Planning a Budget Wedding? Where to Cut Back and Where to Spend

November 14, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

The average wedding here in Australia is believed to cost a whopping $36,200, a small fortune for just one day.

Your wedding is one day of happiness, all about your relationship, which you and your partner will never get back. But do you really need to spend so much?

The straight answer is no. A budget wedding is something you can really go to town on and we’ve got some great ideas on where you should cut back and what you should go all out on. So whether you’ve been doing your research on Pinterest or scouting Bride Online for ideas, you can have your dream wedding at a reasonable cost…

The venue and ceremony

Let’s be honest, the wedding venue is where the action happens so you want it to be somewhere beautiful that can fit in all your guests. You might be able to set up a marquee on your mate’s field and hold a big old party there (which doesn’t actually sound like a bad idea) but if you want your day to be truly special don’t hold back.  

Verdict: Go all out.

Or opt for a field to save A LOT of money.

The dress

Whilst people keep telling you you’re a bit of a Bridezilla and the day isn’t just about you, let’s be honest, everyone will be craning their necks to get a look at that fabulous white dress you will be wearing as you walk down the altar.

Verdict: Cut back.

That designer dress might be nice but you can source a stunning dress for a smaller price, either by buying second hand or vintage and having it altered to fit. Spend a small amount of your budget.

Wedding attire

Bridesmaids, best men, the groom himself, they all need decking out in some snazzy formal wear.

Verdict: Cut back.

Don’t overspend. Rent out the tuxes for the guys and ask the bridesmaids to buy their own shoes or even their own dresses. You could even opt for cheaper dresses in stores at the mall.

Hair and make up

Simply do it yourself, unless you want a really elaborate hairstyle one of your bridesmaids, after a few practices, should be able to fix your hair for you on the morning.

Verdict: Cut back.

With a little bit of hairspray and a lot of patience and you can save a load of money.

Food and drink

Food and drink is an important aspect of the day, but your budget all depends on what sort of celebration you are holding. Are you having a formal sit down, three-course meal or a more casual, buffet style affair, which you can arrange yourself?

Verdict: Go all out.

The sit down meal will cost exceptionally more than the buffet so decide which you want early. Don’t overspend on the alcohol, put a little money behind the bar for a select few guests as well as some bottles of wine on the tables.


You want the photography to be right, but there are plenty of trainee photographers out there looking for work experience you can contact who will do just as good a job. Give a newbie a chance and dish out some disposable cameras as well to guests to capture as many different shots as possible throughout the day.

Verdict: Cut back.

Shop around and negotiate or hire a photographer in training. They will be less expensive and more accommodating to your needs as they try to impress.

Flowers and decoration

Whilst the thought of a wedding planner and decorator might be a good one, as they do all the hard work for you, doing a bit of DIY for your wedding can be fun, add a personal touch and save you quite a few bucks.

Verdict: Cut back.

Do this on a shoestring. Make your own corsages, table placements and general decorations


There’s always someone out there who knows a friend of a friend who DJs – and friends equal discount.

Verdict: Go all out.

Expect to pay a reasonable amount but always aim to get the price a little lower.

With these ideas in mind a budget wedding shouldn’t be such a problem to arrange, just be sure to be strict on yourself whilst browsing those dresses or deciding on that four tiered cake. Your wedding day can still be one of the most special moments of your life, without overstretching yourself financially.