Wedding Planning Tips

How Do You Cut Wedding Expenses?

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    No matter how you cut it, weddings are costly affairs, and unless you're ready to make some major sacrifices (such as having a cash bar instead of an open one or scheduling the ceremony for a Tuesday instead of a Saturday), you'll likely have to forego some of your dream features. Luckily, there are a few simple strategies to save money without compromising on enjoyment or convenience.

    It might be hard to take a step back and see the big picture when you're trying to plan a wedding on a tight budget. Don't let the magnitude of the project's costs and myriad of moving parts discourage you from beginning with these simple cost-cutting measures. Our easy budget wedding planning ideas and methods can help you save money while still throwing a fantastic party. There's no reason why a couple couldn't have a beautiful, low-cost wedding.

    The best part is that implementing these suggestions won't seem like sacrifices. Do you have a speciality cocktail? To be honest, you probably wanted to. Maybe you didn't know this, but this is a certain method to cut your bar tab in half.

    One more helpful suggestion? Use flowers that are currently available to decorate with. We guarantee you'll adore the aesthetic, and local, in-season flowers are far more cost-effective than exotic imports.

    Here are some ingenious ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality for your big day.

    The Case for Eloping

    Here's the easiest way to shrink those wedding costs: Don't have a wedding, and elope instead. 

    Yes, there are some downsides to this, but there's a considerable upside, too. 

    First, the case against it: You won't have the experience or memories of a traditional wedding--walking down the aisle on a parent's arm (or standing at an altar), being surrounded by loved ones, dancing at the reception, and so on.  Looking for the ultimate Wedding Reception Venue in Melbourne? Look no further, Boutique Events Group is here. 

    And your family and friends might be sad or mad that they don't get to be at your wedding.

    Here's why you might elope anyway:

    • There's a lot less stress if you don't have to plan a wedding.
    • You'll save a lot of time and energy, as weddings involve many, many details.
    • You won't have to make painful choices, such as deciding whom to invite and not invite.
    • You will avoid offending anyone who would not have been invited to the wedding.
    • You can prevent potentially contentious issues such as which church or clergy you'll use and who will be maid of honour, best man, and so on.
    • You can save a lot of money!
    • You can spend more on your honeymoon--or just put your savings toward a down payment on a home, retirement savings, debt repayment, or any other purpose.
    • You can focus solely on your partner, your relationship, and your upcoming life together, making the elopement potentially more romantic.
    • You can always celebrate with loved ones another way, such as with a party.

    You may consider the pros and cons above and decide that you nevertheless want a wedding -- along with all, or most, of what that entails. That's fine because it still doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.

    Saving for a Wedding Is Easier If the Wedding Costs Less

    A little creative thinking can help you spend a lot less on your wedding. Below are some more ideas to consider. 

    The more of them that you use, the more money you can save. The more minor your expected total cost, the less you'll have to keep for your wedding.

    Music performed live for a cocktail party.

    After all, you want the dance floor to be packed, so the music is usually a high focus.

    However, the tunes that are being played softly in the background during cocktail hour are just that. Therefore, it might be irrelevant whether the experience is real life or a Spotify playlist.

    Although we'd be the first to recommend splurging on a fantastic wedding band or DJ, we've found that hiring a string quartet for the cocktail hour is usually not well received.

    It doesn't matter what genre of music you pipe in, because your guests will be too busy conversing and drinking to notice.

    Spending less on a band to play at your reception is an option if you don't care too much about having live music.


    A party bus is a great idea if you have the budget for it and your ceremony and reception are located at different venues.

    And if they don't, there are plenty of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft that shouldn't be too expensive or hard for your guests to utilise.

    If you are in a large city where taxis are freely accessible, you may elect not to provide transportation.

    Know that there may be fewer taxis and rideshare choices available if your wedding is in a more rural or out-of-the-way location.

    It would be ideal if both the ceremony and the reception could take place in the same setting.

    Upgrading Rentals

    It's not uncommon for reception halls to include the use of their tables, chairs, and linens in the price of their rental.

    They may not be fancy or even your first pick, but they can get the job done and save you money.

    Use of any in-house rentals is cost-free as they are included in your fee.

