Tips for an Inexpensive Wedding Day

You can have a beautiful Wedding day and it not break the bank balance.

As Celebrants we see a large variety of different ideas for the big day.  Just because your day costs a lot of money, doesn’t mean it’s going to be your perfect dream Wedding.

It can still be very special but with a twist which puts your own personal stamp on the day and makes it more like your personality or style. You can theme your wedding to blend with a hobby such as 50’s dancing, or disco. We will write another blog soon on themed weddings we have seen.  Look out for that one if you are really interested in themes.


Do you want a cheap wedding, but don’t want it to look cheap?

We’ll start at the beginning of the planning.

Except for people who really need to know, when planning your wedding, try and keep the word ‘wedding’ out of your purchases. Sometimes just that one word adds a whole lot more money to the purchase.

There may be some things which you just don’t want to miss out for your wedding, if you are saving money in other areas, it won’t matter quite so much.



As Celebrants we do believe that you should spend a reasonable amount of money to hire a great Celebrant.  Celebrants are not created equally, and a very cheap Celebrant can ruin your day.  A good Celebrant will create a ceremony that is beautiful and meaningful for you and your guests to remember and enjoy forever. Those words which are said are a reflection of your hopes and your dreams for the future of your relationship. Therefore they are an important foundation. As is their presentation, the sound of their voice and of course a warm and friendly personality.



Hire a professional photographer.  I have seen many Brides and Grooms very upset after their Wedding to find out that their friends did not do a good enough job of capturing their wedding. Sometimes you can be lucky, but guests generally do not know when to get those fabulous shots which last the lifetime of the relationship, the ones you want to show loved ones, frame and put on the wall and keep for future generations.

One of our next blog posts will cover the way to get the best photos from your wedding.

The Dress or the Suit

Decide on the look you want for your big day. From laid back to formal, there are ways of achieving just the look you want to wear without the huge costs associated with wedding gear.

Everyone has a friend who is super stylish, ask them to help with the planning. Vintage wear is very popular and far less costly than new. Some couples are choosing a time period such as fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, or a look such as rockabilly and raiding 2nd hand shops for their finery.  This is far less costly than a normal ‘wedding’ dress or suit. Discount shops are also often a great option where you can get a wedding bargain. Places like Stones Corner, Harbour Town, Robina and DFO’s have great bargains that may suit your wedding.

There are lots of blogs online where brides and grooms give tips on how they saved on wedding wear.

Because wedding clothes are generally only worn once, some beautiful styles do end up in second hand shops.  Also normal shops often have cheaper dresses and clothes which are suitable, but just not called ‘wedding’ dresses or ‘wedding suits’.  Prices seem to rise exponentially as soon as the word wedding is used.

Grooms are far more likely to wear a more casual shirt and pants, without the tie, for less formal affairs. Bridesmaids do not always have to wear the same dress in the same style.  We have seen beautiful weddings where all of the attendants have chosen different coloured clothes and it can look fantastic.

It is not necessary to have bridesmaids or groomsmen at all, although it is great to have a designated friend to be by your side on the day, to help you dress and calm those last minute nerves.

Those people who you may have chosen for the roles of Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid, they will still be chuffed if you ask them to be your witnesses for the day instead, also it will be less costly for them. If they really want to still be a part of the wedding party, just have a look through their wardrobes if possible a choose something that they already own to wear for the big day.

Online is a great repository of wedding wear which is cheaper.  Do check sizes and have a friend or seamstress ready for any adjustments which may be required.  eBay is also a good source.

There are a lot of cheaper alternatives made overseas, do check however that they have correct sizing for you and check out the references, as I have seen some disasters happen here.  This can happen especially if the clothes arrive just before the wedding day.  You don’t need those last minute stresses.  If you are doing this, order as far ahead as possible.

We have also seen people just wear their best dress or their best outfit for their big day and it still look just as fabulous.

Also hiring clothes is obviously a budget option, but can still be expensive.


Flowers and Decorations

Flowers don’t have to be a big deal.  Sometimes just one long stemmed lily or rose with a ribbon around it or trailing down, does the trick.

Sometimes people ask all the guests to bring a flower, a nominated person collects all the flowers and ties some ribbon (with some wiring in it, you can get this from Spotlight or craft places) in your theme colour and tie it around the bunch, this also looks fabulous and costs next to nothing.

