At the risk of offending you, I’m not going to sugar coat it – beautiful and lavish weddings for a large group of guests in a major metropolitan city cost big bucks. To expect otherwise is either naive or arrogant. However, there are three proven ways to saving money on your wedding and I’ll share these with you when you scroll down further.
How Much Does The Average Wedding Cost In Australia?
The average wedding in Australia costs somewhere between $30,000 to $40,000.
The bulk of this expenditure is typically spent on wedding reception venue hire. On top of renting the space for a specified period of time, part of the cost of hiring a wedding reception venue is to cove labour wages and the cost of food and beverages. Obviously, there is also profit margin to factor in.
Most wedding reception venues in Australia start from $120 per head so you can easily hit the $25,000 mark once your guest list starts ballooning beyond 200 pax. To some, this may seem like an abhorrent amount of money while for others, anything below $75,000 is simply too low.
Whether something is cheap or expensive is purely based on relative subjectivism on the person perceiving it. For example, in a past Christmas, I bought my parents a Dyson handheld vacuum cleaner. My father thought it was outrageously expensive and unnecessary until a few weeks later he realised just how convenient having a cordless Handstick was!
Does The Wedding Tax Exist?
You’re probably thinking that at the mention of the W-word that an immediate levy is applied,
You’re not wrong.
But you’re not exactly correct either.
Weddings consume significantly more time; time spent in communication, time spent on-site, and time spent doing things behind-the-scenes that you as the customer will rarely see.
As someone who has been a wedding vendor since 2010, I can say for certain that a wedding tax exists. But this ‘tax’ is to cover for the added work, anxiety, and time spent on making your personal event of a lifetime as perfect as can be. It is rarely out of greed and I think most other wedding professionals in Australia would agree with me.
Let’s do an exercise shall we?
I want you to think back to the last time you went out for a nice dinner – you know, a place with decent service and table clothes (no that dumpling place in Ashfield does not count!).
How much was your bill?
I hazard that you easily paid close to $100 per person. Probably more if you had a few more drinks aye?
Have you ever wondered why large groups attract a 10% surcharge at most restaurants?
Did you know that large groups put extra strain on the front and back of the restaurant – from taking orders to delivering drinks to timing the kitchen to have all the meals served at the same time. Larger groups also tend to stay longer and reduce the likelihood of the restaurant turning the table around for a second sitting (i.e., loss of revenue).
So when you put things into perspective, when a wedding reception venue asks for $120 – $200 per head, and this includes a free flow of beer and wine (maybe spirits depending on your package), a full three-course feed, dedicated wait staff, and an enclosed space with air-conditioning or heating for 4+ hours, it no longer seems excessive does it?
Look, you don’t want to be told the business overhead breakdowns of individual wedding vendors. You just want to know that you’re getting value for money, get married and have a great time doing so. But unlike other wedding blogs, this is not going to be one of those blog posts where I tell you to spend less money on a particular wedding vendor.
Are you ready for the cold hard truth?
3 Proven Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding
There’s only three ways and you are probably not going to like what you’re about to read.
1. Don’t have a wedding
2. Do everything yourself
3. Scale back on things (lots of things)
So let’s start with the first method. At first, it seems blunt and rather unhelpful.
Upon second reading, it is still rather blunt and very unhelpful. But you can be married without have a wedding and if you were to choose this you wouldn’t be alone.
Plenty of couples realise that spending money on a wedding does not align with their goals. These goals can be financial in nature (e.g., put the money towards their first home deposit), a matter of priorities (e.g., rather spend the money on a 3-month all expenses paid holiday in Europe), and/or can be philosophical (e.g., trying to reduce their carbon footprint because weddings unfortunately do create a lot of waste that goes into landfill).
However, not having a wedding is frowned upon by most parents and is culturally inexcusable so options number one is probably impractical.
You could do everything yourself to save some money on your wedding. As long as you understand the implications of going down the DIY route, all the power to you! Do keep in mind that there will be certain activities you cannot perform for safety and liability reasons. You will need to hire the appropriate licensed professionals to carry out the work (ceiling riggers, light and A/V) which may end up being more expensive than if you were to have hired a wedding stylist and/or planner.
The third and last way to save money on your wedding is to scale things back. This is probably the most logical solution but comes with some difficult decisions.
What are some things that you can scale back on?
The guest list for starters – this is low hanging fruit. You can trim your guest list down to just having family present but this would change the dynamic of the reception. To be honest, you’d be better off having a private dinner than have a smaller wedding reception with just family.
You could consider having a smaller bridal party or having none at all. Having a smaller bridal party (or none at all) would reduce hair and makeup expenses, gifts, clothes, accessories, and travel.
If your wedding venue allows you to BYO alcohol, definitely consider buying alcohol in bulk when there is a deal. Sign up to liquor store newsletters and/or keep an eye on grocery deals on OzBargain.
Did you know that many wedding receptions have special rates for Winter weddings? If you’re not fixated on a autumn, spring or summer wedding, booking a winter wedding would easily save you a few thousand dollars.
You can scale back on your photography, stylist, florist, cake and entertainment costs too but if you want beautiful and lavish wedding for a large group of guests, using the best industry professionals, you only have two choices:
(i) either keep working and saving your hard earn dollars so that you can have everything you want or,
(ii) rethink what is important to you and go from there.
Welcome to adult-ing.
Whatever you choose, I wish you all the happiness in your marriage.
Recommended reading: How to calculate the cost of a wedding
A home-cooking house-husband and part-time digital marketer, Dan is the founder of Angus Porter Photography.