Wedding day costs: Were to splurge and where to save – lessons from my own wedding

Nov 2018

Hi there lovelies!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful month.  I’ve just spent a couple of weeks holidaying in Greece and Italy and I’m feeling mega fabulous! I sure needed a holiday! It was a short trip (mainly to attend a friend’s wedding) and it was just me and my husband.  Sort of like a second honeymoon.  Which got me thinking about my own wedding……

Earlier this year I celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary and, as I do with every anniversary, I took the opportunity to look through some of my wedding photos, complain about how much older I look, and wonder “oh my God, where did the years go?” 18 years is a long time (eeekk).  I also took the time the time to remember my wedding day.

I got married in late May 2000 and the weather leading up to that day was fairly mild for May but on the day I got married ….holy moly…the heavens opened and an Antarctic blast swept through.  Super cold wind and rain featured heavily and everyone had rugged up in their lovely coats.  My wedding dress was ¾ sleeve and did nothing to protect me from the elements and my wedding dress got a bit dirty but I honestly didn’t care.  I was getting married, I was happy surrounded by my family and friends and the following Monday I was leaving on a 14 week tour of Europe where the weather promised to be warm and balmy.

Leading up to the wedding, I was stressed out wondering if everything was going to go to plan, pondering over every detail again and again (I’m a bit if an “A Type personality’!).    One thing that added to the stress were the wedding budget woes –everything was so expensive.   Thank God I got married when there was no such things as the Internet and social media.  Sites like Pinterest which have so much gorgeous wedding inspiration – its no wonder brides get confused (not being and able to decide what they want) and stressed (how to afford it all when they do decide).

I certainly don’t have the solution to having the wedding of your dreams on a budget but here are some things that I learnt on where to splurge and where to save.

Photographer – this was our biggest cost.  I wanted a great photographer because, after the event, when everyone had gone home, it’s the photos that provide the memories so I wanted someone who was going to take awesome photos, capturing the essence of the day.  I also wanted a photographer who understood lighting and was going to ensure that I looked great no matter what light.  I was not disappointed.  I just love my photos.  All of them.  They are beautiful reminders of a great day.  Money well spent.

My hair and makeup – I got the best hair and makeup that I could afford and opted for a professional who worked with me to understand my needs, my personality and how to translate my vision.  My hair and makeup was fabulous and lasted the long into the night, I couldn’t have been happier.  I look gorgeous in my photos.  Again money well spent.

Dress & shoes – I went into one of the very well known high-end designers on High Street Armadale and tried on all these AMAZING dresses.  Felt like a princess and tried not to get carried away (but I did anyhow).  One designer, designed and sketched a dress for me which was going to cost ~$2800 (which was a LOT of money in 2000).  I got depressed.  Then I swung into action.  Did my homework and asked around.  Got a dressmaker.  Purchased all the beads myself (from the best wholesaler in Melbourne who supplies many of the high end designers) and the best fabric I could afford and got the whole thing for made $750.  My shoes were less than $50 (thank God cos they got really dirty from the rain) – basic pumps to match the dress cos no one was going to see them.   Sorted.

Venue.  As I had a Greek wedding with a lot of guests I needed a venue with a big dancefloor that was going to cater to Greek dancing and the various traditions.  Both my partner and I have big families so there were a quite a few people on the invite list.  In the end, I chose a mid-range venue and spruced it up with décor to make it look more formal. The food was decent enough and the atmosphere and party that we had on the night was fantastic. I felt comfortable with the decision.

Invitations – I made these all myself by sourcing all the materials from a wholesale paper supplier.  I printed everything at work.  Was worth the effort.  These days, website like Canva make it so easy to design awesome invitations and stationary to match your wedding.

Flowers and cake – I had the flowers and cake done by vendors who work from home and have little overhead and other costs that I don’t want to pay – I saved a fortune.  And both were gorgeous.

Cars – I spent a bit on my Buicks – they were important because they were going to be featured in the photos and an impression when I was arriving at the ceremony (ala Meghan Markle style).  They added to the mood and style of my big day and I loved them.  They were well worth it!

The honeymoon suite.  Many newlyweds choose to spend their wedding night in a 5 star hotel – with all the bells and whistles.  Not me.  As we were spending BIG on the honeymoon, I figured that I would have plenty of nights over the 14 weeks to come in hotels so my husband and I chose to go home…to our house.  I drove (yes you read that correctly) in my 1986 Toyota Corolla Seca a short distance to our house – which at that hour was like a fridge given how cold the day was.  Mega savings there.

In summary…..

Affordability is a big issue in weddings.  From my experience (based on my own wedding and from brides I meet), weddings aren’t about spending the most or least amount of money but spending on elements that are important to you and your partner that will enhance your overall enjoyment and experience.  My wedding was not outrageously expensive but neither was it done on a complete shoestring budget.  At the end of the day I know I made the right decisions and I’m so glad I looked for opportunities to cut costs where I could.   It was so worth it.  I had a fabulous day.  I have amazing photos to show for it and the 14 week European holiday was everything I could’ve ever dreamed of.

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Till next time

Peggy xo