Top Budget Tips to Reduce your Wedding Cost

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Getting married is a costly affair and most of us need to work towards a budget. This does not mean that our wedding cannot be what we always dreamed of. There are some very clever ways to reduce the cost of your wedding and get more bang for your bug. Here are some great ways to reduce the cost of your wedding and make your wedding day unforgettable.


1)      Choosing Your Wedding Venue

Choosing your wedding venue is one of the most obvious budget choices that you will make. You will need a venue for the Ceremony and one for the Reception. A good idea is to combine reception and ceremony venue into one single venue. Not only does this make the wedding simpler from an organisational point of view, but you can also save the fees that you might have to pay for holding your Ceremony at a public place such as a park or beach.

If you are on a tight budget you can use beautiful venues close to the beach. For example Surf Life Saving Clubs often offer to use their venue for functions such as weddings. In most cases the view is spectacular. The other advantage is that you can choose a local caterer who generally is more cost effective and you can bring your own drinks.

Look out for your favourite local cafe or bistro that does not normally cater for weddings. When I got married we were regulars at the Bower Restaurant in Manly. We asked the question and they provided sensational finger food for a cocktail wedding. My brother in law brought the wine and beer and we had the most beautiful wedding reception in a truly magical location. 

You can save money by negotiating a better deal if you perform your wedding during the off Peak Season. Whilst in summer most wedding venues are fully booked and do not need to offer special deals. You can most likely get a better deal in Off Peak Season.  

2)      Weekday vs. Weekend Wedding

The same applies for Weddings that are held on a weekday. Many vendors offer special prices if you have your wedding during the week instead of the weekend. Venues are usually not booked and with a bit of haggling you can get a discount.

This is not limited to the venues. Celebrants, Makeup Artists, Hair stylist, you name it, all have less work during the week and hence might be willing to give you a discount. That way you can shave a fair bit off your cost.

3)      DIY – Do it Yourself

DIY can be real fun for you and close friends and family when preparing for your wedding. You can get together and prepare many things that you would never have considered to make yourself. Anything you created yourself will be extra special for you and your guests.

DIY does not mean necessarily that you do this yourself. There are always some passionate hobby tailors, hobby florists or bakers in your circles that will be more than happy to create dresses, cakes or floral arrangements at cost.

  1. DIY Flowers

DIY Floral Arrangements are fun to make and it is not that difficult. You can save a fair bit of money when you go to the markets get the flowers and arrange them yourself. Here is a great step by step guide that will help you when making your own flower arrangements for tables, church or the bouquets for the Bridal Party. Click here to find the easy guide for DIY Flowers.

You need to keep the flowers fresh so hold off to making the floral arrangements until late.


  1. Cake

Cakes can be prepared early if you use durable ingredients. The most popular choice for wedding cakes used to be fruitcake that lasts for weeks. When making your cake remember not to use ingredients that go off easily such as fresh cream etc. Using fresh flowers for decoration instead of sugar ornaments will keep the cost down as well.

If you don’t know how to make professionally looking cakes you can find a lot of material on the net. Here are some ebook options that can help you creating and decorating cakes:

Frosted Dream Cake Decoration

Cake Decoration Genius

Wedding Cakes You Can Make: Designing, Baking, and Decorating the Perfect Wedding Cake


  1. Dresses

Your wedding dress is something special and unless you are really experienced in sewing and fashion design you will probably not consider making it yourself. However, there is a fun website - the Wedding Dress Designer Website where you can design a dress and see how it looks. Even if you are not planning to make your own dress it is fun to play with the designer tool. Try it out.



You can consider dress making for the Brides Maids. Find the sewing enthusiast auntie and she will probably jump at the opportunity. In some cultures there are traditions where the women get together and sew all the clothes for the wedding. It is a lovely way to include the whole family in your wedding preparation.

  1. Invitations

Making your own invitations is a lovely way to prepare for your wedding as a couple. You can design the invitations, print or handwrite them and assemble them individually. There are a many cool ideas for wedding invitations that define you as a couple.  

If you are looking for ideas on every Bridal Fair you will find one or two vendors who supply the bits and pieces for classy looking invitations. You can also go to your local art and craft shop or to the markets to find cool things that make great invitations. This can bring the cost down, and create some very unique invitations.  Here is a book that you might find helpful: How To Make A Wedding Invitation.

At AD Photography we offer a Pre-Wedding portrait session that you can use for you invitation or for your guestbook. For example we can print the image for you to assemble a little cube with your picture on it. What a unique way to present your invitation?

When you design and print your invitation on the computer. Try to find some interesting fonts on the web that can spice up your wedding invitation. There are many thousands of free fonts that you can download that look as if they were drawn by a professional calligrapher. Here is one example website 1001 Free Fonts.