Rocklea Markets in Brisbane (other cities will all have their flower markets) always have beautiful fresh flowers which don’t cost a bundle, again you can just tie a ribbon around them and voila. Buy them the day before if you want and if it is summer keep refrigerated.

Make it a project:  a lovely friend of ours decided she wanted felt flowers. Again look for a pattern online.  The felt is not expensive and is available in lots of colours; you can have some friendly craft nights with some wine and nibblies to make them.  It was tons of fun and the result was gorgeous.  They took the theme all the way through to the men’s buttonhole, parent’s corsage and buttonhole, flowers for the hair of the bridesmaids and bride’s flowers. The flowers then became keepsakes forever and didn’t wilt on the day.

Also if you really want to save, you don’t need to carry flowers at all.

Another tip is to save money on signing table decorations by putting your bridal flowers on the table at the signing. It looks great and does the trick for the photos.

You don’t have to have an expensive table to sign on.  Once you place a tablecloth on the table, you can’t see what’s underneath.  Also photographers only focus on the couple and the certificate and the flowers, so a tablecloth and trimmings can hide a multitude of ‘sins’.

Look around your house or friend’s houses for decorative objects. Hanging ribbons from trees if an outdoor venue looks great.  Someone we know had a bit of a disco theme and hung tiny disco balls from ribbons in the trees, which really set the scene and was not overly expensive. Recently Celebrant Tamzin performed a vintage wedding where there were vintage bird cages hanging in the trees near the signing table which looked amazing.  They had also found an old gramophone and records to place around the area to set the theme.

Use all the talents of your friends and relatives if available.  Think about it long and hard. I recently saw a photo of a decoration which was made for a little girl’s birthday party.  It was a bouquet of tulle flowers on a ribboned pole which was made by the little girl’s Aunt and looked fantastic. If you think about it, lots of people have talents which they don’t get the opportunity to display every day.  Friends and relatives usually love being asked to be a part of the day in some way and get a kick out of using their talents to make your wedding more special.


Cakes on a budget

Specialty Wedding Cake shops do tend to charge a lot.  You can choose a beautiful non wedding cake from a lovely shop and buy or make a topper which is cheap online and again, there you go: instant wedding cake.

Some people have parents, aunts, uncles friends who just love to bake.  These days the cake is not usually the traditional fruit cake, but more likely a mud cake or lemon cake or similar.  These are much easier to make. My friend got her Mum to make three cakes of three different flavours, all iced the same and then popped a wedding type topper on the cake, and had the most beautiful cake.

Cupcakes are also in vogue.  There are beautiful toppers available for these online too.  Most cakes can be made in advance and frozen and defrosted and decorated closer to the date of the wedding.  No matter how you home make your cake, it will always end up being hundreds of dollars cheaper than one made in a commercial facility and will have the added flavor if made by a friend or relative of love.


Budget Bonbonniere

Bonbonniere or wedding favours are not a necessary component of a wedding. If you are stuck on having these at your celebration, check out Pinterest for cheap and crafty ideas for things to home make.


The Wedding Site

Lots of couples these days use their own gardens as a wedding  venue,  or the gardens of friends or relatives for their big day.  There is no charge for these of course.  There is always a lovely intimate feel to weddings held in people’s private homes and gardens.  Also if you go with a restaurant and book it out entirely, sometimes they allow you to use the site for your ceremony for free.


Wedding Receptions on a Budget

There are many ways to minimise the cost of receptions.  I have attended a morning reception where in lieu of gifts, everyone was asked to bring a plate of food and after the wedding we all had quite a banquet.  There was not much for the Bride and Groom to worry about here, and because it was breakfast, no alcohol much to speak of.  There was a champagne toast and that was it, coffee, tea and juice were also provided by guests.

Recently a celebrant friend of mine attended a wedding where they had a bonfire in the garden, and had hired a gourmet pizza van to attend and cook beautiful pizzas for everyone.  It was low cost and quite a quirky idea. All the guests loved the idea and there were meat, vegetarian and vegan options to suit everyone.

Some clients have had a picnic in the park, where everyone brings picnic food to share.

Alternatively if you ask the guests (at a small wedding usually) to come to a restaurant and pay for their own meal also in lieu of gifts, it can still be a lovely occasion.

There is also the backyard Barby for those amongst you who are laid back and just like to have a party to celebrate.  The options are only limited by your imagination.

Best wishes for your unique budget wedding.


If you would like more information or to ask any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us:

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