In Australia, most weddings cost anywhere between $35,000 and $50,000. It said to be the happiest day of your life, but despite a large part of the cost getting covered by the rellies, the majority of Australian newlyweds do find themselves starting off their married life in debt. The last thing you want is to be discussing debt consolidation on your honeymoon. So without putting a price on love, here are six clever ways to save money on your big day and ensure that your wedding bells are not overshadowed by those wedding bills.
The golden rule with planning a wedding is knowing what you really need. In 2011 the wedding industry in Australia was said to be worth $4.3 billion and was on course to rise to $4.7 billion over the next 5 years. This of course means that from the second we say “Yes!” to the proposal, we are bombarded with an overload of wedding marketing. Make a list of the essentials and then ask yourself if you really need the overseas hen/stag party, champagne fountain, drone photography, choreographed dances and designer wedding dress? There is a good chance that keeping it simple will result in a special day that is just as memorable.
With most people getting married later in life, this means having a circle of friends with useful wedding skills. If your friends offer you their services, such as being DJ for the night or doing the flowers, don’t be afraid to take them up on their offer. Check to see if the venue comes with its own built in sound system and if yes, ask the bridal party to come up with an upbeat playlist, which includes songs with particular significance to the bride and groom. Do ensure that you check with the reception venue in advance that you are allowed to bring in your own people, as some will have contracts with existing pricier suppliers.
Fuelled by social media sites such as Pinterest, no doubt one of the biggest outgoings for a wedding is the dress and never has the pressure been so great to look good on the day. The dress is an expression of your personality and style, but if you are open to less traditional options, looking in non-bridal shops will ensure that the price tag is a fraction. Likewise, if you know someone who is handy with a needle, why not buy a bridesmaid dress and get some extra unique touches put on? The same applies to bridesmaid dresses. The movie of US series Sex and the City kick started a trend for bridesmaids to wear different coloured dresses, so why not let your favourite ladies choose their own frock, as they may pick something out which they can genuinely wear again? Carrie Bradshaw may have had a freebie Vivienne Westwood dress for her big day, but forgoing the designer frock yourself could mean you avoid needing debt help six months after the nuptials.
Choose the big day carefully
It is a well-known fact that in wedding circles, getting married on a Saturday carries a significant premium. Why not look into a Friday or the day before a mid-week public holiday, in order to make a huge cost saving? Regarding the time of year, the off season for Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart will be the cold months, therefore May, June and July. Winter weddings can have their charm though. Why not look into a place that has plenty of olde worlde charm, such as a farm or a winery. An open fire and a fake fur shawl with your dress will certainly add atmosphere and glamour. In the Northern Territory, people tend to favour the dry season and in Brisbane the temperature is fairly even, making it popular all year round for weddings, peaking September to November and March to May. One tip is to make it a long engagement, so you have time to make the decision about the best location to suit your budget. If you put off the wedding by 18 to 24 months, this will mean using multiple birthday/Christmas gifts in cash or vouchers. You could also look at having your wedding in a restaurant or pub function room, which as opposed to kitting out a rustic cow shed will mean you don’t have to hire furniture and a portable dance floor.
No doubt watching your octogenarian uncle shake his limbs to “Single Ladies” with your school friends is one of the funniest parts of any wedding. Getting everyone mingling is usually down to vast quantities of free-flowing alcohol, but how do you keep this expense down without seeming like a party pooper? First of all, look into places who have a BYO option and then head to supermarkets where you can buy wholesale in bulk. Offering beer and wine, as opposed to spirits, should keep the cost from spiralling out of control and you could even look at doing a fruit based cocktail, such as a Bellini if you wanted something special (obviously using sparkling wine as opposed to the more expensive stuff). If you have a bar, ensure the staff have a cut-off point when the tab reaches a certain amount, after which it turns into a cash bar.
Nothing shabby about second hand chic
The saying goes “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, therefore buying second hand items for your wedding, even the dress, is fairly common and helps avoiding getting in the red. Ask around to see if anyone in your network got married recently and may have accessories to pass on. Likewise get creative and scour local second hand markets to find novel props. If you are a book lover, decorate the place with dusty antique looking books, or if you love cheesy wedding music, why not show your sense of humour by buying some inflatable palm trees to give it an 80’s Cocktail theme? Weddings are about expressing your individuality and using your imagination will ensure your wedding is one to remember. You can also sell a great deal of the wedding gear afterwards on eBay.
Keep your big day in perspective
Your wedding is your big day, but it is important to remember that no event is worth acquiring enormous amounts of debt, which you are paying off for years to come. It is about who is waiting for you up the aisle, not the size of the celebration. If you have blown the budget and are paying the price, seek debt advice immediately about easing the burden.
The last thing you need when you return from your honeymoon is countless letters from debt collection agencies, such as Credit Corp or Panthera Finance chasing you for repayments.
There is also some prudent advice from the Australian government about managing debt. Likewise, use the exercise of cost effective wedding planning to set a good example for the rest of your married life, in order to ensure you have a sensible ‘for richer and poorer’ strategy. If you need professional solutions with your debts, we’re here to help! Speak with us today for an obligation free assessment on your situation. Call us on 1300 368 322 or fill in the contact form below. Congratulations and good luck!