do, but by starting now it will help you save together in the future.
  • Make sure you keep track your progress – both in saving and spending. If you go over budget on one item, try and find something else you can save on.

Saving for a wedding

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Things to know before you Can: This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.

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