how to cut the cost on your wedding

How to cut costs & save money on your wedding

Tips + Advice // by QB

Planning a wedding is an exciting time — figuring out how to pay for one, maybe not so much. And with cost-of-living pressures on the rise, it’s no surprise that you want to know how to cut costs and save money on your Queensland wedding. Fortunately, there are many ways to get savvy (and a little creative) in order to keep costs in check without sacrificing the quality of your special day. And remember, everything you save then stays in the kitty for wish-list items … like French Champagne, fireworks, or a pair of Jimmy Choos!

Here are our top tips to help you save money on your Queensland wedding and still enjoy the perfect celebration.

Set a wedding budget

First things first, how much can you afford to spend on your wedding? In a recent Easy Weddings’ survey, the average spend for an Australian wedding was $33,810 (excluding the honeymoon) with many couples reporting they went over their original budget. 

If that figure seems a bit daunting, don’t worry, this article is designed to help you save on the cost of your wedding without skimping on quality. And it all starts with determining your overall budget before making any decisions. A realistic budget will help you prioritise expenses (see below) and avoid overspending. In saying that, we also recommend factoring in a contingency amount for unforeseen circumstances or unexpected expenses.

Prioritise your expenses:

Photo: Canva

Where you choose to spend those hard-earned dollars should always align with the vision you and your partner share. And, as luck would have it, modern weddings are all about making it personal, with many traditions or ‘must-haves’ being swapped for more meaningful choices. Maybe you’d rather have a Champagne tower than a tower of cake. Perhaps a beachfront venue is non-negotiable. Or a rooftop. Or a holiday wedding. It’s up to you. 

On average, the venue/catering is the biggest of the big-ticket items. In fact, a recent Easy Weddings survey identified the reception as gobbling up around 45% of a couple’s total budget. This makes sense when you consider how much of a wedding revolves around the location. Beyond that, other significant expenses include photography and videography, entertainment, flowers, styling/décor, and gowns/suits. Identify the most important elements of your celebration and allocate a larger portion of your budget to these key areas.

From the bride & groom: Spend money on things that are important to you. For us, that was the band, photographer, videographer and wow-factor moments. We spent less on the hotel, stationery and styling. We borrowed the bow ties and veil from friends. We chose to have a really big flower arbour with flowers at the top, so they were in most of the photos where our face was framed. We had very few flowers on the reception tables and let the grazing platters of food take the show.

See more of Ashlee & Travis modern Brisbane wedding.

Choose an off-peak wedding date:

Friday weddings are on the rise and we’re all for it! Not only does it give you the whole weekend to celebrate/recover, but many wedding venues offer significant discounts for weekday weddings. Or try an off-peak season or month to say ‘I do.’ Traditionally, September/October and March/April are the most popular wedding months but there’s a lot to love about a winter wedding in Queensland — including the chance to nab a discount or special package when booking your vendors. 

Trim the guest list:

What’s the quickest way to cut wedding costs? Edit your guest list. Keep your celebration small with just closest friends and family or consider a micro wedding or modern elopement with a handful of guests. This can significantly reduce costs related to catering, venue size, and other aspects of the wedding. Opting for an intimate guest list also means you’ll only have your nearest and dearest by your side for the big moments.

DIY decorations:

Let your inner creative/stylist shine by making your own wedding decorations, centrepieces, and favours. This not only adds a personal touch but also helps cut down on expenses. Just remember to ride that DIY train well in advance of the big day. You don’t want to be stringing lights or wrestling bonbonniere ribbons on the morning-of when you could be popping Champagne corks with your besties.

Opt for a non-traditional venue:

There’s no rule to say you have to book that uber-expensive ‘traditional’ wedding venue. Consider alternative venues such as parks, gardens, or community centres, which may be more budget-friendly.

Be a savvy shopper:

Erin: Wendy Makin Ready To Wear Collection

Get a jump on wedding dress shopping by following your favourite labels on socials and signing up for their newsletters so you’re first to know about trunk show specials, sample sales, and discounts. Love a bridal designer but can’t pay couture prices? Consider their RTW (ready-to-wear) range for that same gorgeous feel and a more petite price tag.

Limit bar options:

Do you really need a full bar?If you’re not keen on offering a compendium of alcoholic bevvies, but still baulk at the idea of a cash bar, consider serving a small selection of beer and wines or having a signature cocktail. 

Send digital invitations:

While we do love a classic embossed invite, there’s no question that digital invitations will save on printing and postage costs. There are many online platforms that allow you to create beautiful digital invitations, no trees required.

Seek multiple quotes:

Don’t feel you have to settle for the first quote you receive. Shop around and get quotes from different vendors to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. 

Be smart about flower expenses:

We get it, fresh flowers are on your non-negotiables list. But you can still think outside the box when it comes to making your investment work, like opting for in-season blooms, using more greenery, and repurposing ceremony flowers for the reception. Work with your florist for the best budget-friendly ideas. 

Consider a smaller wedding cake:

You don’t have to go overboard to have an Insta-ready and totally delicious wedding cake. Consider cost-effective alternatives such as two tiers instead of four or five. A small, decorative cake for display and cutting with a more economical sheet cake for serving. Or perhaps a homemade dessert display instead of a cake.

Ask for help:

Oftentimes, friends and family are just waiting for an invitation to pitch in and be part of your big day. Enlist the help of trusted loved ones who have skills that can contribute to your wedding, such as photography, music, or baking. Or ask a family member to create sentimental guest gifts — perhaps Nan’s famous jam — to bring a personal, budget-friendly touch. 

Be honest with your vendors:

Don’t be afraid to chat with your vendors about what you can spend, and even negotiate (respectfully of course) on price. Most will be willing to work within your budget, especially if they know it may lead to future referrals, or they’ll have a package or solution that fits your budget and vision.

Honeymoon at home:

honeymoon in Whitsundays

Don’t forget to shop around when it comes to your honeymoon. Many of the same tips apply as when booking a venue: look for off-peak options and seasonal packages in your favourite locations. Many resorts and hotels also offer packages aimed specifically at honeymooners, with indulgent extras such as room upgrades, massages and excursions. Some of the most stunning honeymoon locations can be found right here in Australia, where you can skip long-haul flights too (road trip!!).   

Remember, when it comes to planning your wedding, the most important thing is to celebrate your love with those who matter most to you. By being strategic with your choices and focusing on what truly matters, you can have a beautiful wedding without breaking the bank.