    There is a high opportunity cost associated with upgrading rental properties.

    Go for a Buffet

    Wedding Planning Tips

    Having guests help themselves at a buffet rather than being waited on individually is one approach to save catering costs.

    Using this method, you can significantly reduce your final bill.

    Even if you can only afford chicken since servers have to be paid, you can use the money you saved to treat yourself to something nicer next time.

    However, if you have a buffet, roast beef can be within your budget.

    It's possible that you could save several hundred dollars or more by choosing a buffet for your wedding rather than a sit-down meal, depending on the guest count and the menu selections.

    If you choose, you can also serve only light snacks like cheese and crackers at several stations set up around the venue.

    If your wedding is in the late afternoon or after dinner, you can get away with this.

    You can save money without sacrificing food quality by providing hors d'oeuvres instead of a complete meal (which typically includes appetisers).

    Light refreshments will follow the ceremony is a great way to let visitors know what they can expect to eat after the ceremony is over with.

    When exactly will you break even with this plan of action?

    Well, the cost of wedding food can vary greatly, depending on what you serve and whose firm you hire.

    The average cost of a wedding lunch served by a caterer is between $50 and $150 per diner.

    Get Bids for Big Jobs.

    You can avoid the hassle of having to personally enquire about prices from bands, photographers, and other wedding service providers by using a site that allows you to outline your needs and invite qualified professionals to submit bids.

    Of course you should look at their previous work and contact referrals. Let Boutique Events Group Wedding Venue help you create the most magical day of your life. 

    Many professional photographers charge over $2,000 to capture a wedding, but by asking for bids online, you may find someone willing to do the job for $800.

    In a similar vein, you could potentially hire a band or DJ for a few hundred dollars rather than a few thousand.

    Enlist Friends

    See if any of your skilled friends would be interested in helping you out with your wedding as a gift or for a reduced rate.

    They could play music at the ceremony, record it, create the cake, or arrange the flowers.

    The average cost of hiring a videographer is $1,500.

    There is a great way to cut costs on your wedding day coverage if you have a resourceful friend who has a video recorder and is ready to do it as a gift for the happy couple.

    However, you shouldn't hire just anyone to help you out with complex projects.

    Instead of asking a well-intentioned good friend who might not be so excellent at the task, perhaps check the photographer buddy's portfolio carefully before approaching him or her, and ask someone who has impressed you with their flower-arranging talents.

    Remember, this is your big day, so if you're not sure, hire someone who comes highly recommended.

    If your friend is a legally recognized minister in your state, they can officiate your wedding.

    In any case, online temporary ordinations can be obtained at low cost.

    To find out what forms of identification are needed, contact your local secretary of state or town clerk.

    Numerous friends and family members of couples getting married across the country have paid $50 or less to obtain interim ordination certificates from various organizations.

    Don't Be So Traditional.

    It's common to begin wedding preparations with the standard mental picture of a large wedding celebration complete with a formal reception.

    But perhaps your personal finances and preferences don't align with that projection. Don't be scared to go against the grain and do things in a unique or perhaps cheaper way.

    Some popular wedding dates are the third Saturday of June and the third Saturday of September. For obvious reasons of supply and demand, weddings on weekends in the middle of "wedding season" tend to be more costly.

    Savings can be substantial if the wedding takes place during the week, outside of peak wedding season, or both.

    Most wedding venues provide significant discounts during off-peak seasons, and many vendors (including photographers, musicians, and even some caterers) will be free on a Thursday in January and willing to negotiate a lower pricing in exchange for the work.

    Think creatively about where you could have a wedding that is low-cost but still beautiful and significant to you and your guests. This may be a friend's backyard, the beach, the park where you had your first date, or anywhere else with sentimental value.

    Potlucks are a great way to cut costs, and they can be used in place of a catered event.

    Traditionally, brides have splurged on an extravagant gown costing $1,000 or more, but if you do your research, you might be able to locate a stunning gown for about $250 online.

    Schools in the area could be a good resource for locating potential service providers. Hiring a skilled student from a local photography school can often be done for a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional photographer.

    Skip the Favours

    Wedding favours are a simple way to save money that most people won't even notice if you don't have them.

