<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1950904595195898&ev=PageView&noscript=1" /> Wedding Advice - How to plan your dream wedding on any budget - Lydia

Wedding Advice – How to plan your dream wedding on any budget

Is it possible to plan your dream wedding on a budget? Well, it can be. With some intentional planning and realistic thinking, you can make it happen. According to most articles and evidence I can find, the average New Zealand wedding costs around $35,000. I have seen many different weddings on all different parts of the spectrum below and above this figure. Every single wedding is different. You are going to have different priorities, dreams, family input and pressures. It is important to start communicating about all of this early on. It’s a huge topic to tackle and a bit of a lengthy post today but I hope it gives you a few ideas and practical tips to help plan your dream day whatever your budget may be.


– Communicate! –

Try to have a sit-down chat early on with your partner and anyone else who will be financially contributing to your day. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and financial situations so it may be that you and your partner are carrying the entire cost of the wedding, that one side of parents is contributing a set amount, or maybe you have family shouting the entire affair. Have an honest conversation about how much each is contributing and be clear about any expectations they have of how you use that money. Maybe by contributing to your day your parents expect to invite 6 of their friends on the day. Maybe you have your eye set on a $6000 wedding dress and need to share this intention with your fiancé. Try to communicate clearly and if you feel pressure or that you are being manipulated by money in any way, consider the ramifications, and whether it is worth accepting it if you can foresee drama down the road.


– Get ruthless with your guest list –

One of the BIGGEST factors in determining how much you’ll spend on your wedding is the number of guests you invite. This can affect the venue you choose, the amount spent on food/alcohol, transport costs, spend on furniture/decor/rentals, stationery, favours not to mention your level of overwhelm on the day. Try to visualise 5-10 years into your marriage looking back on your wedding day. Will you be glad you invited all your work friends you don’t even keep in touch with anymore? Will you wish you had just eloped? I found it really interesting on my recent Instagram poll that nearly 80% of people said they wish they had invited LESS guests to their wedding. Everyone is different and this can be a tough one when you have huge extended families, are trying not to let people down or have added pressure from family members.

Side note for wedding guests- I’m just going to be honest and say I find it quite rude when people expect to be invited to your wedding and they voice that. Weddings are more often that not expensive, and one or two more at $100 per head can really push things over the edge. You should always be grateful to get an invitation and understanding and un-offended if not.

If you’re the kind of person who can’t imagine their day without their cousins, colleagues, school-friends and the neighbours dog, then by all means do it, if you can afford it. Maybe you’ll do food-trucks rather than a sit-down three-course meal or find other ways to save. Or, if you would rather a more intimate affair with only your closest family and friends, this can be not only cost-saving but really special too. Consider how you want to spend the day with your guests. Do you want to only have the time to say a quick “hello” to everyone, or to have the chance to spend quality time with the few you’ve invited.

This also includes your bridal party. It’s obviously going to cost a lot more to have seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen than a couple each. I know I’m going to find this one tough one day, with three sisters and quite a few close friends I want to have them all!


– Have a chat with your future spouse about your priorities –

Carve out some intentional time (probably in the first few months after getting engaged or before you’re about to jump into full-blown wedding planning mode) to sit down and chat about what are the MOST important things for each of you on your wedding day. Yours might be having beautiful flowers and organising entertainment for your guests, his might be having nice wedding cars or hiring a videographer. Try to write down 2-3 things that are the most important to you and that you’d be willing to invest a little more in. Also, write down the things you’re not as invested in or maybe are happy with a family or friend doing rather than a professional. Here’s a list of ideas that you may want to consider:

  • A professional wedding photographer (of course I’m going to put that first haha).
  • A specific venue/location.
  • Time of year + day of week you want to get married.
  • Your wedding outfits and accessories.
  • The number of bridesmaids/groomsmen + bridal party gifts.
  • Number of guests.
  • Food/catering.
  • A Videographer.
  • A Photo-booth.
  • Hair and Makeup.
  • A Stylist and/or Planner.
  • Wedding stationery.
  • Wedding rings.
  • Who is going to marry you? Celebrant/Pastor/Friend.
  • Honeymoon. Where/When.
  • Wedding cake.
  • Furniture and prop hire.
  • Wedding cars/transport.
  • Miscellaneous wedding day extras- Umbrellas/Blankets/Sunscreen/Gifts/Bridal Kits/Overtime costs.
  • Entertainment- band/DJ/musicians etc.
  • Alcohol + drinks.
  • Pre-wedding events- Engagement party, Hens/Stags parties, etc.
  • Pre-wedding treatments- skincare/facials/hair-removal/tanning/nails/lashes/brows/hair-cut/colouring (wow us females do a lot sometimes!)
  • Post wedding things- drycleaning/thank-you cards/printing & framing photos.

