I’ve just come across a wedding website that lists the following costs as the average for an Australian wedding: (Source)
96 Average number of guests at an Australian wedding.
$10,701 Average reception cost for food and booze.
$4043 Average spent on bridal party clothes and accessories
$3030 Average spent to clothe the bride and groom
$4234 Average spend on photography and videography
$919 Average that couples spend on flowers
$907 Average spent on transport
$418 Average spent on the cake.
$7,105 Average that couples will spend on their honeymoon
Some of these costs might seem crazy when you first look at them, but when the average amount spent on weddings is nearly $30,000 in Australia (for a wedding for under 100 people) it isn’t unreasonable to see these kinds of costs taking chunks out of your bank balance.
But how can you figure out what you can afford to spend on your wedding day if these figures seem unrealistic? The following is basic breakdown of what percentage of your budget goes toward what part of your wedding day – we’ve made this wedding budget calculator to make it easier for you. Just sit down and figure out together – what can we afford to save/borrow/spend for our wedding day.
The items with a * next to them are those that we have identified that you can actually take away from the day – meaning they last longer than the wedding day itself. This may alter your view of their costs.
You might see an item that doesn’t seem to have enough of a budget next to it than you would like – that is fine, and presents you with 2 options. Either you a) save more to add to your budget, or b) cut money elsewhere where you don’t feel you need to spend so much or can compromise on a cheaper alternative.
Putting each of the wedding costs into perspective and understanding what the value of them is to you can truly help you to make informed wedding budget decisions. The best way to do this is for bride and groom to sit down separately and list from top to bottom, what is most important to you on your wedding day, then come back and compare lists or create a combined one using compromise where your views don’t match. Top of the list is what you spend most on; bottom of the list is what you compromise on most.
Other ways to look at your budget are saving in some areas, and spending the ‘saved’ money on those items that are top of your list. For example, in a $30,000 wedding budget, there is $900 set aside for your wedding rings, and $600 for the ceremony. But if your ceremony is being held in a public and free location with minimal decorating, you may only need $300 to pay the celebrant, and spend what you have ‘saved’ on your wedding rings instead.
You might find a fantastic chef who can feed your guests for $30 per person, reducing your reception costs and upping the money you can spend on your wedding photography – the keepsake of a lifetime. You could have friends with fantastic old cars for your wedding transportation, which will cost you their favourite carton of beer and a full tank of petrol, and instead spend the money saved on gifts for your bridal party. It comes down to what you can get your hands on, what you can compromise on, and what is the most important thing to you on your wedding day (aside from actually getting married!)
Don’t forget the incidentals, like the marriage license and pre-wedding counselling (required for some religions), and think about whether you will be budgeting for your honeymoon amongst your wedding budget, or you will be saving for that separately after the big day. But if you focus on what you really value on your wedding day, what you take away from the day itself, and be realistic about what kind of budget you can afford, you will make wise decisions about your wedding spending with little regret – and still get the wedding that you dream of.