    When you have a large number of guests, the cost of these little extras can really mount up. The guests at your wedding don't need a box of chocolates or a picture frame after they've spent the day eating, drinking, and dancing.

    Do you really need a box of unused trinkets taking up space in your garage for the foreseeable future? Nothing says "I do" like a pen or shot glass engraved with the wedding date.

    In all likelihood, your guests won't care that you didn't drop $300 or $600 on individual party favours.

    They're there to support you, not to score free stuff, after all.

    Create something simple and cheap like seed bombs, personalized key chains or magnets, baked cookies, or lollipops if you're worried they'll mind or want to show your appreciation.

    You can find an overwhelming amount of information online, some of which is bound to pique your interest.

    Downsize Your Invitations

    Put off spending money on fancy gold engraving or calligraphy.

    Some couples spend several thousand dollars, or more than a thousand, on invitation printers for a run of 100 to 300 invites.

    The design alone may cost $500, and then there are the inside and outer envelopes, ribbons, embossing, and so on that could add hundreds more.

    On and other websites, you may discover beautiful invitations or invitation designs for a low price.

    For just $50 or $100, a designer might customise a design you like by adding your names and wedding details, and then send you the final, printed file.

    The next step is to either take the file to a printer or, if possible, print it at home.

    On the other hand, several designers offer printing services for invitations, usually for a fee of $1 to $5 each invite.

    It's possible you and a friend with some artistic talent may even make the invitations yourselves. Use rubber stamps for a decorative touch, and pick up some high-quality, substantial paper from an office supply store or on the web.

    The printed word on linen has the potential to seem particularly elegant.

    If you want to make a party out of it, you can address the envelopes yourself. You might also ask around to see if someone knows how to write calligraphy and would be willing to lend a hand.

    Paper Invitations

    Especially for more elaborate cards, the stationery and delivery for paper wedding invitations can add up quickly.

    While sending out electronic invitations instead of paper ones may not have the same level of formality, they are cheaper and better for the environment.

    We realise this will not go over well, but if money is scarce, expensive invitations are not necessary.

    While invites certainly set the tone for the event, I've had customers who spend thousands on them only to have guests request copies of the printed materials anyhow.

    Send out electronic invitations to most of your attendees and print out paper invitations for the few people you know won't be able to open the electronic ones.

    Guests won't keep the invitations even if they're well-designed and contain all the necessary information.

    And if somebody does bother you about it, well, you shouldn't have invited them to your wedding in the first place.

    If you're not into electronic invitations, you can always cut down on the amount of paper used for other aspects of the wedding instead, like the program or the meal.

    Buy Your Liquor from a Store That Will Take Back Unopened Bottles.

    You (or your wedding planner, or the liquor store you're buying from) should order more alcohol than you think you'll need so that it doesn't run out during the reception.

    That's well and dandy, but after the party's done, you don't want to be stuck with expensive, unused booze cases.

    Fortunately, a lot of retailers will transport liquor and give you money back if you return any bottles that haven't been opened. Consider switching alcohol suppliers if your current one is unwilling to do so. When it comes to your special day, Boutique Events Group has proven itself to be an iconic wedding venue and function centre in Melbourne


    You can't call it a celebration if there's no cake. Even more so, you probably don't want your wedding to feel like a business gathering.

    Still, it's possible that going all out on a lavish wedding cake and other sweets may be wasteful.

    Cut the Cake Early in the Reception

    Wedding Planning Tips

    Here's a money-saving trick that many people never think of: Don't put off cutting the cake at the reception. 

    Why? Well, getting to it early in the reception can allow the photographer and videographer to wrap up their work earlier and thus charge you less.

    Otherwise, they might stick around for another hour or two to record the final significant event. If your photographer is charging you $200 per hour, you might save $200 to $400 with this suggestion.

    After the cake has been cut and the dessert bar has been opened, guests move on to other activities, such as dancing and mingling, rather than dessert.

    Make sure everyone gets one slice or serving of whatever you're serving, and then just make it look nice and taste delicious. Some waste is inevitable, but hopefully not as much.

    Another option is to cut a more minor, ornamental cake for the photos, but have your caterer cut and serve a simple sheet cake in the same flavour.