4)      Second Hand or Rental

A great way to reduce cost is to get some items second hand or to rent them instead of buying. The most obvious item to rent is the outfit for the boys. Instead of buying suits that they will never wear again you can go to one of the many Hire places and get the suits for the Groomsmen fitted.

With Wedding dresses it is a bit trickier. Wedding dresses are quite vulnerable and most hiring places don’t offer them. There are however options to get them second hand.  If you always wanted a specific designer dress but you afford a new one, try to get one second hand. At the I Do Gown or Still White websites you can find fantastic deals in your size and for many great Fashion designers. Try to find someone locally that way you can see the merchandise and even try it on. Most of these dresses have only been worn once so they are as good as new.

5)      Some tricks to bring the food cost down

A lot of wedding venues have set menus packaged up for you to choose from. One way to keep the cost at bay and provide 4 or 5 course meal is to order a Degustation Menu. This menu provides smaller portions but allows having a sampling of the chef’s best signature dishes. What a great way to get very classy food and keep the cost down.

A very popular choice is to have a cocktail reception. Cocktail receptions allow you to fit more guests into a venue as people do not sit down in the traditional way. The Cocktail menus are also much more cost effective. When serving canapés make sure they are hand delivered to the guests by staff. Guests tend to consume more when self serving. Choose some filling foods among the more the more expensive options so no one is going hungry.

The other option you could consider is to have a Dessert Reception. In your schedule of the day you could have the Ceremony a little earlier and spend some extra time with your Photographer while your guests have an hour or two to organise themselves. At the reception you will only serve dessert and cake.  Make it clear in your invitation that there will only be dessert served.

When using a caterer you can add some nice salads among more expensive items. This will allow keeping the cost down and making the buffet look quite upmarket.

Another great idea is to have a classy wine tasting reception. Particularly when holding your wedding in wine country such as the Hunter Valley you can have different food and wine stations where your guests can sample different canapés, salads and other dishes as well as drinks. 

6)      Drinks

Drinks can easily be highest cost for catering. Most venues provide different beverage packages that allow you to choose up front what type of drinks are served and what the cost per person will be. Select a package that includes standard drinks and soft drinks and leave the more expensive products such as shots and mixed drinks for the guests to buy themselves.

Limit the time for the reception.  Instead of having a 4 or 5 hour reception you can plan for only 3 hours. With the shorter reception guests will consume less and the cost will be lower. You will still have a memorable wedding .  If there are no beverage packages that you can purchase up front make sure the Tap is limited and you do not get a shock at the end of the night.

BYO is a good concept when you choose your wedding venue. You can purchase the drinks at a much lower price at the local bottle shop or directly at the wineries. This way you can reduce cost and get very decent product.  

7)      Use a Wedding Planner who can negotiate better deals

Wedding planners have many advantages. They can help you organise your wedding quickly because they have good contacts in the industry. The high volume of weddings a planner organises gives better buying power and they might have special arrangements with some vendors to provide better deals. This way you not only get the wedding organised but you might also save the money that it costs for the wedding planner and more.

Here are a couple of great ebooks that were written by wedding planners that can improve your own planning with great ideas for your wedding:

Master Wedding Planning Guide

Wedding Planning on a Budget


8)      Bridal Cars

Bridal Cars make excellent props for your wedding photos. They are luxurious and a lot of fun. It will make you feel special being chauffeured around in a limousine or in Luxury Vintage Car. Renting the car is based on hours. You can safe some cost when you have the car only for getting to the Ceremony and from there to the Reception. Photos can be taken at the Ceremony and at the reception place or a location on the way.

It is better for your budget if you leave it at that and not have the driver wait for you while you are having fun at the reception. Plan to use your own car or someone in the family to get home from the reception.

You can also consider to use the Luxury car of a friend or family member to save the extra few hundred dollars that it will cost you for a bridal car.

9)      Finance

Budget is about an amount of money that you have available at the time of your wedding. You could consider stretching this budget a little bit by organising finance options. The most common financial institution for Wedding Couples is the parents who can chip in most of the time. You can off course take out a loan that will increase the amount you can spend on the day.

Another option is to use finance options to stretch the cost for the products that you use. Jewellery stores often provide some finance option.

At AD Photography we offer the photography and our albums to be financed using a system called Home Lay-by. You pay 30% upfront and once you received the photos and / or album you can pay the rest in 12-18 monthly payments. For example if you have a budget of $1500 for your wedding photography, but you would like to order a package that is worth $4000 you can pay $1300 up front and then pay the rest over 18 months at an easy $200 per month. This is a great way to get that beautiful album that you wanted and even pay less than planned before the wedding.

Give us a call if you would like to learn more about this option.


I hope this article is helpful. I put a number of references to other resources into the article that you might find helpful. Good luck and have fun organising your wedding.  

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