So your partner finally pops the question, and all of a sudden you are planning your life together – brainstorming where you might live, the names of your children, your travel bucket list…it really is one of the most amazing moments you will ever experience.  You have found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and that is so incredibly special.

I can’t help but find it frustrating that as soon as couples begin planning their wedding, this moment can often immediately become overshadowed by the fear of expense. The sheer cost of celebrating this moment can realistically set you back financially before you have even had a chance to take your first step forward as a couple.  For this reason alone, I began Bride On A Budget.  My business is dedicated to promoting cost-saving ideas, creative thinking, and essentially highlighting every opportunity to save money along your wedding planning journey.  It’s not an easy task, but I’m genuinely passionate about helping couples achieve a beautiful day, without the price tag.

Blush Bespoke Weddings kindly asked me to pull together my key tips for saving money, so here are my top ten tricks that could literally save you thousands!

Set a budget!

There’s just no point planning a wedding you simply can’t afford, so plan one that you can.  Review your savings, factor in any contributions, and agree on an amount that feels comfortable.  Then add a buffer.   Don’t begin your married life in debt, and make sure you keep a little nest egg for your next chapter together.

Keep your numbers low

Smaller weddings cost less…it is just common sense.  $100 per head for 100 people is $10K, and that often doesn’t include drinks.  If you genuinely want to celebrate with lots of friends, why not consider having a large informal engagement party, then surprise everyone with a wedding?

Opt for a winter/weekday wedding

Majority of people want to get married in the warmer months on the weekend, meaning venues often drop their prices for weekdays and weekend wedding in the colder seasons.  Getting married on a Friday can not only drop the overall price of the venue hire, but you end up creating a long weekend for all of your guests, giving them an extra day to recover!  This can be a great idea if you decide to get married out of town.

DIY your own flowers

People are often nervous to take on DIY projects, but flowers can be a great way to save money.  Head to your local market, pop in an order, and send one of the boys to pick them up on the morning of the wedding.  Making your bridal bouquets with your bridesmaids on the morning of the wedding can actually be great for calming the nerves, and gives you something to do while you wait for all the girls have their hair & makeup done.

Get creative with your wedding dress

I get a bit excited about this one because there are so many cost alternative options popping up!  If you find a dress you love but can’t afford the full price, there are loads of sites where you can purchase second hand or even rent off a past bride for a day!  If you’re not set on wearing a gown, there are loads of incredible Australian designers that are creating beautiful dresses, which may still be considered expensive, but far less than the cost you would pay for a ‘gown’.  Best of all, you can try different sizes & return if you are unsure.

Shop sales & sign up to mailing lists 

I never purchase anything at full price anymore, because you can almost always get a discount.  You might find the dress in-store, but if you sign up to mailing list online, you get 10% off.  Or perhaps the designer also lists on sites like The Iconic, where again, they often have huge sales or give you discounts.  You often find bridal designers will have sample sales too, where you can often pick up a dress for a fraction of the cost!

Ceremony and reception in the one spot

Find a venue where you can hold your ceremony in the one spot.  This one is so important because you save on a second venue fee, as well as transport to the next location.  On a day when time flies, give yourself the opportunity to relax and settle into the one spot – it’s much more fun enjoying canapés with your friends than travelling around in traffic!

Mismatched bridesmaid dresses

Anyone who has been a bridesmaid before knows how stressful it can be – trying to find a dress that fits each person, and isn’t too expensive.  Make it easy on yourself and give your ladies some flexibility – a colour, a style, a pattern – and let them do the research.  They might even own a dress and shoes that already fit the brief! You’ll find this takes away a lot of the stress, and your bridesmaid will be glowing with confidence and happiness on the big day!

BYO

If you can find a venue that allows you to BYO, it can be a great cost-saving win.  This means you can deal with the alcohol store directly, and often get a discount for placing a bulk order.  On top of that, they will often allow you to return any bottles for a full refund, as long as they are in a good quality condition to be resold.  Just be sure to remember to take them out of the ice at the end of the night or all the labels will peel off!

Break tradition

Don’t be afraid to break tradition.  People often feel the need to do something because it’s the way it has always been done, but there really are no rules.  Do you really need wedding favours?  Could you send your invitations by email rather than in the mail?  Could you swap a Wedding Cake for a DIY donut tower?  At the end of the day, people aren’t going to reflect on your day thinking how incredible it was that they didn’t get a mini present on their plate. They are going to remember the amazing people they met, the love that they celebrated, and the fun they had at the party…so always make sure you keep that in perspective.

I hope that helps prompt some cost-saving thinking – if you want more support you can follow @brideonabudget_aus , join the Own Your Day facebook community, or purchase the Own Your Day Wedding Planner – launching mid-September.

Happy Planning!