    You shouldn't feel obligated to serve a wedding cake if neither you nor your spouse particularly enjoys sweets.

    Invite Fewer People

    You can save tens of thousands of dollars if you make some painful choices and have fewer guests at your wedding.

    Consider the fixed costs (the dress, the limo, the music, the photographer, the cake, etc.) for a wedding with 200 guests: around $10,000.

    While feeding and entertaining two hundred guests will cost you $20,000 (including food, favours, hired furniture, and other incidentals).

    That adds up to $30,000 altogether.

    Your total cost will drop to $20,000 if you are able to cut the guest list in half, saving you $10,000 in fixed expenses and another $10,000 in costs associated with the variable nature of your invitees' attendance. A savings of $10,000 is significant.

    Cutting the list by only 50 names might save you close to $5,000.

    Think carefully about how many guests you absolutely need to have at your wedding.

    Don't think you have to let every adult bring a "plus one"; you may invite just known couples and have single people attend on their own to cut down on the guest list dramatically.

    Skip the Wedding Planner -- or Don't

    It's becoming increasingly common for engaged couples to hire a wedding planner or coordinator to handle a sizable portion of the preparations on their behalf.

    This can help you save a lot of effort and time, but it won't come cheap.

    They can range in price from considerably less than $1,000 to more than $3,000, although the average is closer to $1,500 to $3,000.

    You could save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars if you took on this responsibility yourself.

    However, it might be wise to save money elsewhere and engage a professional wedding planner if you are bad at organisation and multitasking (these are not qualities that everyone possesses) or if you simply don't have the time for wedding preparation.

    Remember that your time has value, too.

    The average time spent each week on wedding preparations, according to a study of those currently or recently employed in the field, was around 10 hours.

    If you work 50 weeks and spend 10 hours per week preparing your wedding, you will have spent around $6,000.

    Perhaps hiring a wedding coordinator might be beneficial.

    Keep in mind that while hiring a planner will cost money, it will likely end up saving you money in the long run due to the planner's familiarity with cost-effective vendors.

    Save Aggressively for Your Wedding and Minimize Financial Pain

    The typical length of a marriage engagement is 14 months.

    If yours is around the same time, you have approximately a year and a bit longer to save up for the big day. (You could be speedy about it, going from engagement to wedding in just two or three months or less; or, you could also be engaged for several years.)

    Estimate the full cost of the wedding (and add an extra 5–10% for the unknown), deduct the money you have set aside that you can spend on the wedding, and divide the rest by the number of months until the wedding. You'll need to put aside that much money every month.

    Take a wedding that's 18 months away, with a planned cost of $20,000, and assume you have $5,000 saved. In other words, we need to raise $15,000.

    To save that much over 18 months, you'll need to put away $833 a month, at the very least.

    If that's a scary amount, you may want to consider postponing the wedding or cutting costs elsewhere.

    It may be preferable to postpone the wedding until you are able to pay for it in full without falling into debt. (Some costs, like rental and catering deposits, will need to be paid up front, so factor that into your budget.)

    Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding Expenses?

    In 2020, average wedding spending came to $28,964, according to data collected by Brides. 1 This emphasizes why planning a wedding budget is so important. Without a budget, you may be at greater risk of overspending or creating debt to pay for wedding expenses. Keep in mind that $28,964 is an average.
    As of 2022, our annual survey of 2,500+ couples confirms that Australian couples spent an average of $32,228 on their wedding day. On average, couples spent 25.5% more than their original wedding budget, with most Australian couples starting their wedding budget at around $25,677
    Traditionally, the bride is only solely responsible for paying for the groom's wedding band and wedding gifts for her bridesmaids. However, there are many wedding costs (everything from a coordinator to flowers and décor) that are often shared between the bride and her family.
    According to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding costs $33,900, including the engagement ring.
    Consider these average wedding costs, again from The Knot:
    • Venue - $16,107.
    • Photographer - $2,783.
    • Reception band/music - $4,156.
    • Florist - $2,534.
    • Videographer - $1,995.
    • Wedding dress - $1,564.
    • Groom's attire - $280.
    • Wedding cake - $582.
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