30 January 2010

Febusave - Wedding Money Saving Ideas 101

Just like a marriage, weddings are all about compromise and unfortunately many of us have to weigh up what we want vs what we can afford (or what hubby wants vs what we’ll let him have!).

It’s important to understand from day one that we may need to sacrifice some things to get the wedding of our dreams, without committing ourselves to a lifetime of unnecessary debt.

I know this may seem like a strange addition to my blog, but considering my passion is for food and all things related, Weddings really do have a special place here.

Needless to say, I was very excited to be given the opportunity by Australian Women Online and ANZ Febusave  to share some of my Wedding Money Saving Tips with you.

While I don’t expect you to love all of my ideas, if just one of them helps you save some money, then I consider my job well done.

Wedding Savings 101: The Basics

*Inspiration boards in this post kindly provided by Jen from Green Wedding Shoes

Start an inspiration board:
Collect pictures of what you like once you have a clear picture of your wedding’s theme. This way it will be much easier to keep track of all your ideas and how much each component is going to cost.

You can do this easily by using simple computer programs which several websites offer for free. I used
Mosaic for our wedding. Otherwise, you can do it the old school way with glue and a sheet of cardboard.

It’s time to trim the fat:
Write a list of what is most important to you on the big day and what you aren’t too fussed about.

For example, our top five priorities were food, drink, venue and the wedding cake. The five things we were happy to spend less on were wedding cars, the photographer, flowers, bomboniere and music.

This was a surprise to me as I’d always assumed that hubby would want a fleet of fancy cars and a DJ to rock the reception. Imagine my surprise when he saved us thousands by saying he never cared about the wedding cars and was more than happy to organise the music himself on my iPod.
It was completely unexpected and a brilliant example of how good communication can help keep your budget in line.

Quotes, Quotes, Quotes:
I simply can’t emphasise this enough – and start getting quotes as early as possible. If you leave things to the last minute not only do you limit your options, but the companies who are quoting you know that you’re under pressure (and price accordingly).

Start shopping around early and offer to pay deposits to secure a good price. And remember, don’t be afraid to price match. If a similar product is available elsewhere for a better price, then ask if they can match it.

Always ask for a discount - the worst they can do is say no. If they deny you then ask if there’s another way they can sweeten the deal. The wedding industry is highly competitive and you’ll probably find most businesses are willing to go one step further to secure your booking.

Most importantly, if you’re securing bookings for more than 12 months in advance, sign a contract locking in current prices for your wedding. Some venues can increase their charges per head by up to 10% per year and you don’t want to get caught out.

Shop the sales. Its obvious - but this is where your inspiration board comes in. Knowing what you want and what it's worth makes it that much easier to take advantage of Sale time.

Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget?
The very first thing you should do is have a serious discussion with your partner about exactly how much you’re both comfortable spending.

This will be one of the most memorable and wonderful days of your life, but at the end of the day it’s just that – ONE day, and it can be hard not to get carried away. Once you’ve both decided on a dollar amount, start planning your budget and be strict about sticking to it.

Plan your budget, control your spending:
If you are computer savvy then create your own budget spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. The best thing about doing it yourself is that the options are limitless. You can have everything in the one document from quotes, deposits paid, contacts for guest list, suppliers and deadlines for payments. You can also colour code items to help you stay organised (eg: Urgent, Done, Mum Doing, Fully Paid, Deposit Paid).

If you aren’t good with Excel never fear, there are a million free budget planners available on the internet, it’s just a matter of looking around until you find one that suits.

Using the amount you want to spend, allocate estimates to each expense in your budget. When you get quotes that are more or less than you expected, adjust your budget accordingly.

For example, if your dress costs $500 more than you thought, you will need to trim $500 from somewhere else. You may have to be ruthless at times, but you will thank yourself later when you’re aren’t elbow deep in wedding debt.

How much do you love me?
If you are serious about saving money, and lots of it, it’s time to start calling in favours.

Does someone have a beautiful backyard that you would like to get married in? Is someone great at doing hair or makeup? Does your mum make fabulous cupcakes?

People love to be involved in weddings and are usually flattered you asked for their help. Even if you offer to pay them, it will still be a fraction of what a professional would charge. Most people however will happily accept a small gift or your undying gratitude as a thank-you.

Where did we save the most money?
Wedding package: We had a package that included the car, flowers, cake, ceremony and celebrant (More on this to follow)

Bridal party outfits: Our groomsmen and bridesmaid bought their own outfits. We were relaxed about what they wore and everyone bought something they can wear again.

Photographer: A friend who’s handy with a camera took our photos for free. We also placed two Polaroid cameras on the tables and let our guests go nuts. The outcome was hilarious!

Honeymoon: Negotiating to “Pay Now” for a discounted rate got us a $650 per night penthouse with private rooftop pool for just $250 a night.

Wedding dress: This is a big one and where many brides blow the budget. My dress was $599 from
Living Silk.  I admit that it was being sold as a bridesmaid dress but it was everything I wanted. Try not to be swayed by labels and remember, you’ll (hopefully) never wear this dress again and if you aren’t planning to sell it, then in 20 years it’s going to be a very expensive pain-in-the-wardrobe.

If this post has grabbed your interest and you want more money saving ideas, then stay tuned for the next four posts to follow!

The Dress… and the rest
The Reception
The Honeymoon
The Wedding Package
So, dear Reader - what is your hot Savings Tip?


  1. This is great, Joy.

    *Fingers crossed* This will come in handy later this year.

  2. oh my goodness- You sounds to be so on top of it. I bet I could plan other people's weddings, but when it comes to my own- it will probably be a downright blowout!

    I am a seriously bad bargainer.. i.e too embarrassed to even ask- but you make it seem so simple!

  3. best wishes -- interesting info!

    www.ashortguidetoahappymarriage.com -- come visit!

  4. Great ideas for weddings! It was an amazing day but our wedding was so expensive!

  5. It’s important to understand from day one that we may need to sacrifice some things to get the wedding of our dreams, without committing ourselves to a lifetime of unnecessary debt.