I could go into more depth and specifics with all of these things but we’d be here all day. This list is not meant to overwhelm you. It covers a lot of what you will hand over your cold-hard-cash for in preparation for your big day but choosing the most important aspects each of you want to prioritise will help you dictate where you spend and and where you save. You will find that you’ll have to compromise in certain areas, you’ll have to meet in the middle on others, and you may even have to lower some expectations. Wedding budgets are often blown but planning is key and it is possible to stick to one.


– Start your marriage how you intend to continue –

It’s so easy to get caught up in planning your wedding that you lose sight of what the day really marks. The beginning of your MARRIAGE. Which, is so much more important and will require constant love, communication, commitment and sometimes (a lot of) hard work.

Do you want to begin your marriage in $60,000 of debt from your wedding day that you’ll struggle to pay off for years? Would you rather save on your wedding day and invest your money into buying your first home? Do you plan to travel together or have children soon after your wedding?

In my humble single-lady opinion, I would try not to start your marriage in debt, unless you have a solid plan to have it paid off as efficiently as possible. During the above partner-chat about your priorities, it may be pertinent to discuss life beyond the wedding too. Your combined financial and life goals for the first few years of marriage and how you plan to achieve them.


– Stick within your means –

Think about wedding-planning and lifestyle shortcuts you can implement to save a few dollars here and there. It all adds up. Maybe you’ve chosen the kind of drinks you want for you day and you wait until PakNSave Wine & Beer week rolls around to buy up large at the supermarket sale. Swapping your daily cafe-bought coffee for a keepcup coffee from home (isn’t that just the most overused budget tip of all time, haha yes I said it) could add up to paying for the makeup artist you want. Maybe you opt for seasonal and local flowers on the day. Read some of my tips on how to plan a sustainable wedding like choosing pre-loved or selling things after the day. Research wedding-budget hacks, there are plenty of tips like these floating around.


I am in no way a professional financial-planner or authority on money management. I do however constantly try to work on this and be mindful with my means (it’s a constant work-in-progress) and it’s something I think we all need to work on. I wish we were taught better money and saving skills in school, it is definitely needed. I have found it helpful to educate myself with podcasts, books, other resources and to speak more openly about money with those at a similar life stage or down the track from me. A few quick favourites are She’s On the Money Podcast, Sugar Mamma TV, and the old classic book Rich Dad Poor Dad. There are an endless amount of resources out there and we could go into a whole other chat when it comes to overall money mindset, saving and lifestyle. For now I will leave you with the above and hope it has given you some ideas to implement on your wedding planning journey.

Check out my IGTV on this topic here.

PIN IT FOR LATER

Is it possible to plan your dream wedding on a budget? Well, it can be. With some intentional planning and realistic thinking, you can make it happen. According to most articles and evidence I can find, the average New Zealand wedding costs around $35,000. I have seen many different weddings on all different parts of the spectrum below and above this figure. Every single wedding is different. You are going to have different priorities, dreams, family input and pressures. It is important to start communicating about all of this early on. It’s a huge topic to tackle and a bit of a lengthy post today but I hope it gives you a few ideas and practical tips to help plan your dream day whatever your budget may be.


– Communicate! –

Try to have a sit-down chat early on with your partner and anyone else who will be financially contributing to your day. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and financial situations so it may be that you and your partner are carrying the entire cost of the wedding, that one side of parents is contributing a set amount, or maybe you have family shouting the entire affair. Have an honest conversation about how much each is contributing and be clear about any expectations they have of how you use that money. Maybe by contributing to your day your parents expect to invite 6 of their friends on the day. Maybe you have your eye set on a $6000 wedding dress and need to share this intention with your fiancé. Try to communicate clearly and if you feel pressure or that you are being manipulated by money in any way, consider the ramifications, and whether it is worth accepting it if you can foresee drama down the road.


– Get ruthless with your guest list –

One of the BIGGEST factors in determining how much you’ll spend on your wedding is the number of guests you invite. This can affect the venue you choose, the amount spent on food/alcohol, transport costs, spend on furniture/decor/rentals, stationery, favours not to mention your level of overwhelm on the day. Try to visualise 5-10 years into your marriage looking back on your wedding day. Will you be glad you invited all your work friends you don’t even keep in touch with anymore? Will you wish you had just eloped? I found it really interesting on my recent Instagram poll that nearly 80% of people said they wish they had invited LESS guests to their wedding. Everyone is different and this can be a tough one when you have huge extended families, are trying not to let people down or have added pressure from family members.

Side note for wedding guests- I’m just going to be honest and say I find it quite rude when people expect to be invited to your wedding and they voice that. Weddings are more often that not expensive, and one or two more at $100 per head can really push things over the edge. You should always be grateful to get an invitation and understanding and un-offended if not.

If you’re the kind of person who can’t imagine their day without their cousins, colleagues, school-friends and the neighbours dog, then by all means do it, if you can afford it. Maybe you’ll do food-trucks rather than a sit-down three-course meal or find other ways to save. Or, if you would rather a more intimate affair with only your closest family and friends, this can be not only cost-saving but really special too. Consider how you want to spend the day with your guests. Do you want to only have the time to say a quick “hello” to everyone, or to have the chance to spend quality time with the few you’ve invited.

