With recent studies revealing the average Australian wedding costs $65,000, brides-to-be are looking for ways to plan their dream wedding on a budget.
Instead of garlands of flowers and crystal champagne flutes, couples are staging intimate ceremonies, and placing love before money.
Daily Mail Australia spoke to three couples – Geri and Casey Hammond, Cascie and Stacy Kambouris and Michelle and Simon Hutchison – who each revealed how they planned their dream wedding for $10,000 or less.
1. GERI AND CASEY HAMMOND – $10,130
‘Keep it simple, nobody ever remembers all the little things that cost you so much money.’
When planning her wedding to husband Casey, Geri focused on the age old adage that less is more.
The Gold Coast bride planned an intimate 50-guest affair, but told Daily Mail Australia that sticking to a budget did not mean skimping, it just meant prioritising.
‘One of the things that Casey wanted, his only request the whole time, was he did not want a sit-down, formal wedding,’ Mrs Hammond, 28, said.
‘We had a canapé, stand-up style wedding – that reduced the cost from $150 per head to $60 per head.’
The Hammonds were married at Teavine House, Tallebudgerra Valley, with the venue the biggest cost for the couple at $4,500.
Another big purchase was hiring the celebrant, but at $750 Mrs Hammond said he was ‘worth every cent’ and that some of their friends have since gone on to hire him for their own weddings.
The rest they did on a budget.
‘My sister’s best mate owned a cupcake company, and they did our wedding cake and 50 cupcakes for a good price,’ Mrs Hammond said.
‘Alcohol was another big thing, but Casey’s parents paid for that for us – it was their contribution to the wedding.
‘I decided to have a photographer for a couple of hours.’
However, the best value-for-money part of the day, Mrs Hammond said, was the gifts they gave to the guests.
Mrs Hammond’s father makes muesli, which they packaged in brown paper bags for less than $1 each.
2. CASCIE AND STACY KAMBOURIS – $10,000
When guests arrived at Cascie and Stacy Kambouris’ engagement party at Brisbane’s New Farm Park, they were in for a surprise.
Nearly two hours into the party the music stopped, and the Kambouris’ announced they would be tying the knot – right there and then.
‘We walked back home, about 300 metres away, got changed, the groomsmen rode pushbikes back, the food trucks rolled in and we did a massive lawn party,’ Mrs Kambouris said.
‘We had games of checkers on the lawn, bocce, jenga and connect four. It was a really fun day.’
Planning her wedding was a light-bulb moment for Mrs Kambouris, who used the experience as inspiration to launch her own business, Queensland Wedding Hire.
‘What I noticed is that as soon as anyone said wedding … they charged a ridiculous amount,’ she said.
‘I wanted to give people the option to do this cost effectively.’
The biggest cost of her big day, Mrs Kambouris said, was the food and drink for their 100 guests.
However, instead of a sit-down affair the couple opted for food trucks, spending just $20 a head on food and $15 a head on drink.
‘We spent $30 a bottle on bubbly, but went through [Australian liquor chain] Dan Murphy’s to control our costs.
‘If we didn’t use it, we could take it back.’
Another tip to keep costs down from the Kambouris was embracing social media to send out invites. They sent out only 20 printed invitations for their older relatives who did not have Facebook.
The photographs were taken by a friend, who charged the couple $200 for the day.
Mrs Kambouris also saved on bridal attire, with her bridesmaids spending $45 each on dresses and $20 on shoes.
‘The most expensive thing we did was go to MAC [Cosmetics] in the morning to have our make-up done,’ she said.
‘I think it’s really important to keep a list of your must-haves, the things that are not negotiable, and put that list first.
‘Also, talk for three or four different suppliers.’
3. MICHELLE AND SIMON HUTCHISON – $9000
When Sydney couple Michelle and Simon Hutchison sat down to plan their wedding, they had more than their big day in mind.
‘We were saving for a home and land deposit, so we didn’t want to spend too much,’ Mrs Hutchison told Daily Mail Australia of her 2009 nuptials.
‘Our initial budgeting strategy was to spend as little as possible.
‘All my family and friends were married or getting married and spent a lot of money.
‘But they had a lot of extras and a lot of things they paid for that you don’t necessarily have to have.’
With a small, intimate wedding in mind, Mrs Hutchison set out to tackle what would be her biggest spend – the reception.
Instead of a sit-down meal, the Hutchison’s planned a beautiful Sunday afternoon canapé wedding for their 80 guests.
They settled on a package deal that included food, alcohol and a DJ at the reception.
‘Some of the things I looked at was comparing the types of meals available, for instance canapés verses a sit-down meal, and the time of day, so lunch-time versus dinner,’ Mrs Hutchison said.
‘Saturday was the most expensive day to hold the wedding … so we had a Sunday afternoon canapés that brought the cost down.’
In the lead-up to her wedding, Mrs Hutchison worked with friends to keep her budget under wraps.
‘Another good tip is to get friends or any people you know to do things for you on the day,’ she said.
‘A friend who is a hairdresser did our hair at a great price, she did mine for free, and my sister-in-law did my make-up.
‘Someone I knew was a photographer, and he offered to take some photos.
‘At the end of the day you’re there to celebrate getting married and starting a family together … there’s no need to spend more than necessary.
‘The less you spend on a wedding the more to have for things later.’
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