How to Reduce the Cost of Your Wedding

Congratulations on your engagement! Hopefully you’ve had some time to celebrate and enjoy your loved-up happiness. Now you might be ready to start planning your special day. Here are some tips on ways to reduce the cost of your wedding.

My husband, Trent and I both wanted a beautiful wedding and for it to also be within a reasonable budget. Weddings these days can cost a small fortune, with the average in Australia being about $50,000. Whilst it is a huge life event, it needs to be affordable. Ours came in at about half of that, five years ago and that was with about 100 guests; so less guests would make the cost even lower. The savings you make by doing a bit of planning, could go towards a house deposit, study fees or your honeymoon.

Talk to the Parents

We were both lucky in that our parents contributed towards our wedding. This means that with our savings, it was a three-way split. It’s important to have the money discussion early; whilst it’s a bit uncomfortable, it’s also necessary, so that you know how much money you have to spend. Our parents had plenty of time to think about what they were comfortable contributing and came back to us with a figure that we were then able to work with.

budget and reduce the cost of your wedding
Know your budget early and plan to that

Planning Resources

You may want to engage a wedding planner but I didn’t want this cost and Trent was available to help me organise things. There are also plenty of planning tips and checklists available online. We started planning about fourteen months out, so with plenty of time, it wasn’t that stressful to do it ourselves. We started by putting our total budget in a spreadsheet and listed all the items that our wedding would require and how much we thought each would cost. You might find some of the resources at Offbeat Bride useful.


Decide on what is most important to you. This will allow you to make any cut backs, if necessary. In my opinion, the top five things are the venue, wedding dress, food, the celebrant and photographer.

The first thing to do is think about the time of year you want to get married and the style and vibe you want to create. You can get inspiration from friends’ weddings, Pinterest, Instagram and bridal magazines. Then you can find a venue to suit this and book in your date. You want to make sure that the venue can cater for the number of people you’ll invite and any special circumstances. We chose the Brisbane Powerhouse because it’s central, relaxed (with the ceremony and reception in the one spot) and has great views of fig trees, the river and the artsy building (with a wet weather option). You can check out my venues page for other suggestions.

Brisbane Powerhouse photographed by Murray Redpath
Brisbane Powerhouse – Murray Redpath Photography

Then you’ll want to book your celebrant (hopefully me 😊) and a photographer, as the good ones book out several months in advance.

Tips to Reduce the Cost of your Wedding

  • We limited our wedding guests to adults only (except for my husband’s niece and nephew). This way our friends could also relax, without having to watch their children.  The more heads, the more expensive food and drinks will be.
  • We got married on a Saturday, but getting married on a weekday will save you money.
  • We decided not to have bonbonnieres 
  • Created our own music playlist, instead of hiring a DJ. I have plenty of song suggestions for each part of the day/night that you can use.
  • Made our own thank you cards (for each guest, after our wedding)
  • My mum did my make-up and nails (she’s a beauty therapist and the owner of Beauty Sense in Margate)
My mum from Beauty Sense did my makeup
Beauty Sense at work, captured by Murray
  • I made the bouquets and button holes. Flowers were bought from the Rocklea markets. I made them a few days before (YouTube videos are great) and then kept them in a bucket of water in the fridge. I mainly used carnations and baby’s breath.
  • Made my own earrings – bought Swarovski pendant beads & bits online
make your own bouquet and earrings to save money and reduce the budget of your wedding
You might like to DIY your earrings & flowers too
Photo by Murray Redpath

More Tips

  • Chose the standard drinks package, instead of premium to reduce the cost of our wedding
  • Chose cocktail package over sit down dining (also more relaxed atmosphere)
  • Bought dresses for my two bride’s maids on sale at DFO Review and bride’s maids bought their own shoes
  • I bought my dress online (Dido Bridal, which seems to have vanished off the internet) and then had it altered by a Brisbane dressmaker, Marzena). I gave the online dress company my measurements but it was nowhere near the right size. If you do want to buy online, make sure you allow plenty of time for the dress to arrive and make any necessary alterations.  I’ve also seen dresses from After Five, which look stunning and start at about $350.
Father walks bride down the aisle in online bought high lo wedding dress
Not too shabby for a dress bought online! (further information above).
Photo by Murray Redpath
  • Chose minimalist decorations (had vases at the reception to hold the bouquets)
  • Trent bought his cufflinks from eBay (the Thor hammer)
  • Made our own wedding invitations and included a card for a wishing well request in the form of a nicely worded poem
Having a wishing well can help your budget by funding the honeymoon
There are lots of examples for wishing well wording on the internet. Image via Mon Cheri Bridals – can be purchased on Lola Love Notes on Etsy.
  • Trent’s close friend acted as MC for the reception
  • Chose a white standard driven chauffeur instead of a limo
  • Made our own wishing well box from timber
  • We choreographed our own wedding dance. There was lots of practise after work
Bride and groom choreographed own wedding dance to save money
You could choreography your own dance or do something else, such as play a live song.
Murray behind the lens.

The Tips Continue

  • The groomsmen contributed 50% towards the cost of their suits
  • We came home after our wedding, rather than paying for a hotel
  • Bought our cake from The Cheesecake Shop (which was a delicious white mud) and made our own wedding cake topper
  • Had the wedding cake as dessert and swapped the venue’s sweet treats dessert option for more savoury bites
  • Shopped around to compare quotes and inclusions. This includes the honeymoon. We went through Hello World and got a good deal. We went to The Maldives (Sun Island), where we fed stingrays and swam with a whale shark, and Singapore, where we hung out with orangutans at the zoo and went to the beautiful Orchid Garden. 
Bride and Groom cutting Cheesecake Shop wedding cake with DIY cake topper at the Brisbane Powerhouse
Cake from the Cheesecake Shop with DIY topper, pic taken by Murray Redpath Photography.

We had a wonderful wedding. By having lots of time to plan, we were able to save money by DIYing lots of things, without having to compromise on quality vendors, such as the venue and photographer.

I hope you found these tips on how to reduce the cost of your wedding useful. Any questions, please contact me to ask. Let’s chat about your ceremony. I could be the celebrant for you 😊

Published by juliacelebrant

Marriage celebrant conducting relaxed, beautiful and light-hearted marriage ceremonies in Brisbane and beyond.