This also includes your bridal party. It’s obviously going to cost a lot more to have seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen than a couple each. I know I’m going to find this one tough one day, with three sisters and quite a few close friends I want to have them all!


– Have a chat with your future spouse about your priorities –

Carve out some intentional time (probably in the first few months after getting engaged or before you’re about to jump into full-blown wedding planning mode) to sit down and chat about what are the MOST important things for each of you on your wedding day. Yours might be having beautiful flowers and organising entertainment for your guests, his might be having nice wedding cars or hiring a videographer. Try to write down 2-3 things that are the most important to you and that you’d be willing to invest a little more in. Also, write down the things you’re not as invested in or maybe are happy with a family or friend doing rather than a professional. Here’s a list of ideas that you may want to consider:

  • A professional wedding photographer (of course I’m going to put that first haha).
  • A specific venue/location.
  • Time of year + day of week you want to get married.
  • Your wedding outfits and accessories.
  • The number of bridesmaids/groomsmen + bridal party gifts.
  • Number of guests.
  • Food/catering.
  • A Videographer.
  • A Photo-booth.
  • Hair and Makeup.
  • A Stylist and/or Planner.
  • Wedding stationery.
  • Wedding rings.
  • Who is going to marry you? Celebrant/Pastor/Friend.
  • Honeymoon. Where/When.
  • Wedding cake.
  • Furniture and prop hire.
  • Wedding cars/transport.
  • Miscellaneous wedding day extras- Umbrellas/Blankets/Sunscreen/Gifts/Bridal Kits/Overtime costs.
  • Entertainment- band/DJ/musicians etc.
  • Alcohol + drinks.
  • Pre-wedding events- Engagement party, Hens/Stags parties, etc.
  • Pre-wedding treatments- skincare/facials/hair-removal/tanning/nails/lashes/brows/hair-cut/colouring (wow us females do a lot sometimes!)
  • Post wedding things- drycleaning/thank-you cards/printing & framing photos.

I could go into more depth and specifics with all of these things but we’d be here all day. This list is not meant to overwhelm you. It covers a lot of what you will hand over your cold-hard-cash for in preparation for your big day but choosing the most important aspects each of you want to prioritise will help you dictate where you spend and and where you save. You will find that you’ll have to compromise in certain areas, you’ll have to meet in the middle on others, and you may even have to lower some expectations. Wedding budgets are often blown but planning is key and it is possible to stick to one.


– Start your marriage how you intend to continue –

It’s so easy to get caught up in planning your wedding that you lose sight of what the day really marks. The beginning of your MARRIAGE. Which, is so much more important and will require constant love, communication, commitment and sometimes (a lot of) hard work.

Do you want to begin your marriage in $60,000 of debt from your wedding day that you’ll struggle to pay off for years? Would you rather save on your wedding day and invest your money into buying your first home? Do you plan to travel together or have children soon after your wedding?

In my humble single-lady opinion, I would try not to start your marriage in debt, unless you have a solid plan to have it paid off as efficiently as possible. During the above partner-chat about your priorities, it may be pertinent to discuss life beyond the wedding too. Your combined financial and life goals for the first few years of marriage and how you plan to achieve them.


– Stick within your means –

Think about wedding-planning and lifestyle shortcuts you can implement to save a few dollars here and there. It all adds up. Maybe you’ve chosen the kind of drinks you want for you day and you wait until PakNSave Wine & Beer week rolls around to buy up large at the supermarket sale. Swapping your daily cafe-bought coffee for a keepcup coffee from home (isn’t that just the most overused budget tip of all time, haha yes I said it) could add up to paying for the makeup artist you want. Maybe you opt for seasonal and local flowers on the day. Read some of my tips on how to plan a sustainable wedding like choosing pre-loved or selling things after the day. Research wedding-budget hacks, there are plenty of tips like these floating around.


I am in no way a professional financial-planner or authority on money management. I do however constantly try to work on this and be mindful with my means (it’s a constant work-in-progress) and it’s something I think we all need to work on. I wish we were taught better money and saving skills in school, it is definitely needed. I have found it helpful to educate myself with podcasts, books, other resources and to speak more openly about money with those at a similar life stage or down the track from me. A few quick favourites are She’s On the Money Podcast, Sugar Mamma TV, and the old classic book Rich Dad Poor Dad. There are an endless amount of resources out there and we could go into a whole other chat when it comes to overall money mindset, saving and lifestyle. For now I will leave you with the above and hope it has given you some ideas to implement on your wedding planning journey.

Check out my IGTV on this topic here.

PIN IT FOR LATER

Comments

  1. […] chatted about this when it comes to money in my recent blog about planning an any-budget friendly wedding. The same conversation can be had when it comes to […]

  2. […] talked a bit about this in my blogpost around budget but I’ll say it again, it’s really important to communicate openly and clearly with […]

  3. […] talked about this a little in my Wedding Budget blogpost but I want you to think about it carefully here. Will it absolutely break your heart to not invite […]

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