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Different ways to save money on your wedding

Congratulations, you’re engaged!

You can hear the wedding bells chiming in the distance, but your bank balance isn’t so excited – and you’re not alone.

According to Moneysmart, the average cost of a wedding is $36,000 in Australia. About 80% of couples take money out of their savings to pay for one, while 60% get a wedding loan and another 18% use their credit card.

From the dress and the jewellery to the guest list, there are plenty of additional costs that add up along the way. Not to mention, you’ll likely be spending money on an engagement party too.

Instead of taking out a small wedding loan to cover costs, look at ways to save money on your wedding instead. 

Saving money on a dress

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The average wedding dress cost in Australia sits at $2,637, although yours doesn’t have to.

Preloved dresses are a great way to bring down costs, particularly if you’re looking for a designer gown. You can find a beautiful dress for a fraction of the cost. After all, it'll only be a one-time wear. Websites like Still White and Easy Weddings are a good place to start.

Some retailers also have a range of lower-cost dresses, like H&M, ASOS, and Showpo, all of which don’t come with the designer price tag. You can even save by shopping at non-bridal stores as well. Plus, once your wedding day is over, you can always sell your dress to make some easy cash – it’ll only gather cobwebs in your closet.

Not a fan of repurposing or forking out for a new one? Wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, and even tuxedos can also be rented through select boutique retailers who specialise in recreating the moment, even if it’s temporary.

Saving money on jewellery

Your bridal jewellery doesn’t have to set you back. There is a huge range of stunning second hand jewellery out there that will help you shine on your big day. You can pick up diamond earrings, tennis bracelets and necklaces cheaper when they’re preloved and they’ll still sparkle just the same.

When it comes to your engagement ring, if you’re not precious about your stones, opting for a stone that’s not a diamond will help to bring the cost down.

There are plenty of unique pieces out there too if you’re looking for something that’s a little different to your standard wedding band.

Decide who and what you really need

Generally, the bigger the bridal party, the more you spend. If you’ve got five people in each party, that’s five times the cost of hair, makeup, gifts, and accessories.

This goes for the guest list. Do you really need your aunty’s best friend’s entire extended family to be there? Be objective and try to cut out the guests who you won’t miss.

When it comes to items and services, make a list of everything that you want as well as their quoted price or how much you expect them to cost and weigh up the pros and cons.

No, you really don’t need those expensive centrepieces or party favours. When it comes to décor, second hand is your friend. It’s often cheaper than hiring and you can always sell it afterwards (or keep some pieces as a memento!).

Don’t bother spending the money hiring chairs if the venue already has them or forking out extra for a limo if you can ask a guest to drive you instead – that money can be saved and put to a better use.

Your guests are there to support you, and at the end of the day they won’t remember the details like the candles or the gold leaf menu – they’ll remember their experience.

Go local

Travelling for your wedding is a heap of fun, but it can also be costly if you don’t hire local vendors. Many vendors, like celebrants, florists, furniture hire, and hair/makeup artists charge a travel fee. Try and hire as many locals as possible and cut out any unnecessary costs.

There are also some things that you can do yourself. Cakes, welcome signs, and seating charts can all be done yourself (or by someone that you know) for a fraction of the cost. Or, if you’re lucky to have some handy friends or family, see if they’d be happy to help you bake your wedding cake.

Just make sure you thank them!

Sell what you don't need afterwards

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After finding out the amount people spend on one of the most important days of their life, it would make sense to also consider what you can get back from it all.

How much a wedding dress in Australia will sell for depends on the condition you bought it in and how desirable the design is. There are a few things a buyer would want to look out for, much like what you would be looking out for if you're buying a pre-loved dress.

The same goes for the jewellery and decorations you used for your special day. If they’re still in good nick and are quality items, you should be able to sell them for easy cash.

Other alternative wedding ideas to save money

There are so many ways that you can save if you think outside the box.

How about reinventing the wheel and using fabric flowers instead of real ones, or having cookies instead of an expensive wedding cake?

Some venues offer off-peak pricing in the shoulder seasons which can shave thousands off of the final cost of venue hire and catering. Plus, if you have the ceremony and reception in the same venue, you’ll save on travel and hire costs.

It’s your day – however you choose to spend your money. With some savvy shopping and simple swaps, you can end up saving thousands on your big day.

After all, you don’t want to be paying off a personal loan months after you’ve walked down the aisle. By buying smart and selling off your items, more of your money can be put into a much-needed honeymoon or a house deposit.

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